Tuesday Jun 27, 2023

S2:E2 Mafia Meat



Season two, Episode two: Mafia Meat. In this episode, we go on a quest through Jim's childhood and his hometown to see if we can learn anything from his somewhat murky early life. We want to understand what turns a man into a prolific violent abuser. And what, if anything, can stop him? 


The song you heard toward the end of the episode is Cleveland Summer Nights, by Wink Burcham. You can purchase his music on Apple Music or stream it on Spotify.


  • You can find links to pictures, documents and all our sources at https://okappleseed.org/mafia-meat
  • These cases serve as a reminder of the devastating consequences of domestic violence and the importance of seeking help if you or someone you know is a victim. 
  • If you are in immediate danger, please call 911 or your local emergency number. 
  • For confidential support and resources you can reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. 
  • Learn more about Oklahoma Appleseed: okappleseed.org
  • If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, use a safe computer and contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at www.thehotline.org or call 1-800-799-7233. You can also search for a local domestic violence shelter at www.domesticshelters.org/.
  • If you have experienced sexual assault and need support, visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) at www.rainn.org or call 1-800-656-HOPE.
  • Have questions about consent? Take a look at this guide from RAINN at www.rainn.org/articles/what-is-consent.
  • Follow the OKAppleseed on Instagram at @OKAppleseed and on facebook at facebook.org/okappleseedcenter.


Leslie Briggs  00:00

This episode contains graphic accounts of domestic and sexual violence, violence against women in particular, and language that is not suitable for listeners under 18 years of age. Other themes that you may hear in the following episode deal with suicide and addiction. Please use caution when listening.


Jim Luman Sr.  00:21

I've been an outlaw since I was three years old when I say that I don't say it. You know, I'm not like today's--I'm not a criminal. You know, I was well as the US Attorney call me a pecuniary threat to society. And I was, I paid the price after all of it's said and done, after all the years and I had to serve, they made it a misdemeanor.


Leslie Briggs  00:48

In this episode, we go on a quest through Jim's childhood and his hometown to see if we can learn anything from his somewhat murky childhood. We want to understand what turns a man into a prolific violent abuser. And what, if anything, can stop them? The voice you just heard is that of Jim Luman Sr., Jim's dad, Jim Luman's dad had a long and colorful criminal history. And he wasn't afraid to share some of that with us. I'm Leslie Briggs. And I'm Colleen McCarty. And this is panic button. Operation Wildfire. This is episode two, Mafia Meat.


Colleen McCarty  01:26

So last week, we introduced you to a man who we would call a serial abuser. He has been violent towards women since the earliest reports that we could find in court records about him from the early 1990s. Jim Luman has 12 known domestic violence victims has a particular method of identifying his victims, seducing them into isolation and control. But how did he get that way? I think to understand Jim, you've got to understand where he's from. Jim's from a really small town in Oklahoma called Cleveland, which is not to be confused with Cleveland, Ohio, and also not to be confused with Cleveland County. Cleveland, the town in Oklahoma has a population of about 3282 people, the median income for a household and this was really surprising to me when I looked it up is about $28,861. And a medium income for a family is $36,585. Males had a median income of $30,000.99, females had a median income of $19,000 and 122. That feels like a huge pay gap. Not only is it a pay gap, but that is extremely impoverished those right, those are under statewide, statewide. Median is like 42, I think for a family. Yeah. And so you can see that, you know, living in Cleveland has a very low cost of living, but also there's a very low ability to earn any type of discretionary income, you're gonna see a lot of financially desperate people, making families with other people around them, because there's just no other way to like survive.


Leslie Briggs  03:04

Yeah, I can't. I mean, $19,000 a years is hard. I mean, that's hard to imagine for me. Look, man, look, now that I'm a millionaire, we're public interest lawyers. But like that is that's truly hard to imagine.


Colleen McCarty  03:20

Yeah, it's shocking. So like most towns in Oklahoma, Cleveland was founded in the late 1800s as a trading post between white settlers and the Osage people. And it is an extremely small and close knit community in a really small county called Pawnee, Leslie, and I spent an afternoon in Cleveland trying to learn what the community is like from the people who live there.


Leslie Briggs  03:47

Like, it just seems like Cleveland is America. Do you know what I mean? Like it's just,


Waitress  03:51

it's a small, regular small town right now. Like all small towns, they all have their secrets. Oh, yeah. Jenning's yard forever, and just couple of years ago, 20 years.


Leslie Briggs  04:16

That was our waitress at the Hickory House, one of just a handful of restaurants in Cleveland. She was telling us about a separate crime involving the discovery of buried bodies in a nearby town. She didn't want to elaborate about what she thought was crooked, or what other secrets that Cleveland has. But she wasn't the only person we spoke to who felt that the town had things to hide. We'll hear more about that later.


Colleen McCarty  04:42

Our trip to Cleveland was unusual, largely because we got the sense that even though the community is close knit and outsiders are regarded with suspicion, the insular nature of the community doesn't always lead to justice or accountability when someone causes harm.


Leslie Briggs  04:58

Okay, Cleveland is why why So there's like 4000 people in Cleveland.


Gary  05:03

Roughly. Yeah, maybe. Everybody knows everybody's fucking business all the time. Yes. Oh, pretty much yeah I got away with the last time I had syphilis, nobody heard about


Leslie Briggs  05:33

why is it good and bad? Because


Bar Patron  05:44

Too bad. Everybody knows us and like we're just a phone call away  or something we could assist people on the side.


