Not Innocent: The Investigation (part 6)

The Jaeske Suicide

On Tuesday, February 22, 1955, the Marion County Sheriff’s office became aware of the suicide of an ex-Silverton woman in Salem around the time of Ervin Kaser’s murder, and investigated it to discover whether it might have any relationship to the murder.  I’ve collected here all of the snippets from the police reports regarding this.

Sheriff Denver Young, Tuesday, February 22, 1955:

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.

Sheriff Denver Young, Thursday, February 24, 1955:

1:10 P.M. Received info from James Beard re: Mrs. Jaeske suicide.

Sheriff’s Deputy John T. Zabinski, Saturday, February 26, 1955:

RE: Lanora Jaeschke

State hospital reports that Lanora Jaeschke was committed to the hospital by a court order on 11-16-44.

Released to her husband George Jaeschke on 12-12-45. They then lived in Silverton, Oregon.

Sheriff’s Deputy John T. Zabinski, Tuesday, March 1, 1955:

RE: Mrs. Lanora Jaeschke, suicide

4:20 P.M. the writer contacted Mrs. Martha Thompson, 1795 Market Street, Salem, Oregon, who is the landlady of the Jaeschke residence. Mrs. Thompson stated that Mr. and Mrs. Jaeschke began renting from her in June, 1954. She considered Mr. and Mrs. Jaeschke very pleasant people. She stated that she never entered the house during this renting period, however, they did keep a neat yard. They would go for walks on occasion, they would be neat in appearance and seemed to appear pleasant. Mrs. Thompson stated that Mr. Jaeschke did not seem to have any outsdie activities, he enjoyed listening to baseball games over the radio. When paying his rent on Saturday, February 26, 1955, Mr. Jaeschke broke in to tears, stating he did not know how to dispose of some of the furniture. He stated that it was quite a problem after being married for thirty years. Mrs. Thompson stated that she has never seen Mrs. Jaeschke drive a car, however she believes that Mrs. Jaeschke may have driven in the past. Mrs. Thompson stated that Mr. Jaeschke is employed at Tillamook, Oregon, either as a lumber grader or checker.

Mr. Noonchester, realtor, 1595 N. Cottage Street, Salem, Oregon, recommended the Jaeschke’s as good renters to Mr. and Mrs. Thompson.

Sheriff’s Deputy John T. Zabinski (Badge #6), Thursday, March 3, 1955:

Re: Lanora Jaeschke suicide

At approximately 11:00 A.M. This date the writer contacted Ralfe Bentson, Goldie’s Tavern, 211 Main St., Silverton, Oregon, in regard to Mrs. Lanora Jaeschke. Mr. Bentson stated that he knew Mrs. Jaeschke approximately 25 years. He considered Mrs. Jaeschke an odd person. At times she would appear very friendly then again she would pass him by as if she did not recognize him. At times she had complained to Mr. Benston regarding Mr. Jaeschke’s drinking, however when they did come into his place of business she would order a soft drink, while her husband purchased beer. Mr. Bentson stated that he had never seen Mrs. Jaeschke drink any alcoholic beverages, but he felt certain that she did at her home. Mr. Bentson stated that it was common gossip that Mrs. Jaeschke held wild parties while her husband was working, as he came home only on weekends. Mr. Bentson believes that Mrs. Jaeschke may just be odd enough to be a little crazy. He referred to Mr. Jaeschke as a man who enjoyed his “bottle.”

Mr. Bentson referred the writer to Alice Lund, Tony’s Cafe, 213 Main St., Silverton Oregon, as he thought if anyone knew anything about Mrs. Jaeschke, Mrs. Lund would.

11:30 A.M. This date the writer contacted Mrs. Lund at Tony’s Cafe, in regard to Mrs. Jaeschke. Mrs. Lund stated that she knew Mrs. Jaeschke for about 20 years. She felt that she may have been Mrs. Jaeschke’s only real friend. She considered Mrs. Jaeschke very odd and moody, otherwise Mrs. Jaeschke was very nice and pleasant. After World War II, Mr. Jaeschke was in the habit of bringing friends home from Camp Adair, when coming home for the weekend, from his job in Tillamook, Oregon. This may be what people referred to as wild parties. Mrs. Lund considered Mr. Jaeschke an alcoholic. She does not recall, at any time, when Mr. Jaeschke mistreated his wife in any way.

Due to Mrs. Jaeschke’s odd nature, Mr. Jaeschke talked the matter over with Mrs. Lund and offered to pay Mrs. Jaeschke’s salary if Mrs. Lund would employ her in her cafe, as he felt this might help to keep her mind occupied. It seemed that Mrs. Jaeschke felt better if she was occupied. Mrs. Lund employed Mrs. Jaeschke on regular salary basis and not to terms mentioned by Mr. Jaeschke.

After a short period, Mrs. Lund had to dismiss Mrs. Jaeschke, as it reached the point where Mrs. Jaeschke was a hinderance to her business. Mrs. Lund stated that Mrs. Jaeschke felt very lost after the death of her mother, several years ago. Mrs. Lund stated that she was not surprised when she read about Mrs. Jaeschke committing suicide and thought that probably Mr. Jaeschke would do the same thing within a few months.

Mrs. Lund stated that Mr. Jaeschke was in her cafe Saturday, February 19, 1955, in an intoxicated condition. She tried to get Mr. Jaeschke to go home. She believes that Orrin Buell, brother-in-law, his wife and daughter took him home.

Mrs. Lund stated that Mrs. Jaeschke had driven a car several years ago, but since her accident, which occurred about two years ago, she has never seen her drive a car since.

The writer will make an effort to contact Mr. Jaeschke during the coming weekend, when he returns from Tillamook, Oregon, where he has been employed as a timber grader for several years.

Additional Information Re: Mr. Jaeschke and Casper Oveross

Mrs. Lund stated that her brother-in-law, Alvin Lund remarked that he had seen Mr. Jaeschke and Casper Oveross drinking together in Walt’s Tavern in Silverton during the evening of Saturday, February 19, 1955. Mrs. Lund also states that Melvin Lund is quite a “sportsman” and that she believes that Melvin and Casper Oveross have done some targtet shooting together. She feels that the answer to the Kaser case may be found within the area known as “Dutch Flats”, which is located between the Kaser residence and “Little Switzerland.”

Alvin and Melvin Lund reside at Route 3, Box 125, Silverton, Oregon. Alvin is considered quite a drinker. Melvin Lund is believed to be a hunter and fisherman.

Mrs. Lund requests that her namne be kept confidential.

This information was given to Sheriff Young and Sergeant Huffman, State Police, at Silverton City Hall, this date.

State Police Officer Sergeant Wayne G. Huffman, Friday, March 4, 1955:

Alvin Lund, brother to Melvin Lund, same address was contacted. He stated he has never target practiced with Casper Oveross on his place and did not see him in any tavern with a George Jaeschke. He stated he knows of this Jaeschke but not to visit with him or be friendly, only just by sight.

Sheriff’s Deputy Amos O. Shaw, Monday, March 7, 1955:

5:00 PM Contact JACK TOWE, bar tender at Walts Tavern Silverton. Doesn’t know Jaeske at all.

 Salem City Police Reports pertaining to Jaeske suicide:

RE: COVER IN WITH FIRST AID CAR
DATE: 2-19-55  TIME: 12-15 AM
NAME: GEORGE JAESCHKE
ADDRESS: 1735 Market St., Salem

At the above time DR. REYNOLDS of 1737 Market St. called the station and reported that MR. JAESCHKE could be seen through the front window of his home at 1735 Market St. lying on the floor in the front room. DR. REYNOLDS thought perhaps MR. JAESCHKE had harmed himself following the suicide of his wife (refer to report on Investigation on 2-18-55 by HALBLACK, EDWARDS and ROCQUE).

The writers, OFFICER STEWARD and the 1st Aid Car went to the JAESCHKE home where he could be seen lying on the floor of the front room. We gained entrance to the house through the garage door. Mr. JAESCHKE was aroused, appeared to be alright except that he was very intoxicated. He was eventually put to bed and immediately went to sleep. A relative, RALPH SEARS, was contacted. MR. SEARS came to the house and the situation explained to him. He agreed to spend the night with MR. JAESCHKE.

Calvin J. Steward S.K. Friese, Capt. J. J. Schuetz, Sgt.

******************************************************

RE: Missing man

NAME: George Jaeschke TIME: 10-50 PM
ADDRESS: 1735 Market St., Salem DATE: 2-20-55

At the above time JUNE ARNOLD of 2555 Cherry Ave. Salem Ph. 3-8857 reported that JAESCHKE was missing and she feels that he may go on an extended drinking spree. He is the husband of the Mrs. Jaeschke who committed suicide last week.

JAESCHKE is desc. As about 50 yrs, 5’6” 130 lbs, slight build, has left hand amputated. Wearing dark trousers, green cruiser type jacket and dark brown hat.

W. Esplin

******************************************************

So, no connections were found, and apparently that’s as far as this avenue of investigation was explored.

Blogically yours,Everett

Not Innocent: The Investigation (part 5)

XXXXX is used in this transcript to denote where the State Police have blacked out the names of minors and medical information. I’ll restore, in square brackets, those names that I can from other sources.  There are several times where Mr. Gilham’s response is blank, so I assume that he answered with a nod or shake of the head, and in those places I’ve indicated it with “[blank].”

 STATEMENT OF DANIEL JAMES GILHAM

SHERIFF DENVER YOUNG: The following recording was made at the District Headquarters of the Oregon State Police of Salem, Oregon, on the 22nd of February, 1955, starting at 5:40 P. M. Those who are in the room at this time are Lieutenant Farley Mogan, Sheriff Denver Young and Sergeant Wayne Huffman. My name is Sheriff Young and I am speaking to Daniel James Gilham. Daniel we want you to understand before we start this recording anything that we say here or is recorded on this machine may be played back at any time later. That – you understand that? Say yes.

DANIEL JAMES GILHAM: Yes.

YOUNG: Now, is it your desire at this time, you indicated this afternoon and the previous ineterviews that we had with you, that you are willing and so desire to tell what you know about the matter at hand so that we can have all the information available?

GILHAM: Yes.

YOUNG: Very well, we will start the statement and if you will speak loudly and rather than shake your head well say yes or no or answer the question is that correct?

GILHAM: Yes.

YOUNG: Ok. Now Danny, I would like to go back and call your attention to the events that took place on the night and early evening of February 17 this year. Will you tell me, if you can recall, that was last Thursday night, what time did you leave home after dinner that evening?

GILHAM: About 6:30, I think.

YOUNG: And where were you going?

GILHAM: To band practise in Silverton.

YOUNG: And did you go directly to band practise?

GILHAM: No, I stopped on the way at my girls house.

YOUNG: Who is your girlfriend, Dan?

GILHAM: Colene Oveross.

YOUNG: Colene Oveross?

GILHAM: Yes.

YOUNG: And she lived between your house and Silverton?

GILHAM: Yes.

YOUNG: Alright, and what time did you arrive at her house?

GILHAM: Oh, I judge about fifteen minutes after I left home, be about quarter till seven, I believe I said 6:30 at first, I did not know for sure what time break – er supper was through.

YOUNG: Who was at Colene’s home when you arrived there?

GILHAM: Colene was home.

YOUNG: Just Colene and yourself?

GILHAM: Yes.

YOUNG: And did anyone else arrive shortly after that?

GILHAM: Yes, her mother came and brought her daughter XXXXX [Karen] Colene’s sister.

YOUNG: Her mother and daughter came right afterward?

GILHAM: Yes.

YOUNG: How long did they stay?

GILHAM: About fifteen minutes.

YOUNG: And did they both leave together?

GILHAM: I can’t remember for sure now.

YOUNG: I see, well at least they were both gone within ten or fifteen minutes?

GILHAM: Yes.

YOUNG: And did anyone else stop and see you that evening?

GILHAM: Yes, Colene’s dad stopped about five minutes till eight.

YOUNG: Who is her dad? What is his name?

GILHAM: CAP Oveross.

