Omaha Two alibi witness tells of failure by lawyer to cross-examine bomber
Rae Ann Schmitz was a key witness in a 1971 murder trial, but nobody, including defense attorney David Herzog, was aware she contradicted the testimony of the prosecution’s chief witness. Schmitz was unaware she was an alibi witness for Mondo we Langa, then David Rice, before he was imprisoned for life at the Nebraska State Penitentiary for the 1970 bomb death of an Omaha policeman.
...Schmitz was Mondo we Langa’s alibi witness for the time of the bombing. However, Schmitz was also an alibi witness for Mondo when he was supposed to have met with fifteen year-old Duane Peak to give him the bomb. Herzog, who failed to adequately prepare Schmitz for trial, did not realize that Mondo was still with Schmitz when Mondo allegedly talked to Peak. Herzog failed to develop the timeline of the afternoon before the bombing when he questioned Schmitz and did not ask Peak any questions during cross-examination over the timing of the supposed rendezvous.
“I don’t remember having any contact with anyone on the defense team between the date of the event in August ’70 until the trial. I did not know what the evidence revealed. At trial I believe the witnesses were sequestered. I do not remember hearing the testimony of any other witnesses. I do not know what other people said. I had no idea of the defense’s theory of the case. I remember meeting with the lawyers briefly in the hallway outside the courtroom a few minutes before I took the witness stand. I not remember what they said to me,” said Schmitz.
“I do know that I did not realize I was providing an alibi defense!” exclaims Schmitz. “That thought had not ever crossed my mind. I did not know that Duane Peak had alleged that Mondo had been with him. The whole time I was testifying, I was thinking why are they asking me all these stupid questions that don’t have anything to do with anything. I never did put it together until years later.”