Leslie Briggs  05:57

I don't know you hear about like, okay, we're from Tulsa. And it's not the biggest city but like, I barely know my needs. That's why, right?


Bar Patron  06:06

Like if I was all my neighbors, personally,


Leslie Briggs  06:09

they this is my point. So you could somebody if you needed help, right? I don't know that. I could do that. But that's the difference between like, Cleveland, or maybe a business


Bartender  06:21

Put it this way, I'd call my neighbors before I'd call the cops.


Colleen McCarty  06:25

Interesting... this town is about 30 minutes outside of Tulsa, which is Oklahoma's second largest city and it has almost half a million people. So even though it's pretty far out in the country, it's really close to a fairly large urban center. And one of the most famous residents of Pawnee County was Pawnee bill he starred in the Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West show back in the turn of the century times and he ended up creating his own Wild West show called Pawnee Bill's Wild West Show. And it's still reenacted in Pawnee every year at Pawnee Bill's ranch,


Pawnee Bill  07:03

and Indians from across the western frontiers. Lady, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, are you ready for a real round last show?


Leslie Briggs  07:21

That shits a hell of a show, I have to say you've been to this was like 12, so I don't actually remember it. The rant


Colleen McCarty  07:27

is said to be haunted by the ghost of Ponyville and his wife, and the people have also seen the spirit of their son near the water tower where he tragically hanged himself near the ranch. More recently, Cleveland has grown into the big city as one attorney who worked in Pawnee County described it. It's home to the only remaining bar in the county, the Cleveland lounge, they serve cans of beer take cash only, and you can still smoke cigarettes inside Wellesley and I had a couple of beers at the Cleveland lounge to see if anyone would talk to us about what this little town with a big history is like today, or at least what it was like when Jim was everywhere


Leslie Briggs  08:11

Okay, tell me about 1990 We're in Cleveland. What's it like


Gary  08:16

1990 in Cleveland was pretty pretty friggin awesome.


Colleen McCarty  08:25

That's Gary. He grew up in Cleveland in the 1980s and 90s. And went to high school with Jim and Christen. He spoke very fondly of his high school days in Cleveland.


Gary  08:35

Had a country store little game room ran on the other end of town and there's a lot of kids that's where we showed up to go look for parties build a certain Palace Drug parking lot and drink beer. Remember that the party was always at Osage. and then the they ended up in Osage that's why I live in Osage.


Leslie Briggs  08:56

near a bunch of bodies of water right? You would think people are like come on.


Gary  09:00

It's actually only near one body of water. It just wrapped around Arkansas, Arkansas River Keystone the wraparound but Osage Point back then was a whole bunch of water there and you can go out swim. Go fish. Dogs had hit Boston pool roads and do some partying there's the Y out there you go party and well, you can look up there's a musician named Brent Giddens. Have you ever heard him he actually has a song Boston Pool Road a pretty much nailed it and then you got you got a guy that he wrote a song if you look at Wink Burcham he wrote a Cleveland Summer Nights. It was a lot of backroadin' partying. You start out on Main Street and then the then the contract or which were the Mexican restaurant leaves I'm sorry, like,


Leslie Briggs  10:01

Okay, are you just like driving and drinking beer the whole time and the cops aren't doing anything. Please be


Gary  10:06

able to set their Palace drug parking lot, you'd be able to set their back in the early 90s. If you had beer as long as you just didn't show it, they pull up you had your beers. If you wasnt being a dick head or you know, go to the country store let's pull in. And we're always playing it out when it got pull in check out but we'd always have like five people sitting upstairs and they go check them out. And then we'd have like five or six people pull in and block out the cops in. Everybody that had beers and weed all their Joe Devoe Road. All party now called bullpens go down both pretty often ran back in the 90s.


Leslie Briggs  10:56

What happened?


Gary  10:57

Like I mean, everybody's got a fucking phone and they want to sit there and do this all goddamn day long. They will sit in their basements and drink beer and not drink beer they play video games. World of war or some shit?


Bartender  11:13

Don't blame Nintendo you son of a bitch!


Gary  11:18

Sorry, Mario.


Leslie Briggs  11:21

You can imagine that like, there's not a ton to do?


Colleen McCarty  11:24



Leslie Briggs  11:25

And you're probably getting into trouble.


Colleen McCarty  11:29

I mean, there's not much else to do but get into trouble. And I think even people in Tulsa feel that way. So I can't imagine how people in Pawnee County feel when they're growing up. And there's nothing to do, right. So it's in this environment that Jim was born in Cleveland, Oklahoma in 1975 to Jim Luman, Sr. and Patsy Luman, whose maiden name was O'Donnell. Jim was the youngest of two and his sister was 12 years older than him. By some accounts, Jim had a normal childhood.


Tutu  11:59

I know Jim, when we came to the United States, like in 1980. Their family was like wonderful to us. You know, like they accepted us. And we played you know, like all throughout the childhood years, we even were on the same soccer team. He had a motorcycle that he he kind of led me right in the back, you know, time to time.


Leslie Briggs  12:22

That's Tutu when he was seven, his family immigrated to the United States and settled in Cleveland, Oklahoma. He remembers Jim's family as kind and welcoming to him. Despite being an outsider in a place that might not always welcome people who are different.


Colleen McCarty  12:37

One of Jim's other classmates growing up was a woman named Christen, she grew up with Jim in Cleveland. And eventually, many years later, Jim would smashed Kristen space into his mother's gravel driveway during a harrowing assault in 2014. We'll hear more about that in a later episode.