YOUNG: Is Cap his name or is that a nickname?

GILHAM: Nickname.

YOUNG: What is his real name?

GILHAM: Casper.

YOUNG: Just call him Cap?

GILHAM: Yes.

YOUNG:How long was Cap at the house?

GILHAM: About thirtyfive minutes or so.

YOUNG: What did he discuss while he was there?

GILHAM: Nothing in particular, just more or less a social call. You know what I mean. He was glad to see his daughter.

YOUNG: Does he make quite regular calls?

GILHAM: Well.

YOUNG: Does he visit the youngsters out there at the house quite regularly?

GILHAM: Yes.

YOUNG: And as I understand it he and his wife are divorced?

GILHAM: Yes.

YOUNG: What time would you say Cap or Mr. Oveross left the house?

GILHAM: Cap, did you say?

YOUNG: Yes. What time did he–

GILHAM: About 8:30.

YOUNG: And what did you do? After that?

GILHAM: We stayed there.

YOUNG: You did not go to band practise?

GILHAM: No, cause it was late and I figured I’d rather stay and not go at all.

YOUNG: I see, let me ask you then how late did you stay at Colene’s house?

GILHAM: I left at 10:30.

YOUNG: You left at 10:30 and had anyone else came into the house before you left?

GILHAM: Not that I can remember.

YOUNG: Did you go directly home? Did you see any cars or anyone else at the time—from the time you left Colene’s house yourself until you got home? I think you said earlier that you had seen some car pass?

GILHAM: Yes sir, as I was backing down the driveway a car went by.

YOUNG: Did it make any sign of recognizition to you.

GILHAM: Yea, it honked it’s horn.

YOUNG: And did you see what kind of car it was?

GILHAM: I think it was a Ford.

YOUNG: Did you have any idea whose car it was?

GILHAM: Well, I don’t for sure unless it was Cap’s. That was the only one that I know that had a car like that, unless it was just someone going by and thought I was going to back out in front of them or something.

YOUNG: Had Cap indicated later—er earlier rather in the evening that he might be going on towards Stayton?

GILHAM: No.

YOUNG: That is the direction this car was coming from was it not, that honked at you?

GILHAM: Going towards Silverton?

YOUNG: Yes, from the Stayton direction or from the south. And you think it might possibly have been Cap’s car?

GILHAM: Well I wouldn’t swear to it, but I judged it was.

YOUNG: You were not out far enough in the road were you that you would have had to honk to stop you from backing in front of him?

GILHAM: Well, he’s coming up the road and I was just backing down the driveway and as far—well, if I’d been—if it just had been the other way around and I was going up the road I would have honked because I would know if this car was stopped or not.

YOUNG: I see, well, then did you proceed home?

GILHAM: Yes.

YOUNG: And do you know about what time you got home?

GILHAM: About ten or fifteen minutes later.

YOUNG: Tell me what you did after you got home.

GILHAM: I went to bed.

YOUNG: Immediately?

GILHAM: Yes.

YOUNG: And did you go right to sleep?

GILHAM: Yes.

YOUNG: What happened shortly after that, that you can tell me about?

GILHAM: Well, I–

YOUNG: Were you awakened?

GILHAM: Yes.

YOUNG: By whom?

GILHAM: My stepmother or step – or dad I don’t know which now.

YOUNG: And what is their names?

GILHAM: James Gilham is my dad, Jenny Gilham is my stepmother.

YOUNG: What is their address?

GILHAM: Rt. 5, Box 417, Salem.

YOUNG: That’s a Salem route?

GILHAM: Yes.

YOUNG: Don’t you know whether it was your stepmother or your father that awakened you?

GILHAM: Well, I couldn’t say for sure. I just heard somebody talking then I woke up and my stepmother was talking. I don’t know if it was dad that hollered and awk – woke me up or not.

YOUNG: Was your stepmother in the room when you awakened?

GILHAM: It seems like she was in the hall.

YOUNG: I see, and after you were awakened what did you do?

GILHAM: I went outside – she said there was someone outside to – who wanted to talk to me and I went on out.

YOUNG: You dressed?

GILHAM: No.

YOUNG: And what did you wear outside?

GILHAM: My pajamas.

YOUNG: And where did you go when you went out the door? Which door did you go out?

GILHAM: Front door.

YOUNG: And what did you do after you got outside?

GILHAM: Walked down the steps.

YOUNG: Now as I recall seeing that house there are two sets of steps?

GILHAM: Yes.

YOUNG: One directly in front of the front door and then another short flight directly down to the driveway about eight or ten feet from the front door, is that correct?

GILHAM: Yes.

YOUNG: And did you go to the driveway?

GILHAM: I only went down to the bottom of the second steps.

YOUNG: Alright, now was there a car in that driveway?

GILHAM: Yes, about thirty feet out I would say.

YOUNG: And was there anyone in the car when you got out or in sight?

GILHAM: There standing beside the car.

YOUNG: And who was that person?

GILHAM: Cap.

YOUNG: You mean Casper Oveross?

GILHAM: Yes.

YOUNG: What did he do?

GILHAM: He came up towards me and said that Ervin had three slugs in him.

YOUNG: Was he right up to you when he – before he spoke? Did he speak before he got up to you?

GILHAM: Well, as I remember he said it as he came up to me.

YOUNG: Was that that Ervin has three slugs in him?

GILHAM: He didn’t seem excited and he wasn’t drunk or anything.

YOUNG: And what else did he say?

GILHAM: He daid that I was his witness and that he was with me last night.

YOUNG: By last night do you think he meant earlier that same night was that what he indicated?

GILHAM: I suppose, I don’t know.

YOUNG: Was there anything else said at that time?

GILHAM: Not that I can remember right now.

YOUNG: What did Cap Oveross do after he spoke to you?

GILHAM: Well, we both turned around and he went to his car and I went back in the house.

YOUNG: Did you talk to anyone later that evening about the conversation?

GILHAM: You mean right at the time, I mean after he left?

YOUNG: Oh, during the night, Any time during the night after you went back in the house did you speak to your stepmother or your father.

GILHAM: When I went back into the house?

YOUNG: Yes.

GILHAM: No.

YOUNG: Did you speak to them later that night?

GILHAM: Yes.

YOUNG: Now what time was that?

GILHAM: About a quarter till three I think. She said there was a telephone call for me.

YOUNG: And did you answer the phone?

GILHAM: Yes.

YOUNG: Who was it on the phone?

GILHAM: Colene.

YOUNG: What did she want?

GILHAM: She wanted me to come down.

YOUNG: Did she say why?

GILHAM: She said that something had happened.

YOUNG: She didn’t say what?

GILHAM: No.

YOUNG: I see, and did you go down?

GILHAM: Yes.

YOUNG: You went down to the Oveross residence?

GILHAM: No to – she was down at her aunts. Harvey – Mrs. Harvey Kaser.

YOUNG: Oh, she was at Harvey Kaser’s residence. Was Mrs. Oveross there at that time?

GILHAM: I didn’t see her.

YOUNG: You didn’t see her. How long have you known Cap, Danny?

GILHAM: Since I’ve been going with Colene.

YOUNG: How long has that been approximately?

GILHAM: Just two years I think.

YOUNG: Have you hunted with Cap?

GILHAM: Yes.

YOUNG: Do you have a rifle yourself?

GILHAM: Yes.

YOUNG: What kind is it?

GILHAM: Marlin 30-30.

YOUNG: And when did you hunt with Cap?

GILHAM: Last fall.

YOUNG: What type of gun did he have to hunt with?

GILHAM: Lever action.

YOUNG: Rifle?

GILHAM: Yes.

YOUNG: Do you know the caliber, Danny?

GILHAM: It was 30-30 or 32.

YOUNG: Your not sure which?

GILHAM: I’m no sure.

YOUNG: And, do you know the make?

GILHAM: I think it was a Winchester.

YOUNG: When did you see this gun last? I’m speaking of Cap’s rifle.

GILHAM: Well, that’s kind of hard to say ’cause I’ve been down to his cabin since deer hunting season and I’ve seen the rifle there along with his shotgun. But then I haven’t seen it for a long time. I just know while after hunting season I remember seeing it last.

YOUNG: I see. Have you seen Cap since Thursday night?

GILHAM: Yes.

YOUNG: Where did you see him?

GILHAM: First? First you mean?

YOUNG: First time after the shooting took place and –

GILHAM: Out at Colene’s house.

YOUNG: What time of day was that?

GILHAM: Oh, when you came out there whatever time that was, I guess it was about – what time was it?

YOUNG: Oh, you mean that’s when Cap was with me in my car?

GILHAM: Yes.

YOUNG: With the other officers. And when was the next time you saw him?

GILHAM: That was, lets see, Friday afternoon, after you guys turned him loose.

YOUNG: Where did you see him then?

GILHAM: Up at his brothers.

YOUNG: I think his name is Henry Oveross, is that correct?

GILHAM: I think that’s it yes.

YOUNG: You call him Hank?

GILHAM: Yes.

YOUNG: And how did you happen to see him did he send word to you some way?

GILHAM: He hadn’t. I don’t think. No.

YOUNG: Who – how did you get the word, let me put it that way?

GILHAM: Colene and I were out where she lives and her cousin, Hanks daughter and husband came out and said that he would like – wondered if we would like to see him.

YOUNG: And you took Colene and her mother, XXXXX [probably Karen], and yourself and went in to see him is that correct?

GILHAM: No just Colene and I went in.

YOUNG: Oh, I see. I understood her mother went. Just the two of you went in?

GILHAM: [blank]

YOUNG: Where did you – you found him at Henry Oveross’ residence is that correct?

GILHAM: Yes.

YOUNG: Was he awake?

GILHAM: No.

YOUNG: He was asleep and did he awaken, did he get up?

GILHAM: I didn’t see him get up, no.

YOUNG: Did you talk to him yourself at that time?

GILHAM: Not at first.

YOUNG: Did Colene talk to him?

GILHAM: Yes.

YOUNG: How long about, do you remember, Danny, how long she talked to him?

GILHAM: I don’t remember ’cause I was talking to his sister-in-law. It wasn’t very long.

YOUNG: Then you did later talk to him?

GILHAM: A little, yes.

YOUNG: What did he want to see you about.

GILHAM: Well, he wasn’t the one that wanted to see us they just wondered if we’d like to go down and see him and see how he was etc. and we just tried to ease his mind ’cause he seemed to in sort of – real nervous you know, and we tried to ease his mind try to change his mind from the subject.

YOUNG: Did you discuss at all the shooting?

GILHAM: No.

YOUNG: And Ervin Kaser?

GILHAM: No.

YOUNG: And did he mention it in any way?

GILHAM: Not that I can remember.

YOUNG: Later that afternoon what did you do?

GILHAM: What do you mean?

YOUNG: What did – what was your action, where did you go from there?

GILHAM: Well, Colene works over here in Salem and we came over here to her bosses.

YOUNG: I think her boss is Ralph Emmons, is that correct?

GILHAM: Yes.

YOUNG: And did you talk to Mr. Emmons.

GILHAM: I didn’t talk to him I just sat there.

YOUNG: At that meeting with Mr. Emmons there was Colene, yourself and Cap Oveross?

GILHAM: Yes.

YOUNG: In the journey over to Salem from Silverton what was the general topic of discussion.

GILHAM: Well, we just tried to – just like we first saw him that afternoon we just tried to on a subject to ease his mind. We tired to get him away that nervousness that he seemed to –

YOUNG: Did you tell him not to worry or they didn’t have any case or did you say they didn’t have any evidence or –

GILHAM: No, he didn’t say anything like that and we didn’t either.

YOUNG: But sometime did you not discuss the fact that Oveross had been or Ervin had been shot?

GILHAM: Well, we just – we didn’t – it was mentioned but then we didn’t say anything about it we just tried to pass it over so that he won’t worry about it, I mean try to work up his mind so he’d be more nervous or anything.

YOUNG: Did Cap in your discussions, Danny, talking to him regardless if you were trying to ease his mind or what, did he tell you that he did not shoot Ervin?

GILHAM: Yes.

