Not Innocent: The Investigation (part 10)

Ever since the murder on the night of February 17, 1955, the police have been searching for the murder weapon, believed to be a 30-caliber hunting rifle. They’ve hunted for the rifle itself and have done ballistics tests on a number of 30-caliber hunting rifles belonging to men in the Kaser family, in the Oveross family, and belonging to neighbors and others related to the homicide.  Their prime suspect, Casper Oveross, has denied ever having owned a 30-caliber hunting rifle, even though he had some shells in his cabin and others have claimed that he had a hunting rifle.  The police have searched every sporting goods store, lumber yard, hardware store, gunsmith, and any place that might deal in guns anywhere within reasonable range of Silverton where Oveross may have purchased a gun.

At last, after three weeks, on March 10, progress…

Wednesday, March 9, 1955

State Police Private Lloyd T. Riegel:

On 9 March 1955 the writer and Deputy Shaw proceeded to the Crime Lab, Portland, Oregon, with two weapons and several specimens of ammunition for these weapons. While at the crime lab these weapons were tested and a 30 Remington belonging to Edward Schubert was returned. Test shots were fired of other weapons then on hand at the crime lab and all weapons have been eliminated with the exception of the Wayne Moore 30-30 model 94 Winchester. The writer and Deputy Shaw returned the 30 Remington pump, 30-30 Savage model 340 and the 30-30 Marlin lever action and several rounds of ammunition. These weapons are returned to their rightful owners by Sergeant Huffman. See receipts for these weapons.

The writer and Deputy Shaw contacted Mr. Kenneth Setness, foreman for the B & R Lumber Company, Silverton, Oregon. Mr. Setness stated that he had known Casper Oveross and Ervin Kaser for many years. He stated that approximately two weeks ago Casper Oveross came to his place attempting to purchase lumber at a discount. He stated that he had a contract job building some farm buildings for Bill DeLang. The company was unable to give Oveross the discount he desired so business was not transacted. Mr. Setness further stated that approximately two months ago Ervin Kaser came to the B & R Lumber Company requesting a position as a machinist and mechanic. Setness stated that he knew Kaser was a good machinist and mechanic but that he was unable to employe him at that time. Kaser then offered to sell him some 4 x 4 16 feet long planks that he had at his hop yard, stating that since he had purchased his hop picking machine he had lost considerable amount of money and that he was in bad need for some ready cash. Mr. Setness stated that these planks were purchased by the B & R Lumber Company. All the planks have not been removed from the Kaser property.

Marion County Sheriff Denver Young:

Contacted Mr. E.L. Montgomery 734 S Water St., Worked in Marshall-Well’s store in 1952. No pertinent information.

1:45 P.M. Contacted Mrs. Smith at Rockey Four Corners to located Mosier family.

2:00 P.M. Contacted Mrs. Mosier at Scotts Mills school.

State Police Sergeant Wayne G. Huffman:

Writer contacted the Marion County sheriff’s office on March 9, 1955 to check the radio log of station KOG233, Marion county sheriff’s office, and learned that on February 17, 1955 Deputy Sheriff Frankum was on radio duty that night. The log shows at 11:20 P.M. he dispatched car #4, Officer Boehringer, to check the Evergreen School area regarding a dead man. Radio log was checked for other times for the thought to check on the movements of car #30 which is the Silverton city police department to ascertain the time they arrived at Casper Oveross’ cabin that particular night. The only entry of car #30 was at 11:47 P.M. The only notation on the radio log was the word “Info”. In checking with Deputy Frankum, was unable to determine what their radio message was at that time or their location. They again reported in by radio after midnight some time between 12:45 and 2:30 A.M., no time was noted at the time they called in. Writer was unable to definitely ascertain the location of car #30 the time they radioed to the Marion County sheriff’s office.

University of Oregon Medical School, Crime Detection Laboratory:

At 1:30 P.M., March 9, 1955 there is received from the Crime Detection Laboratory the following items:

1 Marlin 30-30 rifle, Model 336 R C, Serial No. J 4465
1 Savage 30-30 rifle, Model 340, no serial number

(signed)

Lloyd T. Reigel
Amos O. Shaw

Prior owner of Ames Hardware, Norris Ames: (letter to State Police)

Gentlemen:

In reply to your inquiry on the Oveross rifle, beg to say that I have no recollection of ever having discussed a rifle sale with him personally, altho some of the other clerks may have done so. And about the only thing I can suggest is for you to go to Carl Hande of the Hande Hdw. and have him show you to the balcony, and look thru my books and records, which were stored there in 1949. I think the bookkeeper kept serial numbers of guns, revolvers, outboard motors, etc., in her regular “time book” (app. 4 x 6” – brown cover regulation time book) (and probably several of them) of our clerks, so feel free to search thoroly for them.

I doubt very much if any Winchester guns were delivered to dealers in 46 or 7, but Marlin did make a very few deliveries on their 30 Carbine along at the close of the war period.

I will be home by April 15, and will be glad to help you in any way that I can, and feel free to write me at this address if you wish anything more from me.

Norris Ames (sd)
Box 153
Cathedral City
Calif.

Thursday, March 10, 1955

State Police Private Lloyd T. Riegel:

On 10 March 1955 the writer and Deputy Shaw located at Hande’s Hardware Store in Silverton, previously owned by Norris Ames, a ledger sheet from the hardware store when owned by Norris Ames. This ledger sheet showed that on 5 March 1949 a 30-30 Winchester rifle for $62.45 was purchased by Casper Oveross. The rifle was charged. Further check disclosed that the sales slip to Casper Oveross on 5 March 1949 had been signed or initialed by M. Z. A check revealed that the M. Z. was Marian Zahler presently of Eugene, however at that time was a bookkeeper for the Ames Hardware. These articles were obtained for photographing, see attached photostats made by the State Police Bureau of Identification in Salem. A search was made throught the building for the time book referred to by Norris Ames in his letter. This search was with negative results. Mr. Carl Hande who presently owns the hardware stated that he had seen the book when he first purchased the store in October 1949, but he has no knowledge of where the book could be at the present time.

Floyd Steiger was contacted and a picture of he and Casper Oveross and a large deer against which was leaning two rifles was taken for further photographing and enlarging by the identification bureau. This photograph has been copied and enlargement made, which is presently held at the Salem patrol office for further use.

Marian Zahler was contacted by the writer and a sample hand writing was taken from Mrs. Zahler for comparison by Captain Alford. Marian Zahler further stated that she remembered selling the rifle to Casper Oveross, but she was unable to say exactly what model rifle it was. However, as she remembered it it was a deer rifle. She further stated that Casper had the rifle layed away several months before he had actually purchased the gun and that she had actually sold the gun, as at that time the sales personnel was on a percentage basis.

Ames Hardware receipt for Oveross gun purchase

Photocopy of receipt found in old records of Ames Hardware showing purchase of 30-30 Winchester rifle by Casper Oveross on March 5, 1949, after having been on “Lay Away” since February 1949.

Marion County Sheriff Denver Young:

10:35 A.M. J.C.Penney store Silverton. No information.

11:30 A.M. Contacted Mrs. Helen Schmidgall who owned logging truck parked in front of Kellerhals on night of Feb. 17th, 1955. They went up there about 8:00 to put anti freeze in it. Stayed until about 10:00 P.M. then went home via Brush Creek School. Saw no cars parked on the road.

1:45 P.M. Contacted Omer Bailey who worked in Ames store 1949.

2:10 P.M. Ames Hardware store, assisted in search of records. Shaw & Reigel found sales slip to Casper Oveross.

State Police Sergeant Wayne G. Huffman:

On March 10, 1955, Sheriff Denver Young and writer contacted Mrs. Helen Schmidgall, Rt. 2, Box 53 A, Silverton. Mrs. Schmidgall advised that they visited the Kellerhals on the night of February 17, 1955. She stated her husband has a logging truck and that Kellerhal works for her husband on and off driving the logging truck. She stated their visit to the Kellerhals was on business and was to put antifreeze in the truck. The truck at that time was parked at the Kellerhal’s place. She states they arrived at the Kellerhals around 8:00 or 8:15 P. M. She was in the house visiting with Mrs. Kellerhal while the men worked on the truck outside. She stated they left around 10:00 or 10:15 P. M. and went back home by way of the Evergreen School Road and the Brush Creek School Road. This would take them past Lawrence Gerhings place and out near their home. She stated she does not remember seeing anyone or any cars near the Kaser place when they left. She does not remember if there were any cars parked at the Evergreen School or on that road and she did not remember meeting any cars on the back road before they got home. She stated she does not know Casper Oveross and would not know anything concerning any guns that he may have had.

Friday, March 11, 1955

Sheriff’s Deputy Amos O. Shaw:

8:30 AM Make out Reports Etc. on Kaser Murder.

10:30 AM Work with Sargeant Huffman, and Sheriff

12:00 PM Lunch

1:00 PM Contact Informant in Silverton

2:15 PM Receive information that a Tavern in Gervais has been a meeting place between Ervin Kaser, and some of his Lady friends. Will go to Gervais and check.

2:30 PM Contact Tavern in Gervais, John Hurdle interviewed, Stated he doesn’t know Ervin Kaser at all, however may know Casper Oveross but isn’t sure. Doesn’t think that any Silverton people have been in the Tavern of late.

Hurdle was born and raised up above Scotts Mill and and has known Informant for several years. Hurdle stated he will try to relay any information regarding the Murder if he hears any.

2:40 PM Contact Barber, in Gervais (Writer has known this subject for several years and he has been a reliable source of information. Also works as part time Bar-Tender in Gervais Pool hall and Tavern.) Subject couldn’t shed any light on Murder and stated all he has heard was Vague rumors. Nothing of value. Will relay any information of Value.

3:30 PM Stayton Oregon, contacted Mr. Henry Lou Lay, stated he had worked for Cap’ Oveross for several years, however doesn’t know if Cap’ owns a gun or not. Stated he did know that Cap’ owned a Shot gun.

3:40 PM Contact Sullivan Electric shop in Stayton unable to contact J. Sullivan.

5:00 PM Off duty

Marion County Sheriff Denver Young:

11:30 A.M. Contacted Russ Pratt Landlord of Mrs. Mary Kaser. Called her to telephone about 6:15 A.M 2/18/55. She was pretty well broken up over news. States she had no men callers at apartment.

State Police Sergeant Wayne G. Huffman:

Contacted a Mr. Russell Pratt, employee of the Marshall-Wells Store, Hollywood District, Salem, Oregon, who has a home address of 2054 N. Capitol Street, Salem. He stated he is acquainted with a Mary Kaser as she lives in the apartment near his. He also stated a Mrs. Morrison called for a Mary Kaser around 6:15 A. M. February 17, 1955 and that he went to her apartment to call her. He stated that there was a light on in her apartment and she was up. He stated he did not think anything wrong with this as she normally gets up early so as to get down to the state capitol building in order to find a place to park. He stated she came in and answered the phone and the news she received over the phone caused quite some concern. She stated she broke down completely and that he and his wife had to put her on the bed and put a blanket over her in his apartment. He stated that he called her daughter and son-in-law and they came over. They had to give her some pills as she was completely broken up over receiving the news of her husbands death. He further stated that he did not know of any men friends or any callers that she may have had at her apartment as he had never noticed any and had seen that she had always came and left her apartment alone.

Sheriff Young and writer contacted Floyd Mulkey, proprietor of Maude and Andy’s Tavern, S. 12th Street, Salem, Oregon, on information of a story we received Casper Oveross was known at that tavern also that the lady bartender in that tavern had made a statement that the Kellerhal’s were not telling all that they knew. In contacting Floyd Mulkey he stated that he knew Casper Oveross but not too well and he knew him when he lived at Silverton. Mr. Mulkey coming to Salem from Silverton. He stated that he knows for sure that Casper Oveross was not in his tavern on the night of February 17, 1955. He stated he could supply no further information on Casper Oveross about any guns or anything he might know concerning Ervin Kaser’s death.

Contacted Mrs. Beth Mulkey, wife of Floyd Mulkey, who tends bar at the Maude and Andy’s Tavern. She stated she was formally from Silverton and she knew Casper Oveross. Also that she just knew the Kellerhals slightly. She stated that the remark about them not telling everything they knew was just conversation as she did not know anything about the Kellerhals at all. She stated that Casper Oveross had been in their tavern in Salem but this was a considerable time before the shooting. She stated he had never mentioned any of his family troubles and she though it was about two months prior to the shooting that he was in their tavern. She stated she does not remember making the remark about the Kellerhals but if she did it was just conversation and there was no meaning to the statement.

Oregon State Police Sergeant Frank J. Beers:

The following places were checked by the writer with negative results: – March 11, ’55.

CANBY HARDWARE AND IMPLEMENT COMPANY, Canby, Oregon

MARSHALL – WELLS, Canby, Oregon

91” STORE at Needy – No knowledge of any attempt to sell a 30 Calibre rifle as described in Sergeant Huffman’s report, in the area, but suggested the name of OTTO WELLMAN, Richfield Oil Company Distributor, at Mt. Angel, who is reported to be a gun fancier, and collector. Mr. Wellman is well known in the area of Marion and Clackamas Countys, as a caller on the farmers buying meat, hops, etc., and selling gasoline and oil.