Christen  12:54

Here's Christen. first memory of him is probably at the laundromat as a child, maybe I'm five years old or so. And my mom takes the laundry there, and his grandmother and grandfather owned the laundry mat. So he was there playing and I don't remember much other than, you know, just playing Chase and, and was showing me how he stole all the coke out of the coke bottles that were in the glass bottles that were there, he popped off all the lids and Drake called the coke out or whatever. But so that's like first memory. And then, of course, we went to click on schools together. And we were both in the same graduating class of '92. Everybody knew who he was because he would know he dressed differently. I remember him getting in trouble because he wouldn't stop driving a car to school, he didn't have a license to drive. So they would tell him or, you know, give him suspend him or whatever trouble you get into for continuing to drive to school when you're on the license. And it was like a red Ferro, if I'm saying like a little tiny red car. And mine. Well, you guys don't know. But the high school and his mother's house is like you could walk there. It's like a quarter of a mile. But he would drive that car up there and get in trouble. I mean, he's like, obviously just trying to get in trouble. You know, I think people known for that his style and you know, getting in trouble.


Leslie Briggs  14:22

Everyone seems to know that Jim has trouble and very few people wanted to comment on it directly. So you know, Jim,


Gary  14:30

Jim, I won't say that on here.


Leslie Briggs  14:35

That includes Jim Sr..


Jim Luman Sr.  14:38

Well, if I if I lend credence to three or four out in there two or three or four, which I've I've never talked to him other than Marcy, now his ex wife.


Leslie Briggs  14:49

Even though Jim senior didn't want to comment on the allegations about Jim's abuse. He was willing to speak with me about his own criminal past. The first arrest we could find on Jim senior It was from 1969 in Okmulgee county because I had


Jim Luman Sr.  15:03

to escape from the McGee county jail over the first one to prison for other since convicted of six bags of pecan nuts in Okmulgee County.


Leslie Briggs  15:18

After escaping the oak multi county jail, Jim Sr. Went on the run to California where he says he went to law school at Pepperdine for two years under an assumed name.


Jim Luman Sr.  15:30

Yeah, when I quit, you know, no offense to you. I went to law school myself and I dropped out when the same error my wife went to Pepperdine. Pepperdine law school in California. Under a Believe it or not, it's under an assumed name


Leslie Briggs  15:44

because I had to are you willing to tell me what aliases you used?


Jim Luman Sr.  15:47

I can tell you what I remember. Girl I had to change my aliases about every month, I had to fire up the Xerox machine and start in wideout, start making me a new Birth Certificate. Get go get a new driver's life after John or Joe or George, whatever the hell I was usin'.


Leslie Briggs  16:04

Well, what's what was the one you used in law school? That was kind of the most interesting, do you remember?


Jim Luman Sr.  16:09

That was an individual that is, as far as I know, is still practicing law. He took credit. He took credit and I started it and he finished it. Wow. And naturally, you know, I'm not going to expose him.


Leslie Briggs  16:25

Eventually, Jim senior came back to Oklahoma and pled guilty to the pecan case crime in 1971. It takes a couple of years, we get to 1971. And Jim senior pleads guilty to the crime of grand larceny. No, because we don't have the case file on this. All we had are handwritten court minutes. They actually went and pulled like what I imagined to be like a very dusty, huge book of like, handwritten court minutes from the 60s and like, sent us pictures of the pages where this case was. They said they didn't have the case file, but they could give us the minutes. And so in the minutes it says that he pleads guilty in 1971. This charge is actually later vacated, but we don't have like the full appeal history. We don't know why he's able to on get a plea of guilty. Gets it vacated. And I would like for you as a resident criminal justice expert to explain why it's bananas to see a guilty plea vacated.


Colleen McCarty  17:19

I mean, I can't tell you like the history of like when guilty pleas started to become pretty much impossible to get out of it. COVID After this, but right now, if you make a guilty plea is essentially ironclad. I mean, if you admit to the court that you are knowingly and understandingly plead guilty, and you list out everything that you did, which is what you have to do when you plead guilty. Now you're on the record forever. Having said that, you did the thing. And so it's really impossible to back that up unless you can prove that you didn't know what you were saying that you didn't understand, like it's a translation issue. I've seen that happen where they've done a guilty plea or withdrawn a guilty plea for that. But otherwise, a guilty plea is pretty much signed, sealed, delivered, you're done.


Leslie Briggs  18:06

So that that is not the case in this 1969 case, it's ultimately it's vacated, we'll we're never gonna know why because the court file is gone. But that's what's in the minutes.


Colleen McCarty  18:15

I have a suspicion that I don't know if you want to put in the record or not it made but that he was cooperating with law enforcement, this criminal history and I've said this to you before, this type of criminal history smacks of somebody that cooperates with law enforcement.


Leslie Briggs  18:31

But he gets found guilty so many times though,


Colleen McCarty  18:33

and then it gets done. It gets undone and then it gets undone.


Leslie Briggs  18:38

Only twice. Well, three times, just three times. I know. Okay, so let's keep going. So also in 71, Jim senior pleads guilty in a federal court so that oak Mogi county case was in state court in 71, he also pleads guilty in a federal court to concealing a stolen motor vehicle, which had moved in interstate commerce and transporting a stolen motor vehicle in interstate commerce.


Jim Luman Sr.  19:03

Meanwhile, I got a federal conviction for test drive a Dodge two new Dodge Charger who Donny Stemmons, they're on East 11th Street that just decided to keep it for a while. I went to Leavenworth for that, but they meanwhile had found that was while I was out on a mug again. But meanwhile, they fall on the charger and got a conviction.