YOUNG: Later?

GILHAM: Yes.

YOUNG: When was that?

GILHAM: Sunday.

YOUNG: What was the occasion for your talking to him Sunday?

GILHAM: Well we just thought maybe that he’d like to see his place – said he would like to see his daughter XXXXX [Karen] cause he hadn’t seen her for awhile, and so we went down to his cabin then, Colene and Mrs. Oveross.

YOUNG: Has Cap ever said anything to you about how he felt about Ervin Kaser?

GILHAM: Well, he didn’t like the way he was, at all of how he butted into their family affairs, he was the one who broke them up and caused their divorce and I know that myself.

YOUNG: How many times has he told you that speaking about Kaser that threatened to kill – that he would kill Kaser if he caught him with his wife or daughter or any other time?

GILHAM: Well, I didn’t count them or anything like that, just once or twice that he has mentioned that I can remember.

YOUNG: In connection with his wife or daughter or both?

GILHAM: Well, as I remember of – the last time that I can remember was with his daughter.

YOUNG: Did he feel that Kaser was trying to make a play for Colene?

GILHAM: Well, Colene thought so herself, and I guess, and so I don’t know if she told her dad or not anything about that.

YOUNG: And you don’t know if she had told her father?

GILHAM: No, I don’t. I suppose that she did but then I didn’t ever hear her say so.

YOUNG: Was it shortly after one of these times when Colene thought Ervin Kaser was making a pass at her that Cap told you that he would kill him if he bothered his daughter?

GILHAM: Well, he didn’t really tell me that he would kill him if he bothered my – er his daughter, he just didn’t like the whole situation of Ervin butting out with his wife and then just his family, main family affairs was the main –

YOUNG: Well, Danny, can’t you tell us a little more clearly and approximately what words he used in making those threats?

GILHAM: Well, he said I’ll shoot the sun-of-a-gun if he sticks his nose around my family affairs and tries to go out with Ethel and everything and bothers my daughter.

YOUNG: Who is Ethel?

GILHAM: That is Colene’s mother.

YOUNG: And the former Mrs. Oveross?

GILHAM: Yes.

YOUNG: Did you, talking to your stepmother and father, did they ask you who had called you, who was down stairs that you were talking to on the night of February 17.

GILHAM: Well, I don’t think that they asked me, but dad said when they called me at first when his car was there that he thought it was Cap.

YOUNG: Do you remember him asking you later if, what Cap wanted?

GILHAM: Well, later on, when Colene called.

YOUNG: And what did you tell him?

GILHAM: Well, I told him that he was going somewhere, but I forgot where I said now where he was going, cause I just didn’t want to say anything then cause I didn’t know what was – you know if it was all – if he was just having a fit or what – I didn’t know if he knew what he was talking about cause I didn’t want to make an issue of it at the time or anything.

YOUNG: Danny, do you think that Mrs. Ethel Oveross believes that Cap shot Ervin Kaser?

GILHAM: I don’t know, but she just hoping that he didn’t, she doesn’t know or anything.

YOUNG: How does Colene feel?

GILHAM: About the same.

YOUNG: Is Cap a pretty good shot with a rifle?

GILHAM: Well, I never have been target practising with him or anything, so I couldn’t tell you how good a shot he is or anything like that.

YOUNG: Did Cap ever find Ervin Kaser hiding in the basement of his house, that is the new house that he is building in back of the old one?

GILHAM: I don’t know, that is the first time I have ever heard anything like that, I never heard anything about that.

YOUNG: You never heard anything about that?

GILHAM: No, I never have.

YOUNG: Kaser hiding in the basement, Cap finding him?

GILHAM: No.

YOUNG: Have you known for some time that Kaser had been – and Mrs. Oveross have been going together?

GILHAM: Well, we didn’t – I didn’t know for sure, but I just, well everything sort of looked like they were.

YOUNG: Had you and Colene discussed it?

GILHAM: Yes, some.

YOUNG: How long back, how long ago did you talk it over with her?

GILHAM: With Colene?

YOUNG: Colene.

GILHAM: Well, first time I knew anything about it was, I think it was before their divorce.

YOUNG: Did Ervin Kaser, to your knowledge, ever call Ethel Oveross on the telephone?

GILHAM: Well, at times when I have been down visiting Colene the phone has rung and Colene has answered and no one just didn’t seem to answer and then they just hang up. She didn’t know who it was or anything, but she just kind of imagined that it was him. Has a suspicion I guess.

YOUNG: Does she make any remark to that effect at the time?

GILHAM: Oh, she just said it made her kind of sick the way that this Ervin kind of sneaks around.

YOUNG: On Friday evening of the 18th, Danny, did – as I understand it Cap Oveross and yourself and Colene visited an attorney in Salem?

GILHAM: In the afternoon.

YOUNG: And who was that attorney?

GILHAM: Bruce Williams.

YOUNG: Did Mr. Williams take a statement from Cap Oveross and yourself?

GILHAM: He just talked to us.

YOUNG: He didn’t make a recording of it or did he take a signed statement?

GILHAM: Well, he – no he didn’t take any signed statement, no.

YOUNG: What was the – I believe we’ll have to hesitate here for a little bit, Danny, and change our record, we’ll turn it over and proceed with the interview on the other side. This is the second side of the recording taken at State Police Headquarters in an interview with Daniel James Gilham and Lieutenant Farley Mogan, Oregon State Police, Sergeant Huffman of State Police, and Sheriff Young. Danny, lets refer back for a moment to the night of February 17 about short after you’d gone to bed and had been awakened. You said you went out your front door of your house and found Cap Oveross out there and near his car and he came over and had some conversation with you, is that correct?

GILHAM: A short one, yes.

YOUNG: What appeared to be Cap’s physical condition? Did he appear to be drunk or sober?

GILHAM: He was not drunk, I know that, because well, you can just tell the way a person acts when their drunk, you know, and he seemed real quiet and I couldn’t smell any alcohol. I would have, and any intoxicating liquor or anything on him.

YOUNG: Was he nervous?

GILHAM: No he seemed to be real quiet.

YOUNG: Calm and talked quietly?

GILHAM: Yes.

YOUNG: And, you said, I believe, that his first statement was that Ervin had three slugs in him?

GILHAM: Yes.

YOUNG: And, you would be his witness, is that correct?

GILHAM: Yes.

YOUNG: Did he also say “I was with you last night”, are those his own words?

GILHAM: Well, as near as I can remember them, yes.

YOUNG: You knew Ervin Kaser, did you not?

GILHAM: Yes, but I never seen him much, never talked to him or anything.

YOUNG: And you didn’t attempt to ask who shot Ervin Kaser when he told you he had three slugs in him?

GILHAM: No.

YOUNG: Well, did it – was that because you assumed that Cap had shot him?

GILHAM: No, I just didn’t know who – er who had at all, because I don’t know it just seems like a bad dream or nightmare, I just didn’t know –

YOUNG: What was your thought when he said that you would be his witness?

GILHAM: Well, it just sort of had me puzzled, you know, I couldn’t figure it out or anything, I didn’t know hardly what to think then.

YOUNG: Did you think that he was wanting you to supply an alibi for his whereabouts?

GILHAM: At the time, I didn’t think anything about it, but then I went to bed and layed there a long time, it seemed like a week or so, before I could go to sleep. I kept thinking about it and I don’t know I just couldn’t keep my mind functioning or anything, it just didn’t seem to function.

YOUNG: What did you finally determine he meant by it?

GILHAM: Well by the time – well, I thought maybe he just wanted me to help him out or something, I didn’t know for sure what his idea was. If he wanted me to lie for him or –

YOUNG: You had not been with him that night or the previous night had you, other than a half hour at Colene’s house?

GILHAM: What, will you repeat that again please?

YOUNG: I say, you had not been with him at any time that night or any of the time earlier other than the half hour that he spent with you at Colene’s?

GILHAM: Well, that afternoon I was with him in town.

YOUNG: Was he nervous then or had he been drinking?

GILHAM: No, about a month and a half ago he quit drinking and he didn’t seem to drink or anything at all.

YOUNG: Did he discuss Ervin Kaser that afternoon when you saw him in town?

GILHAM: No.

YOUNG: Did you tell Colene and her mother of Cap’s visit to you at your home that night?

GILHAM: I told Colene, but I don’t know if her mother knew about it.

YOUNG: Where did you see Cap when you were in Silverton that afternoon of the 17th?

GILHAM: Downtown.

YOUNG: Whereabouts?

GILHAM:My directions are kind of mixed up in Silverton, but then it was right on up the street, up towards Copeland’s from that first bank there. We stopped and talked.

YOUNG: Were you on the street, both of you, or in your car?

GILHAM: In the car. He came up and parked by me and he honked and came up there and parked and he got out and stood and talked with me. We talked on a job for Dault, up here that we earlier, about Christmas time had framed for him and he was dickering on the job so that he could try and get it so he could finish it.

YOUNG: Do you know where Cap is working now, tonight I mean, today?

GILHAM: No, I don’t.

YOUNG: Do you know whether or not Cap ever had a rifle repaired anywhere around Silverton or Salem?

GILHAM: No, I don’t.

YOUNG: Do you know what kind of ammunition Cap shoots?

GILHAM: No, I can’t say for sure that I do know.

YOUNG: Earlier that evening about 8:00, when Cap visited you and Colene did he ask about Mrs. Kaser or Mrs. Oveross, pardon me?

GILHAM: Well, he left some money but I don’t know what that was for. $10.00 he said to Colene to give it to her – I don’t have any idea what it was for.

YOUNG: Did he ask where she was?

GILHAM: I think she did – er I think he did.

YOUNG: Did Colene tell him or did she know where her mother was?

GILHAM: I don’t think she knew for sure. She said where she was going, but then I just can’t remember where she said now. I think she was out in the kitchen, she was going out the back door and I was standing in the living room.

YOUNG: Was it some kind of a club meeting or lodge meeting or something?

GILHAM: It seemed like it was something like that, but I didn’t hear close or anything to make it out too clear.

YOUNG: You don’t – you do think that Cap inquired about where his ex-wife was, did he not?

GILHAM: I think he did, yes.

YOUNG: Do you think Cap had a rifle in his car when he came to see you the night of the 17th?

GILHAM: I have no idea. I seen his car just drive up outside.

YOUNG: You weren’t up to his car?

GILHAM: No.

YOUNG: What lights did he have on his car when they were parked?

GILHAM: Just headlights.

YOUNG: Do you recall if the dome light was on or not?

GILHAM: No I don’t. Fact is I can’t remember if he even had his headlights on when he came outside himself. Well, I can’t say if he turned them off or not.

YOUNG: Do you recall whether Cap got back again on the paved road, whether he went to the right or left?

GILHAM: I didn’t pay any attention.

YOUNG: Did he stop between your house and the road?

GILHAM: Between my house and the road? Do you mean –

YOUNG: Between your –

GILHAM: That night?

YOUNG: Yes.

GILHAM: I don’t know I went back into the house and right up to my room.

YOUNG: Did Cap by any chance leave a gun at your house for you to hide for him?

GILHAM: No.

YOUNG: Has he ever mentioned since then his rifle in anyway?

GILHAM: Since then?

YOUNG: Yes.

GILHAM: No.

YOUNG: Did Cap also used to have a smaller rifle and a smaller bore, 25-20 or 32-20 or something like that?

GILHAM: I never knew of it if he did.

YOUNG: Did Cap ever tell you about observing or watching Ervin Kaser’s house from a field out back?

GILHAM: No.

YOUNG: Or near by?

GILHAM: No.

YOUNG: You’ve never heard him mention that?

GILHAM: Well he’s never told me to watch or to observe it or anything.

YOUNG: Has he ever told you that he had watched Ervin from the field?

GILHAM: No.

YOUNG: Did Cap ever tell you – mention anything to you about actions of his wife and Kaser at the time Mrs. Oveross was driving tractor for Kaser?

GILHAM: No.

YOUNG: Did Cap do considerable shooting and target practising with a rifle?

GILHAM: Well, I just never have seen him target practise or anything.

