The next day of the investigation, Tuesday, February 22, culminates in the arrest of Casper Oveross on the charge of First Degree Murder. Here follows the day’s police reports, and a Wednesday morning newspaper article about the arrest.
Tuesday, February 22, 1955
Sheriff’s Deputy Amos O. Shaw:
8:00AM: On duty
8:45AM: At State Police office for Officer Riegel
9:05AM: Leave State police for Silverton
9:35AM: Obtained statement from Waldo Rue, see statement signed.
10:05AM: Statement signed, received from Mr. Riches.
11:40AM: Contact by District Attorney K. Brown, and Merle Grace Chief from Mnt. Angel.
12:05PM: Contact Chief of Police Buck Main Silverton.
12:35PM: Contact Chick Carter at home. Information received that he was talking to a service station attendant in Salem, and he may have information.
1:10PM: Contact Shorty’s Tavern, Shorty says that Casper was in Tavern at about 3:00 until about 6:00PM 2-17-55, and went to Town House and got a sandwich for Shorty. After bringing the supper, he said he was going to go home to eat. Returned about 7:00PM and Casper and Shorty played shuffle board until about 9:00PM or so. Possible witness Darlene Carter works Steelhammer Drug store, also Jimmy McEwen, works up Abequa in mill. Doesn’t think that Casper left until about 10:00PM or so.
1:25PM: Contact Darlene Carter, went to Shorty’s Tavern about 10:50PM 2-17-55 and never saw Casper Oveross at any time.
1:50PM: Contact S&M Trucking Company reg. Ray Ruscher, played shuffleboard, not at office.
2:10PM: Contact Mrs. Lois Ruscher at Mount Angel, on night of 17th. Of Feb. Lois was playing shuffleboard with husband, and the Carter girl and her friend. Fir.?. got done bowling around 10:00 of 10:15PM and went over to Shorty’s Tavern and played shuffleboard. Rodney Oster was at the Tavern and left almost immediately. Ray Ruscher went over to the tavern around 8:30PM. People in at Shorty’s Tavern when Mrs. Rusher got there as follows, 1-Gene Moore (married) Dolores Robbins, Charley Ertelt (Mount Angel farmer). Harold Flecht (has linoleum store in Woodburn.)
2:30PM: Contact Charley Ertelt, Mount Angel, only in Shorty Tavern about one half hour uncertain as to time. Doesn’t know Casper Oveross.
3:00PM: Contact Lt. Mogan State Police in Silverton.
3:30PM: Contact Sheriff Young and Sargeant Huffman, ordered to collect bullets from Oveross farm, and watch for Danny Gilham.
4:30PM: Requested to make time run from Ervin Kaser residence to Gilham residence. Mileage on speedometer 18938.0 Time of departure 4:40.0PM Time of Arrival at the Gilham home, 4:45 and 45 seconds. (Lost approximately 12 seconds due to traffic.) Mileage at Gilham residence 18943.3 TOTAL MILEAGE 5.3
Second speed check, at Gilham residence Speedometer 18943.3 Time of departure 4:51 and no seconds. Speedometer at Ervin Kaser residence 18948.6 Time of arrival 4:57 no seconds. Second speed check was with speedometer at approximately 60 miles per hour.
8:05PM: Place Casper Oveross under arrest, charge Murder on authority of Warrant, Casper was over at neighbors house, 1st. House north of Henry Oveross home which is 514 S Water. Present was Henry Oveross and others. Casper Arnold Oveross.
8:40PM: At state Police Patrol office with Oveross. He states he was at nieces home, Bob Moon’s residence when picked up, house number 512 S Water.
Description: Casper Arnold Oveross, 514 So. Water St. Silverton Oregon. Arrested 512 So. Water St. 44 yrs., 5’10”, 180 pounds, Brown hair, Blue eyes. Carpenter by trade. Born in Silverton 1911, Carpenter by trade. Complainant on warrant Denver Young Sheriff, charged with 1st. Degree Murder. District Court Warrant signed E Stadter. Dated 2-22-55. (Officer Riegel assisting.)
10:00PM: Take prisoner Casper Oveross into County Jail and book in.
10:50PM: Silverton. Attempt to gain permission to search the Henry Oveross home for rifle used in commission of felony.