Leslie Briggs  19:27

It's interesting, because 21 years later in 1992, he's gonna try to vacate that sentence, despite only receiving two years for each charge. So like, he had completely finished and we're gonna, you're gonna I'm gonna tell you why. He had Wait,


Colleen McCarty  19:44

wait, wait, tell me this is from 71. He got to two years answers that probably ran concurrently. That means running together. So he'd served maybe two years on this. Yeah. And then in 1992 Yes. He goes back and try So vacate something that he's finished serving 20 years ago. Well, what?


Leslie Briggs  20:05

Yeah, we're gonna talk about why well, I'm gonna, I'm gonna tell you exactly what he's doing. When I get to the end of this whole thing, Okay, keep going. Okay, so in 1975, that's the year that Jim Jr. was born. He also pleads guilty again, in federal court. I couldn't tell you what for the only reason I found this case was there was an effort to vacate it at an appellate court. And I found the opinion denying that, but in that opinion, they don't tell me what the 1975 case was, because He's appealing it in the 90s. Again, so we're talking about like, 20 years later, this guy's coming back and trying to like appeal sentences that he's already done the time on?


Colleen McCarty  20:39

Well, it's like he's finally just like, what? I'm just gonna guess. Okay, what is happening? He's incarcerated in the 90s. And now he's a jailhouse lawyer, and he has time to go back and learn post conviction procedure, and how to appeal for all these things. Because before he was already out, so what the fuck did he care, right, everything vacated. Now, he's bored as hell and sitting inside a cell in a DLC prison and 99 even though air conditioning, and he's learning the law,


Leslie Briggs  21:11

I'll tell you, you're like, mostly true on that. Okay, we're good, but we're gonna get to there's a more substantive reason why he's doing it. Okay. But in 1979, he actually has a jury trial and is found guilty for knowingly concealing stolen property in Washington County, Oklahoma. So that's back in state court. And that jury gives him five years in DC. But in 1983, he files for post conviction relief with the help of an attorney and the DA agrees that he should be sentenced to 18 months, credit for time served. So on the day of that hearing, he was a free man.


Colleen McCarty  21:42

This is crazy.


Leslie Briggs  21:43

So there was, I think, an intervening change in the law. I couldn't I couldn't figure it out. But I was like, what, what? Are you serious that the DA is just going to agree to give him a lesser sentence. But I would


Colleen McCarty  21:54

also say that the time period is important here. Like, we really didn't get tough on crime and quotes until like the mid 90s and DBAs. While they were really hard on violent crime back then, and like everybody was getting life and everybody was getting the death penalty. On low level property crimes, pretty much everybody was just running around doing crazy shit.


Leslie Briggs  22:17

Well, I mean, this guy was like, doing crimes. With crime in the 70s and 80s, this guy was doing crimes, and like to think so again, so he gets post conviction relief. And in the 90s, again, goes back to try to vacate his sentence of that was he was re sentenced to 18 months, the court denies his requests. And I want to read this because it's just like one of the funniest things I've ever seen a court right into their order. But this, this judge, who denies his request to like, change his sentence, a second time, because, again, he got five years from the jury re sentenced to 18 months, several years later, and then goes back and tries to get it completely undone in the 90s. It's


Colleen McCarty  22:58

like, it's like getting a strike and then trying to bowl a strike again, you know, like, just we've already before the


Leslie Briggs  23:05

pins are reset. You got to strike but then you just launched another. But so the court says in her order  "what defendant with a brain would object to a reduction in sentence from the original five years to serve in the penitentiary airy to 18 months credit for time served balance, if any suspended with full knowledge that he is a free person following the December 2 1983 hearing." The thing about this is that Jim Sr. had a plan much bigger than whether he was served a just sentence in the 1979 case, which he was attempting to overturn in 1983. Throughout the 1970s, Jim Sr. was charged with a crime every few years in both state and federal court.


Jim Luman Sr.  23:53

Well, I'll put it this way. When they when I would come up for a parole. They could call it a parole or they wanted to I call it a furlough because I knew that there was going to be a warrant 30 days,


Leslie Briggs  24:06

Jim Sr. is something of a prolific criminal throughout the late 60s 70s and 80s. When Jim Jr. is just a kid and having his teen years, Jim senior is charged and convicted numerous times for pretty high stakes property crimes. Was it I mean, were you were you around much when the kids were growing up there in Cleveland or were you you know, mostly away?


Jim Luman Sr.  24:28

Regretfully? I was not because they'll they knew they knew that address and I couldn't go


Leslie Briggs  24:36

Oh, wow. On the run. Yeah,


Jim Luman Sr.  24:39

yeah. Oh, so that if they if they didn't have me, they were looking for me.


Leslie Briggs  24:44

Well, quickly, just give a shout out to the court clerks and some of these like smaller counties. And in Tulsa County and frankly, like, Tulsa County will email me anything. It's wonderful. Not every county is like that. But for lots of these cases, because we were going back all the way to 1969 in the 1970s I mean, some of these folks were like crawling into the attics of the courthouse to find documents for us. So shout out to court clerks who, who can't ask crazy, good court clerks hair about the public having access to record. So shout out to those that appreciate the transparency truly. But the theme that emerges throughout this criminal history is that Jim SR is comples dog. And he is dogged about pursuing his appeals. And oftentimes he winds up acting pro se,


Jim Luman Sr.  25:28

went through a federal trial there, pro se case, I had a fool for a client, but I beat him, I represented myself in quite a few cases. And when I started represent myself well I was undefeated.


