By Steven Barket,
Las Vegas, Nevada
Sometimes, when you get two people together, they feed off each other in interesting, unexpected ways. That’s the case with Laurel & Hardy, Abbott & Costello, Lewis & Martin, Dumb & Dumber (had to go there — those two fictional buddies from the comedic movies), Dillard & Leonard.
Yes, Dillard & Leonard. Tom Dillard & Robert Leonard, quite literally, were partners in crime, if not comedy. While they were both working as homicide detectives on the Las Vegas Metro PD, they worked at least a couple hundred cases together. They worked some of the most-publicized murder cases in the area, including that of young Alexander Harris, 7, who was kidnapped from Whiskey Pete’s Casino on Thanksgiving weekend in 1987 and was found murdered a month later under a trailer on the casino grounds.
And when you look in hindsight on some of these cases — especially that one — you wonder how could the two possibly be convinced that the man they arrested for the crime, Howard Lee Haupt, was guilty. Haupt was tried and found not guilty on all counts, and later sued Dillard and Metro PD and won an $800,000 out-of-court settlement as a result.
Yet Dillard supposedly remained convinced that he and partner in crime Leonard pinned the murder on the right man (and “pinned” seems to be the right word here) — even after all the flip-flopping and second-guessing and oversights of identification of possible suspects by witnesses who said they saw a man of varying descriptions walking out of the casino arcade with a young boy, even after viewing poor-quality video surveillance footage …