11:15PM: Stand by while Officer Riegel talks to Mr. & Mrs. Henry Oveross
12:20AM: Contact Henry Oveross regarding activity and vehicle.
1:05AM: Impounded 1950 Ford Coach, Oregon 1A118 Property of Casper Oveross, vehicle was towed from 514 S Water, Silverton, to Moll’s Plymouth and Chrysler Garage North Water St. Silverton. Towing done by Mr. Moll.
1:20AM: Return to Salem.
State Police Private Lloyd T. Riegel:
On the morning of 22 February 1955 Deputy Shaw and the writer contacted Waldo Rue. Mr. Rue stated that he had attended a grange meeting in Silverton on the evening of 17 February 1955 and that he had left the grange meeting at approximately 10:45 P.M., and that he had driven staright home. Stated that he arrived at home at approximately 10:53 P.M. As he drove by the Ervin Kaser residence he did not notice any vehicle in the driveway or vehicles parked along the road between Silverton and the Ervin Kaser residence or between the Ervin Kaser residence and his residence, which is approximately two miles south on the Silverton-Sublimity highway.
The officers then contacted Robert Riches who had also attended the same grange meeting in Silverton. Mr. Riches stated that he had left Silverton between 11 and 11:05 P.M. 17 February 1955. He stated that it is possible that he could have met cars along the Silverton-Sublimity highway. At the Ervin Kaser residence he stated that he saw a vehicle parked in the driveway and the thing that he noticed most about this vehicle was that the headlights were on and the dome light was on. He further noticed that there were no lights in the house and there were no other vehicles parked near the Ervin Kaser residence. Mr. Riches stated that his residence is approximately three miles south and a little east of the Ervin Kaser residence.
Deputy Shaw and the writer then returned to Silverton and made a re-check at Shorty’s Tavern, relative to the activity of Casper Oveross on the evning of 17 February 1955. Shorty stated that Casper Oveross came to the tavern at approximately 3:00 P.M. in the afternoon and that about 6:30 P.M. that he had sent Casper Oveross to the Town House in Silverton, Oregon, to purchase a sandwich and Casper had returned to the tavern at approximately 7:00 P.M. Shorty further stated that at that time he talked Casper Oveross into playing three games of shuffleboard. While playing the three games of shuffleboard Shorty stated that he became quite concerned about his beer business and that he was sure that bowling tournament was to be held that evening in the adjoining building and that he went to the door several times and looked as to why no customers were coming in his place and then he remembered that this was the evening for the women bowling tournament and that there would probably be no men or very few in his tavern. Shorty further stated that a Jimmy McQuen and a girl known only as the Carter girl had come into his place and had played shuffleboard with Casper Oveross. Shorty stated that to the best of his knowledge Casper Oveross had not left his tavern until approximately 10:00 P.M. and that while at the tavern he had talked with a Rodney Oster and his wife and that he thought possibly Rodney Oster and his wife and Casper had also played shuffleboard. Shorty also stated that he was quite sure that Casper had not left the tavern between 7 and 10:00 P.M. He further stated that a Chareles Ertitle of Silverton and a Ray Ruscher had also been in the tavern at the same time Casper Oveross was there and that they had also played shuffleboard with Casper Oveross.
Charles Ertitle was contacted in Mt. Angel and he stated that he had been in the tavern, definite time unknown, and he had stayed there only a few minutes and left. Further he stated that he did not know Casper Oveross and that he could have been in the tavern and he would have not known.
Jimmy McQuen and the Carter girl, who is a clerk at the Steelhammer Drug Store, were also contacted and they stated they had come in the tavern after 10:00 P.M. and that they had not seen Casper Oveross, however, they did know him and were quite sure that if he had been in the tavern they would have noticed him.
Ray Ruscher was also contacted and he stated that he had stayed at the bowling alley, watching his wife bowl, until approximately 8:30 P.M. and that he had gone in to Shorty’s tavern and had a few beers. Stated that he was quite sure that Casper was in the tavern when he arrived at 8:30, but he did not know how long he had been there previous to that. Stated that he had talked to Casper only a minute and that he was not sure as to whether Casper had played shuffleboard or not, as he had not played shuffleboard with him.