Leslie Briggs  25:41

And it's an interesting pattern that we're gonna see repeated with Jim Jr. Later on down the road.


Colleen McCarty  25:48

That's one of the things I find so interesting about what you have found is, you know, cue the foreshadowing, but we're gonna see a lot of pretending to be lawyers and lawyering for yourself on your own behalf and working through the system in ways that like, Oh, I got off on a technicality and things like that throughout this whole story. And it doesn't start where we thought it started. Yeah. And I heard like 70 years ago, and it'll


Leslie Briggs  26:19

be I'm looking at both of these individuals, Jim Sr. and Jim, Jr, who both have now at this point, pretty extensive criminal histories, but are both getting relief from courts on sentencing in ways that are like unfathomable, like, how are they getting relief? But okay, so that chaotic charge for the the knowingly concealing stolen property in 1979 happens. And then, and also in 1979. He's charged and convicted by a jury in federal court. This time, it's for the sale of six oilfield drill bits with a value of more than $5,000, which were moving in interstate commerce. So you can see like you wind up in federal court if you move between states to commit your crime. But in 1980, He's appealing that conviction. And the again, I want to just comment on what the appeal opinion says because one of the bases for Jim's appeal is that there wasn't any evidence that he knew that the drill bits were stolen. Nevermind that they were they did the exchange in a motel parking lot. And it was a cash deal and they refused a receipt and the drill bits were worth $15,000 And they sold them for six nevermind all of that. Okay. That's like circumstantial evidence that maybe you know, something is stolen. Sure. But on top of all that, in the opinion of the appellate court, they write, defendant lumen made several statements to the undercover agents during the negotiations indicating that he knew he was dealing in stolen property. These included a to b had to be careful because the heat quote was watching him and that he had to be watchful for quote, snitches be that he had recently, quote, lost a backhoe to police authorities and see that he also offered to sell other items such as a $6,500 gooseneck trailer for $2,000. Are you


Colleen McCarty  28:13

just walking around with some like $15,000 Oil drill bits for sale? Like for just that nature of the items themselves suggests that they were stolen my friend.


Leslie Briggs  28:26

Okay. Okay. So continuing, though, in 1987, Jim senior is indicted in federal court for quote, knowingly receiving stolen property. The outcome of that case, it's not clear to me the documents were unavailable on the federal court website. What we do have, though, is his co defendants appeal opinion and apparently, you know, during the trial, one of the witnesses referenced Jim, seniors, extensive criminal history and his attorney moved for mistrial and he got it. And yeah, you gotta miss train. What Yeah, you gotta miss trial, but Federal Court cares about the Constitution. Oh, wow. You know what I mean? Like, it's not like state court. The feds care about the constitution. He got retried, though. I don't know if he was found guilty because again, the case was like, the documents were not on Pacer. But then Okay, so that's 87. We get to 89. And the hammer finally comes down on Jim Sr. and this is in Tulsa County, and He is charged with and tried for, again, knowingly concealing stolen property. And this is the meat case, the


Colleen McCarty  29:32

infamous meat case.


Leslie Briggs  29:34

Here's what Jim senior says happened


Jim Luman Sr.  29:36

210 pounds of brisket meat, right? It's been struggling from the mafia of all people, really in the best word from that Tony Alamo church group.


Colleen McCarty  29:46

So small side quest for our listeners who don't know anything about the Tony Alamo Christian ministries that Jim was referencing, I think it's worth just a small little side path.


Leslie Briggs  29:58

90 seconds of chaos...


Newscaster  30:00

moved to our sickest story of the day and alleged religious cult leader has been arrested in Flagstaff, Arizona. Tony Alamo is accused of transporting young girls across state lines for sex. Alamo has said in the past, the age of consent for sex is puberty. Let that one sink in.


Colleen McCarty  30:19

Tony Alamo ran a church based out of Arkansas that had close ties to Tulsa. His wife Susan was also a member of the church and one of the leaders of the church and she died of breast cancer in 1982. And when that happened, the Church believed that she would rise from the dead so they embalmed her body and kept her on display for six months. It's fucking horrifying. Then she was in tuned in a heart shaped marble mausoleum on church property. It wasn't until the 1990s that the IRS kind of started to catch on to what was going on with Tony Lama Christian ministries. He actually created a whole separate entity, which was called Music Square Church. And the IRS actually ultimately concluded that both music Square Church and Tony Alamo Christian ministries were run for the sole benefit of Tony Alamo himself. So he had his 501 C three status is revoked on both of the entities and he was charged with federal tax evasion. And that's not even the end of it.


Leslie Briggs  31:26

Where does it go?


Colleen McCarty  31:27

He I guess, because his primary way of paying his bills has been eliminated from him, and the 2009 times. He is convicted of 10 counts of transporting minors as young as nine years old across state lines for sex. And a judge granted Alonso a maximum sentence for his crimes of 175 years. He ended up dying in prison in 2017,


Leslie Briggs  31:54

we're glad about that. I said what I said also apparently get in the mafia meat trade.


Colleen McCarty  32:01

So while they were running, Tony Alamo Christian ministries, apparently they were buying meat from the mafia.


