Eagle wrote in the letter that he learned about the Reasnor case after a former Haskell County sheriff's deputy visited him in prison and tried to get him to confess to the slaying.
He also claims in the jailhouse letter that he's been arrested and released in connection with the Reasnor murder investigation on two separate occasions, in 1998 and 2001.
“The reason I know so much about this case is because Georgie Ray Terrell, a deputy with the Haskell County sheriff's office (back then), came to the Oklahoma State Penitentiary where I was doing time for arson,” he wrote. “He more or less wanted me to say that me and Vince Johnson killed Leo Reasnor. He gave me all the information.”
Terrell admitted that he had visited Eagle in prison some time after 1987, but denies that he fed the convict information or tried to coax him into confessing to Reasnor's murder.
“I didn't try to get Clifford to admit to anything,” Terrell said. “I was only sent there to question him.”
Going back to prison
Terrell, who had previous dealings with Eagle during his time as a deputy, said he wasn't totally shocked to hear about the confession. He said that in the 1980s, after Eagle was sentenced for stealing from “the elderly,” he transported the convict and other inmates to a prison in Lexington.
“During the ride, I asked him why he didn't fight the charges or try and get them reduced,” Terrell said. “He just told me, ‘Look, I want to go back. I get all my dental for free, my health care for free. I got a place to stay and three meals a day.' He was happy about going back.”
Terrell said he believes Eagle's past behaviors make him wonder if he lied to detectives in Montana about killing Reasnor.
“When I first heard about him confessing, I thought, ‘What's he doing ... confessing because he doesn't have no place to go?'” he said. “It had already been 25 years ... I'm just not sure he would've waited that long to get something like that out.”
In the meantime, prosecutors say their case against Eagle will move forward.
Billings police Lt. Kevin Iffland said he spoke with the detectives who interviewed Eagle about the Reasnor case in April.
“I can tell you that the statement wasn't coerced ... he physically came into the station and wanted to give the statement,” Iffland said.
Iffland said the interview with Eagle was recorded “as a courtesy to Oklahoma law enforcement.”
Williams said she couldn't comment on the recording because of the ongoing investigation.