AURORA HARDWARE & GUN SHOP – Aurora, Oregon

MILL’S HARDWARE – Aurora, Oregon – Sells only new guns – records kept and learned nothing of any sale to any of the names furnished. (note) Mr. Mills remarked, “I suppose you are checking on the KASER murder, and he could get hungary for money and try to sell the gun in this area as you probable know he is working within three miles of here.” Meaning the SUSPECT and the Aurora area.

WHISKEY HILL STORE – Clackamas County Near Marion Co. line.

(Note) Mr. Wellman was mentioned to the writer twice March 11th., as a possible outlet or buyer of the gun in question.

Also nothing further was pushed at this time as to the exact place of employment of the suspect CASPER ARNOLD OVEROSS.

Saturday, March 12, 1955

Sheriff’s Deputy Amos O. Shaw:

9:45 AM Leave Office for Salem Oregon, and make contacts.

10:30 AM At Stayton contact Sullivan’s Electric shop, Mr. Sullivan not here at this time.

10:50 AM Contact Claude Hastings, Barber in Stayton. Doesn’t know Casper Oveross to well. Cap come in once in a while to get hair cut is all.

12:00 PM Contact CLIFF KUENZI, (Lives 3-4 miles west of Evergreen School.) said that he, and Alvin Lund, and Melvin Lund, Lee Kuenzi, D.D. Von Flue, NOAH WENGER, all went elk hunting 1949 or 1950, and Noah Wenger had borrowed a brand new, Winchester 30-30 Winchester. Noah Wenger was using a 8MM Mouser and it jammed on him so he discontinued using the gun and used the 30-30 Winchester borrowed from Casper Oveross.

Also stated that several years ago Cliff had taken his Beagle hounds and gone out in back of Harvey Kaser’s coon hunting. The hounds took off after a rabbit, and Cliff Kuenzi went down and stood by some sheep that were penned up so the dogs wouldn’t get at them. Melvin Kaser, Harvey Kaser, and Casper Oveross come over to where he was, all carried guns (believed to be shot guns not sure) Harvey Kaser remarked that he had shot at one of the dogs but missed, but it wasn’t his fault as he had tried to hit it.

Cliff also stated that he remembers reading in the Silverton Paper an article where Harvey Kaser had gone deer hunting last season, (or elk hunting not sure) (Harvey told me writer of this report that he never went hunting and didn’t know any thing about guns.) D.D. Kuenzi knows Harvey well, and may give info.

Also stated that Fred Stadeli, should know all about Ervin Kaser personal life and Ervin had shown his black eye and bruises to him right after the fight with Harvey Kaser. Fred Stadeli lives about 1 mile east of Cliff Kuenzi.

[EK_note: even at this late date, with so much evidence pointing at Casper Oveross, the police are still examining possible evidence against other suspects, such as Ervin’s brother Harvey Kaser.  They didn’t just “lock onto” their first suspect, Casper Oveross, and then ignore all other possibilities.]

2:40 PM Contacted Mr. DeLanch, Casper had laid out some plans for him in building a cabin and said that Cap didn’t do the killing. Couldn’t base his opinion on anything except the fact that Cap is a good boy. Did state that it may be well to contact a ARCHIE THOMAS Silverton, as Thomas knows something about E Kaser 1st. wife and the trouble at that time.

This Witness was very reluctant to talk, and after giving the information on A. Thomas tried to talk me out of going and seeing him.

3:30 PM Contact Clarence Moser, Scotts Mills, known Ervin Kaser and worked for him past 3-4 years.

Stated that Ervin Kaser had fired a BOB LANCE, whom lives up old Golf Course Rd. by Harvey Kaser’s and some hard feeling may have resulted.

Gave some family history on Kaser, and family.

State Police Private Lloyd T. Riegel:

On 12 March 1955 the writer and Deputy Shaw contacted Clifford Kunzie. Mr. Kunzie stated that during elk season in 1949 that he, Lloyd Kunzie, Melvin Lund, Alvin Lund, Alfred Bonflue and Noah Winiger had gone on an elk hunting trip to eastern Oregon. Prior to departing on this elk hunting trip some discussion was made relative to taking additional rifles in case of a rifle failure. Noah Winiger borrowed a new 30-30 rifle from Casper Oveross. Mr. Kunzie stated that he was sure that this was a model 94 Winchester carbine. He stated that Oveross had loaded the rifle to Winiger with the understanding that it would not be used unless absolutely necessary. When the gun, a 8mm Mauser, used by Winiger had failed to function, Winiger had continued hunting with the Oveross rifle. Clifford Kunzie further stated that he had compared his rifle a 30-30 Marlin with the 30-30 Winchester belonging to Casper Oveross and that he was sure that the gun was new and had only been fired a few times.

Clifford Kunzie stated that he had known both Ervin Kaser and Harvey Kaser for quite some time and that he had actually transacted business with Ervin Kaser. He stated that he was quite sure that there was some hard feelings between Harvey and Ervin Kaser over the land settlement of the old Kaser home place. He stated that when he first knew Ervin Kaser, Ervin was farming approximately forty acres of his mother’s land. But within the last two years Harvey had been successful in persuading his mother to let him farm the land and to take it away from Ervin. To the best of his knowledge when the 1954 crop of hops had been harvested Ervin Kaser was out of land, as his mother had declined to let him farm any of her land further. Mr. Kunzie feels that this matter should be checked into as Fred Staidlie, a friend of Ervin Kaser, had told him that Henry and Ervin had a violent fight over this land situation and that Ervin had come to his place with a black eye and several bruises and scratches resulting from the fight.

An attempt to contact Mr. Fred Staidlie was unsuccessful, however, a contact will be made at a latter date.

On 12 March 1955 Deputy Shaw, Marion county sheriff’s office, and the writer contacted Clarance Moser, Scotts Mills. Mr. Moser stated that he had known Ervin Kaser for the past three years and that they had traded work in connection with drying hops at Ervin Kaser’s hop drying machine. Mr. Moser stated that he felt that Ervin Kaser was a fine man, that he had always been truthful and honest in all business dealings. He further stated that Kaser had never mentioned his family problems other than that his present wife, Mary Kaser, was suing for a divorce. Kaser stated that to the best of his knowledge she had no grounds for the divorce and that he would file a counter suit in order to protect his interests and land. Mr. Moser stated that on 12 March 1955 he had been advised by Melvin Kaser that Mary Kaser had placed an attachment on his hops that had been stored in the hop dryer belonging to Ervin Kaser. He stated that he did not know why this action had been taken and that he had not had time to contact an attorney and determine what counter action he could take.

Virgil Huddleston:

Received of Sheriff Denver Young and Sergeant Wayne Huffman, State Police, one (1) 30-30 Savage, Model 340, bolt action, no serial number, which was submitted for ballistic tests in above referred to case.

State Police Sergeant Wayne G. Huffman:

Re: Casper Arnold Oveross, suspect

On March 12, 1955, the following articles removed from suspect’s vehicle were returned to him and a receipt obtained.

One (1) pair of work shoes.
One (1) pair of wool socks.
One (1) Green jacket, (white stag)
One (1) Pair white carpenter overalls.
One (1) Blue print
One (1) Carpenter Hammer
One (1) Empty manila envelope, contained car license plates at one time, 1-A-118.
Four (4) 12 guage shot gun shells and one empty shell.
One (1) Package Herbert-Tarrington Cigarettes.
One (1) Blue wear-ever ball point pen
One (1) Tube of Camphor Ice.
One (1) Carpenter pencil
One (1) Pair of leather dress gloves
One (1) Pair of leather work gloves
One (1) Fishing tackle book.
One (1) Blue Plaid Jacket
One (1) Red & Blue auto robe
One (1) Blue Auto Robe.

Receipt copy attached to this report.

Silverton City Police Officer Yates:

Time: 4:30 P.M.
Date: 3/12/55

1. At the above time and date the writer was talking to Shorty the owner of Shorty’s tavern. We were talking about the Kaiser killing and who done it. Shorty stated that Overross didn’t do it, that he would bet money that Kaiser brother done the killing. Other people has told him the same thing.

2. H. C. Scheidegger 592 W. Lincoln St. Woodburn was ownwer of the Red Top tavern up till 3 years ago. He stated Kaiser was in his tavern with different women than and every one wondered how he kept from getting into trouble. He was also seen by Scheidegger at Larry’s tavern in the past, with women.

3. Ed Crosby Rt 1 Woodburn well known hop grower stated he knew Kaiser and one brother well. Crosby stated the two hated each other and told him that they did.

Ed Schubert:

Received of Sheriff Denver Young and Sergeant Wayne Huffman, one (1) 30 Calibre Remington Rifle, Ser.61690, and 3 live rounds of shells.

Signed – Ed Schubert

Wayne G. Huffman, Sergeant

Sunday, March 13, 1955

[day off]

Monday, March 14, 1955

Sheriff’s Deputy Amos O. Shaw (Badge #51):

8:00 AM Contact Office to type up daily reports etc.

10:00 AM With District Attorney Ken Brown

12:00 PM Lunch

1:14 PM Contact Cap’ Towe, Silverton, worked for Ames Hardware 1946 and 1947, in appliance section. Doesn’t know any thing about Casper Oveross buying a gun. Was also working there in 1948-1949.

1:50 PM Contact Mrs. Arthur Andresen, on Golf Course Road, stated that on 17th. Day of February, 1955, the family had gone to Mrs. Andresen Fathers house for a Birthday dinner. And had left there about 10:00 PM to return home. It is a 20 to 25 minute drive from there to home. She believed they arrived home around 10:30 PM, 17th. And had been home about one half hour when they heard a car drive by going on East past the house. One of them in the house remarked that the neighbor must be getting home. Every one in the house heard the car, and the next day remarked that it must have been the Murderer’s vehicle because of the time element. Also heard later that there wasn’t supposed to have been any vehicles turn up the road bu she knows better since they heard the car going by. Didn’t get a look at the car and unable to describe it. Car didn’t seem to be traveling at an excessive rate of speed.

2:10 PM Contact Sarg. Huffman and Sheriff Young, search for Bulletts in back of Ethel Oveross home. Using a Shovel and Mine Detector.

4:40 PM Pick up 30-30 Rifle from Melvin Kaser Serial No. 361221 Sheriff Young found a piece of a fragment of bullett in Straw berry patch approximately middle of the patch. In line with path of bullett after having passed thru the E. Kaser vehicle.

[EK_note: This is another instance where Amos Shaw appears to have forgotten that he’d already written up a day’s report and wrote it again, shown below.]

8:00 AM Contact Office and type up reports on previous day activities

10:00 AM With District Attorney Ken Brown discuss case and what we need.

12:00 PM Lunch

1:13 PM Contact Cap Towe, Silverton. Worked for Ames Hardware in 1946 to 1949 mostly in the Electric Appliance section. Doesn’t recall any Rifle sales to Casper Oveross.

1:50 PM Contact Mrs. Arthur Andresen, residing on Golf Course Rd. Whom stated that on 17th. Of February, the Family had gone to her Father’s home to a Birthday Dinner, And left for home about 10:00 PM. Arrived home about 10:30 PM. They were home about one half hour when they heard a car proceeding East along the Gravel road in front of the house. One of the Children remarked Mr. Lanch (Whom is a Neighbor) must be getting home. Mrs. Andresen said that every one in their house heard the car and is certain about the Time and date. Stated it could have been a very few minutes prior to 11:00 PM or a few minutes after 11:00 PM. 2-17-55.

NOTE: This is the only family on this road that would admit to having heard a car at that time of evening.

2:10 PM Contact Sargeant Huffman, and Sheriff Young and proceed to the rear of Oveross Farm and search for slugs in Field. Used a Mine Detector. Found nothing.

4:40 PM Pick up 30-30 Caliber Rifle belonging to Melvin Kaser. Serial No. 361221, to be sent in for Ballistics.

Was present when Sheriff found a Fragment of bullett in Straw berry patch in the approximate line a bullett would have traveled after passing thru Ervin Kaser’s vehicle.

5:30 PM Off duty home

State Police Private Lloyd T. Riegel:

On 14 March 1955 Deputy Shaw and the writer contacted Casper Towe, Silverton, Oregon, employee of the Hubb’s Insurance Agency. Mr. Towe stated that he had worked at Ames Hardware in the years 1947 and 1948 then he had taken the managership of a second hand furniture operated by Norris Ames. Mr. Towe stated that he knew Casper Oveross quite well but that he had never talked guns with Mr. Oveross. He further stated that while working at the store he had no connection with the sporting goods section as he was an appliance salesman.

Deputy Shaw and the writer then conducted a house to house check of the Eureka Road, commonly known as the Golf Course Road. This road proceeds east from the Silverton-Sublimity highway, approximately 2 1/2 miles turns north and comes in to Silverton on Eureka Road by the water tower over the south hill of Silverton. A check of this road failed to disclose any information other than from Authur Andresen. Mr. Andresen stated that on 17 February 1955 that he and his family had been at a birthday party and had returned home at approximately 10:30 P. M. On making preparations for bed their daughter commented that a car has just passed the house. At that time both he and his wife remember hearing the car pass. They estimate the time at 10:50 to 10:55. They did not see the car and could not recognize from the sound of the vehicle whose car it could have been. It was their impression that it was their neighbor, R. L. Simpson, coming home, however, they could not be sure. The Simpson place could not be seen from their residence. A check with Mr. Simpson revealed that he had not returned home at that time on 17 February since he and his family had been home the entire evening.