YOUNG: You went hunting with him last fall as I understand did you not?

GILHAM: Yes.

YOUNG: Did he get a deer?

GILHAM: Yes.

YOUNG: Did you see him when he killed the deer?

GILHAM: No.

YOUNG: Doesn’t he have general reputation around Silverton as being a pretty fair shot with a rifle?

GILHAM: I don’t know if it’s all around or anything or if he is but I guess he’s pretty good shot, I don’t know. I never have seen him shoot or anything.

YOUNG: Would you consider him a pretty good hunter? See a lot of horns around his place.

GILHAM: Well, I didn’t – I suppose he must be a pretty good hunter in order to get deer and everything.

YOUNG: Did Colene ever mention to you what kind of a gun her father had?

GILHAM: No.

YOUNG: Do you think, Danny, that there is anything else at all that you can add to this interview or information that will help us in clearing up this matter?

GILHAM: I don’t know unless it would be about time – I guess it was about two or three weeks ago, I don’t know for sure when it was, that this Ervin bothered Colene on top of West Hill in Silverton.

YOUNG: Can you tell me about that?

GILHAM: Well of course I wasn’t there or anything but then, I guess Colene was coming home from work she stopped at the top of west hill to talk to one of her girlfriends and this Ervin, well it was just dusk but you could see faces yet and everything, I guess. And anyway this Ervin pulled up side and rolled down the window and stuck his head in and gave her a funny look and she tried just to ignore him then he just stayed there so she told him to gone on – go over the hill and get out of here or something like that I guess, I don’t know what it was. He just stayed there and finally he left.

YOUNG: Who told you about this incident, Danny?

GILHAM: Colene did.

YOUNG: Colene?

GILHAM: Yes.

YOUNG: Did Cap know about it?

GILHAM: I presume that he did, I don’t know, I couldn’t say. I – She didn’t unless Colene had mentioned to him. I didn’t mention it to him or anything to him about it.

YOUNG: He was not present when she told you about it?

GILHAM: No, I don’t believe so.

LIEUTENANT FARLEY MOGAN: Well Sheriff I think this has covered just about everything here. Can you think of anything else we should know about this?

GILHAM: Right now I can’t think of anything, no.

MOGAN: Alright this statement that you making here this evening, is it the truth?

GILHAM: [blank]

MOGAN: And admitted by your own free will?

GILHAM: Yes.

MOGAN: Because you wanted to make a statement?

GILHAM: Well, I just didn’t just come in – they came out and asked me.

MOGAN: Well, sure, but I mean no one has threatened you or mistreated you or anyting like that so that you would make this statement is that right?

GILHAM: Well, they said something about if I didn’t make a statement or something like that I could – what was it $15,000 to $20,000 for bail or soemthing like that or not – or be upheld for withholding material evidence or something like that.

YOUNG: Danny, isn’t what I said – This is Sheriff Young – didn’t say that if you withheld or covered up evidence you might become a party to this matter and that you could be held as a material witness?

GILHAM: Well, the way I understood was the way I stated.

YOUNG: Have I in anyway threatened you in anyway involving harm or –

GILHAM: No.

YOUNG: Done anything to force you to make a statement?

GILHAM: [blank]

YOUNG: You agreeded, I believe, earlier in a written statement given to us verbally out at Mr. Richard’s farm that you were willing to tell us what you knew, voluntarily and give us all the help you could, is that correct?

GILHAM: Yes.

MOGAN: Danny, this is Lieutenant Mogan speaking now, and this statement is the truth isn’t it?

GILHAM: As straight as I can tell it.

MOGAN: And don’t you want to tell the truth?

GILHAM: Yes.

MOGAN: Do you have any objection then to telling the truth?

GILHAM: [blank]

MOGAN: Do you have any changes you want to make in this statement?

GILHAM: No.

MOGAN: Have you told us anything that isn’t the truth?

GILHAM: Not that I know of – unless I just – something I mislooked or something – I mean you know just made a slip or something like that?

MOGAN: But your intention was to tell the truth in this statement is that right?

GILHAM: Yes.

MOGAN: Do you have any hesitation about telling the truth?

GILHAM: No.

MOGAN: Would you testify in court what you told us here this evening?

GILHAM: Well, what did I –

MOGAN: If your placed on the stand and sworn to tell the truth would you tell the same story that you told us here this evening?

GILHAM: Straight as I could.

MOGAN: There wouldn’t be a different story at that time?

GILHAM: No there wouldn’t be a different story unless I just – have to – it kind of racks a persons brain you know to have to slip up or anything like that.

MOGAN: And this is the truth as you remember it?

GILHAM: Yes.

MOGAN: Well, that’s all I have to say, sheriff.

YOUNG: Well, I think that will conclude this interview then between Lieutenant Mogan, Sheriff Young and Sergeant Huffman. Interview with Daniel James Gilham and the time is now 6:38.

****************

Blogically yours,
Everett

Not Innocent: The Investigation (part 4)

Casper (Cap) Oveross

Casper (Cap) Oveross, 44, charged with first degree murder of Ervin O. Kaser, 49-year-old Silverton farmer, remained calm and resigned in the county jail Thursday, protesting that he is a victim of circumstances. Above exclusive close range photographs of the defendant show virtually no emotion in the various poses. The investigation Thursday settled down to a routine check-up of the defendant’s clothing, his automobile and that of the victim by crime laboratory experts. Meanwhile District Attorney Kenneth E. Brown is evaluating statements taken from numerous witnesses. (Captial Journal photos by Mike Forbes.)

The police continue to attempt to find the rifle used in the murder, checking records in stores that sell firearms. For those too young to remember it, Hande’s Hardware was in the brick building on the northeast corner of the intersection of Water Street and Main Street.  Before Carl Hande took over the store, it was Ames Hardware, owned by Norris Ames.  The transfer of ownership and the name-change occurred in the early 1950s.  At the same time, the police are trying to find witnesses who may have known about Casper Oveross’ guns, and to eliminate other possible suspects if possible.

Thursday, February 24, 1955

Sheriff’s Deputy R. L. Walker:

Subject: GUNS

REBS SPORTING GOODS 4090 Portland Road [Salem]

J. C. Mount 2295 Chemawa Road, Salem 300 Savage Remington 12/23/54
Don Madison Salem 300 Savage Mod 99 12/16/54
M. E. Clapper 5090 Silverton Road 30.06 Remington Pump Mod 760 9/27/54
L. R. DeHut 4150 Fisher Road 300 Savage Mod 722A 10/12/53
Louis Hince 640 Madison Salem 30.30 Mod 94 Carbine

SQUARE DEAL 263 Chemeketa [Salem]

John Albus Rt 1, Box 48 Aumsville 30.30 Winchester Mod 64 9/25/51
A. W. Fisher Rt 2 Box– Turner 30.30 Stevens Mod 325C 9/13/51
Loren Dunagan Cherry St. Silverton 300 Savage Mod 99EG 5/21/51
V. H. Watkins Box 94 Scotts Mills 300 Savage Mod 99EG 9/10/51
Fred Long Star Rt. Box 35 Silverton 30.40 Krag (Springfield) Mod 98 9/7/51
Paul Cox Rt 1 Box 205 Gervais 30.30 Winchester Mod 94 8/15/52
Lyle Klampe Rt 1 Box 187A Brooks 30.30 Winchester Mod 94 9/6/52
Glen Willmseher Rt 1 Box 165A Stayton 30.40 Krag (Spring.) Mod 1896 9/6/52

Sheriff’s Deputy Amos O. Shaw:

8:05AM: Contact Sheriff at office. Wants us to try and contact Sam Metheney.

8:20AM: Take 2 rifles from safe prepatory to taking to State Crime Lab.

#1- Gun was tagged by Sheriff Young rifle initialed

#2- 30-30 caliber rifle, Sheriff sign, and date 2-22-55 enscribed on rifle

9:05AM: Leave Salem for State Crime Lab.

10:20AM: At State Crime Lab. Leave guns, shells, cartridges and hat with Doctor Harris and get receipt.

11:30AM: Leave Crime Lab. For Sam Metheney residence

12:30PM: Check Sam Metheney property no one home.

1:45PM: Contact Mrs. Floyd Steiger, and she says Floyd will be home around 5:30 PM. Will attempt to contact later.

2:05PM: Contact Clyde Sprecht. No information gained.

2:24PM: Contact and obtain signed statement from Clyde Sprecht, Sivlerton. See statement.

3:00PM: Contact Chief Main, Silverton

4:30PM: In service

4:35PM: Contact Melvin S. Chandler, 205 Charles St. Silvertron regarding some places a person is likely to hide a gun.

5:15PM: Pick up State Officer Riegel and go for lunch.

7:15PM: Contact Floyd Steiger, and receive signed statement regarding case. He is a hunting pardner of Casper Oveross, and said Casper 4 or 5 yrs. ago went on hunting trip together, see statement for additional info.

7:50PM: At Barnes Brothers residence. Boys not home will try again later.

8:05PM: Gas car 2 while Officer Riegel phones Charley Hopkins and made an appointment to meet him at Cherry’s Cafe in Salem tomorrow.

8:45PM: Contact Mr. Merle G Eisenhart, at 335 Mill St. Silverton 62 yrs. Hearing good, eye sight good, clean appearance, gun smith, clerked for 2 years at Hande Hdwre, at that time Ames Hardware. Saw Cap hunting with a 8 millimeter and purchased shells from Mr. Eisenhart. Also has used a Model 94 Winchester. See statement.

11:00PM: At State Police office.

State Police Private Lloyd T. Riegel:

On the morning of 24 February 1955 Deputy Shaw and the writer proceeded to the crime lab, Portland, Oregon, and delivered to Doctor Harris three weapons that had been picked up throughout the investigation, three live rounds of ammunition and one shell case that had been picked up by Sheriff Denver Young, and the Ervin Kaser hat requested by Doctor Harris (see attached receipt from Doctor Harris).

Deputy Shaw and the writer then contacted Floyd Staiger, Rt. 1, Box 301 A, Silverton. Mr Staiger stated that he had known Casper Oveross since they were boys in grade school and that they had hunted together ever since that time. He further stated that four or five years ago he had went to Eastern Oregon hunting with Casper Oveross and at that time Casper Oveross was using a borrowed 8mm Mauser rifle. At this time Casper Oveross was quite discussed with this rifle and stated he wished he had brought his own rifle a 32-20. The following year Floyd Staiger and Casper Oveross returned to Eastern Oregon. That is the year that Casper Oveross got a large buck deer. A picture of Casper Oveross, Floyd Staiger, the deer and the two guns was displayed to the officers. Mr. Staiger further stated that the one gun, a 30-40 Craig, was his gun and the second gun was that of Casper Oveross. He believed this gun to be a Sport Winchester model 94 or a Marlin 30-30. he stated that to the best of his memory that this was a new gun at the time and Casper had sold his 32-20 rifle and had purchased this gun. Floyd Staiger stated that he did not know where Casper had purchased the gun or to whether he still had the gun or not. That was the last time that he had hunted with Casper Oveross.

Deputy Shaw and the writer then contacted a Merle G. Eisenhart, 335 Mill Street, Silverton, Oregon. Mr. Eisenhart stated that while he was clerking at the Ames Hardware in the years 1946 and 1947 that he had talked to Casper Oveross several times about rifles and ammunition. He further stated that he had sold Casper Oveross 8mm 30-30 ammunition for his rifles. He further stated that he had actually seen Casper Oveross carrying a model 94 Winchester Carbine and he assumed that this Carbine was the property of Casper Oveross. He further stated that he had actually seen him carrying a 8mm Mauser, bolt action, and from talking to Casper Oveross he got the impression that he owned either a Springfield or an Infield model rifle. Mr. Eisenhart further stated that Casper Oveross had always favored the 150 grain shell and that he always bought or tried to buy this shell when purchasing ammunition. He further stated that from his experience with Casper Oveross that he could say that he was an exceptionally good, quick shot, and that he would further say that Casper Oveross was one of the few men in the Silverton area that could shoot as well as the shots had been placed in the car. He stated that Casper Oveross had always favored the open-ironed peep sight but to the best of his memory he had never seen Casper Oveross own a telescopic sight of any kind.