At this time the writer and Deputy Sheriff Shaw were contacted by Sergeant Huffman and Sheriff Denver Young and Lieutenant Mogan. Deputy Shaw and the writer were sent to the vicinity of the Oveross residence on the Silverton-Sublimity Road and were advised to watch for Danny Gilham, and if he came to the Oveross residence to detain him and advise Sheriff Young and Sergeant Huffman. It was also requested by Sheriff Young that the writer and Deputy Shaw make a time run between the Ervin Kaser residence and the Danny Gilham residence. Two time runs were made. The time to drive between the Ervin Kaser residence and the Danny Gilham residence was five minutes and forty-five seconds, the mileage was five and three tenths miles. The second time run was made holding the speedometer as near as possible to sixty miles per hour. On this time run it took exactly six minutes, the mileage again checked at five and three tenths miles.
At 8:05 P.M. this date Deputy Shaw and the writer were advised that Denver Young presently held a warrant charging Murder in the First Degree for Casper Oveross and that Deputy Shaw and the writer were to pick Casper Oveross up, and proceed to the Salem patrol office and contact Sheriff Young and Sergeant Huffman. This was done at 8:05. Casper Oveross was picked up at 512 South Water Street, Silverton, Oregon, at the residence of his cousin and Mr. Noon.
At 10:50 P.M. the writer contacted Henry Oveross at 514 South Water Street and asked Mr. Henry Oveross’ permission to search his residence. His permission was granted. The writer searched the residence in the presence of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Oveross. A search of all bedrooms, clothes closets, pantries, living room, dining room, study, kitchen, wood shed, fruit room, garage and back porch of the house was made for any evidence of a rifle owned by Casper Oveross. There was no evidence of a rifle or any type of gun found at the Henry Oveross residence.
The Oveross Ford, a 1950 Ford, Oregon 1A-118, was impounded by Deputy Shaw and towed to the Moll Chrysler-Plymouth garage in Silverton, Oregon, where it was held for evidence per request of Sheriff Young.
Sheriff Denver Young:
9:00 A.M. Received information from John Zabinski that an ex-Silverton woman by the name of Jaeske, had committed suicide and had been investigated by the City. She may have known Kaser. Instructed Deputy Sheriff Zabinski to check for any possible connection with Kaser case.
11:40 A.M. Ted Riches farm.
Contact Daniel James Gilham. States he is 19 years old and lives with his parents at Rt. 5, Box 417, Salem. 6-1, 180 to 185, brown hair and blue eyes. Gilham states that on night of February 17, 1955 he went to the Oveross home about 7:00 P.M. The only one home at the time of his arrival was Colleen, her mother came in a short time later with Karen. Mrs. Oveross left a few minutes later, in her car. At approximately 7:55 P.M. Casper Oveross arrived at the house and stayed until about 8:30. Gilham stated that he had planned on going to band practice that evening but decided that it was late anyway so he stayed at the house, with Colleen. They stayed there alone until about 10:30, then he left in his car and started home. He arrived home about 10:45 P.M. He stated that he went hunting with Bill Specht and Casper Oveross last year near Black Butte. He stated that he had a 30-30 Marlin rifle with him and was quite sure that Casper had a 30-30 carbine. States that he has been to Caspers cabin several times since the divorce and remembers seeing the shotgun standing in the corner and is quite sure that the rifle was there at that time. Gilham stated that on the afternoon of Feb. 18, he and Colleen were outside of her house when her cousin came and told them that Casper was at Henry Oveross residence. He took Colleen in and she and Casper Talked. He claims that he did not hear their conversation. Did not hear the gun mentioned at that time.
On Sunday, 20th he took Mrs. Ethel Oveross, Colleen and Karen in to see Cap.
Gilham also stated that on the 18th, he and Colleen went in to see Ralph Emmons who Colleen works for. Colleen stayed and worked and he and Casper went over and talked to Bruce Williams, on the recommendation of Emmons. He stated that he had not employed Mr. Williams to represent him in any way and he would be willing to answer any questions that he could in order to clear up the matter of Kasers death.