Approximately 1/4 mile east of the junction of the Silverton-Sublimity and Golf Course Road, Casper Oveross had previously owned approximately 20 acres of land. On this land are several piles of old boards, sheet metal roofing and an old trailer house.

This property was thoroughly searched by Deputy Shaw and the writer for the possible weapon or any other thing that may be used as a piece of evidence in connection with this case. Nothing was found other than a tin can which appeared to have been shot through with a large caliber rifle but there was no indication as to where these bullets may have gone after passing through the can. Trees and boards on the place were also checked for possible bullets and bullet holes. There was no indication that there had been any firing on this property.

Deputy Shaw and the writer then contacted Sheriff Young and Sergeant Huffman and assisted in a search and check of the area to the rear or to the east of the Casper Oveross property. This was an open field in which there was indication that target practise had taken place. Three boards were found lying on the ground which appeared to have at one time been setting up and used as targets. These boards had bullet holes through them appearing to be from a large caliber rifle. The use of a National Guard mine detector failed to uncover any bullets in this area. Several places were checked by actually digging into the ground with negative results. The area was also checked for casings which could have been discarded after firing. There were no casings located.

The above four mentioned officers then checked the strawberry field which lays to the east of the Stayton-Sublimity-Silverton highway and between the Ervin Kaser and Melvin Kaser residence. The mine detector was used in this field with negative results. However, the remains of a bullet was found by Sheriff Young. This bullet was laying approximately half way across the field and in apparent line from the believed spot of shooting the Ervin Kaser car and the corner post as the Melvin Kaser residence. This bullet was taken by Denver Young and later transmitted to the State Police Crime Laboratory for check by ballistic experts. Two brass casings from a 30-30 caliber previously found by the writer on the Casper Oveross property were also marked and sent to the crime laboratory for what ever value they may be.

Marion County Sheriff Denver Young:

1:45 P.M. Pick up mine detector at Silverton Armory. Buddy Groah of Silverton assisted.

2:10 P.M. Oveross residence with mine detector to try and locate bullets and shells. Present Shaw, Reigel, Huffman and self, also Buddy Groah. No success.

3:00 P.M. Melvin Kaser residence. Others picked up his rifle to test. It was a 30-30 Winchester, long barrel # 361221. Use of mine detector was of no value on shells and lead bullets. I picked up a bullet fragment of what appeared to me to be part of a copper jacketed bullet of 30 Cal. This was located about half way across the strawberry field between the Ervin Kaser home and Melvin Kaser home. It was laying on top of the soil. I marked the fragment with D on upper portion.

State Police Sergeant Thomas N. Eaton:

Refer to letter by Lieutenant Farley Mogan, directed to Captain Parson, dated March 7, 1955.

On March 14, 1955, traveled to Yreka, California and from there accompanied Sheriff Al Cotter, Siskiyou county, to Happy Camp California. Inquiry was made at Happy Camp regarding LLOYD OVEROSS, as requested in Lieutenant Mogans’ letter.

The post mistress was contacted and advised that to her knowledge, no packages had been received in the mail addressed to Lloyd Oveross. It was learned from this same person that a MR. and MRS ALVA BROYLES picked up all mail at that point for Oveross. Both Mr. and Mrs Broyles were contacted and advised that Lloyd Oveross rented a small trailer house from them, which was located in a wooded lot near the main part of Happy Camp, and that they picked up the mail at the post office for Oveross. Their reason for this was because of the post office being closed at the time Oveross got off work at a local mill.

The Broyles appeared to be honest and truthful young people, and advised that to their knowledge, Lloyd Oveross had received no packages in the mail. Mr. Broyles displayed to the writer and Sheriff Cotter, two letters that had been received in the days mail, for Oveross. The letters of course were un-open, and both hnad a return address of 339 Welch St., Silverton, Oregon, the Silverton address of Lloyd Oveross, where his wife and daughter now reside. Alva Broyles and wife reside next to the Oveross trailer house and advised that they had never seen a gun in subjects’ possession or in the trailer house.

Lloyd Oveross was then conteacted at his trailer house, when he returned from his employment as a lumber grader at the Terk Lumber Co., Happy Camp. This subject had no knowledge as to whether or not his brother, Casper Oveross, owned or had owned a 30-30 caliber rifle. Stated that although he and his brother had resided in the same area, has not hunted with him for four of five years, and therefore had no knowledge of any rifles his brother may have owned or had in his possession. Subject advised that he himself owned two .32 Caliber rifles, a .22 rifle and a shotgun, which were stored in a closet at his Silverton address.

Sheriff Cotter, his Happy Camp Deputy, John Reagan and the writer questioned Lloyd Oveross for approximately two hours. Oveross advised that all he knew about the Kaser murder was what he had read in the Silverton newspapers that had been forwarded to him, however; would then discuss the reaction among the Silverton populace, because of his brothers’ unjustified arrest. It was quite evident that Lloyd had discussed the case with relatives and others but would not elaborate.

Lloyd Oveross informed that he left Silverton for Happy Camp on February 11, 1955. Then remained at Happy Camp until March 5th, at which time he traveled to Silverton, and returned again to Happy Camp on March 7th, 1955. While in Silverton, advises that he went to Caspers’ residence at one time, and at that time Casper supposedly was out for a drive, and that he did not see him.

It may have been a natural reaction, but while Lloyd was being questioned regarding any information on the rifle, he obviously was under a strain and beads of perspiration were noted on his forehead. This subject freely consented to a search of his trailer house and automobile, which was done without results. The automobile mentioned is a 1951 Ford sedan, Oregon 775-833 and blue in color.

While in Yreka, the writer and Sheriff Cotter, checked with the local Railway Express Agency, for any possible gun shipment to Lloyd Oveross. The Express Agency advised that at the end of each month their shipment record is forwarded to their San Francisco office and therefore would have no record of such a shipment for the month of February, but informed that there had been no such shipment up to that date during the month of March. If it is thought to be necessary the San Francisco records can be checked for any possible shipment for the month of February.

State Police Sergeant Wayne G. Huffman:

There was received from Melvin Kaser, brother of victim, one (1) 30-30 Winchester rifle, model 94, Ser.#361221, which is being taken direct to Crime Laboratory this date by Officer Riegel and Deputy Sheriff Shaw, Marion County Sheriff’s office.

There was received from Calvin Kaser, brother of victim, one (1) 30-30 Winchester rifle, Model 94, Carbine style, Ser.#1306368, which is also being taken direct to Crime Lab this date by same two officers.

On 14 Mar 55, a search was conducted in the field south of the victim’s house and a metal jacket of a bullet was found in approximately the center of the field and halfway between victim’s house and Melvin Kaser’s house. Bullet was found by Sheriff Young and marked by him for identification and is being taken to Crime Lab by above two officers for possible comparison with bullet removed from victim’s body.

On 14 March, 1955, Sheriff Young, Deputy Sheriff Amos Shaw, State Officer Riegel and writer checked the Ervin Kaser’s place and searched the area south of the house with the use of a mine detector secured from the Silverton armory and assisted by a Buddy Groah, 932 S. Water Street. The mine detector was of little use in searching for any bullets or shell cases in that area but in the search Sheriff Young found, approximately in the center of the strawberry patch between Melvin Kaser’s place and Ervin Kaser’s residence, a metal jacket which contained rifle markings and which is considerably mashed up. It is presumed that this is one of the shell casings that went through Ervin Kaser’s car on the night of 17 February 1955. Sheriff Young marked the fragment for identification and Deputy Sheriff Shaw and State Officer Riegel took the same to the crime laboratory on 17 March 1955. There were no other shell casings or bullets found near the Melvin Kaser place.

A search was made of the Casper Oveross residence in the back was reportedly that he had target practised also with the aid of a mine detector but it was of little value. Found near an oak tree near the back of Casper Oveross’ residence were two empty 30-30 caliber shell casings which showed they had been fired. It could not be determined how long they had been there but this was the area where it was reported that Casper Oveross had practised target shooting with his 30-30 rifle. These were marked for identification and taken to the crime laboratory by Deputy Sheriff Shaw and Officer Riegel on 18 March 1955.

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

Unfortunately, some of the records and photographs mentioned in the police reports are no longer in the police file.  They were probably transferred to the District Attorney, and that file has not been found, if it even still exists.

Blogically yours,
Everett

Not Innocent: The Investigation (part 9)

Friday, March 4, 1955

Sheriff’s Deputy Amos O. Shaw:

9:30 AM Check at previous home of MARTHA TOCKSTED, party moved (To be checked later)

10:15 AM Checked at BALL BROS. Hardware in Turner Oregon, stated they didn’t believe that they ever sold any rifles to Casper Oveross. Will check books (sales slips if it is deemed necessary).

11:00 AM Check Jefferson Ore., Hardware, no information, also checked with previous owner Mr. A.B. Haynes, didn’t know Casper Oveross.

1:00 PM Contact North Santiam Sporting Goods shop at Lyons, subject will check sales slips and if a rifle sold to any Oveross will call our office immediately.

1:20 PM Contact Jenkins Hardware, Mill City, checked books back to 1950, and owner will check prior to that and notify us if any guns sold to C. Oveross.

1:30 PM Contact Marchall Wells store Mill City, checked books back to 1951, no recorded sales.

2:00 PM Lunch

2:20 PM Mehama Oregon, check Appliance Store (Ken Jolliette’s) No information

3:00 PM Check Charley Burmester, Stayton & Uncle of Mary Kaser, Charley has know Kaser for years however knows nothing of family troubles. Burmester said the following may know something of Oveross trouble

1- LAND, first name not know, Carpenter Contractor
2- JIM SULLIVAN, Electrician
3-

3:30 PM Contact Ed. Sullins, has no information on Casper Oveross, or Kaser. Stated he had worked on Roy Philippi’s house with Cap however doesn’t know any thing about him. Stated that Cap had tried to get Ed to get a rifle and go hunting with him about the time they were working on the house. Received the following names. #1- Henry Leu Lay—Stayton XXX E 3rd. St. Henry is supposed to have been head carpenter at time, and is a hunter. (This took place 5-6 yrs. ago)

3:45 PM Contact Henry Lou Lay residence Stayton, wife advised that Mr. Lou Lay isn’t a deer hunter and only owns a shot gun used to hunt pheasants with.

4:00 PM Contact Kokelly Carpenter, worked with Cap 1948, for about 1 Yr. In Stayton. No information of value.

4:40 PM Contact Huntley residence, Clarence Huntley lives in Gold Hill now and is remarried and has own family.

Sheriff Denver Young:

Contact residence of Mr. Fred Schar Rt. 2, Box 297, Silverton. States he has known Ervin Kaser a long time but broke off friendship about 18 years ago when Kaser mailed a letter to Mrs. Schar asking for a date. It was an anonymous letter but they recognized the writing and just didn’t associate with him any more. He never heard of Kaser being mixed up with any other women. States that his wife definitely was never attacked by Ervin Kaser.

10:40 A.M. Contact Mrs. Laura Bolliger, Rt. 3 Box 118. Husband operates green house just north of Evergreen School. Did not hear shots. Showed us her husbands guns, a single shot 22 and single shot shotgun.

11:00 A.M. Contacted Melvin Lund, at Rt. 3 Box 125 Silverton. Has never hunted with Casper. Knew Kaser the better of the two. Lund shoots at the Sublimity gun club. Has never seen Cap there. He never heard of Kaser having any interests in the Madras area.

11:15 A.M. Contact Alvin Lund Rt. 3 Box 125 Silverton.

Claims he never hunted with Casper, knows nothing about his guns or never heard him make any threats toward Kaser.

11:35 A.M. Contact Esther Detwyler at Rt. 3 Box 113A. States she heard the shots but paid no attention to them. Her husband upstairs did not hear the shots.

11:55 A.M. Contacted Fred Zurbrugg brother-in-law of Mrs. Detwyler, lives at Rt. 3 Box 72B. States that two or three years ago Noah Wenger, his brother-in-law purchased a 32-20 rifle from Casper Oveross. He stated that he borrowed the gun from Wenger, and liked it so well that he kept the gun and still had it.

State Police Officer Sergeant Wayne G. Huffman:

Contacted a Mr. Fred Schar, Rt. 2, Box 297, Silverton, husband of Marilyn Schar. He stated that he has known Ervin Kaser most of his life and they use to visit his family when Ervin was living with his wife. He stated one time his wife received an unsigned letter about eighteen years ago and he later learned it was sent by Ervin Kaser. He stated he did not visit after that. He stated the letter wanted his wife to meet Kaser north of Silverton on a certain date but they took it as a joke at first until they found out Ervin wrote it himself. He stated the letter was destroyed about a year ago with some other stuff when they were cleaning house. He stated Ervin has never tried to attack his wife to his knowledge.

He stated he has known Casper Oveross for several years and about three years ago was hunting in another party near them south of Mitchell, Oregon in the Ochocos. He stated he did not know the type of gun Casper Oveross owned and did not believe they were checked by game men as his camp was not checked. He stated he could supply no other information.