Of all the above mentioned information written statements have been taken from these subjects giving their story in detail. The above written report is a brief of the complete statements, hitting only the more important parts of the statements. The investigation continues. Additional information is subject to a form three.

Sheriff Denver Young:

10:46 AM Contact this A.M. Hande Hdwe re:gun sales. Omer Bailey c/o Silverton Auto Parts. Marion Zahler, who was bookkeeper for Ames Hdwe.

10:55 A.M. Contact Johnson Hdwe. Re: gun sales. They sold gun to Lloyd Oveross brother of Casper Oveross

11:20 A.M. Contact James Painter, Silverton Police officer, 401 W. Main St., recd first info. when Car 4 was notified. Contact Hoyt at Town House 11:15 P.M. He and Bethscheider checked Cabin 6 at Hollan Court. Located cardboard box. Removed two 30-30 shells placed in paper sack. Picked up 30-30 shell from floor under the couch.

Failed to see shot gun on first trip to cabin. Did see gun on second trip.

1:10 P.M. Received info from James Beard re: Mrs. Jaeske suicide.

2:30 P.M. Accompany Dr. Harris & Ralph Prouty to 195 S. 23rd St., check Kaser car Lic. 569497 1949 Chev. sedan. Oveross car 1950 Ford couch license #1A 118. Contents removed and listed by Harris & Prouty.

Oregon State Crime Laboratory, Homer H. Harris, M.D.:

RE: KASER, Ervin Oren – MURDER C.D.L. #7858

Refer to the autopsy report from this laboratory dated February 22, 1955 regarding examination of the body of Ervin Oren Kaser.

The following items of clothing were removed from the body prior to autopsy:

Item #1 consists of a dark red and black plaid jacket with a total of five metal fasterners down the front, a metal fastern over the pocket in the front on each side and on the sleeves. A few fragments of metal are found on the outside of this jacket in the left should region as are very small fragments of glass.

In the back of the left shoulder region of this garment there are a series of perforations in an area approximately 2 1/2 inches across. The lateral aspect of these perforations begins at a point 1 1/2 inches to the right of the left should seam, and 4 1/2 inches below the seam across the top of the shoulder between the arm and the neck. The largest of these holes is 3/4 of an inch across, and roughly overlays the area of perforation noted in the body. This region is slightly stiffened with blood but there appears to be more serum than blood in the region. A few blood clots are found on the inner surface of the cloth. None are seen on the outer surface. Some pieces of toothpick are found in the left pocket of this jacket; In the right pocket there is a part of abdly worn paper towel, some tinfoil which appears to be part of a wrapper. Nothing else of a remarkable character is noted. Identifying mark is placed in the right front pocket.

Item #2 is the grey cotton work shirt bearing the label “Super Pioneer” in the collar. This is labelled “Size 42, 15 1/2 neck, Lot 804.” The shirt is badly worn. There are numerous small holes in all portions of the shirt. The buttonhole in the left collar region is particularly large and worn. No buttons are missing. However, there has been an obvious replacement of the third button on the right side of this shirt. In the right front pocket there is a note with handwriting on it stating, “lard, oranges, butter, bluing, and bread.” This is written in pencil. In the left front pocket there is an open package of Lucky Strike cigarettes containing nine unsmoked cigarettes. There is a moderate amount of loose tobacco in this pocket. The left should region is heavily stained with blood and there are numerous perforations in this area. The left shoulder region of this garment is the site of numerous perforations following a pattern similar to that described in Item #1 and found in the body of Mr. Kaser in this region. There is deposited on the outside of the garment a few fragments of metal and glass. The largest perforation is approximately 3/4 of an inch across.

Item #3 consists of a pair of grey twill trousers with a worn leather belt in place and a detachable belt buckle bearing the intials “E.O.K.” These trousers bear the manufacturer’s label, “Penney’s Big Mac Sanforized.” The contents of the pockets were described in the autopsy. Nothing else of remarkable character is noted. No blood stains are identified on this garment.

Item #4 consists of an underwear top bearing the manufacturer’s label “Craftsman Quality Underwear Size 42.” With the exception of staining of the left shoulder region of this garment with blood, the stains being heaviest on the inside, and a pattern of perforation similar to that found in the shoulder region of the other garments described and on the body, nothing of remarkable character is noted. The largest hole here is approximately 1 inch across.

Item #5 is the second part of the underwear described as Item #4. It is long-legged, and has a small area which is laced in the rear. Nothing of remarkable is noted on this garment.

Item #6 is a pair of grey socks. These are not remarkable.

Item #7 is a pair of brown loafer type shoes having some large drops of orange paint on the right toe, and smaller drops on the left. There is, in addition, smaller drops of white paint on either shoe. No blood stains are identified.

SUMMARY: Examing clothing removed from the body of Ervin Oren Kaser reveals nothing remarkable with the exception of the blood stains and numerous perforations in the garments which overlay the wound found in the body of Ervin Kaser.

On the outer garments there is a scattering of small fragments of metal and glass, particularly in the region perforated by the projectiles found in the body of Mr. Kaser.

Oregon State Crime Laboratory, Homer H. Harris, M.D.:

RE: KASER, Ervin Oren – MURDER C.D.L. #7858

There is received from Deputy Sheriff Shaw of Marion County and Officer Riegel of Oregon State Police, a grey hat which was first seen on the body of Ervin Kaser while he was lying in the front seat of an automobile in front of his dwelling on February 17, 1955. This hat bears the initials “E.R.E” in green ink on the brim, “L.T.R.” in blue ink on the inside of the crown, and has the initials “E.O.K.” imprinted on the hat band. The hat is manufactured by Mallory, Size 7 1/8. It bears the distributor’s name, “Jayson’s, Salem, Oregon.” The brim of the hat in just about the exact front has been perforated with the perforation apparently coming up and striking on the under surface of the brim and coming through on top. There are numerous fibers which are displaced upward in this manner. The tear associated with this perforation is 3/4 of an inch across. The perforation itself is about 1/8 of an inch across. In the crown of the hat there is a through and through perforation about the region where the head would normally set in the hat. This perforation is 3 inches from the brim of the hat, one inch from the front edge of the crown. The perforation enters the left side of the hat, and goes out on the right. The point of exit is somewhat larger than the point of entry. A smaller perforation approximately 1/32nd of an inch across is found in approximately the mid-part of the crown on the left side. No point of exit for this perforation is found. The second perforation is 2 1/4 inches up from the brim, and 4 1/4 inches to the rear of the front of the crown. No blood stains are identified on this hat.

Friday, February 25, 1955

Sheriff’s Deputy Amos O. Shaw:

8:00AM: On duty type up report

9:30AM: Discuss case with State Police and Sheriff Young

10:00AM: Attempt to contact Mr. Henry Wellman

10:40AM: Contact Henry Wellman. Doesn’t know of any guns belonging to Casper Oveross

12:00PM: Lunch at Cherry’s at Salem

12:45PM: Contact Charles Melvin Hopkins and obtain signed statement.

1:45PM: Contact Frank Sexton’s home, no one there.

2:45PM: Take signed statement from Robert Barnes, see statement.

4:00PM: Take a verbatum account of Harley DePeel note book.

5:00PM: Contact Sheriff and Sargeant Huffman reg. Activities

State Police Private Lloyd T. Riegel:

On 25 February 1955 Deputy Shaw and the writer contacted Henry Wellman, 1320 Wodows Ave, Salem, Oregon relative to any information on guns owned by CASPER OVEROSS. Mr. Wellman stated that he only knew OVEROSS as a person to whom he spoke. He stated that he had lived next door to HENRY OVEROSS for years but had never became acquainted with CAPSER. He further stated that he knew nothing about his guns or whether he even had a rifle.

Deputy Shaw and the writer contacted Mr. Frank Sexton, Rt 5 Box 416 Salem, Oregon. Mr. Sexton’s house is located at the head of the lane leading into the J. W. Gilham place, home of Daniel James Gilham. Mr. Sexton stated that he had heard a vehicle turn into the lane about 10:30 PM 17 February 1955 and assumed that it was the Gilham boy going home. Mr. Sexton further stated that he might have gone to sleep soon after the Gilham boy’s car turned in, but that he did not hear another car turn into the lane.

Sheriff Denver Young:

10:00 AM. Left office with Huffman and return 11:00 A.M.

 11:40 A.M. Sheriffs Office

Interview Mrs. & Mr. Henry Oveross of 514 S. Water St, Silverton.

Stated was not acquainted with Mr. or Mrs. Ervin Kaser.

Did not know whether Casper owned a rifle or not. Only knew of a 12 ga. shotgun.

States Danny Gilham and Colleen came to their home on 2/18/55 and only stayed about 5 or ten minutes.

Claims last fall Harley DePeel came to their house to inquire about a car that had been parked outside of the city (registered to Ethel Oveross)

2:00 P.M. Contacted Willie Verboort, Mt Angel, re: gun sales. Suggests seeing Ray Reuscher.

2:25 P.M. Contacted Ernie Crowder, no information.

2:35 P.M. Contacted Willie Bean, Mt. Angel, Ore. Knows Cap but hasn’t seen him for a long time. Doesn’t know about guns.

3:45 P.M. Contacted Mr. & Mrs. Kellerhals again. No new information.

5:10 Contacted Shaw & Reigel at Toney’s Cafe.

5:40 Contacted Jerry Hoyt to determine if Ervin Kaser might have been in Town House in early evening of 2/17/55.

Saturday, February 26, 1955

Sheriff’s Deputy Amos O. Shaw:

10:05 AM Served Subpoena, for Grand Jury, as Witness on Daniel James Gilham.

At this time writer asked Mr. Gilham if he would accompany writer into the Sheriff Office for an interview. Danny said he was helping innoculate some cattle and asked if it would be all right to come in about 1:00 PM or 1:30 PM. The Sheriff was contacted and advised that this was satisfactory.

10:10 AM Was advised by radio to keep an eye on Danny Gilham in the vicinity, and check on any one he may desire to contact.

10:30 AM Observed Danny GILHAM’S vehicle leave the RICHES farm where he was working, the vehicle turned south and drove directly to Danny’s home.

11:05 AM Observed Danny Gilham’s vehicle leave home and head towards Silverton.

11:15 AM Observed Danny Gilham’s vehicle in Silverton, at this time he had Colleen Oveross with him. Subject headed towards Sublimity again.

11:28 AM Stop Danny Gilham and his girl friend at the Evergreen School, subject stated he would take his girl friend home and come right on into town with us.

11:35 AM Pull up in back of Danny’s car in Oveross drive way, Colleen was observed jumping out of his car and running in the house, Danny was called over to our vehicle and said he would go right in with us, while he was talking to us Colleen was observed talking on the phone. Said he was going to tell Colleen he was leaving and went in the house and closed the door.

11:50 AM Advised the Sheriff of situation, and Sheriff ordered GILHAM picked up at the house and brought in. We were advised to go in the house and get him, that the Sheriff was ready to file a charge of Accessory After the Fact and was going to contact the District Attorney right now.

Subject was again contacted in the house and asked if he was willing to accompany us to the office. He stated I will be in at 1:30PM that was when you told me to be there. I informed him I was ordered by the Sheriff to bring him in now. Colleen Oveross stepped between us and stated that we couldn’t take him as her attorney had advised her we couldn’t take him unless we had papers to do so. I stated I didn’t have any papers but was taking him any way, as papers weren’t necessary. The Gilham boy again said I am willing to go with you. And again Colleen broke in and grabbed him and said my Attorney will be here in just a few minutes and you are not going to take him. I said ALL RIGHT THEN IF WE HAVE TO WE’LL PLACE HIM UNDER ARREST, the Gilham boy said no I’ll go along with you and stepped forward past the girl. I took him by the elbow and got between him and the girl and stepped out on the porch with him where I released his arm. Prior to getting in the car he started for his car and I told him we would take ours to leave his there. Prior to getting in the car the boy again expressed willingness to go along as soon as the other officer moved over in the seat. As he was getting in the seat of vehicle the Oveross girl yelled from the door way, “You don’t have to leave this property, Danny.” Danny willingly got in the car and a short distance from the house he was advised he was not under arrest and was coming along of his own free will. Gilham again stated his willingness to accompany us, and that he understood he wasn’t under arrest.

