By Steven Barket Las Vegas, Nevada Roxanne Harris is the mother of Alexander Harris (left), whose 7-year-old body was found under a trailer on the grounds of Whiskey Pete’s casino in Stateline, Nevada after he had been abducted and murdered on Thanksgiving weekend in 1987. Alexander went missing from a video arcade at Whiskey Pete’s…
Ex-Las Vegas Metro Detective Thomas (a/k/a Tom) Dillard Nailed by Jury for $1 Million, Called “Pure Evil”
By Steven Barket
Las Vegas, Nevada
Court documents are very one-sided. There’s no two ways to look at something when it comes to the finality of a court’s decision. Sometimes the legalese gets in the way, but there can be no mistake about rulings or verdicts. And that is the case in the jury’s findings in the U.S. District Court case (Nevada) between Howard L. Haupt (the plaintiff) and former Metro detective and defendant Thomas D. Dillard (Case No. CV-S-90-121-PMP(RJJ). You can see above a few of the highlighted statements.
Dillard (left) should know better, but apparently he believes he’s above the law. We’re speculating here, drawing inferences from his actions, but how else do you explain his violation of one of the basic tenants of law? Dillard had the stones to call Judge Stephen L. Huffaker, the sitting judge presiding over this case of life and death, and try to influence his instructions to the jury as the jury was about to begin their deliberations after hearing all the testimony and seeing all the evidence in this highly publicized murder case involving a 7-year-old boy.
And that’s what this current case of Haupt v. Dillard stemmed from. It’s a case brought by Haupt against Dillard, which germinated from a previous case in which Haupt had been arrested and charged with the abduction and murder of 7-year-old Alexander Harris at Whiskey Pete’s Casino in Stateline, Nevada. Dillard was one of the Metro homicide detectives assigned to investigate the case. Haupt ultimately was acquitted, but not before Dillard tried to pile up as much circumstantial and fabricated evidence as he could and dump it all over Haupt, who was left to try to dig himself out of it.
The Beginning of Haupt’s Criminal and Legal Ordeal
On this website we will chronicle the impact that Tom Dillard has made on the lives of those he’s come into contact with through various criminal investigations, either as a sanctioned and sworn-in law enforcement officer in his capacity as a homicide detective with the Las Vegas Metro PD, or on his own as a licensed private investigator.
Let’s start with the life of Howard L. Haupt, and how he unfortunately was targeted by Tom Dillard, who at the time was a Metro homicide detective.
Howard Haupt was a quiet man living a quiet life in the San Diego area before he suddenly found himself accused of kidnapping and killing a 7-year-old boy. Imagine how dramatically that would affect your life — having to fight those charges.
Tom Dillard was at the center of it all. He and his partner, detective Robert Leonard, also with Las Vegas Metro PD, spent weeks looking for the evidence that would pin the murder of the boy on Haupt. Haupt was registered as a guest at the resort hotel during the time that Alexander Harris, 7, was there. Check. He loosely fit the often changing description of a man witnesses saw with Alexander at about the time the abduction would have taken place. Check. He owned a tan jacket, also fitting a description given by some witnesses who said they saw a man in a tan jacket leaving with a boy. Check. He had a somewhat stoic, unemotional reaction when confronted as being suspected of committing the crime. Hmmm. Check.
Yet after all the testimony was collected by people who thought they saw Haupt with the boy, after all the evidence, time and effort that Dillard and Leonard spent trying to put fit the puzzle pieces together to ensure the final picture showed Howard Haupt as the perpetrator of the crime, Haupt was found not guilty on all counts. Turns out, Haupt was just a victim of circumstances. Nearly half a million dollars in legal and court costs later, after spending years in the public eye as the accused abductor and murderer of a young boy in a very high-profile case, after spending time in jail, after presenting eight witnesses who provided alibis for him, we see that Haupt happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. He happened to be a registered guest at the casino at the same time the kidnapping and killing occurred, but that was about it.