Marilyn Schar, wife of Fred Schar, was questioned and gave the same story as her husband. She seemed rather indignant when confronted with the fact that Ervin Kaser had tried to attack her. She stated he use to come to the house and visit but at no time ever acted out of line. She stated the letter was considered a joke until it was learned that Ervin Kaser had written it and then they had ceased to visit with the Kaser family. She could supply no information as to any type of gun Casper Oveross owned.

In checking Noah Wenger, Sheriff Denver Young and writer contacted a Fred Zurbrugg, Rt. 3, Box 172 B, Silverton. He stated approximately two or three years ago a Noah Wenger purchased a 32-20 rifle from Casper Oveross. He stated that he had borrowed this gun from Noah Wenger and that he still has it at the present time. He stated that he believes Noah Wenger is working for an Ernie Lantham near Pendleton, Oregon, as a carpenters helper and they are working for the B & R lumber company putting up a mill. He stated he could supply no further information on Casper Oveross or the type weapons he may have had.

Sheriff Young and writer contacted a Melvin Lund, Rt. 3, Box 125, Silverton, who stated he has known Casper Oveross and Ervin Kaser a good many years, but he is better acquainted with Ervin Kaser than Casper Oveross. He stated he has never hunted with Casper Oveross but that Oveross has wanted him to go hunting with him several times, but he was just busy and could not get away. He stated that he has never target practiced with him at anytime nor does he know what kind of a gun Casper Oveross may own. He stated he did not know Ervin Kaser had any business connections in Madras, Oregon, also that he had never loaned Casper Oveross any of his guns.

Alvin Lund, brother to Melvin Lund, same address was contacted. He stated he has known Casper Oveross for several years but he has never associated with him for any length of time but had seen him mostly in taverns around the Silverton area. He stated that on the night of 17 February 1955 he did not observe Casper Oveross in Silverton at all. 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.

Marion County District Attorney Kenneth E. Brown:

University of Oregon Medical School
Crime Detection Laboratory
Portland, Oregon

Attention Mr. Ralph Prouty

Re: Investigation of death of Ervin Oren Kaser

Dear Mr. Prouty:

Will you please return to the Marion County Sheriff the items belonging to Casper Oveross, which have heretofore been sent to you by the Sheriff.

Sincerely yours,

Kenneth E. Brown
District Attorney

Saturday, March 5, 1955

Sheriff’s Deputy Amos O. Shaw:

9:00 AM Leave pic. of C. Oveross with State I.D. Bureau as directed.

10:30 AM Contact Marquam Post Office and Gen. Merchandise store reg gun sales. No info.

11:00 AM Monitor Gen Merch. Store, doesn’t sell guns except on order.

11:15 AM Check at Lone Pine Tavern, doesn’t know Casper Oveross at all doesn’t know if Cap has been in his place or not.

12:00 PM Contact Frances Patton, works at Town House address is 211 N 2nd. Silverton, known Cap 8 months or so. Never been on date with Cap, knows of Ervin Kaser, however never been out with him. Knows nothing of value to us. Will inform us if she hears any thing of value. (NOTE THIS MAY BE A GOOD INFORMANT)

12:10 PM Lunch at Silverton

1:00 PM Contact Mrs. Charles Hopkins, stated the records for Marshall Wells store are kept at the store, and all records left there when they sold out.

1:30 PM Contact Merle Eisnehart reg. info. on rifle. This man stated he had done considerable listening on this case, and overheard 2 attorneys talking that they think the logical suspect if it wasn’t Cap would be Mary Kaser’s son in law. Feels that we would find some good information if we would check him out.

Mr. Eisenhart is personal friend of Henry Oveross wife, and will see what info he can obtain for us regarding Cap’s rifle.

1:40 PM Contact Mrs. Paul Mann, states neither she nor husband has seen Casper Oveross in several years. And they have discussed the case together. Have not brother name of Lloyd.

2:00 PM Making house to house canvas from top of hill out to Ervin Kaser residence. Contact following parties:

1- Mr. Swenson (Doesn’t know any thing)
2- Contact home of George and Lillian Larsen (No one home Paradise Alley Rd.)
3- H.I. Moffett (Doesn’t know any thing)
4- Goehring, (Casper has done some work for him and mentioned his family trouble)
5- Otto Stadeli, (Husband heard shots, knows Casper Oveross & Ervin Kaser, not friendly with them.) Casual aquaintance.

3:22 PM Checked the following cars at Ervin Kaser home, Oreg. 616-142, 53 Plym. Sdn. Mary L. Kaser & Phyllis Huntley, Rt 3 Box 115 A Silverton. Oreg. 329-065, 47 Chev. Convert. Virgil A & Phyllis E Boyd, 4810 Reiman Rd. Salem.

3:25 PM Continue house to house check

John Kauffman (Nothing) A.G. Fetter (Nothing) E.C. Hood (Nothing) L.C. Baker (Nothing)

State Police Private Lloyd T. Riegel:

On 5 March 1955 Deputy Shaw, Marion County Sheriff’s Office, and the writer started a house to house check south and east of Silverton, Oregon. The check was started at the Myer’s garage east to the Silverton-Salem highway. The check was again started at Brush School Road proceeding west to the Silverton-Sublimity highway, then south along the Silverton-Sublimity highway to the Evergreen School, then west to the Paradise Alley Road, then south along the Paradise Alley Road to the Lardane Road, then east on the Lardane Road to the Silverton-Sublimity highway. People in this area were contacted relative to the date of 17 February 1955 as to vehicles being parked along this road during the evning and as to their hearing shots during the evening. People were questioned individually as to the time that they had returned home as to any children or young people that may have been out late that evening. No information was picked up relative to vehicles having been seen along the road. Several statements were obtained of persons having heard the shots. The most distant place to where the shots were heard was the Julius Goehring residence, approximately one mile south of the Ervin Kaser residence. The furtherest place north where the shots were heard was the Mrs. Kaser residence, mother of Ervin Kaser. Talking with Mrs. Kaser who lives the first house south of Evergreen School it became quite evident that vehicles were accustomed to parking in the school yard during the night and that any vehicle that might be parked there would not appear suspicious to a passing motorist along the highway. See attached diagram for detailed road lay out and people living along these roads for name and address as contacted.

At 5:00 P.M. on 5 March 1955 the writer received a phone call from a L. C. Eastman in Silverton, Oregon. Mr. Eastman stated that his wife had overheard some conversation in a beauty parlor and that he felt it was quite urgent that our office have this information. At 6:00 P.M. this evening the writer contacted Mr. Eastman. At that time it was related to the writer that his wife had been at a local beauty shop and had overheard a Mrs. George Steelhammer and another lady discussing the Ervin Kaser shooting. The other lady whose name was not given or known had stated that she felt that a check should be made in eastern Oregon relative to Mr. Kaser’s activities. That she had heard that Mr. Kaser and a partner in some type of business in eastern Oregon had had a violent fight three or four days before the shooting. This lady was not definite as to the location in eastern Oregon or as to the type of business.

Evergreen map

Police map of area of the murder

Sheriff Denver Young:

9:00 A.M. Recd negative of full length picture of Oveross, turned over to Huffman to have copies made.

10:15 Left Salem for Silverton.

11:10 A.M. Contact Bank. J. Clary Moore. States that account of Oveross was overdrawn on February 12th, 1955 and covered by Casper on the 16th.

11:30 Contact Mr. Brown of Telephone Co. re phone calls made to Madras at 11:35 A.M. #2730. He talked 2 min. 43 seconds. No other charges show between 15th & 18th. Call was to the Foster Manufacturing Co. Madras, Oregon.

Checked other phone call made

1:15 P.M. Checked with Clifford Calkins re location of Noah Wenger.

1:45 P.M. Checked Sabastion Oster. Knew Casper Oveross and brothers but had not talked to them lately.

2:30 P.M. Contacted Bill Specht, re: guns of Oveross. He admits hunting with Casper several times. Also last year when Danny Gilham was there. They camped on the Payne ranch and hunted on the Maxwell ranch. Has known Casper a long time but has no idea as to what kind of gun he hunts with.

State Police Officer Sergeant Wayne G. Huffman:

Sheriff Young and writer checked with the Silverton Telephone Company on Ervin Kaser’s telephone which is Silverton 34845. It was learned from their records that he had called Madras, Oregon phone 2730 at 11:35 A.M. On February 16, 1955. The records indicated the converation lasted two minutes and forty two seconds. There were no other calls made from that phone between February 15 and February 18, 1955, which is their cycle of billing.

Checked Harvey Kaser’s phone, Silverton 3-4836, found there was a call placed to Salem phone 2-7F22 at 3:15 A.M. On February 18, 1955. This number is listed to James Gilham residence, Rt. 5, Box 417, Salem, Oregon. There was also a call made from Harvey Kaser’s phone to Corvallis phone Plasa 2-9206 at 6:37 A.M., also another call placed to Stayton 4504 at 6:00 A.M. All on February 18, 1955.

Telephone calls were checked on Ethel Oveross phone 3-4765 which showed a listing of phone calls from that number starting February 20 to February 26, 1955. They are listed as follows:

February 20th – Stayton phone 4504
February 22nd – Salem phone 2-0367
February 23rd – Stayton phone 4504
February 23rd – Salem phone 2-7F22
February 26th – Salem phone 3-6455
February 26th – Salem phone 2-0367
February 26th – Salem phone 3-6455
February 26th – Salem phone 2-0367
February 26th – Salem phone 4-4443
February 26th – Salem phone 4-4443
February 26th – Salem phone 2-7F22

None of the above telephone numbers have been checked to determine their listings.

Check was made with the Salem Telephone Company by Sheriff Denver Young and information was received that Madras phone 2730 was listed to a Foster Manufacturing Company, Madras, Oregon. This concern having partners by the name of Foster and Miller. Further investigation will be made relative to this telephone call from the Kaser residence.

Deputy Sheriff Walker of Marion County Sheriff’s Office contacted a Noah Wenger, Silverton, Oregon, who advised he had purchased a 32-20 rifle from Casper Oveross around September of 1947. He informed Deputy Walker that he did not know what other guns Casper Oveross may have owned at that time. He stated he had loaned this gun to a Fred Zurbrugg and who still has this firearm.

Sunday, March 6, 1955

[Day off, no reports]

Monday, March 7, 1955

Sheriff’s Deputy Amos O. Shaw:

10:25 AM Talk with Bob Bolliger, Silverton, (Subject lives in Green house by Ervin Kaser.) Cliff Kinsey [EK_NOTE: Kuenzi] saw Ethel Oveross and Kaser together coming out a logging road together last hunting season and told Bob about it.

Bolliger said he woke up during the night of murder and thought he heard some noise around his house but wasn’t sure and went right back to sleep.

Didn’t hear any shots on night of 17th. Feb. 1955

Bolliger reports that a light gray pick up and a two tone green Olds. sdn. used to meet several times a week in front of the Green house and parties would laugh and talk for some length. Both male and female voices. Didn’t know the vehicles.

Several months ago Edwin Bolliger heard a car come by going south towards Stayton, party in vehicle was shooting a gun out the window and car proceeded on south. Bob was going to report it to police however never got around to it.

11:10 AM Contact Mrs. Schar (nice looking) regarding her knowledge of Ervin Kaser and if he had ever made any show of affection toward her. She stated that the last time she saw Ervin Kaser to speak to was 15 yrs. or more ago. They used to visit back and forth and she put a stop to it when he asked her to go to Portland with her alone one time. Stated she had never gone out with him and he had never tried to take her by force.

Stated she knew that Phyllis Huntley (daughter of Mary Kaser) had been married before and divorced. Had got married right after leaving school. Married a man in Silverton believed the name to have been Peckmand or some name similar.

3:10 PM Contact John Siems, whom advised that a Virgil Schantz or John Schantz had made the remark that on night of murder Cap had been playing shuffle board with one of above and about 10:00 PM night of 17th. Made the remark he had to leave as had an appointment he had promised to keep.

Also stated he had talked to Ervin Kaser prior to murder [EK_NOTE: let’s be thankful it wasn’t AFTER the murder!] and Ervin told him he was trying to get some land across the Hwy. from his place in order to build a machine shop and go into business for himself.

3:55 PM Contact Mrs. Steelhammer, said she had been in the beauty shop and heard some talk about Ervin Kaser, and Madras was mentioned. But other than that she didn’t know any thing. Was very vague about what, where, when, she heard this.

4:10 PM Contact beauty salon, South Water St. Silverton, no other information.

4:35 PM Contact Clarence and Clifford Schantz, Star Rt. Silverton, neither boy ever in Shorty’s tavern, had heard rumors only.

5:00 PM Contact JACK TOW, the bartender at Walts Tavern. Knows Melvin Lund and Cap, doesn’t know Jaeschke at all. Never saw Cap and Lund in the place together. The last time he saw Cap was 1:20 AM night of murder, coming out Town House, and

[INCOMPLETE]

[He appears to have filed this report twice, as a second copy is in the file that is very similar, but slightly different, shown below.]

8:30 AM On duty

9:30 AM Discuss Case with Sheriff and State Police assigned to the case.

10:25 AM Talk with Bob Bolliger whom revealed the following information. (At Office)

Cliff Kuenzi—should be contacted reported to have seen Ethel & Ervin together.

Bolliger said he thought he had heard a noise around the house night of Murder however wasn’t sure.