NOTE: AT NO TIME WAS ANY DEGREE OF FORCE USED IN HANDLING THE SUBJECT. NOR ANY MEASURE OF RESTRAINT APPLIED. THERE WAS NO MENTION OF ANY CHARGE SUBJECT WAS BEING PICKED UP FOR.

State Police Private Lloyd T. Riegel:

At 10:05 AM 26 February 1955 Deputy Shaw accompanied by the writer served a subpoenia on DANIEL JAMES GILHAM and at this time asked him if he would return to Salem with Deputy Shaw and the writer for further questioning and verification of the statement previously given. GILHAM stated that he was assisting Mr. Richie at that time in a blood test of some cattle and would be in Salem at 1:00 PM date for further questioning by the Sheriff and Sgt Huffman. Sheriff Young was contacted by radio and stated to let the GHILHAM boy continue his work but to get into Salem as soon as possible.

At 10:10 AM 26 February 1955, Deputy Shaw and the writer were advised by Sheriff Young to keep a watch on the GILHAM boy to see where he went before he actually came to Salem. This was carried out. DANIEL JAMES GILHAM left the Richie place at 10:30 am and proceeded to his own home. At 11:05 AM GILHAM left his place and proceeded towards Silverton. This information was given to Sheriff Young by radio to which instructions were given by Sheriff Young that if the GILHAM boy stopped and picked up Colene Oveross to stop him and request that he come to the Sheriffs Office at that time. DANIEL GILHAM went to the Ethel Oveross residence and stayed about three minutes and left alone. GILHAM proceeded into Silverton and picked up COLENE OVEROSS at the Nu Method Cleaners and returned south towards the Ethel Oveross residence. This information was given to Sheriff Young by radio, to which instructions were given to stop the GILHAM boy and request that he come to the Sheriffs Office at that time. GILHAM was stopped and it was explained that we would like him to accompany the writer and Deptuy Shaw to the Sheriffs office at that time. GILHAM stated that he would go with us but that he would have to proceed to Ethel Oveross residence and let his girl out as she couldn’t drive. GILHAM proceeded to the Oveross residence, followed by the writer and Deputy Shaw. At the Oveross residence and while standing in the yard GILHAM again agreed to accompany the officers to Salem, and that he would tell his girl, COLENE OVEROSS, that he was going. He then changed his mind and stated that he wanted to wait thirty minutes and bring the girl along with him. He walked away and into the house. Deputy Shaw contacted Sheriff Young as to how far he was to go in getting GILHAM to come along. To this Sheriff Young stated to go inside and get the GILHAM boy and bring him to the Sheriffs Office, and that he was goint to contact District Attorney Brown and file a complaint for Accessory after the fact. The writer and Deputy Shaw went to the house and knocked on the front door. COLENE OVEROSS answered the door and the writer asked to speak to DANIEL GILHAM. GILHAM came to the door and again the writer asked him to come with him to the Sheriffs office. GILHAM started to walk to the door and COLENE OVEROSS stepped between the writer and GILHAM and stated that he did not have to go along as her Attorney had advised her this, and at the same time demanded to see the papers on which we were taking GILHAM with. The writer stated that if necessary a warrant could be obtained and GILHAM could be held. COLENE OVEROSS again spoke up and stated that we were not going to take DANIEL GILHAM as her attorney had stated that we could not take him and that Mr. Williams would be at her place in just a few minutes to stop this act. GILHAM stated that he was willing to go along, and again COLENE OVEROSS spoke up and stated that you are not taking GILHAM. Deputy Shaw then stepped inside the door close to GILHAM and COLENE OVEROSS and stated to the effect, “that if we have to we will place him under arrest.” GILHAM then stepped between the girl, COLENE OVEROSS, and Deputy Shaw and stated that he would go along. COLENE OVEROSS then took ahold of GILHAMS arm and held him back. GILHAM and Deputy Shaw came outside and to the vehicle. At the vehicle GILHAM was told that he was not under arrest and that we wanted him to go along under his own free will. GILHAM then stated that he was willing to go along and that he didn’t want to be placed under arrest. He was again advised that he was not under arrest and he stated that he realized this, and that he was willing to accompany Deputy Shaw and the writer to Salem, Oregon.

DANIEL JAMES GILHAM was taken to the Salem patrol office where he was talked to by Sheriff Denver Young and Sgt. Huffman.

On 26 February 1955 the writer and Deputy Shaw served subpeonas [EK_note: to testify at the Grand Jury on Monday] on James W. and Mrs Gilham, Robert Barnes, Betty Hollin, Edith Kaser, Marvin [EK_note: Melvin] Kaser and Daniel James Gilham. Daniel James Gilham was asked by the above officers to accompany them to the State Police Office for further questioning. Gilham further stated that he would be at the office at 1:00 PM date. This was approved by Sheriff Young with further instructions that the officers should watch every move made by Gilham until he arrived at the State Police office. Gilham’s movements were observed and reported to Sheriff Young until he picked up Coleene Oveross. At this time Sheriff Young advised that Gilham be stopped and requested to come to the office immediately. While picking up Daniel James Gilham some difficulty was encountered, not with Gilham but with his girl friend Coleene Oveross, however this was settled and Gilham accompanied the officers to Salem where he was questioned by Sgt. Huffman and Sheriff Young.

Sheriff Denver Young:

12:30 noon, State Police headquarters.

Interview with Daniel J. Gilham, he accompanied officers Shaw & Reigel in for interview. Tape recording made of this interview by Lt. Farley Mogan of the State Police.

[EK_note: The interview with Danny Gilham was not in the County Sheriff's file, but was in the State Police file.  This post is already too long, so I'll post the text of the interview next time.]

He states that after he talked to Casper Oveross in his driveway, he met Colleen Oveross at the Harvey Kaser residence. Then they left there and drove to the Henry Anundson residence on Abiqua Creek. Stayed there until dawn. Gilham and Anundson went to Henry Oveross residence, then back to Anundson res. for breakfast. After breakfast he and Henry Anundson went over to the Ed. Schubert residence.

Also that 2/25/55 he went to Salem and talked to Bruce Williams then to the Payless Drug store where he waited for Colleen and Beverly Morrell and all three of them went to Corvallis to the game. Returned home about 1:00 AM 2/26/55.

3:00 P.M. Dropped Danny off at the Oveross house.

3:08 P.M. Served subpoena [EK_note: to testify at the Grand Jury on Monday] on Harvey Kaser.

February 27, 1955 2:18 P.M. Info. from Chief Norfleet that Casper Oveross may have been with the owner of a tavern from Scio.

3:15 P.M. With Huffman left for Scio.

4:10 P.M. In Scio.  Contacted J. J. Janota owner of the West Side Cafe. States that Casper worked for him before Christmas on some carpenter work and fireplace. Hasn’t seen him for over a month.

4:20 P.M. Contacted Mr. Carball McDaniel, bartender. Knows Casper only slightly. Has not seen him for about two months.

4:30 P.M. Contacted John W. Gear & Rockey’s Tavern in Scio, no information.

End of day.

Sheriff’s Deputy John T. Zabinski:

RE: Lanora Jaeschke

State hospital reports that Lanora Jaeschke was committed to the hospital by a court order on 11-16-44.

Released to her husband George Jaeschke on 12-12-45. They then lived in Silverton, Oregon.

The Statesman, Saturday, Feb 26, 1955
Slaying Case Set for Grand Jury Monday
Casper Oveross, Silverton carpenter charged with first degree murder, will go before a Marion County Grand Jury Monday, District Attorney Kenneth Brown announced Friday in a surprise legal move. Previously, the next step in the case was to have been a preliminary hearing next Wednesday.

The calling of the grand jury for 9:30 a.m. Monday was made over strenuous objections by Oveross’ attorney, Bruce Williams, Salem.  It brought on a tense legal skirmish before Marion County District Judge Edward O. Stadter Jr. late Friday afternoon. Williams called the move “an attempt to deprive my client of the right of a preliminary hearing in the hope of gaining a grand jury indictment on the charge.”

Denies Charge

Brown denied Williams’ charge and said that he was only speeding justice.  Oveross, 44, is in Marion County jail charged with the rifle slaying of his one-time neighbor, Ervin O. Kaser, Silverton hop farmer, on Feb. 17.

Brown said Friday the state is ready to present its case to the grand jury and that he expects to call 15 or 16 witnesses, perhaps more, to testify on Monday.

Maintains Innocence

The 49-year old Kaser was shot to death in his car just after arriving at his home near Silverton a week ago Thursday night.  Oveross, who lives near the Kaser farm, was arrested and charged Tuesday.  He was arraigned in district court on the murder charge Wednesday.  Oveross, who has steadfastly maintained his innocence, is being held without bail.

Sheriff Denver Young and deputies reportedly were in the Silverton area Friday night to serve subpoenas on persons slated to testify before the grand jury.

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Blogically yours,

Everett

Not Innocent: Property and Family Update

I’ll take a short break from writing about the murder investigation to update the layout of property in the area, and give a little sketch of family ‘background’ and the history of the property transfers.  A lot of this won’t be of much interest to folks other than close family members, but some of it will help a great deal in understanding what’s said in the police reports, about people interviewed, locations searched, etc.

In earlier posts, I included a map of the Evergreen District, showing where different people lived at the time of the murder and how the farms were laid out.  I’ve dug up a little further information, some provided by family members, some from the Marion County Recorder’s office.  Here is an updated version of the map:

Updated Evergreen map

Farms in the Evergreen district at the time of the murder.

The changes from the earlier map are the back section of Ethel Oveross’s property that had been sold to Wayne Moore (denoted by the bright yellow area labeled “EO to WM,” and the addition of a 20-acre farm owned by Gerald Hoyt.

At one time, the James Finlay family owned most of the property shown above as belonging to Harvey & Edith Kaser, Ethel Oveross, Wayne Moore, A. E. “Ted” Finlay, and possibly more (I haven’t tracked down the full history of all those plots of land).  The James Finlay family lived in a house probably on the Wayne Moore property shown above, although I’m not sure.

The Knight family had been in the Marion County area for a long time, too (there are many land transactions involving the Knights going back at least into the 1880s), but as of 1929 there was only one plot of land in this vicinity owned by a Knight, and that was the 20-acre parcel at the bottom of the map labeled “Gerald Hoyt”.  That parcel belonged to Fred D. Knight.

James & Sarah Finlay had several children. I’m not sure how many, but at least one boy (the father of A. E. “Ted” Finlay) and at least two girls Ella and Edith.  This is NOT the Edith that married Harvey Kaser, so don’t get confused!  This Edith Finlay married a Philippi man, and that’s where Edith Kaser’s Philippi cousins that are mentioned in the police reports tie in.  Ella Jane Finlay married Fred Knight (see, it’s starting to come together).  On a 1929 plat map of the area, the piece on the map labeled “Gerald Hoyt” is shown as owned by “F. (Fred) D. Knight.”  The pieces labeled “Harvey & Edith Kaser,” “Ethel Oveross,” and “EO to WM” are shown as owned by “E. J. Knight” (Ella Jane Knight, Fred Knight’s wife, they were married in 1895).  On that same map, it appears that the pieces labeled “Wayne & Erma Moore” and “A. E. Ted Finlay” were owned by “Edith Philippi,” the sister of Ella Finlay Knight. The piece marked as “Wenger” appears to have been broken up into three long and very narrow pieces owned by Wenger, Lefevre, and E. A. Finlay, which were later re-assembled by Wenger.  So apparently there was some significant shuffling of property ownership between 1929 and 1955.  Regardless, much of that area was then owned by those two sisters, Edith Philippi and Ella Knight.