At this time Gilham stated (voluntarily) that there was something that he had forgotten to mention. That right after he went hom eand went to sleep, his folks called him and woke him up, and said that someone wanted to see him outside. He went outside in his night clothes and stayed on the porch. A car that he thought was Cap Oveross’s was parked in the driveway. The driver of the car came towards him and he stepped down to the gravel driveway and stood on the bottom step. He further stated that quote, “When I first went out Cap said Ervin’s got three slugs in him,” unquote. He said that Cap was very quiet about it and did not appear to have been drinking. He further stated that the person talking had on a cap such as Cap wore and he was sure that it was Casper Oveross. He also stated that when he was backing out of the driveway (Oveross) a car passed going north. (This was at 10:30 P.M.). The driver of the car honked the horn and he believed the driver of the car to be Casper. He later stated that he was not sure that the driver was Casper but the car looked like Caspers. He stated that he guessed any one passing by at that time would have honked.
1:30 P.M. Contact Mrs. Jennie Gilham. Took signed statement.
At 7:30 P.M. on February 22nd 1955 the writer secured a complaint against the above subject [EK_NOTE: Casper Oveross] from District Attorney Kenneth A. Brown. A warrant was secured from District Judge E.O. Stadter. Information was given to Deputy Sheriff Amos O. Shaw and State Officer Reigel who affected the arrest of Oveross in Silverton Oregon at 8:05 P.M.
Shaw and Reigel were instructed to bring Oveross to the State Police headquarters for interrogation. Due to reporters hanging around the front office they were instructed to bring prisoner through the back door so as to avoid any unnecessary publicity.
Both the writer and Lt. Mogan attempted to interrogate Oveross, however he refused to answer any questions even to giving his name and physical description. Lt. Mogan tried several times to question without success and asked him specifically if he would deny shooting Ervin Kaser. He received no answer.
At 9:40 P.M. Shaw and Reigel were instructed to take Oveross to the County Jail and the writer accompanied them in my car. Oveross was booked in the Marion County Jail at 10:00 P.M. Feb 22, 1955.
The writer then personally called Mr. Bruce Williams and told him that the prisoner had been booked and that eh would be welcome to come down and talk to him.
No further attempts were made to talk to the prisoner.
State Police Sergeant Wayne G. Huffman:
On February 22, 1955, 11:30 A.M. Contacted and questioned Daniel James Gilham, 19 years, Rt. 5, Box 417, Salem. He stated on Thursday, February 17, 1955 he had gone to the Oveross residence and seen Colene Oveross. He arrived there around 7:00 P.M. he stated that at that time he was on his way to Silverton for band practice with the Old Timer’s Band. Band practice was around 8:00 P.M. he stated on his arrival that Mrs. Oveross, mother of Colene, had gone over to the neighbors to pick up her younger daughter, Karen and that she came back shortly after he arrived. He stated Mrs. Ethel Oveross about 7:30 left in her own car alone, where she was going he did not know. He stated Karen, the younger daughter had also left to go with the neighbors to a skating party in Salem. He stated he stayed there with Colene and that about 7:50 or 8:00 P.M. Casper Oveross came to the residence and that they had talked and that he had decided not to go on to band practice but to stay there at the Oveross residence, as he was late and did not want to get into band practice late. He stated that Casper Oveross left there about 8:30 P.M. and he did not know where he had gone. He stated that he stayed at the Oveross residence with Colene and he had left about 10:30 P.M. and the mother, Mrs. Ethel Oveross, had not returned when he left. He stated that as he backed out of the Oveross driveway towards the main highway a car came by going north towards Silverton and coming from the south towards Stayton. As this car came by it tooted its horn as if in recognition of his car. He stated that he looked and that it was a dark colored, which he thought to be black, Ford sedan, same model as Casper Oveross’. He though, but was not sure, that it was Casper in the car. He stated he backed out onto the highway and drove home going south towards Stayton and that he had arrived home about 10:45 P.M. and went in the house and went to bed.
He stated last fall during deer hunting season, he had gone with Casper Oveross deer hunting in the Ochoco mountains. They hunted near Black Butte somewhere near Prineville. He stated another fellow by the name of Bill Speck was with us. He stated he has a 30-30 Marlin carbine rifle and Casper has a lever action 30-30 or 32 rifle which he thinks is a Winchester. He stated he has seen this gun at Casper’s place in Silverton since they have been deer hunting last fall, but the exact date he does not know. He is almost sure he has seen the gun in the Holland Cabins since deer hunting season, but he would hate to say anything that might hurt Colene Oveross as he has been going with her for the past two years.