Said he had noticed a light colored pick up and a 2 tone Sedan Green, park and talk. This has taken place several times in past, and meeting seems to be by pre-arangement between parties. Not known if it has any bearing on this case. Would hear Female voices and male voices, would meet around 11:30 PM by his house.

Reported that several months heard a vehicle coming south from Silverton and thought that some one was shooting a gun out of the Window of vehicle. Fired several shots and proceeded on past his place towards Ervin Kaser home. Between 11:00 PM and 11:30 PM. Stated he was going to report it to Police at the time but never.

11:10 AM Contact Mrs. Schaar. Said that she hasn’t seen Ervin Oveross [EK_NOTE: should be “Ervin Kaser”] to speak to for 15 years. They (Ervin & Schaar’s) used to visit back and forth until one time Ervin asked her to go to Portland alone with him, and she refused. This was about 18 years ago. Stated definitely Ervin never tried to take her by force. Ervin asked her not to mention the fact he wanted her to go to Portland with him however she did and that was when friendly relations broke off.

3:10 PM Contact John Siems, Stated that Virgil Schantz, or John Schantz Silverton was supposed to have seen Cap’ night of Murder and he had told them he couldn’t play shuffle board any longer as he had an appointment he had promised to keep.

3:55 PM Contact Mrs. Steelhammer, Very vague about information stated she had her hair put up at Beauty Salon, on South Water St. Silverton. Couldn’t remember any thing else.

4:10 PM Contact Beauty Salon in Silverton relative to Information being passed that Ervin had some trouble in Madras Oregon. No Information revealed here.

4:35 PM Contact Schantz Bros. Information was unfounded neither had been neer Shorty’s Tavern night of Murder.

5:00 PM Contact JACK TOWE, bar tender at Walts Tavern Silverton. Doesn’t know Jaeske at all. Never saw Cap’ in the Tavern with Lund. Last time saw Cap’ was night of Murder, at which time he met him coming out of Town House Tavern at 1:20 AM 2-18-55.

State Police Private Lloyd T. Riegel:

A contact with Mrs. George Steelhammer revealed that she was quite reluctant to talk as to the conversation that she had overheard. However, she did state she had heard a conversation relative to Mr. Kaser and some eastern Oregon interest. She would not reveal the name of the lady with whom she was talking. Stated she did not know the ladies name and she was not definite as to where or when this instant had occurred.

The beauty shop was contacted. Beauty operator was unable to give the names of ladies at the shop at the time of Mrs. Steelhammer. The book showed an appointment for Mrs. Steelhammer, however, it showed two hair washes and hair sets with no names given. The beauty operator stated that she had not overheard the conversation and had no knowledge as to whom either of the ladies could have been.

Relative to a phone call to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office from John Seims, Deputy Shaw and the writer contacted Mr. Seims. He stated that he had overheard a Clarance Schantz make the statement that he had played shuffleboard with Cap Oveross after 10:00 P. M. 17 February 1955. Clarance and Clifford Schantz were contacted by the writer and Deputy Shaw. Both boys, age 17 and 19, denied having made this statement. They denied ever having played shuffleboard with Cap Oveross. They further denied having ever frequented Shorty’s Tavern or the Town House. Stating that they were both minors and were not permitted in either place of business.

Observing the clothes taken at the crime scene by the Crime Detection Department Identification Bureau, it was observed that in the front seat of the Kaser vehicle was a new un-opened package of Lucky Strikes and a book of matches. This gave the writer and Deputy Shaw the opinion that Mr. Kaser could have possibly purchased these cigarettes after letting Ethel Oveross out at approximately 10:00 to 10:10 17 February 1955. Starting at the point where the couple had separated from the Abiqua Creek, the writer and Deputy Shaw returned towards Salem checking all stores and taverns in effort to determine if Mr. Kaser could have stopped at any of these places and purchased cigarettes that evening. Three grocery stores and five taverns were checked with negative results.

State Police Captain R. G. Howard:

Mr. Paul Parson, Captain
Oregon State Police
Medford, Oregon

Dear Sir:

At approximately 10:45 P.M. On 17 February 1955 Ervin Oren Kaser was murdered by rifle fire while parked in his driveway just south of Silverton, Oregon. We have been unable to locate the .30 caliber rifle that fired these shots. One of our prime suspects is Casper Oveross, a Silverton resident. We have determined that Casper Oveross was the owner of a late model Winchester 30-30 Sporter model 94, but we have been unable to locate this firearm and Casper Oveross declines to cooperate.

We have determined that Casper Oveross has a brother, Lloyd Oveross, who works for a logging company at Happy Camp, California, near Eureka, California. We have information that Lloyd Oveross purchased a .32 caliber Winchester model 94 carbine from Johnson’s Hardware Store in Silverton, Oregon, with serial number 1519912. We do not have the date of this purchase or any other details.

Rather than to communicate directly with the authorities at Eureka or Happy Camp, we believed it would be more advisable if you would personally discuss this matter with the California authorities and request them to cause a discreet investigation to be made to determine if Lloyd Oveross has recently received a rifle by express or other means and what rifles he now has in his possession. We have no reason to believe that Lloyd Oveross is connected with this crime but we hope that he might be able to tell us if Casper Oveross has shipped him a gun since the 17th of February and, if so, the caliber and other details. We would also like to determine if Lloyd Oveross will tell us the store and the approximate date when Casper Oveross purchased the 30-30 caliber Winchester. We believe this to have been from 1946 to 1948.

If the circumstances seem advisable, we can see no objection to an interview with Lloyd Oveross to obtain this information.

Yours very truly,

R. G. HOWARD, Captain
By [signed] Farley E. Mogan

Lieutenant, District Two

Tuesday, March 8, 1955

State Police Private Lloyd T. Riegel:

On 8 March 1955 Deputy Shaw and the writer proceeded to Madras, Oregon, relative to the information from the telephone company that on 16 February 1955 Ervin Kaser had placed a telephone call at 11:42 A. M. to Madras phone 2930. That Ervin Kaser had talked two minutes and forty-two seconds to this number. Also remembering the information related by Mrs. Eastman. At Madras, Oregon, Keith Foster of the Foster Manufacturing Company was contacted. The phone number above given is to that of Keith Foster Manufacturing Company. Keither Foster stated that he did not know Ervin Kaser, had never met Ervin Kaser and to the best of his knowledge had never had an occasion to call or talk with Mr. Kaser. He did state that he had distributed by mail 150 to 170 pamphlets throughout the Willamette Valley to mint and hop growers advertising a large blower fan and other equipment that he had manufactured for these two type farmers. A check of the list to whom these circulars had been distributed failed to disclose that Ervin Kaser had received one of these folders however, Mr. Foster stated that some folders had been mailed to people whose name was not on this list. Mr. Foster also stated that he had run an add in the Portland papers for several days for a machinist and sheet metal worker and that he had received approximately 100 to 125 phone calls in reply to these adds and that it is entirely possible that Mr. Kaser may have answered his add for a machinist if he is interested in this type of work. Keith Foster was questioned as to the divorce of he and his wife approximately eight months ago. Foster stated the divorce had come about because of his poor management and his continued indebtedness in operating the business. Foster further stated that to the best of his knowledge his wife had never stepped out with another man and to the best of his knowledge she did not know Ervin Kaser. A check at the Jefferson County Courthouse revealed that the divorce was filed by Edna Foster, charging mental cruelty resulting from continued indebtedness and financial difficulty.

Edna Foster was contacted. She stated that she did not know Ervin Kaser and that she had never known of any Kaser’s in that area. She further stated that since her divorce she had gone with one boy, whose name she did not desire to divulge, and she said prior to her divorce she had never stepped out on her husband with anyone. She was further questioned as to her husbands friends or any partnership he may have had. She stated that the only partner that she had ever known of was Benjamin Miller and that he at the present time is part owner of the business.

Information was received that another body and welding shop which also manufactures farm machinery had a similar telephone number of 2730. A check was made with this company, the Hart Brothers Welding and Manufacturing Company. The Hart brothers stated they did not know Ervin Kaser and had never had any contact with Ervin Kaser. They further stated that to the best of their knowledge they had never manufactured any type of machinery or done any work for persons in the Willamette Valley or Salem-Silverton area.

The telephone company was contacted and a re-check was made with the Silverton office to determine whether the phone call previously made by Ervin Kaser on 16 February 1955 had been a person to person call or station to station call. It was determined that the call was a station to station call, no party had been asked for. A check with the other usual source of information failed to reveal any mail or mailing address for Ervin Kaser in the Madras area.

The Jefferson County Tax Accessor, Mr. P. R. Lewis, was contacted relative to any land in the Madras area or in Jefferson county to which taxes had been accessed to Ervin Kaser. Check of the tax receipts failed to disclose any property in the name of Ervin Kaser.

The County Recorder was contacted and at that time it was learned that a John and Robert Kaser presently live in the Ashwood area. Check of the probate of the Kaser family disclosed that 7,000 acres of land had been willed to John and Robert Kaser by their father Jake Kaser. A thorough check of the probate action from 1921 to date failed to disclose any name of Ervin Kaser or of Harvey and Melvin Kaser also of the Silverton area. [EK_NOTE: This was an entirely different family unrelated to Ervin’s family; like to different families named ‘Smith.’]

A check of the partnership agreements also registered at the Jefferson County Courthouse failed to disclose any partnership action by Ervin Kaser. Mr. John Chanook, attorney, also land sales and partnership attorney for the Madras-Jefferson county area was contacted. Mr. Chanook stated that he had no knowledge of an Ervin Kaser as he had never sold him land or has drawn any partnership agreements between Ervin Kaser and another man.

Mr. Jim Marsh, real estate and insurance agent in the Madras area, was also contacted. He stated that he had no knowledge of an Ervin Kaser and to the best of his memory and to his records no one by the name of Ervin Kaser had attempted to seeked any farm land or business property in that area. Mr. Marsh also checked with three other real estate agencies in the Madras-Redmond area they also had negative answers.

Mr. John Ricker, President of the First National Bank of Madras was contacted. Mr. Ricker stated that he had no knowledge of an Ervin Kaser and to the best of his memory had never been confronted for a loan on any type of property, business property, or any type of a partnership agreement involving an Ervin Kaser.

Howard Turner, Secretary of the Chamber of Commerce, Madras, Oregon, stated that he believed that in some time in the late fall of 1954 an Ervin Kaser came to his office for information relative to land suitable for raising strawberries. He was particularly interested in getting in the irrigated section, however, Mr. Turner stated that he had no record of this and was unable to locate any letter or notes infile and he is quite sure that had such an instant happened that he would have referred Mr. Kaser to one of the real estate agencies or to Mr. Max Ricker at the First National Bank. As before mentioned the above subjects were contacted with no information.

Deputy Shaw and the writer then proceeded to the John and Robert Kaser ranch which is located approximately forty miles north and east of Madras. A more definite location is one mile west of Horse Haven Ranch on the Madras-Ashwood Road. Robert Kaser was contacted relative to any knowledge of Ervin Kaser. Robert Kaser stated that to the best of his knowledge Ervin Kaser was not related in any way to his family and that he had never heard of Ervin Kaser prior to his reading the Oregonian the latter part of February 1955 in which he noticed the incident in the Silverton area. Mr. Kaser further stated that he was not sure but he did not believe his father, Jake Kaser, had any relatives in the Salem-Silverton area.

All hotel registers, motel registers, several filling stations and eating establishments in the Madras area were checked relative to any knowledge of an Ervin Kaser. This check was made with a negative result.

In view of the above information it is the writers belief that if Ervin Kaser had any interests in this area that they would have been discovered through one of the checks made. However, it is possible that he may have had an interest in a spot distant to Madras. Possibly in the Redmond area, however, there is nothing to substantiate this belief.

Sheriff Denver Young:

9:40 AM Contacted Henry Annundson, brother-in-law of Casper Oveross on Powers Creek Road. Mrs. Annundson was also present. Stated that he hunted with Casper, Bill Specht & Ed. Schubert in the Prineville Mitchell area. States on the morning of February 18, 1955 Colleen and Danny came to their house and told them about the shooting. Danny told them that Casper had been out to see him about 11:30 and told him about Kaser being shot. Thinks Casper purchased his rifle from Ames Hardware store. He also stated again that he had not seen Casper at his house on night of 17-18. Stated that he purchased his rifle before Casper at the Salem Hardware store in Salem. Gun was submitted for ballistics check and receipt issued. Gun is Model 64 Winchester. Ser No 1410289. (puchased 2/14/48 for $79.75.)

Also submitted for test firing, one Remington Core-Lokt shell and two Winchester Super Speed. Shells marked on base DY

10:55 A.M. Contacted Ed. Schubert at residence, Rt. 2 Silverton. States that he, Casper O., Bill Specht and Henry Annundson all went hunting near Prineville about 3 years ago. Casper had a 30-30 rifle at that time. Casper was not at their home at any time on night of Feb. 17/18. Shubert submitted his 30-30 Cal rifle for ballistics test. Slide action Remington Ser. #61690, also 3 shells for test firing. 1 Peters Hollow point and 2 Western S.P. Marked on neck DY.

1:00 P.M. Contacted Denzel LeGard at Union Service station. H remembers Casper being in station on evening of 2/17/55 about 8:30. Casper bought $2.00 worth of gas. He did not notice anything in car. Did not know who it was until he asked Mr. Borte. Did not notice any signs of drinking.