Ella and Fred Knight started their married life on a homestead near the Winter Falls (part of what is now Silver Falls State Park), then probably around 1900 built the old farm house on the property shown above as “Harvey & Edith Kaser.”  As of the mid-1940s, it had no indoor toilet, and the only “running water” was a hand pump in the kitchen that brought water up from a hand-dug well under the house.  They had four children, two older boys both of whom died in their 20s, and then much later twin girls: Edith and Ethel, born in 1914.  Edith married Harvey Kaser January 7, 1936.  Ethel was already married to Casper Oveross at that time, as they’re both listed as witnesses (as “Ethel Oveross”) on the wedding license for Harvey and Edith.  Both couples lived in various places for a few years.  Harvey & Edith had a 20-acre farm that Harvey’s (and Ervin’s) father Fred D. Kaser had purchased for him in January 1934.  It was across the road and further west from the piece labeled as “Ervin Kaser farm” in the map above.

Ervin Kaser and Mary Huntley were married October 21, 1939 and lived in an old house on the “Ervin Kaser farm” on Evergreen Road.  In August 1944 they bought 5 acres on the Cascade Highway (labeled “Ervin & Mary Kaser” in the above map), and Ervin built a new house there.

My father Calvin (Harvey’s youngest brother) said that Harvey and Edith lived in Harvey’s place on Evergreen Road after they were married, and did some remodeling on the old farm house on that land soon after their marriage.  They had Ted Finlay (yes, A. E. “Ted” Finlay, Edith’s first cousin) come out and wire the house, and when they turned the lights on, Harvey said, “Hey, those lights are bright!” and then all the bulbs started popping. Turned out Ted had wired the lights to 220 volts rather than 110.  The timing that follows is uncertain.  At some point in the 1940s, they sold that place to Alfred and Marie Von Flue, who were renting the old Fred & Bertha Kaser (Harvey’s grandparents’) house on Hibbard Road, and the two couples just “swapped houses,” with Harvey and Edith moving their family into Fred & Bertha’s old house.  They lived there (renting) for a while, somewhere between 4 and 18 months.   In August 1946, Fred & Ella Knight ‘sold’ (for $10) a 2.63 acre piece to Ethel and Casper Oveross.  It was right on the Cascade Highway, in the northwestern corner of the piece labeled “Ethel Oveross” above, and at some point, either before or after this sale, Ethel and Casper moved into an old house on that parcel.  Edith’s and Ethel’s mother, Ella Knight, died around 1947, and Harvey and Edith moved in with her father Fred Knight in the old farm house on what’s labeled as “Harvey & Edith Kaser” in the map above.

Harvey’s and Calvin’s brother Melvin Kaser came back from World War II (he fought in Europe), and he and his wife Cloreta bought their property (shown above) in November 1946.  Melvin took over running their father Fred Kaser’s hop yard because Fred was physically unable to do it.  In March 1948 my parents, Calvin & Wilma Kaser moved to Tillamook (on the Oregon coast) where they’d bought a dairy farm.  Calvin’s older brother Orval had done the same thing not too long before.

After Harvey and Edith moved in with her father, Harvey put in a septic tank, built a water holding tank, ran a water line from a spring up by the barn down to the holding tank, closed in the wood shed on the back of the house and put in a toilet, so the house then had running water and an indoor toilet.  They lived there with their three boys (at that time) Fred, Ray and Jeff for a year or longer.  They decided to build a new house right in front of the old house, but Harvey said something like, “I’m not going to live in that old house very long, and I’m not building a new house without owning the property!” In December 1948, the 28 acre parcel labeled “Harvey & Edith Kaser” was deeded to Harvey and Edith, and an additional 24.84 acres surrounding Casper and Ethel Oveross’ 2.63 acre home was deeded to Casper and Ethel, bringing their total property to 27.47 acres (the two pieces shown above as “Ethel Oveross” and “EO to WM”).  Each couple filed a “quit claim” on each others’ property to relinquish any rights to it.  At the same time (December 1948), the 20-acre piece (labeled “Gerald Hoyt” above) south of Finlay Road was also transferred to Ethel and Casper Oveross (for $1).

Harvey and Edith started building a new house immediately in front of the old farm house in the spring/summer of 1949.  Their son Ray remembers walking out of the front of the old house, down a couple of steps, across a plank and into the back door of the new house, so they were very close together.  Edith’s father Fred Knight died about a week before they moved into the new house, just before Thanksgiving 1949.  For a few years, the two families lived next door to each other, and were very close with constant traffic between the two houses.  Casper Oveross, who was a carpenter, started building a new house on their property, too, probably in 1950.  Miles Ottoway, who had built the new house for Harvey and Edith, came back in the spring or summer of 1950 and tore the old farm house down just to salvage the lumber.  The kids of the two families, Colleen and Karen Oveross and Fred, Ray, and Jeff Kaser, ran back and forth, playing together and socializing.  Colleen and Fred were about the same age, both born around 1936, Ray was a couple of years younger, Karen was born around 1942, and Jeff in 1945.

My sister was born in Tillamook in 1950, then my parents, Calvin & Wilma Kaser, moved the family back to Silverton after the dairy went belly-up in early 1952.  I was born in Silverton later that year.

Life went on, but by 1954, Casper’s and Ethel’s marriage was falling apart.  Casper filed for divorce, claiming that Ethel was running around with other men, and one in particular.  Evidence and testimony shows that Ethel was runing around with Ervin Kaser before the divorce, but the marriage was probably “fatally wounded” before then.  Several people that I’ve talked to, that were around then, have said that Cap had a drinking problem (which would seem evident by the amount of time he spent in local taverns), and that Ethel had to work to provide enough money for herself and the kids.  Most of that is hearsay, though, and the only thing we know for sure is that Ethel and Ervin were seeing each other before the divorce was final, certainly by the spring of 1954.

Cap filed for divorce from Ethel August 20, 1954, and moved out of the house the next day.

Edith Kaser had given birth to her’s and Harvey’s fourth son earlier in August 1954, and he was to be the last of us “Kaser first cousins.”  He and I spent many Sunday afternoons together building forts in the hayloft of their barn (that had been built by his grandfather Fred Knight).  I’d go home with my nostrils almost black from all the dust I had inhaled.

Ervin’s and Harvey’s father (my grandfather, Fred D. Kaser) died in August 1953.  Their brother Melvin had given up on running the hop yard on his mother Sarah’s farm.  When the crops were harvested that summer, Ervin took them down to the farmer’s co-op and deposited them in his account, rather than their mother Sarah’s. Harvey found out about it, and the two of them got into an argument and had a falling-out over it, but the money got moved back into their mother’s account.

At the end of June 1954 (two months before the Oveross divorce), Ethel and Cap sold the back end of their ‘L’-shaped property to Wayne Moore, leaving just 8 acres on the front for Ethel Oveross.  The sale price in the deed was $10, but it was probably sold on contract before that date for a much larger sum of money.

On September 30, 1954, for $10, Ethel sold all rights in the 20-acre farm south of Finlay Road to Casper, undoubtedly part of the divorce settlement.  On October 5, 1954, for $10 Casper Oveross sold all rights to the 8-acre home place to Ethel Oveross.

On November 15, 1954, for $2,000 Casper sold the 20-acre farm south of Finlay Road to Gerald W. (Jerry) and Lillian F. Hoyt.  Jerry Hoyt was a bartender at the Town House tavern in Silverton, and also ran a small grocery store on the south side of East Main Street where now there’s a park.  He testified that Casper came into the Town House at about 12:45 A.M. the night of the murder, left about 1:20 A.M., and had not been at the tavern during the time of the shooting.

Ervin was shot the night of February 17, 1955.

In October 1955, Ethel bought a place in Stayton and moved there.

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Next: back to the investigation.

Blogically yours,
Everett

 

Not Innocent: The Investigation (part 3)

Casper Oveross was arraigned Wednesday morning.  The police often note in their reports that they received signed statements from various witnesses. Occasionally one of the officers will copy the statement into their report, but otherwise the statements were not in the police files.  My guess is that the statements were handed over to the District Attorney, and were in the D.A.’s case file, which I’ve not found, and it may no longer exist.  But I don’t know.

Wednesday, February 23, 1955

Sheriff’s Deputy Amos O. Shaw:

10:30AM: On duty.

10:45AM: Conference in Sheriff Office regarding contacts for the day.

11:20AM: Contact Elmer Floyd McMullen 41 yrs., regarding his having played shuffle board and drinking at Town House in Silverton.

12:10PM: Lunch at the Court House

12:45PM: Pick up tools at State Highway Maintanance for search for slugs at Oveross

1:15PM: Talk with Mrs. E. Oveross and gain permission to search area for slugs from guns found in area. Search area in and around house after permission granted by Mrs. Oveross.

3:35PM: Leave Oveross home

3:50PM: Contact Barnes residence, and make an appointment for tomorrow night at 8:00PM.

4:05PM: Contact Edith Kaser, wife of Harvey and receive signed statement.

5:15PM: Contact Ekman Funeral Parlor to pick up hat of Ervin Kaser.

5:30PM: Pick up Casper Oveross vehicle and return it to storage in Salem.

6:10PM: Put 1950 Ford, 1A118, at 123 So. 23rd. And lock garage.

6:45PM: Office and off duty to type up reports.

State Police Private Lloyd T. Riegel:

On 23 February 1955, Deputy Shaw and the writer were instructed by Sheriff Young and Sergeant Huffman to proceed to the Oveross residence and attempt to located bullets fired from the Casper Oveross gun while target practicing at the rear of the Oveross place. Tools were obtained from the State Highway offices and a thorough check was made in effort to determine from what position the shots could have been fired and into what area the shots at the targets would have been placed. This was very hard to determine as there appeared to be no definite spot for the shooting and no definite place for the placing of the targets. Several boards were found scattered throughout the field in which there is evidence that shots had been fired into the boards and on through. There were no actual bullets found and it is very doubtful if bullets could be found in this area due to the conditions.

At this time Deputy Shaw and the writer were contacted by Sheriff Young and Sergeant Huffman. The writer assisted Sergeant Huffman in a search of the Ethel Oveross residence. In the kitchen, behind the kitchen door, there were two definite marks on the wall which indicated that two guns had been leaned against the wall for some period of time. Ehtel Oveross stated that this was the spot where Casper Oveross had always placed his guns. With a tape measure and allowing for a normal lean of a gun, one mark measured thirty-eight and a quarter inches, a second was measured forty-nine and a half inches. It was quite definite on the walls where the end of the barrel and sight had marked the painted wall. Ethel Oveross stated that she did not know when Casper had taken the guns from the house, but that they had set there for quite some time before their divorce. A thorough search was made of the Oveross residence without any evidence of a gun being present.

Deputy Shaw and the writer then contacted Edith Kaser, the wife of Harvey Kaser. Edith Kaser stated that on the evening of 17 February 1955 at approximately 7:30 P.M. she had left home for Silverton, Oregon, to attend a Knights of Pythias lodge meeting. She further stated that she had left the lodge at approximately 10:55 P.M., 17 February 1955 and proceeded to her home on the Stayton-Silverton area. She stated as she approached the Ervin Kaser place she had noticed Ervin Kaser’s car setting in the driveway just south of the house and that the headlights and the dome light of the vehicle were on. She further stated that as she remembered there was no light inside the house and that she had wondered why the vehicle was setting with the lights on. She stated that it was possible, and that she had thought, that maybe Mr. Kaser had decided to leave and had forgotten something and had turned around to go back into the house and had left the vehicle setting with the lights on. She further stated that it was her impression that the vehicle was running, however, she could not definitely state that as she could see no exhaust smoke or could hear the engine as she passed. She further stated that about the middle of September 1954 that Oveross had come to their house one evning at approximately 11:00 P.M. and he had talked with her husband for some time then he got quite loud. She stated at that time she had got up and came to the front door with her husband and she heard Oveross state, “I’ll kill him, I’ll kill him, I don’t care if he is your brother.” She stated that she had threatened to call the State Police or the Sheriff and with this Casper Oveross had left. She further stated that evening Casper had been drinking and appeared to be somewhat quarrelsome.

