Ex-suspect in robbery perhaps linked to DEA
HOT SPRINGS -- A Malvern jewelry store owner may have been
working with the Drug Enforcement Administration when she was
charged with helping arrange a robbery that resulted in the
shooting of a Hot Springs man, court records show.
Kay LaJean O'Brien and three other suspects never stood trial
for the 1995 robbery and shooting of David Yacub. However,
federal officials later convicted O'Brien and two of the suspects
on drug charges unrelated to the crimes against Yacub.
O'Brien likely will be a witness in the upcoming federal
racketeering case against former Prosecuting Attorney Dan Harmon
of Benton. Harmon's indictment charges he attempted to extort
money from O'Brien and an alleged drug dealer.
Around noon on Sept. 14, 1995, Yacub, 37, and a friend,
Derrick Allan Danecki, 31, were working in Yacub's driveway at
204 Clairmont St. in Hot Springs when a late-model gray car drove
up, according to an affidavit filed in the Garland County case.
Yacub and Danecki told police two Hispanic men dressed in
business suits got out, produced badges and identified themselves
as Hot Springs police officers.
The men then pulled out 9mm handguns and ordered Yacub and
Danecki to the ground. At that time, they were told they were
being robbed, according to the affidavit.
Yacub said the two men then started toward his house, where
his girlfriend was sleeping, and that he got up and began arguing
with them. Danecki ran away.
Danecki told police he later heard four or five gunshots and
returned to find Yacub wounded in the stomach, hand and leg. The
men and the car were gone.
Police investigators said they began to piece the case
together after an account of the shooting appeared in The
Sentinel-Record in Hot Springs. A local motel manager called
police and provided the license number of a car driven by two men
staying at the motel. The manager said the men and car matched
descriptions provided in the newspaper article.
Police traced the car to a local rental agency, where they
found two business suits in the back of the vehicle. The manager
of the rental agency told police that Greg Duain Kincannon, 33,
of Hot Springs rented the car Sept. 13, 1995, and brought it back
the next day, the day of the shooting.
Kincannon was contacted and asked to retrieve the clothing
left in the car. Police arrested him when he arrived at the
rental agency, the affidavit states.
Kincannon allegedly confessed to the robbery, according to
the affidavit, and said O'Brien, then 25, contacted the
Hispanics, rented their motel room and helped purchase the suits
they wore. The affidavit said employees at a local retail store
also confirmed the sales and identified the people who bought the
Garland County authorities charged Kincannon with conspiracy
to commit robbery and arrested O'Brien on the same charge Sept.
21, 1995. Prosecutors later issued warrants charging Gustavo
Gonzalez and Miguel Cuevas, both 32 and from the Los Angeles
area, with attempted capital murder in Yacub's shooting.
Within about a month of O'Brien's arrest, Prosecuting
Attorney Paul Bosson of Hot Springs entered a motion in Circuit
Court seeking the dismissal of two 1994 drug charges against her.
"In December 1994,'' Bosson said in the motion, "officials
with DEA and Customs requested to the undersigned that they would
take this case for federal prosecution. Supposedly, the defendant
[O'Brien] has signed an agreement with federal authorities and
agreed to assist them. To date, there has been no federal legal
action against the defendant and the state speedy trial time has
Asked this week if O'Brien was working with federal agents
when she allegedly participated in the robbery of Yacub, Bosson
said: "You'd have to ask them that, but it was my understanding
that she was.''
Federal authorities, however, declined to discuss O'Brien's
status in September 1995.
William Payne, agent in charge of the federal Drug
Enforcement Administration in Little Rock, said: "I couldn't
possibly answer that.'' He said DEA policy prevents him from
discussing who has worked with his agency.
Gene King, U.S. Customs Service agent in charge of Arkansas,
said his office had assigned an officer to work with the DEA on a
case involving O'Brien, but added, "I cannot comment on their
However, he said, "I can tell you we don't have an open case
on Kay LaJean O'Brien.''
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Johnson, whose office is
prosecuting the Harmon case in Little Rock, said he, too, could
not address whether O'Brien was cooperating with the DEA in
September 1995. But, he said, "I can tell you she was prosecuted
in federal court.''
Johnson said O'Brien received 135 months in prison in October
1996 for drug convictions resulting from a December 1995
indictment. He said she also testified against Cuevas in that
case, and that he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison
without parole in December 1996. Kincannon, who also testified
against Cuevas, received 28 months in prison, he said.
Johnson said Gonzales was charged in the indictment but
remains a fugitive.
Computerized records in the U.S. District Court clerks'
offices in the Eastern and Western districts of Arkansas,
however, show no criminal charges have been filed in the Hot
Springs robbery and shooting.
Bosson withdrew the state charge against O'Brien in the Yacub
robbery in July 1996. He stated in court records that federal
authorities had sentenced her on unspecified charges. Bosson also
withdrew charges the following month against Kincannon, and those
against Cuevas and Gonzalez in October. He cited pending federal
Yacub, who claims to have a bullet lodged near his spine, has
filed a civil lawsuit in Garland County, seeking monetary damages
from O'Brien, Kincannon, Cuevas and Gonzalez. The case remains
Meanwhile, O'Brien is expected to testify in the racketeering
case against Harmon, the former prosecutor for Grant, Hot Spring
and Saline counties; her former attorney, Bill Murphy of
Sheridan; and others allegedly involved with illegal activities
tied to the 7th Judicial District Drug Task Force and its
The racketeering indictment, among other things, accuses
Harmon and Murphy of extorting about $60,000 from O'Brien and
Freddie S. McCaslin, an alleged drug dealer in Garland and Saline
The trial is set to begin May 27 in U.S. District Court at
Copyright 1997, Little Rock Newspapers, Inc. All rights reserved.