2:00 P.M. Checked records of 30-30 sales at Marshall Wells store from June 21, 52 til 3/17/53. Contacted Mrs. Devinny.

3:00 P.M. Contacted Mrs. Jean Moon, daughter of Henry Oveross. Cap has been living with them since release from County Jail Feb. 28th. No information.

3:30 P.M. Contacted Mrs. Sarah Kaser, mother of Ervin Kaser. Rt. 3 Box 117. States she heard one shot just as she was getting ready for bed on 17th. Feb. She saw light on in front of Kellerhals res and did not think much of the one shot that she heard as she thought that some one was shooting at a dog, which quite often happens. States that up until about three weeks before death he always parked in front of the house, since then he has parked in back. Ervin has been searching for a job. About a week or two before shooting he had taken her to Sheridan in search of work, and had contacted the Chevrolet Garage there. Ervin was over for dinner a short while before death and stated, “that he and Cap sure were not good friends, that he had wanted to hit him but he had walked away instead!” Had never heard him mention any contacts in Madras.

Mrs. Calvin Kaser of Rt. 1 Box 198 was present. No information.

States that Ervin had been married once before. Ervin had dried hops for a Mr. Mosier near Rocky Four corners and the hops were stored in the hop house.

4:30 P.M. Kellerhals res. Re: close friends of Ethel Oveross. Checked Kellerhals rifle, a 30 Cal. LeBel Remington not taken as it only had 4 lands and grooves. Manny K. state that Ervin used to peek through the small windows on the side of his door and look out towards the street. Mrs. K. stated that about a year ago she was working for Kaser and that he had tried to get her to get into his car with him during a lunch hour. She refused.

5:40 P.M. Wayne Moore residence. Mr. Moore submitted a Western super X Silvertip cartridge box with 4 live cartridges in it. He states that shells and box were given him by Oveross because they were 170 Gr. Bullets and he did not think that 170 gr. were as effective as 150 gr.

State Police Officer Sergeant Wayne G. Huffman:

On 21 Feb 55, Sheriff Young removed a Remington Corelock 30-30 live cartridge from 30-30 Winchester Model 94 rifle, Ser. 118533. This live cartridge was taken by Sheriff Young and forwarded to the Crime Laborartory by Railway Express on 2 Mar 55. This 30-30 cartridge was in the firing chamber when removed by Sheriff Young in presence of writer, and retained by Sheriff Young until forwarded to the Crime Laboratory.

Mr. Moore, owner of above described rifle, stated he had not cleaned the gun since the last time he had fired it, which was about 2 months previous when he shot at a dog at this place. He stated he replaced the gun in the woodshed without cleaning it as it was an old gun and of little value.

On March 8, 1955, Sheriff Young and writer contacted a Henry Anundson, Rt. 2, Silverton, Oregon, brother-in-law to Casper Oveross. He stated approximately two or three years ago he went hunting with Casper Oveross south of Mitchell in the Ochoco Mountains. He stated Edward Schubert, Bill Specht, Casper Oveross and himself was in the party. They camped there for two or three days and were never checked by any game men in that area.

He stated on February 17, 1955, he was home alone until his wife returned from lodge around 10:15 P.M. Stated they went to bed and were awakened around 4:00 A.M. On February 18, 1955, by Colene Oveross and Danny Gilham. He stated they informed him that Ervin Kaser had been shot and they were looking for Casper. He also stated that Danny Gilham had told him that Casper had been to his place that night around 11:00 or 11:30 P.M. and that Danny told him that Cap told him that Kaser had been shot but he did not remember the exact words used. He stated that Casper has brought his 30-30 rifle out at the ranch and they have target practiced in back of his place. He stated it was a 30-30 caliber Winchester, he believed, and had lever action. He believed that Casper had purchased this gun from Ames Hardware Company in Silverton. He stated he does not remember the last time he saw Casper with this gun but thought that he still owned it.

He stated that he owned a 30-30 Winchester model 64, lever action, rifle and his has at no time ever loaned it to Casper Overss. He stated he would be willing for this gun to be taken to the crime laboratory for ballistic tests. Sheriff Denver Young gave Henry Anundson a receipt for this weapon. It is described as a 30-30 Winchester model 64, serial #1410289, lever action, equipped with a peep sight. He stated this gun was sighted for a 150 grain bullet. He also supplied three rounds of ammunition for ballistic tests which have been retained by Sheriff Denver Young to be taken to the crime laboratory for testing.

Sheriff Young and writer contacted Edward Schubert, Rt. 2, Silverton, brother-in-law to Casper Oveross, who stated that he with Henry Anundson, Bill Specht and Casper Oveross went hunting in eastern Oregon. He stated he though this was about three years ago.

He stated they were near Mitchell, Oregon. Also that Casper Oveross had a 30-30 rifle at that time. It was a Winchester lever action and he believed it had open sights. He stated he did not know where this gun was purchased but he thought some place in Silverton. As far as to the time it was purchased he could supply no information. He stated he had a 30-30 Remington game master rifle which his wife uses to hunt and that he would be willing to supply it for ballistic tests if we needed it. He also stated that Casper on the night of February 17, 1955, did not come out to his house and he did not see him until February 18, 1955. Sheriff Young gave Mr. Schubert a receipt for the 30 Remington game master rifle, serial #61690, there were also three shells obtained for ballistic purposes, they were 170 grain hollow point with two Western corlocks. These will be taken to the crime laboratory for ballistic tests.

On this date Sheriff Young and writer contacted the First National Bank, Silverton, Oregon, and contacted the manager who stated they will search the bank records during the years 1947 and 1948, 1949, 1950 during the months of July, August and September for any checks written by Casper Oveross in the amount of $69.50 or $69 and that on conclusion they will advise the sheriff’s office if they have located any checks. They will also determine who accepted the checks with particular attention, it may have been any sporting goods store or hardware store.

Sheriff Young and writer contacted a Dennis Legard, operator of the Union Service Station, Silverton, Oregon, who stated the subject by the name of Casper Oveross came to his station on the night of February 17, 1955, around 8:30 or 9:00 P.M. and he ordered $2 worth of gas. He staed that Charles Borte was at the station and he though there may have been two others at the station at the time. He stated he serviced Casper Oveross’ car but at no time did he observe any guns in the back seat. He stated he was not particularly looking but thought he may have noticed one if it had been in the seat, as he cleaned the windows and the windshield of the vehicle. He stated he thought a Mervin Tegland and a Sam Chandler may have been at the service station at the time and that he would check and find out if they were there he would notify this office. He stated that Casper Oveross did not appear to be drinking altho he did not get close enough to him to be able to tell. He stated he was in the service station for about five or ten minutes then pulled out. He did not know in what direction he went after he left the station.

Sheriff Denver Young and writer contacted Mr. and Mrs. Kellerhal, neighbors of the victim, on March 8, 1955. Mr. Kellerhal showed Sheriff Denver Young and writer an 8mm Lebel French type rifle, bolt action. Gun is made by Remington Arms Company. He stated that the gun had never been out of his house to his knowledge. A check of the gun revealed to have four lands and grooves.

Mrs. Kellerhal stated that at one time, about a year and a half ago, while she was employed by Ervin Kaser and working in the hop fields training hops that he had driven up in his car along the road and had called her and wanted her to come over and get in the car and have a drink. She stated she refused and then continued to work that day and that she had seen him later, exact date not known, when she went to get the mail out of her mailbox. He was in his front yard and he called her “chicken” and made some other remarks that she did not pay any attention to. She does not remember what the remarks were at this time. She stated she quit working for him then, but did go to work for him last spring but he had made no other pass at her. She stated a Mrs. VanCleave was a boss at the cannery where Ethel Oveross was employed one time and she may have some information. She stated also that a Danny Potter was a foreman at the same cannery and he may have some information concerning Casper Oveross and Ethel Oveross.

Mr. Kellerhal, when again questioned concerning the description of the car he observed that night leave the scene of the crime, stated that the car appeared to be a Ford and that he seems to recall a round Ford type emblem on the front grill as it pulled out but he stated he could not be sure. He stated that the outline of the car as it went by reminded him of a 1949, 1950 or 1951 Ford model car but that he could not possibly testify to this as he could not be sure.

When Mrs. Kellerhal was questioned concerning the car, she stated that when she first saw the car it came to her mind instantly that it was one just like Schmidgall’s as they have a Ford. She also stated that Ervin Kaser use to look out the windows at their house quite a bit when she was in the front yard working. Also that she could see him at different times and from the position that he was at the window it looked as if he might be lying down in the living room and peeking over the lower window sill. She stated it made her nervous but she just ignored it. She stated that Ervin Kaser appeared to be quite interested in the Kellerhal house at different times, particularly after Mrs. Kaser had moved out.

Sheriff Young and writer contacted Wayne Moore, Rt. 3, Silverton, who lives south of Ervin Kaser’s home and near the Ethel Oveross residence. He stated that he usually kept six or seven shells in his 30-30 model 94 rifle and to his knowledge he has never had 150 grain bullet in that gun at any time. He stated that he normally uses 170 grain bullet, also that Casper Oveross gave him some 170 grain bullets as he did no like that type of bullet. He stated that he does not believe that he has a 150 grain 30-30 cartridge on his place, but he would check and advise if he did.

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Blogically yours,
Everett

Not Innocent: The Investigation (part 8)

After the grand jury failed to indict Casper Oveross for the murder, the newspaper reporting of the murder dropped to almost nothing, with only rare small articles reporting some small item that they scavenged from a police source.  But the police continued their investigation.

Wednesday, March 2, 1955

Sheriff’s Deputy Amos O. Shaw:

8:00 AM On duty.

8:45 AM Conference with Sheriff and investigating officers.

9:40 AM Clear of office enroute to Silverton.

10:15 AM At Roy Hage residence. Casper hunted on Hage place during hunting season doesn’t know what kind of gun used.

10:35 AM Contact District Attorney Ken Brown, get address of Lena Steffen.

10:45 AM At 1st. Nat. Bank Silverton, Casper O. has had a bank account back to 1945, Will attempt to check books after discussing it with legal department.

11:30 AM Contact Sheriff and Sarg. Huffman

11:55 AM Contact Lena Clark was Steffen, never knew Casper Oveross.

12:05 PM Lunch at Silverton

1:15 PM Contact Rosemary Seward, 212 West Center St. Silverton. Told us that at 8:15 PM on Feb. 17th. 1955, she had left home to go to Frank’s Grocery. Remembered the time because she had listened to television program and had to rush down before the store closed. While in the store she saw and talked to Casper Oveross whom was purchasing some articles. Stated that at the time he didn’t appear to be intoxicated. She stated she didn’t see him after that.

1:25 PM Check at Frank’s Grocery established fact that Casper was in the store on night of murder or the night before. Butcher wasn’t quite sure. However established fact that Casper did buy groceries there.

1:30 PM Contact Shirley Hopkins, regarding name of brother. Duane Mattox 19 yrs. 936 So. Water. Girl friend is Peggy Manson.

1:45 PM Contact Duane Mattox 936 So. Water reg night of 2-17-55. Duane was at cabin watching T.V. Not sure of time, 8:30 PM or 8:40 PM 2-17-55, looked out window and seems like he saw Cap’s car drive up. Heard car motor stop and heard car door slam, also heard some one go in Cap’s cabin. Was in about 10 minutes or less and heard the party leave.

2:25 PM Contact Mrs. Erma Moore.

Ethel Oveross and Mrs. Moore are very good friends and have been together almost every day since the murder of Mr. Kaser.

Ethel Oveross said that she got home on night of 17th. Of Feb. and went to bed, she laid awake for quite a while and heard the shots. She laid there awake and worried about the shots until notified that Ervin Kaser had been shot. Also right after the shots she heard a car speed away, (was indefinite car may have slowed down in front of her house.) Then she heard Edith Kaser drive by and recognized the sound of vehicle.

Also Ethel had been told Mrs. Moore she didn’t know how Casper had got the opportunity to shoot Ervin, as Ervin was mortally afraid of Casper and afraid he would shoot him. Ervin according to Ethel always was on the alert watching his rear view mirror and watching side roads for Casper. She said if he had noticed any headlights in his rear view mirror that night she knows he would have gone on by and it would have been just a matter of which one ran out of gas first.

Ethel also told Erma that on Saturday night Feb. 5th. Ervin and Ethel were out together, and Colleen knew it and hurried right down and told Casper about it.

One occasion since murder, Ethel and Erma was discussing the case at Oveross house and Colleen told her mother to shut up as she may have a mike hid in the house.

State Police Private Lloyd T. Riegel:

Mr. Roy Hage, Rt. 3, Silverton, was checked relative to Casper Oveross having hunted on his property. It was learned that Casper Oveross has hunted on the Hage property various times, however, as to the type of weapon used by Oveross was questionable. Mr. Hage was quite definite that Casper had not hunted on his property for two or possibly three years and that he had no idea as to whether the weapon that Casper was using was his or a borrowed one.