The writer then contacted the Ekman Funeral Home in Silverton and picked up the hat worn by Ervin Kaser on the evening of the shooting. This request was made by Doctor Harris of the Crime Lab. The Ervin Kaser hat was sent to the crime lab at the request of Doctor Harris for further study at the laboratory.

The Casper Oveross vehicle, a 1950 Ford, Oregon 1A-118 was picked up by the writer, brought to Salem and stored at 123 South 23rd Street and locked up. The garage is in the possession of Sheriff Denvery Young. Denver Young presently holds the keys to the garage and to the vehicle.

Sheriff Denver Young:

10:30 A.M. Made check list with Sgt. Huffman. Ordered Oveross car brought in and parked at 195 S. 23rd St.

Removed Hunting license #297104 from Oveross property and placed in envelope.

1:15 Pick up Huffman

2:45 P.M Contacted Ethel Oveross at home, obtained permission to look over house. Measured marks in the house where she stated that Cap’s guns usually stood. One mark 38 1/4” from floor and one 49 1/2”.

3:40 P.M. Contact Jerry Hoyt bartender at Town House. Res at 119 Fiske St. Silverton. He has known Casper Oveross about 25 years. Recently purchased 20 acres from him. Thursday evening was not a busy night. He remembers when Rodney Oster and his wife came in about 10:30 and left about 12:30 midnight.

States that about 12:45 A.M. Feb 18, 1955 Casper Oveross came into the Town House and stayed until about 1:20 A.M. Then left. He noticed the time because the Silverton officers had been in earlier looking for Casper and had talked to him about Casper and Ervin Kaser. States that Casper drank one 7-up hiball and then went back to the restaurant counter and had a cup of coffee. Jerry talked to the Osters about the shooting just before they left the tavern.

5:00 P.M. Contacted Rodney Oster at Macks Place and took statement.

State Police Sergeant Wayne G. Huffman:

February 23, 1955, 4:58 P.M. Sheriff Denver Young and writer contacted Rodney R. Oster, 115 N. James Street, Silverton, bartender in Shorty’s Tavern, Silverton. He stated that he has known Casper Oveross all his life. On Thursday night, February 17, 1955, his wife, Margaret Oster, was bowling. He stated that he went to Mt. Angel and watched TV program, Dragnet, on TV at the Mt. Angel Hotel lobby and bar. He stated just a few minutes before the program was to end at 9:30 he left and drove to Silverton. He was rather in a hurry as he thought he would be late so he drove rather fast. He stated that he thought he arrived at Shorty’s Tavern around 9:35 P.M. He stated that on arrival at Shorty’s Tavern he saw Casper Oveross at the bar. Casper was not drinking and he talked with him for about ten or fifteen minutes. He stated Casper’s conversation was mostly about his family troubles and had made some statements “My wife is supposed to be at a lodge, but I suppose they are together.” He stated that he knew what Casper meant, that he meant Ervin Kaser but he did not mention his name. He also stated that Casper said, “I don’t think I will do anything about it as it isn’t worth it.” Oster stated that Casper had mentioned having a friend in the pen who is doing 99 years for killing his wife and boyfriend and that he knew when he was talking that he was thinking the same thing. He stated that Casper had talked to him before about his family troubles, he also used to talk to him about his financial affairs. He stated that he was at Shorty’s when his wife was through bowling and she came to the door and motioned to him and he left and when he left Casper was still there. He stated that he drove to the Town-House Tavern, he thought he got there about 10:30 P.M. and he and his wife stayed there for the next two hours. He thought possibly that they may have left there between 12:30 and 1:00 A.M. On February 18, 1955. He stated while they were there, he and his wife had some drinks and they played the bowling machine and Casper Oveross did not come into the bar while they were in there. Also he never saw him again that night. He stated that he was still there when the city police came in and motioned to Gerald Hoyt to come over to where they were standing at the front doorway of the bar room. He stated that Jerry told him the police had told him that Ervin Kaser had been shot. We both mentioned that we wondered where Cap Oveross was when we heard this. Oster stated after they left Town-House Tavern and went home they did not know exactly what time they arrived home.

Bud” at Marion County Sheriff’s Office: (apparently contacted Sears and Montgomery Wards for list of guns recently sold)

Sears Roebuck 30-30 rifles at $69.00 1946 to 1955, Silverton Area

Gus Herr Rt. 3 30-30 Winchester G-9412C

J. Beskeny Star Rt. 30-30 Winchester D-23762

N. S. Johansen 30-30 Winchester 1404372

Lester Fowler 30-30 Marlin E-37359

W. Shackelford 807 Bartlet 30-30 Winchester 1869114

Eldon Alt Rt. 3, Box 139 30-30 Winchester 1807469

Percy Dunn Rt. 2 30-30 Winchester 1876444

Vernon Mattox 936 S. Water 30-30 Winchester 2051738

Montgomery Wards.

Fred Allunbaugh 316 N. Church 30-30 Winchester No Number

Thomas Brown 30-30 Marlin G-7928

R. A. Sims 1528 Salem Rd. 30-30 Marlin H-13585

Sears Roebuck have charge account with Kasper Oveross, over a number of years, no recent purchase of gun on record. But they only have 1952 forward on books, are writing letter to main office, Seattle Washington, as he has done a lot of catalogue buying and could purchase gun through catalogue and they would not have record in main office, Salem, Ore. They will call this office if they receive any word from Main Office.

Oregon Statesman, Thursday, February 24, 1955
Oveross Hearing Ordered

Oveross being arraigned

Marion County District Court in Salem was a busy place Wednesday morning as Caspar Oveross, 44, of Silverton, was arraigned on a charge of first degree murder. The camera peeks into the courtroom over the shoulders of crowd and officers and shows District Judge Edward O. Stadter Jr. in background conducting arraignment. Facing him at attorneys’ table (with backs to the door) are Oveross (at left) and George Jones of Salem, who with Attorney Bruce Williams is defending Oveross. (Statesman photo)

Casper A. Oveross, arraigned Wednesday on a charge of slaying his ex-neighbor, Ervin Kaser, was granted a March 2 preliminary hearing in Marion County District Court.

Calm after his arrest and at his morning arraignment, Oveross later displayed the same unruffled composure in his Marion County jail cell where he is being held without bail.

Oveross, 44, was arrested late Tuesday in Silverton.  He is being held on a criminal information charging first-degree murder.

Kaser, 49, was killed Thursday night at his Evergreen district home near Silverton.  Four rifle bullets were fired by an assailant who sped away in an auto.

Answers Questions Calmly

Clad in blue jeans and a red-black plaid shirt, Oveross calmly answered questions put to him Wednesday morning by District Judge Edward O. Stadter Jr.  He appeared with Salem attorneys Bruce Williams and George Jones.

In Marion County probate court Wednesday, Kaser’s widow, Mary Louisa Kaser, was appointed adminstratrix of Kaser’s estate. Probate valuation was $10,000 in real property and $1,000 in personal property.

In Oveross’ native Silverton, several views of his alleged part in the slaying seem to have emerged Wednesday. Some adopt the attitude that sheriff’s office, will have to prove his case before they’ll believe it.

Oveross emerges from courtroom.

Oveross is emerging from the courtroom into circle of reporters, photographers and onlookers. Man facing camera at extreme right is Marion County Sheriff Denver Young. Photographer at left is Thomas G. Wright Jr. of The Statesman.

Rapitidy of Fire Cited

Others Wednesday expressed the view that, if Oveross fired the fatal shots, he did it to scare Kaser.  They cite the rapidity of the final three of four shots as proof that the rifleman had no intent to hit anyone.

Only sign of emotion shown during the brief court proceedings was at the end.  As Oveross left the courtroom, he recieved a warm hug and kiss from his sister, Mrs. Edward Schubert of Silverton Route 2.

Lasts Only Few Minutes

After juggling a few dates the hearing was set for next Wednesday at 10 a.m. in district court.  The entire proceedings required only several minutes.  The small spectators’ section of the courtroom was crowded with Oveross’ relatives, law officers, reporters and the public.

Casper Oveross emerges from court

Casper (Cap) Oveross, 43, calls cheerful greeting to friends as he leaves District Judge Edward A. Stadter’s court room Wednesday where he was arraigned on a first degree murder charge for the slaying of Ervin O. Kaser, 49-year-old Silverton farmer. Oveross is a former neighbor of the victim. Behind Oveross at right side of photo is Sheriff Denver Young. Unidentified woman is in left background. Oveross was remanded to jail without bail pending his preliminary hearing at 10 a.m., March 2. (Capital Journal photo)

Attorney Williams appeared satisfied with the early date set for the preliminary hearing. He had earlier declared there is no evidence against Oveross.

Meanwhile, the county sheriff’s office and state police continued their investigation. Police said three rifles “which Oveross has access to” were sent to the state police crime laboratory for checking and that bullets found at the murder scene have been compared with bullets taken from a target range on Oveross’ Abiqua farm.

Work Delayed

Sheriff Denver Young said much of his laboratory work — notably on the victim’s and Oveross’ impounded cars and on the guns — has been delayed because the crime laboratory experts have been called to testify at Burns in the Clinton Anderson murder trial.

At next week’s preliminary hearing the state will be required to present sufficient evidence linking Oveross to the crime.  The judge will either bind Oveross over to the grand jury for possible indictment or dismiss the case.

Oregon Statesman, Thursday, February 24, 1955
Ervin Kaser, Mrs. Oveross Accused in Divorce Actions

In seeking the conviction of Casper A. Oveross as slayer of his former Silverton neighbor Ervin O. Kaser, Marion County authorities are apparently taking into account an accusation by Oveross that Kaser was responsible for breaking up his marriage.

County circuit court records of the Casper Oveross’ divorce complaint and of a divorce action filed by Mrs. Kaser both refer to their spouses as associating with other persons of the opposite sex.

On Aug. 6 Mary Kaser, wife of the Silverton hop farmer Oveross is accused of ambushing, filed suit for divorce.  She charged, among other allegations, that “The defendant does associate with and keep company with another woman or other women from time to time.”  She does not list names.

Scandal Claimed

On Aug. 20 Casper Oveross, Silverton carpenter, suing his wife Ethel for divorce, alleged “That for the period of several years, the defendant has associated herself with other men, and particularly one other man to such an extent that such association has become public scandal and gossip in the community in which the plaintiff and defendant live.”  Neither does he list names.

Forty-nine year-old Kaser’s death last Thursday leaves the Kaser divorce mute. Trial had been set for March 17.

Granted Divorce

The accused Oveross on Oct. 8 was granted his divorce, a 20-acre farm and the newer of the two family cars.  Mrs. Oveross won the family homestead of eight acres, on which sets the house they lived in and an unfinished dwelling.  Under terms of the divorce decree, Oveross and his ex-wife are prohibited from marrying within the next six months.

The defendants of both divorce actions — the deceased Kaser and Oveross’ former wife — entered general denials of the allegations listed in the two complaints.

Casper Oveross did not appear personally for the final divorce hearing before Circuit Judge Joseph B. Felton, but was represented by Attorney Thomas B. Bagriel.  Mrs. Oveross appeared in the company of her attorney, Ervin W. Potter.

Married in 1935

The Oveross couple were married Dec. 5, 1935 in Vancouver, Wash., and lived during their marriage in Silverton’s Evergreen district, about a half mile east of the Kaser residence.

[EK_note: it was very common at that time for couples to drive to Vancouver, Washington, about an hour's drive north, just across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon, because there was no waiting period in Washington, you could get married the same day.]

Ervin and Mary Kaser were married Oct. 21, 1939 in Salem.

[Recounting of the murder deleted]

Mrs. Oveross gained custody of the couple’s two daughters in the divorce.  She and an older daughter [EK_note: Colleen] were in the courtroom at Oveross’ arraignment Wednesday.

A life-long resident of the Silverton community Oveross is generally well-liked by his townsmen and neighbors.  He and his family had lived for 20 years in the Evergreen community about a quarter-mile from the killing.

Blogically yours,
Everett