Leslie Briggs  32:10

Wait, wait, wait, Becca, can you tell me more about the mafia? So let me just make sure we all understand. Jim Sr. Says he bought 210 pounds of brisket from the Tony Alamo church. And that's before the sex scandal came crashing down. And the church had stolen that meat from Montfort foods, which in fact, the Mapello Brothers meat Co that he's referencing did sell their business to Monfort foods. So I guess there's like an attenuated connection to the mafia here. And that's Jim Sr's version. But here's what we could find out by reading the appellate pleadings in the 10th circuit, "the general facts leading to petitioners conviction are not in dispute. On December 5 1988 95 boxes of meat were stolen from the Mon fort food distributing company in Tulsa. The next day, Petitioner rented a refrigerated trailer in Tulsa. Later in December, Petitioner traded boxes of meat, which turned out to be some of the meat stolen from mont-fort to Hugh Caraway and Wendell West, in return for various items." Full on just a bartering deal.


Jim Luman Sr.  32:13

Monfort foods used to be Mapelli brothers appellee. Brothers, Sonny Mapelli was out of all places, Des Moines, Iowa. I bought 210 lbs.  Well, I'm a lot more than that. But I was charged 210 pounds of brisket meat, about that from the Tony Alamo church group. I don't know if you're familiar with them Out of Dire, Arkansas. Oh, they was a big scandal in the 90s. And that, you know, I had they came in to testify that's, you know, they sold it to me if there's a problem with it, the third problem, but the jury didn't believe them. Church groups that were stealing meat, but they were some racketeers. Yeah, so that's what I got 30 for. And on top of that, I got 62 years consecutive.


Colleen McCarty  34:00

Here's some meat. What do you think he got for the meat, some really cool clothes from Dillards,


Leslie Briggs  34:06

one of the guys that he gave, he traded the meat to took it to a butcher. And the Butcher was like suspicious about the meat.


Colleen McCarty  34:14

Like bro, this is stolen meat.


Leslie Briggs  34:16

How was that butcher suspicious? 


Colleen McCarty  34:17

I can't tell you how I know. But I just know, I know that.


Leslie Briggs  34:21

This meat has heat.


Colleen McCarty  34:23

It looks stolen.


Leslie Briggs  34:25

Somehow he knew and so once...He must have alerted the authorities because after they figured out that Caraway, this guy that took the meat to the butcher got the meat from Jim Sr. They focus their investigation on him and so he's found guilty of that. And he's sentenced to 30 years in the in the State Department of Corrections. And that's in 1989.


Colleen McCarty  34:47

Okay, and I'm guessing that they use his after former so as we say to enhance his sentence.


Leslie Briggs  34:52

That's exactly right. So it's 1989 He's going to be in jail for 30 years to your point in the 90s. He's in Fucking jail know what he's doing on all those appeals is he's trying to undo his sentences so that he can then go back to state court and say, Look, you can't say that this is after former..


Colleen McCarty  35:10

There's no bases for the after formers of their snow after formers.


Leslie Briggs  35:13

Yep, you gotta let me out. So it's like, truly clever but you know, didn't work, that plan failed, but I gotta give it to you for points for creativity.


Colleen McCarty  35:20

I mean, there is nothing that a jailhouse lawyer won't try.


Leslie Briggs  35:26

So he did, he did 17 years on that 30 year sentence, and it was released in 2007. In addition to the criminal charges that we were able to verify, through court records and legal pleadings, Jim Sr. also revealed that he engaged in illegal activity in Denver, of a specific and disturbing nature,


Jim Luman Sr.  35:49

practicing medicine without a license under Navy's name in Denver, Colorado. But back then it was just a misdemeanor. And I'm not going to tell you what kind of medical profession I was in. I'd tell you if you was a man a  but


Colleen McCarty  36:05

he was away from Jim, most of his developing years, he was away and then we know he was away on many of his shorter sentences during Jim's earlier childhood years. So we know that he was pretty much lacking a stable father figure through all of that chaos.


Leslie Briggs  36:24

Yeah. And I, you know, I don't mean to make light of that, because that's, I mean, that's traumatizing for a kid to lose a parent to the penal system. Yes. I just, it's just like stunning. The, I mean, he was a career criminal. So upon upon release in 2007, it sort of seems like I can't find any criminal activity. after that. It sort of seems like he aged out and retired to Kansas City, Missouri.


Colleen McCarty  36:47

Interesting, and then never commits a crime again, he turned himself around.


Leslie Briggs  36:51

Well, I looked, believe me, I scoured the surrounding states, and I found no crimes by Joe Lubin senior.


Colleen McCarty  36:58

Well, good job, sir. I mean, for turning your life around after you got out, yeah. But imagine growing up in such a chaotic house where all of that was going on. But we know that Jim's mom Patsy has been his longest standing, stable relationship that he's had in his whole life. And Patsy and Jim, and his sister grew up in a very small house in, you know, one of the side streets in Cleveland. And Patsy for a time owned a retail store called Purple Rain.


Christen  37:37

Here's Christen again, his mom Patsy did, or I believe she owned a clothing store for a little while in Cleveland called Purple Rain. And I recall them having like, things like guest jeans, like some labeled clothes or whatever. I remember he always dressed in those types of clothes, too. It's kind of it's kind of stuck out a little bit for Cleveland.


Leslie Briggs  38:09

We tried to contact Pat.


Patsy  38:11

Pat, please leave a message.


Leslie Briggs  38:14

Hi, Pat. My name is Les. But she didn't answer and didn't call back.


Colleen McCarty  38:19

We have some notes from Ember that indicate that Jim made comments about seeing his dad abused his mom.


Leslie Briggs  38:27

Yeah, I thought that was an interesting thing that Ember told us just that, you know, part of the cycle this whole, you know, Jim's kind of method, flowers and apology. You know, Amber kind of indicated to us that there was a moment where Pat was visiting, and Jim had recently given Amber flowers. And, you know, she had made some comments to Jim, that were like chastising in nature of like, you know, you shouldn't be doing what you're doing that kind of stuff. And Ember just remembers it is like, it seems like something that Pat had lived herself. Flowers after an abusive incident.