Deputy Shaw and the writer contacted J. Carey Moore, manager of the First National Bank, Silverton, Oregon, with reference to a possibility that Casper Oveross had written a check amounting to $69 for payment of a rifle supposedly purchased in year 1949. Mr. Moore stated that he had no knowledge of this check and that only the bank account sheets would remain on file at the bank. Mr. Moore further stated that the odd amount of $69 could very easily be checked and it could also be determined to whom deposited the check if it was deposited in the Silverton area. Mr. Moore stated that this would entail quite a lot of work and considerable checking, however, that he would be glad to do this if it became necessary to check this. However, before the information would be divulged that he would be required to check and receive permission from the bank’s legal department but he was quite sure this would be permissable.

Deputy Shaw and the writer then contacted Rosemary Seward, 212 Center Street, Silverton. Rosemary Seward stated that she and her husband were purchasing groceries on 17 February 1955 at 8:15 P.M. at Frank’s Grocery, West Main Street. She stated that while they were purchasing groceries she had observed Casper Oveross also purchasing groceries and that Oveross had made some comment and that she had spoken to him. She further stated that at that time Casper Oveross was not drunk and that he did not appear to have been drinking. She stated that Oveross was till in the store when they left at approximately 8:20 and she did not know where he went after leaving the store. She further stated that she definitely did not see Casper Oveross at 11:15 P.M. on 17 February 1955 nor has she seen him at any time since the 8:15 meeting referred to above. Frank’s Grocery was contacted and the above information was verified by the manager at Frank’s Grocery.

Deputy Shaw and the writer contacted Erma Moore for additional information. The Moore residence is about 500 feet north and east of the Oveross residence. Mrs. Moore stated that she and Ethel Oveross had been very good friends for seven years and that they visited each other daily. Mrs. Moore further stated that she had visited every day with Ethel Oveross since the shooting of Ervin Kaser and the topic has been of conversation most. Mrs. Moore stated that Ethel said that she got home about 10:30 P.M. on 17 February and that she was in bed when she heard the shots. She said she heard a car go by very slow and then she heard Edith Kaser’s old pickup come along almost instantaneously after the first vehicle. Ethel stated after hearing this she was just sure that Cap had shot Ervin. This had worried Ethel so much that she was unable to go to sleep and was still awake when Harvey Kaser came at 2:30 to get her. Mrs. Moore further stated that Ethel had repeated time after time that she is sure that Cap is the one that shot Ervin, but she cannot understand just how he was successful in getting at him. She related to Mrs. Moore that Ervin had been afraid of Cap and was also afraid that Cap would shoot him and had watched very closely and that if he had observed any vehicle following him on his way home that he would have not stopped at home. Ehtel said that she was sure that Ervin had seen the headlights that he would have kept driving until one of the two cars ran out of gas. She further stated that Ervin had been quite cautious to always keep his tank full of gas as he had suspected that he might be followed. She further stated that he had been cautious to watch his rearview mirror and that he had become accustomed to parking his car at the rear of his home so that he could get out and go in the back door without being seen. She does not think that he would have parked his car in the driveway unless he would have seen someone in the yard or in the field near his house. Ethel further stated to Mrs. Moore that on 5 February 1955 she and Ervin Kaser had gone to a dance and Colene and Danny had found out and had run and told Casper Oveross. She also said that Danny Gilham and Colene, her daughter, had followed her and Ervin several times and had reported to Casper Oveross.

Ethel stated that the fact that she told Colene that she was intending to attend lodge on the night of 17 February 1955 was almost a dead give away to Colene that she was going out with Ervin Kaser. She stated that this had been a common practice for her to tell Colene she was going to lodge and then go out with Ervin. Cap had also known that this was taking place. Mrs. Moore said that Colene had given her mother the devil about talking to the officers and the people in general about the shooting and has threatened her with the fact that a mike and recorder has been planted in the house and that everything she tells to any officer or to any person, Mr. Williams will also know about it. It is supposed by this that Mr. Williams referred to is Bruce Williams the attorney for Casper Oveross.

On 26 February 1955 when Deputy Shaw and this officer picked up Danny Gilham at the Oveross residence, Mrs. Moore’s daughter, Shirley, was at the house. When the above mentioned officers left with Mr. Gilham for the Salem office Colene phoned Bruce Williams and he came to the house immediately. Colene and Mr. Williams went over to the the Gilham residence. When they returned to the house Colene Oveross was very mad and stated that the old bitty is on the side of the law and has made Danny tell the law that Cap came to him and told him he had pumped three shots in Ervin Kaser, however Mr. Williams found out about it now.

Mrs. Moore was questioned about the relationship between Edith Kaser and Ethel Oveross, her sister. Mrs. Moore stated that they were as close as two thiefs and she was sure that Edith would cover for Ethel. Edith further stated that when she went by the house on the night of the shooting that she had looked to see if Ethel’s car was in the driveway and that she had not seen anything. Mrs. Moore was further questioned about Connie Kellerhal and how well she had knew the Kellerhals. She state that she had known Connie Kellerhal very well and that she was almost sure that there was nothing between Connie and Ervin Kaser. She stated that Ervin had made a pass or two at Connie several years ago while working in the hop dryer and this had made Connie very mad and that she had told Ervin Kaser off, after which he had left her alone.

Sheriff Denver Young:

9:30 A.M. Sheriffs Office. Prepare cartridge from Moore gun for laboratory.

10:00 A.M. Courthouse. Check county clerk records for divorce of Mary Kaser vs Ervin Kaser. Check records on divorce of Oveross vs. Oveross.

12:00 Noon Courthouse. Check records of Clarence Huntley vs. Mary Huntley.

1:45 P.M. Rhotens office. Interview with Mary Kaser in presence of Mr. Ray Rhoten. Recording made. Disc in custody of State Police.

3:15 P.M. Contact Chief Main and Harvey Kaser that Myrtle Schar had received a letter from Ervin Kaser, also similar information from Mrs. Ida Brady of J.C. Penny Co. Harvey also suggests checking on incident happening last October where Casper tried to run Ethel off the road near Pratum. Harvey also states that after he built his new home, he and his wife were in Casper Oveross home and while they were on the davenport, Casper went into the kitchen and returned with a new gun, lever action, Casper stated that it was a new gun and that he had just purchased it.

Oregon State Police Sergeant Wayne G. Huffman:

Checked with the Marion County Clerk’s office on divorce case of MARY LOUISA KASER, wife of victim. It was their file #41278, showing Mary Louisa Kaser, plaintiff versus Ervin Oren Kaser, defendant. It showed they were married October 21, 1939 in Salem, Oregon. In the divorce complaint she had charged him with Mental Cruelty, and listed following acts.

Stays out late at night, never says where he has been, also stays away from home for several days at a time.”

Compells plaintiff to support herself.”

Refuses to buy food for her and makes her buy her own food and clothing.”

Fails to take plaintiff anywhere to visit her friends or acquaintances.”

At times defendant has locked plaintiff and her daughter out of their house.”

Defendant does associate with and keep company with another woman or other women from time to time, and is now associating with another woman.”

Defendant is sullen and has a mean disposition.”

Defendant refuses to have plaintiff know any of the family business or finances.”

Defendant has struck and beat plaintiff, that he has pulled handfulls of hair form her head at times.”

Complaint alleges real and cash property with a total value of $30,000.00, and that plaintiff be awarded one-half the property or $15,000.00, plus $250.00 attorney fees if not contested, otherwise $500.00. Defendant’s counter-complaint acknowledges the value of the property, but denies above listed allegations. The divorce action was still pending at time of victim’s death.

Check with the Marion County Clerk’s office, Salem, on the Divorce case of CAPSER OVEROSS versus ETHEL OVEROSS, their case #41335, filed August 20, 1954, shows basis of complaint that Defendant, Ethel Oveross, was associating with men, and one in particular. There were no names mentioned in the complaint. The Counter-complaint denied all allegations, but asked for Separate maintenance as she had no money and plaintiff was employed at rate of $2.00 an hour at Corvallis, Oregon, doing carpenter work. The final divorce decree awarded her one car and the house and 8 acre property on which it stood, custody of the two children with $80.00 a month support money.

Additional check with the Marion County Clerk’s office, revealed that MARY LOUISA KASER had been previously married to a CLARENCE M. HUNTLEY. A check on that divorce showed MARY L. HUNTLEY versus CLARENCE M HUNTLEY, filed December 5, 1938, their file #27709. Complaint alleges defendant cruel and inhuman and accused plaintiff falsely of going with other men. It never asked for support money for the minor child. Divorce decree was uncontested.

On March 2, 1955, Sheriff Young and writer secured statement from Mrs. Mary Louisa Kaser, which was arranged by her attorney J. Ray Rhoten at his office. Recording was made and has been transcribed and accompanies this report.

Statement of Mary Kaser, wife of Ervin Kaser:

[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]

STATEMENT OF MARY LOUISA KASER

ATTORNEY J. R. RHOTEN: At this time it is quarter till two, March 3, 1955, on the afternoon of that day. J. R. Rhoten one of the attorneys in the firm of Rhoten, Rhoten & Speerstra has consented to taking the voluntary statement of Edna – er Mary Kaser with respect to the death of Ervin Kaser and we are making this recording with the understanding that the recording will not be used in evidence in any matter that might come before the courts in Oregon with respect to the death of Ervin Kaser. And with the understanding that at any time any member of our firm desires to re-hear this recording we will be afforded that opportunity and with a further understanding that some questions may be objected to in which case Mrs. Kaser may refuse to answer those questions without regard to whether or not the questions might be pertinent to the investigation and also with the understanding that if there are any questions that need explanation she may give such explanation at any time. With respect to the statement can’t be used in any court Sergeant Huffman, is it, of the State Police and I have discussed that matter and that is to particular reference to any case in which Mary Kaser might be a defendant and also for the purpose of not permitting the recording to be used for impeachment purposes. There are present at this time Sergeant Huffman of the State Police,k Denver Young, Sheriff of Marion County Oregon, Mary Kaser and myself.

SERGEANT WAYNE HUFFMAN: This is Sergeant Huffman, State Police. This interview is conducted in Mr. Rhoten’s office on March 2, 1955. Starting the interrogation of Mrs. Mary Kaser is at 1:57 P. M. First I would like for you to identify yourself, Mrs. Kaser. Your name is Mary Kaser?

MARY LOUISA KASER: Yes.

HUFFMAN: What is your middle name?

KASER: Louisa.

HUFFMAN: Louisa. And your address at the present time is what?

KASER: Rt. 3, Box 115 A, Silverton.

HUFFMAN: At the time Ervin Kaser was shot, where were you living?

KASER:2054 North Capitol, Salem.

HUFFMAN: And that was on February 17, 1955?

KASER: Yes

HUFFMAN: What time did you learn of his death?

KASER: About 6:00 Friday morning on the 18th.

HUFFMAN: On February the 18th?

KASER It was the Friday morning following the -

HUFFMAN: Friday morning following shooting?

KASER: Yes.

HUFFMAN: And how were you notified?

KASER: His sister called the manager, not really the manager but the man that takes care of the apartment house there. Called him because I didn’t have a phone and he came down and told me there was an emergency call and I went up to his phone and they told me over the phone.

HUFFMAN: This address in Salem is that an apartment house?

KASER: There are three – four apartments that I know of and a doctor and a dentist have their offices upstairs.

HUFFMAN: Is there any specific name for those apartments?

KASER: Not that I know of.

HUFFMAN: When were you and Ervin Kaser married?

KASER: October 21, 1939.

HUFFMAN: Had you ever been married previous to that?

KASER: Yes.

HUFFMAN: What was your other husbands name before Mr. Kaser?

KASER: Clarence Huntley.

HUFFMAN: Clarence Huntley?

KASER: Yes.

HUFFMAN: Is he still living?

KASER: Yes.

HUFFMAN: Where does he live?

KASER: I believe that he lives at Goldhill, I couldn’t say for sure.

HUFFMAN: Goldhill, Oregon?

KASER: Yes.

HUFFMAN: How long were you married to Mr. Huntley?

KASER: We were married in 1932, divorced in 1938.

HUFFMAN: 1938, thats about six years. I understand your daughter now is the daughter of Mr. Huntley?

KASER: Yes.

HUFFMAN: What is her name?

KASER: Phyllis Boyd, er Mrs. Ervin – excuse me, Mrs. Virgil Boyd.

HUFFMAN: Mrs. Virgil Boyd?

KASER: Yes.

HUFFMAN: Where do they reside?

KASER: 4810 Rymon Road, Salem.

HUFFMAN: You and Ervin were in the proceedings of getting a divorce, is that correct?

KASER: Yes.

HUFFMAN: Was there something in the divorce proceedings concerning Ervin Kaser going with another woman?

KASER: Yes.

HUFFMAN: Would you name this other woman in the divorce proceedings?

KASER: No.

HUFFMAN: I understand that you sued Ervin for the divorce?

KASER: Yes.

HUFFMAN: The divorce hadn’t been final is that right?

KASER: Hadn’t been.

HUFFMAN: Hadn’t been consummated, the divorce?

KASER: No.

HUFFMAN: Do you know who this other woman was who Ervin was suppose to be going with? Do you mind stating her name?

KASER: Ethel Oveross.

HUFFMAN: How long had you known that Ervin might be going with Ethel Oveross?

KASER: To actually know that it was her, since the 4th of July 1954.

HUFFMAN: 4th of July 1954? How did – do you attribute that date? Was there something happen that you learned of it?

KASER: Yes.

HUFFMAN: Would you mind explaining?

