WHEN A SNITCH TAKES THE STAND

Skjei was shocked when she learned that her former employee was the one who'd triggered the indictments against Mark Davis and the others. "I actually cried when I learned that Ron Frazier was the start of all this," said Skjei. "Mark is the guy who tried to help me with Ron."

According to prosecutor Roslyn Moore-Silver, defendant Mark Davis threatened Frazier.

In his interview, Davis admitted talking to Frazier. "I tried to get him to deal with the dark forces confronting him," said Davis. "I suggested he try yoga, meditating."

Whatever Davis thought he was accomplishing, Frazier promptly went to the FBI, told the bureau that he knew who sabotaged the Snow Bowl ski resort, and quickly went on the government's payroll. For more than a year and a half, he wore a body bug and secretly tape-recorded the conversations of the people he knew in Earth First!.

The jury is going to hear many of those conversations, and what they hear will not help defendant Mark Davis. Again and again the jury will hear Davis discuss his dream of striking a blow against nuclear power by toppling power lines at nuke plants around the West. The jury will hear how Frazier gulled Davis and led him to believe that thermite grenades were available from a soldier willing to smuggle them out of a military base. Frazier even got Davis to turn over money to finance this made-up scheme to purchase thermite.

In the middle of the Earth First! investigation, March 9, 1988, the government flew Ron Frazier to San Antonio to have him hypnotized by clinical psychologist Dr. Richard B. Gawer. The FBI wanted to know if it could glean more data on the radical environmentalists from Frazier if he was in a deep trance.

Defense attorney Mike Black had filed a motion seeking to preclude the "hypnotically refreshed recollection of government witness Ronald Frazier."

In addition to citing the dubious record of hypnosis in the courtroom, Black raised the issue of Frazier's stability, writing: " . . . it's anticipated that Mr. Frazier used LSD, peyote, and marijuana both before and during his activity as a government agent."

Black's motion was denied the same morning that Frazier took the stand.
Although Black failed to make Frazier's stability a part of the record, the witness raised the issue himself with conduct that was a non sequitur. If he remains out of touch with what is going on around him--laughing when there are no longer jokes up for review--the jury can make up its own collective mind about the government's star witness.

Having said this, you must give the man his moment in the sun.
He is not a big man, nowhere near the size of Mark Davis, who regularly practices martial arts, both punching and kicking a heavy bag.

Whatever boil of humiliation Frazier felt when Davis suggested he forget about Jody Skjei and concentrate instead on meditation is about to be lanced from the witness stand.

The tables have turned.
It is now Ron Frazier who is offering Mark Davis many years of unfettered contemplation in a federal prison cell.

The witness must relish his position. All those people who dismissed Ron Frazier now see that he is the star of this drama. Those who underestimated Ron Frazier will learn a valuable lesson.

A couple of days before his testimony, I received a letter from Ron Frazier:

"Dear Mr. Lacey:
"I would like to comment favorably on your delightful series of articles covering the Earth First! conspiracy/criminal damage trial currently in session in Prescott. It is always refreshing as well as useful to have a controversy presented in a new light, from another point of view.

"I am looking forward to seeing my own testimony covered in a similar thorough fashion, in your own indomitable style. In my opinion, anyone who would take offense at being slammed in the New Times has never before read it." Mr. Frazier concluded his letter on an ambiguous note, choosing at once to be both charming and ominous: "See you in court." To be continued

People have a fatal curiosity about snitches in the way that cobras are transfixed by mongooses.

"Although he had very piercing eyes, there were times when he just checked out."

It is now Ron Frazier who is offering Mark Davis many years of unfettered contemplation in a federal prison cell.

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