Colleen McCarty  39:03

Yeah, it was like she saw the flowers and she immediately knew that something happened, which isn't normal people's response to seeing fresh flowers in the house. Sure.


Leslie Briggs  39:12

Yeah. And Ember to this day, she told us she doesn't like to receive flowers because of her relationship with Jim. Both Christen and Heather, two of the survivors of Jim Luman, who you'll get to know throughout this season, told us that Jim shared stories of abuse between his mom and dad when he was growing up.


Christen  39:32

Jim said that he watched his mother be abused, but he watched his dad kick his mom. At some point.


Heather  39:40

He's told me that his dad was abusive to her in the past.


Leslie Briggs  39:44

Jim Sr. himself, denies that he ever laid hands on Patsy


Jim Luman Sr.  39:49

he called me an abuser. domestic abuser. That's what I've been married one time. Here's her number. You can call her ask her if you want to list How many hundreds Do you want? I siad  I guarantee you that any of them would open their door to me right now. I have never. Women's not made to beat on. I do not. I do not agree with that at all. In fact, I believe in putting them on the pedestal.


Colleen McCarty  40:20

So it is important to note that Patsy has consistently denied that Jim has ever done anything wrong.


Josh Kidd  40:29

His mom defends him to the to the well, probably to the death, but she defends Jim she absolutely believes that he's innocent of everything, at least at least when I spoke to her.


Colleen McCarty  40:41

That was Josh Kidd. Josh was a former business partner and attorney for Jim. He knew Jim and Pat when he was in practice here in Oklahoma. And then we come to Jim's older sister Cathlyn. Or as she's also known, Cathy, Cathy was much older than Jim, as we said about 12 years older, and she went on to become a lawyer. She was by all accounts that we've heard a great lawyer, she had her own practice. Jim is not a lawyer, but he's been around lawyers his whole life because of his sister. So something with Cathy that's really kind of pivotal and important is and tragic, honestly, is that she lost her life to suicide in 2006. And it's a really defining and tragic moment for this family.


Shannon  41:25

It was horrible on all of them. And I actually didn't find out about it till five or six days later, and I was talking with him. And he, he doesn't handle it, handle it well at all. It had a very, very big impact on him emotionally, because his sister was just old enough-- enough older than he was a she's kind of like a second mom without being that open.


Colleen McCarty  41:52

That was Shannon. She has been friends with Jim for more than 20 years. And she knew him. Well, when Cathy died by suicide in 2006. I mean, after what we've just heard from their family history coming from that little house in Cleveland to being an attorney, marrying a successful chiropractor having beautiful children. I think she was kind of like prized by Patsy. And the rest of the family is like, look, this is our success story.


Leslie Briggs  42:20

Yeah, I mean, think about that house is apparently like 800 square feet, where they grew up. And dad was in and out of jail. Mom is like running a retail shop, to make ends meet. And she goes on to become a successful lawyer with her own business, and a beautiful family. And it's like a huge, I mean, it's a tragedy that her life into the way it did.


Colleen McCarty  42:43

It really was. And the reason that I feel strongly about what happened with her and how sad it is, is because we have we did find this protective order that her then a strange husband filed a year before she took her own life. It's important for the listeners to get the context of what was happening in Kathy's life. Because from the outside looking in, if you're just a regular person in Cleveland, Cathy had it all. Yeah, beautiful home, beautiful family. And in 2006, like mental health wasn't what it is now.


Leslie Briggs  43:18

We aren't going to read the protective order into this episode. But there is one line that sticks out that I think everyone should hear. It says "My wife has a history of mental illness." I just think that's so fucking tragic.


Colleen McCarty  43:32

Yeah. It really is. Because I think people think if you get a good job, and you make a lot of money that you escape the generational and mental trauma that comes with growing up in poverty and growing up in abuse, and it just doesn't, it just doesn't and sometimes it makes it even worse.


Leslie Briggs  43:56

And the other thing about Cathlyn, too, that we haven't talked about yet is that she and Jim were running a business together in addition to her law practice, because Jim eventually goes to college and gets a degree in mortuary science. They were running the Cleveland funeral home and he's made comments to some of the women that he's been involved with about involving his own sister's body.


Christen  44:15

He told me that he prepared his sister's body for the funeral.


Karrah  44:20

And then he wanted to show me where his his dead sister lived. But before he showed me his dead says where his dead sister lived. He wanted to show me his dead sisters grave. So we went to the cemetery to see his dead sister's grave where he explained to her me that she was a she was an attorney. They had a business together. They had a funeral home together, and she killed herself, and he ended up having to he ended up having to get her body and embalm her body and prepare her funeral. and do all the funeral arrangements by himself,


Leslie Briggs  45:04

Colleen and I actually paid a visit to Kathy's grave. We felt that it was necessary because Jim took a number of the women to visit this headstone and told them that he wrote The epitaph himself says all the pain and grief are over, every restless, tossing past, I am now at peace forever, I am safely home at last.