On Friday, February 19, 1955, he stated that Hank Oveross and his daughter came out to Colene Oveross’ place while he was there and said that Casper was at his cabin and would like to see them. He stated that Colene, Mrs. Ethel Oveross and Karen Oveross and he went to Silverton and visited with Casper Oveross. He stated Colene and Mrs. Ethel Oveross talked to Casper Oveross in a different room and he did not talk to him very much. He stated the last time he had seen Casper Oveross was at his cabin and this was on Sunday, February 20, 1955. He stated that he believed Mrs. Oveross was trying to prove Casper Oveross innocent now. He also stated on Friday, February 18, 1955 Colene Oveross and her father Casper Oveross rode into Salem with him and she talked to her boss, Ralph Emmons, concerning Casper Oveross and the shooting. He stated that Ralph Emmons suggested that they talk to Bruce Williams. He stated they all three, Casper, Colene and himself went over and talked to Bruce Williams that same day in his office. He stated he heard some of the conversation. Casper Oveross had denied shooting Ervin Kaser.
Sheriff Young and the writer questioned Danield James Gilham later that same day and under continued questioning he would add a little bit more than what he had previously told us. On further questioning of Daniel James Gilham he made the following statement: he stated that he had not told us everything and he wished to add something more.
Daniel Gilham stated that after he had arrived home on the night of February 17, 1955, he had gone to bed and gone to sleep. He stated the next thing he remembered his mother awakened him and told him there was someone in the driveway that wanted to talk to him. He stated he went out the front steps and down to the driveway in his pajamas and he observed Casper Oveross’ car parked in his driveway. Casper was standing by the car and as he went down the steps to the driveway Casper Oveross walked over to him. He stated Casper said to him, “Ervin had three slugs in him, I want you to be my witness. I was with you last night.” He stated Casper turned then and mumbled something else and walked to his car, got in and drove away. He stated he went back up into his bedroom and went to bed but he could not sleep thinking about what Casper told him. He thought in his own mind but was not sure what Casper had shot Ervin Kaser. He stated about 3:00 A.M. In the morning the telephone rang and his mother called him, said someone wanted to talk to him. It was Colene Oveross and she told him over the phone to come over something had happened and she wanted him right away. He stated he dressed and went over to her residence where he learned Ervin Kaser had been killed. Daniel James Gilham of his own free will was brought to the Oregon State Police District Headquarters, Salem, Oregon, by Sheriff Young and writer for further questioning.
Conatcted Mrs. Jenny Gilham, Rt. 5, Box 417, Salem, mother of Daniel James Gilham, who stated that on Thursday, February 17, 1955, her son, Daniel, came home about 10:30 P.M. and went right to his bedroom. She stated that she and Mr. Gilham were already in bed. She stated a short time later she heard another car come in the driveway and right after that someone started calling, “Danny.” She stated she got up and went to Danny’s room and knocked several times then went in and awakened him, and told him that someone wanted to see him downstairs. She stated he went down and out the front door and she looked out the bedroom window and saw a person whom she believed to be Casper Oveross sitting outside in his car. She said the dome light inside the car was on also the headlights. She stated about that time Danny came out the front door and stopped near the bottom step near the driveway. As Danny walked toward the driveway the man got out of the car and came back to meet him. She stated this man seemed to be very nervous and used his hands a lot. She stated he came up close to Danny and spoke something and then stared back towards his car and seemed to be talking as he went. She stated the man got into his car and drove away and Danny came back into the house and went to bed. She stated while Danny was dressing to go down and talk to this man who was parked in the driveway, Mr. Gilham asked me what time it was, and I looked at the clock and it was 11:15 P.M. She stated that they keep this clock in the bedroom 15 minutes fast and that would make it right at 11:00. She stated about 3:00 A.M. February 18, 1955, someone called on the telphone for Danny and that they talked and Danny came to the bedroom and told them that it was Colene that had called and she had stated that something had happened and she wanted him to come right now. She stated that before Danny left the house Mr. Gilham asked him “what Cap wanted” and Dan stated that Cap stated that he did not get the job and that he might to to Gold Beach. She stated that Danny left and they did not see them again until the next evening. She stated that the reason that they thought the man in the car was Casper Oveross was because last fall when Cap and Danny went hunting together Cap came late at night and called for Danny the same way as this person did on the night of February 17.