Colleen McCarty  45:24

He kind of prides himself on having been the one to write the headstone. From what we understand, I don't know


Leslie Briggs  45:30

what to make of that, really, I don't know, it's unusual. And it's unusual that he's taking credit for having written it. And so this is his family environment. This is where he comes from. And these are the people who he grew up with and the people who probably know him best, I think it's pretty apparent Kathy was important to him. And that's obvious. We don't know whether he was fixated on her in some way. Or if this was a sibling rivalry, kind of a thing, or we don't know, right, but the one thing we do know is that the most constant thing in Jim's life is chaos. Once we get past, you know, his childhood and the chaos of his father in and out of prison and all of that, it becomes a chaos that he creates himself, and he forces upon other people. That's my opinion.


Colleen McCarty  46:17

Yeah, I think I'm not excusing the behavior. I'm trying to explain the behavior, which is sort of like what I do doesn't mean that the behavior harming other people is okay. But childhood trauma truly injures and shaped someone's brain in ways that cause very problematic behaviors. Do you truly think that someone growing up in a town like this with 2000 people made with women making $19,000, and that's adjusted for inflation, like back then probably $12,000 a year, that kind of poverty, that kind of systemic inequity happening in a community, and then you have a parent figure who's in and out of prison, it's just that that level of instability and we I would not expect this person to grow up to be a really healthy and like, proactive member of society. But at the same time, him and about a million other people in Oklahoma had that upbringing? Yeah. And not all of them are committing atrocious crime heinous every six to eight months, right. Some of them are, but not all of them. And so it does bring up this question of like, some people's brains are better at processing stress and healing from trauma and can heal from trauma faster, and they get put into environments where their relationships are truly healthy, and they heal from the things that happened to them. And other people take the things that happened to them as children, and they act those out on everybody in their life as they try to heal, what happened to them. And it just gets worse and worse and worse, until something actually intervenes and stops the behavior. It could be Yeah, what works could be a positive thing that could happen, like therapy, getting EMDR going into a like sensory deprivation tank and like your body is actually allowed to process and heal the trauma that happens to you. It's different for everybody, I think, but like, but it also could be a negative thing, like going to prison. for a really long time. If we took every person who committed systemic domestic violence over and over and over again, and we put them in prison for life, our economy would be debilitated. We would not be able to run a country. Because it's so common, because it's so many people. So many breadwinners why we don't do it. That's why we don't do it.


Leslie Briggs  48:58

Capitalism did this. God dammit,


Colleen McCarty  49:03

I should I blame capitalism. Not really.


Leslie Briggs  49:06

I just, I mean, but it all plays it all. It is all part of the same system.


Colleen McCarty  49:10

We don't care about having consequences for actions against women. Like we don't really care about women's safety and ability to live a safe life.


Leslie Briggs  49:23

We don't believe women either when they say they're unsafe. Like because that even just like considering that that might be the case is too much work. Let alone solving the fact that we're unsafe. I mean, like I just Yeah, I couldn't talk about this until four in the morning. And then I'll be just sad. No, I


Colleen McCarty  49:42

mean, that's, that's the thing is it's like we care more about putting someone away for life over a victimless crime like drugs. Yep. Then putting someone away for any amount of time for actual physical harm. Violence against a woman. Yep. And I was saying this to you two nights ago and you were like stop talking we have to put this on the pod but the idea that I could be in a bar and I could smash somebody over the head with a bottle and get probably a 15 year sentence in Oklahoma because I hit someone that I didn't know and then that I could go home into my house and do the exact same thing against my partner and get no time 30 Because that person lives with me and loves me right


Leslie Briggs  50:33

that these cases these cases are quote complicated and they are and we're going to see how complicated there are this season are fucking


Colleen McCarty  50:41

real complicated


Wink Burcham  50:42

could do no wrong we beat the pavement in the day and sweep the main drag all night long. We used to move along so slow, listening to the radio. Now I just go out and drink my fill, searching for the small town thrill of a Cleveland Summer Night. I know I'm gonna get it right. The big moon shining bright on a Cleveland summer night...


Leslie Briggs  52:00

Cleveland, Oklahoma seems like any other small town in America. But we know it's produced to prolific criminals, one proven to be much more violent than his father in a court of law. As we move through the season, I think you'll see that Jim is using these women to reach back in time trying to find those good old days that Gary told us about earlier in this episode, driving Boston Road, drinking and listening to Red Dirt music. Instead, he winds up leaving a bloody trail of destruction of women who loved him, or, at the very least trusted him. If we know anything at this point, it's that Cleveland, Oklahoma is a place where idle hands find trouble. But it's up to each individual whether that trouble will be good for the rest of the community.


Colleen McCarty  53:11

Next time on Panic Button, Operation Wildfire. All little boys grow up eventually. But what kind of man could leave a trail of more than a dozen known victims and yet only spent a few months in prison over a period of decades of abuse. It turns out this particular man is often described as fascinating to talk to and exceedingly charismatic. But underneath that charisma is something much more sinister. You can find links to pictures, documents and all our sources in the show notes of this episode. These cases serve as a reminder of the devastating consequences of domestic violence and the importance of seeking help if you or someone you know is a victim. If you are in immediate danger, please call 911 or your local emergency number. For confidential support and resources you can reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. Thank you for listening to panic button Operation Wildfire and for joining us and shedding light on the importance of ending domestic violence for good. I'm Colleen McCarty, and I'm Leslie Briggs. Panic Button is a production of Oklahoma Appleseed Center for Law and Justice. We're recorded at Bison and Bean studios in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Our theme music is by GYOM. Additional editing is provided by The Wave Podcasting. Our music supervisor is Rusty Rowe. Special thanks to our interns, Kat and Allison. To learn more about Oklahoma Appleseed or donate to keep our mission of fighting for the rights and opportunities of every Oklahoman a reality go to okappleseed.org.


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