Wednesday, February 23, 1955 Oregon StatesmanNeighbor Charged With Murder of Silverton Man
Casper Oveross Jailed
By THOMAS G. WRIGHT JR. and BRUCE KIPP, Staff Writers, The Statesman
SILVERTON — Calm, gum-chewing Casper (Cap) A. Oveross native resident of the Silverton area, was arrested Tuesday night on a charge of first degree murder in the starlight slaying of his onetime neighbor Ervin Kaser last Thursday night.
Oveross, 44, who had blamed Kaser for breaking up his marriage was under suspicion from the moment of the shooting at Kaser’s Evergreen District home.
Kaser’s slayer had apparently followed him the 2 1/2 miles home from SIlverton, pulled his car to the shoulder of the road fifty yards away and fired four shots into the victim’s car. One of the closely grouped shots struck Kaser in the back, killing him instantly.
Oveross was arrested at the home of his niece, Mrs. Robert Moon of 510 S. Water St., Silverton, at 8:05 Tuesday night by Deputy Sheriff Amos Shaw and State Patrolman Lloyd T. Riegel, both of Salem. Arresting officers said Oveross refused to accept his copy of the Marion County District Court warrant citing him for first degree murder.
Five Days’ Sleuthing
The arrest followed nearly five days of intensive sleuthing by sheriff’s deputies and state plicemen, led by Marion County Sheriff Denver Young and State Police Sergeant Wayne Huffman. Young said he credited Huffman, Shaw, Riegel and Patrolman Robert Dunne particularly with gathering information leading to the arrest.
Salem Attorney Bruce Williams, Oveross’ lawyer, stated there was no evidence against his client and said he will demand the earliest possible preliminary or, failing that, a writ of habeas corpus to free Oveross from custody.
Williams also claimed that his client was questioned by the sheriff’s office for more than 10 hours Friday morning when he became the sheriff’s first suspect.
Oveross, born near Rocky Four Corners on Abiqua Creek north of here. He was living at 716 N. Second St., Silverton and has resided in the Silverton area all his life. He graduated from Silverton High School as did his wife, Ethel, from whom he was divorced last fall. They had lived for 20 years in the Evergreen community, about a quarter mile from the scene of the killing.
The Oveross divorce proceedings were started in Marion County Circuit Court by Oveross, but Mrs. Oveross, a twin sister of Mrs. Harvey Kaser, whoe husband is a brother of the slain man, filed a counter suit and was awarded custody of the couple’s two daughters.
Police indicated that Oveross blamed Ervin Kaser, himself separated from his wife, for the split up of his family. Mrs. Oveross had reportedly seen Kaser a few hours before the slaying.
Investigating officers said Oveross’ time for the night of the slaying had been accounted for, including an early evening visit with his daughter at his former home while his former wife was away.
They said three rifles “which Oveross has access to” were being checked by the Oregon State Police crime laboratory. The bullet found in Kaser’s body and another one found in the car have been compared with bullets taken from a target range on Oveross’ Abiqua farm, police indicated.
Police were continuing the investigation early today.
Oveross, a 5 foot 9, 155-pound carpenter and part-time farmer, was clad in blue jeans and plaid wool shirt when he was taken into custody. Konwn as an avid hunter, Oveross is considered a crackshot.
Oveross is generally well-liked by his townsmen and neighbors and exhibited no traits that drew attention to him.
A 1950 black Ford coach, registered to Oveross, was impounded by police Tuesday night and stored in a Silverton garage.
Waited for Attorney
From the time of his arrest until the arrival of his attorney, Oveross declined to answer all questions by police, saying only, “I’m waiting for my attorney.” He told Statesman reporters only his age, his birthdate and birthplace during the period between his arrest and his booking into the Marion County jail at exactly 10 p.m. He was assigned to cell-block A, cell 4 in the jail by Deputy Thomas W. Brown.
Oveross will be arraigned in Edward A. Stadter Jr. District Court at 10 a.m. today on the murder charge.