KASER: I had suspicioned another woman for some time but I didn’t know who and on this particular day Mr. Oveross came to my door – came to the door of my home in tears and told me that they were out together that day.

SHERIFF DENVER YOUNG: That is who was out together that day?

KASER: That my husband, Ervin Kaser was out with his wife Ethel Oveross.

HUFFMAN: And you say Mr. Oveross came to your house, which Oveross is that?

KASER: Casper.

HUFFMAN: Casper Oveross?

KASER: Yes.

HUFFMAN: Did he mention anything else other than they were out together?

KASER: I can’t recall his exact words. I was shocked to learn that it was her ’cause I had considered her a friend of mine. He said, as nearly as I can remember, that he had had all he could stand and that he was going to sue for divorce.

HUFFMAN: That’s the first time you of it, is that right?

KASER: That’s the first time that I knew it was her, yes. It was a shock to me.

HUFFMAN: There may have been other times then that you suspected him of being out with some woman?

KASER: Yes.

HUFFMAN: Is there any other women that you might think he was out with?

KASER: I have no idea. I had no idea at that time and I know of no other woman that he would be interested in.

HUFFMAN: Have you heard since of any other women that he may have been interested in?

KASER: No.

HUFFMAN: What caused you to become first suspicious, this conversation with Oveross or Mr. Kaser’s actions?

KASER: Mr. Kaser’s actions.

HUFFMAN: What was that?

KASER: Oh, quite sometime previous to that he became very indifferent. Do I have to name all these? Most of them are on the divorce proceedings.

HUFFMAN: If you recall them I would like to know.

KASER: He began staying out late, he began wanting to sleep alone, he refused to support me, locked me out of the home, in fact I had threatened the police several times even to get in my home. That is threaten to go to the police and I actually did talk to them once.

HUFFMAN: Did he ever beat on you? Or beat you up?

KASER: He shoved me around a great deal, yes.

HUFFMAN: But you never heard of any other women by name that he might have been with?

KASER: No.

HUFFMAN: You moved back into his place at this address Rt. 3, Box 115 A, Silverton, what date?

KASER: Sunday, February 20th.

HUFFMAN: Was that the day following the time that I and two other officers contacted you?

KASER: The day you were at my home?

HUFFMAN: Yes.

KASER: That was the day before. You were there on a Monday that was the night of the funeral and we moved in the day before on Sunday.

HUFFMAN: Day before?

KASER: Yes.

ATTORNEY J. R. RHOTEN: And I might add that that was with our instructions.

KASER: Yes, not to my liking, in particular.

HUFFMAN: Your attorney instructed you to do this?

KASER: Yes. It was very difficult I assure you.

HUFFMAN: Is that in order to protect the estate?

KASER: Yes.

HUFFMAN: Do you know any close friends or associates of Ervin Kaser?

KASER: Businssmen with whom he had business is about all. He went fishing with our neighbor and I should I name him, and as far as having close friends I don’t – I can’t say as he had close friends. He was not a friendly man, that is he was friendly to everyone but had no particular friend. He was – he like to be alone a lot. It’s hard to tell anybody.

HUFFMAN: He more or less put himself into a shell and did not associate with people is that -

KASER: Yes, we – I never could quite understand him.

HUFFMAN: I understand that your husband stayed out overnight at nights?

KASER: Yes.

HUFFMAN: Did you tell me that earlier?

KASER: Yes.

HUFFMAN: Did he ever give any explanation as to where he had been?

KASER: No. I heard that – afterwards where he might have been in a certain place but – he had never told me himself.

HUFFMAN: And where would this certain place be?

KASER: Once at the coast with whom I don’t know and another time he received a bills shortly after from a Rhinehart Clinic, I think its at Wheeler, and I just supposed thats where he had been. And at another time that he was gone, well, these were weekends he was gone about the time that the hop convention was on in Portland, but to prove I don’t know. But he never explained and didn’t tell me he was leaving, in fact I was very upset because he didn’t come home.

HUFFMAN: This place on the coast did you know exactly where it was, now?

KASER: Unless he went to his relatives I don’t know. He has relatives at Otis.

HUFFMAN: Otis.

KASER: Rose Lodge and around in there, but I couldn’t say for sure, I just guessed he might have been at these places.

HUFFMAN: Did you just name, specifically state one woman in your divorce decree?

KASER: I didn’t name anyone.

HUFFMAN: Was it one woman or many women?

KASER: Women – I don’t really remember I believe it was women and one specific woman specified but that was just put on there when –

HUFFMAN: You could only state then against the one woman?

KASER: To my knowledge, yes, that’s all I know.

HUFFMAN: We understand he had quite a background for women. I thought possibly you might have heard since this happened or may have known before. Do you know of any other women that may be involved?

KASER: I know of no other women except I heard that there were other women in the past before I married him, but I don’t know their names.

HUFFMAN: Did you ever hear of any after you married him?

KASER: No. I trusted him and I probably, if I had been looking for it, I might have seen or heard but

HUFFMAN: Your – Was Clarence Huntley your first husband?

KASER: Yes.

HUFFMAN: You say he – you last heard from him in Goldhill?

KASER: I didn’t hear from him, I heard of him and that he was living in Goldhill.

HUFFMAN: How long ago has that been?

KASER: I couldn’t say. I see his brother and wife occasionally and probably during the conversation sometime it was mentioned, but I couldn’t say when.

HUFFMAN: Does he have a brother and sister-in-law living here?

KASER: In Scio, inside of Scio.

HUFFMAN: What are their names?

KASER: Haskal Huntley.

HUFFMAN: Haskal Huntley?

KASER: Yes.

HUFFMAN: Have you ever heard of any woman he may have been connected with who might have lived around Madras?

KASER: That Mr. – that Clarence Huntley had been connected with?

HUFFMAN: No that Ervin Kaser – excuse me. Ever heard anyone over there?

KASER: No.

HUFFMAN: Do you know if he ever made any trips over to Madras to Eastern Oregon?

KASER: No, I don’t. He could have, I don’t know. He went by himself a great deal.

HUFFMAN: I understand that you inherit the property?

KASER: I inherit the debts.

HUFFMAN: The debts. Considerable debts on the property?

KASER: Yes.

HUFFMAN: How well have you known Casper Oveross?

KASER: I’ve known him ever since I married Ervin and a few days after I met him and we have lived neighbors – he lived down the road a few houses.

HUFFMAN: Has Casper and his wife ever visited in your home?

KASER: They have, yes.

HUFFMAN: Had your husband, Ervin Kaser, ever gone hunting with Casper Oveross?

KASER: I don’t recall that he had. They were never – he may have but not to my knowledge.

HUFFMAN: Do you know if Casper Oveross has a rifle?

KASER: I don’t know. I don’t know what kind of guns he has, he has gone hunting lots. I imagine he has guns but I wouldn’t say what they were – I don’t know one gun from another.

HUFFMAN: Have you ever seen him with a rifle?

KASER: No.

HUFFMAN: I understand that the time you married Clarence Huntley you were living in Stayton?

KASER: Yes.

HUFFMAN: Your folks live in Stayton yet? Have you heard anything – any discussions relative to the case whether or not Casper Oveross may have shot your husband?

KASER: Say that again please.

HUFFMAN: Have you ever heard any discussions since your husbands death of whether or not Casper Oveross shot him?

KASER: I’ve heard various remarks, they were usually that they couldn’t believe that he would do it because if he was going to do it he would have done it a long time ago or if he was going to shoot anyone he would have shot his wife. That was about all I heard.

HUFFMAN: Did Casper ever tell you that he didn’t want a divorce?

KASER: No.

HUFFMAN: What was the reason that you moved out of the house at the time you filed for a divorce?

KASER: I was instructed to by my lawyer. I saw him before I moved out.

HUFFMAN: He advised you to move?

KASER: Yes.

HUFFMAN: Do you have any questions, Denver?

SHERIFF DENVER YOUNG: There are two there that you might clarify. We might find some of the rumors that we heard by mouth.

HUFFMAN: Do you know of – or ever heard of Casper Oveross lying in wait in a field for your husband?

KASER: No.

HUFFMAN: Going to shoot him if he was over to his wife’s house?

KASER: No.

HUFFMAN: You never heard that story?

KAESR: No.

HUFFMAN: Have you ever made any statements to anyone that you knew considerable about this case?

KASER: No.

HUFFMAN: Have you talked to this case – er talked about this case to anyone other than your attorney?

KASER: Perhaps I’ve said a thing or two to members of the family but not anything -

HUFFMAN: Did you form any opinions on it as to who shot your husband?

KASER: No. In fact I couldn’t believe that it would be Casper Oveross. Even tho he perhaps had a motive still it didn’t seem like he would do a thing like that.

HUFFMAN: Have you heard of any threats that Casper Oveross may have made towards your husband?

KASER: I heard him make no threats.

HUFFMAN: Did you hear of any threats made?

KASER: I’ve heard a little gossip but I have never heard him make a threat.

HUFFMAN: Who did you hear this gossip from?

KASER: I couldn’t say for sure, perhaps brothers –

HUFFMAN: Brothers?

KASER: I really can’t say that I can remember them – There has been so much.

HUFFMAN: Do you know of any relationship between your husband and Mrs. Kellerhall?

KASER: Absolutely not.

HUFFMAN: Have you ever heard of any?

KASER: No.

HUFFMAN: Since this – since your husbands death has anyone ever contacted you and stated about Casp – er about your husband had been out with considerable number of women throughout Silverton?

KASER: No.

HUFFMAN: You stated of having considerable debts. You mean to say that estate of Kaser’s is burdened with debts?

KASER: I’d say that, yes.

ATTORNEY J. R. RHOTEN: I might say that there has been no appraisal yet and the amount of the estate has not been determined at all or the amount of the mortgage or obligations yet.

HUFFMAN: Do you have any estiment of the amount of the estate?

RHOTEN: No, we don’t yet, because the appraisers haven’t made a termination at all. That is there is the farm place that is the place where he was er no -

KASER: No.

RHOTEN: The farm place and then the place where he lived is the only real property that we know of. We haven’t heard from the banks at all as to what the assets might be or his obligations might be.

HUFFMAN: What are some of these debts that you referred to Mrs. Kaser?

KASER: Just by checking the papers that are around as near as I could, there is a large mortgage on our home and a large payment due on tractor and hop supply bill, a terrific one, hop storage bills, labor bills, very. Nothing is exact, I have just a veg idea.

HUFFMAN: How long were you married to Ervin?

KASER: Almost fifteen years we were married.

HUFFMAN: Do you have any children by him?

KASER: No.

HUFFMAN: Is there any reason for that?

KASER: Yes.

HUFFMAN: Did that cause any family discord?

KASER: No.

HUFFMAN: Do you mind stating what the reasons were?

KASER: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX [medical information removed by State Police; most likely she’d had a hysterectomy or had her tubes tied]

HUFFMAN: Was Mr. Kaser aware of that? When married?

KASER: I told him, I don’t believe he checked with the doctors, but I told him.

HUFFMAN: That didn’t cause any family strive?

KASER: No, I think it rather pleased him.

HUFFMAN: Was there any reason in his family life that he should seek other women?

KASER: No. That’s the part I can’t understand either. That part of our life was harmonious.

HUFFMAN: Normal?

KASER: Yes.

HUFFMAN: You had never heard of the story that he may have been keeping company with Mrs. Kellerhall?

KASER: No.

HUFFMAN: How long have you known Mrs. Kellerhall? This is the end of side one it will be continued on side two. This is Sergeant Huffman side two continuing the interview with Mrs. Mary Kaser, presence of her attorney Mr. Rhoten, Sheriff Denver Young of Marion County Sheriff’s Office and Sergeant Huffman of the State Police. There hasn’t been a full settlement on the estate as far as the indebtedness against it?

KASER: No.

HUFFMAN: The allocations set forth in the divorce decree lists approximately $30,000. Is that just a rough estimate?

KASER: Yes. Exaggerated I guess.

ATTORNEY J. R. RHOTEN: You might correct that – divorce complaint not decree. Decree has never been taken as the case was never heard. It was set for trial on March 17.

HUFFMAN: Did Ervin Kaser leave a will?

KASER: Not to my knowledge.

HUFFMAN: We understand that he was suppose to have left a will with some property to Ethel Oveross.

KASER: That’s the first time I ever heard that.

HUFFMAN: You never heard of anything like that?

KASER: No I haven’t.

HUFFMAN: Does your husband, Ervin Kaser, and Casper Oveross ever gone hunting together?

KASER: Not that I now of. They may have, I don’t know.

HUFFMAN: Do you ever – while you were married to Mr. Huntley did you ever go out with Ervin prior to your divorce with Mr. Huntley?

KASER: Do I have to answer that question?

RHOTEN: No you don’t have to answer that question.

KASER: I don’t want to. [EK_note: Since Mary seemed willing to answer everything else, only refused to answer this question, and if the answer were “no” she’d probably have answered it, I would guess that Ervin and Mary did have a relationship while she was still married to Mr. Huntley.  It doesn’t really matter, but it does cast further light upon Ervin and his relationships with women, married or otherwise.]

HUFFMAN: You don’t wish to answer that question?

RHOTEN: Yes.

HUFFMAN: Getting back to property. I believe I said a divorce decree I meant that as complaint.

RHOTEN: That’s right.

HUFFMAN: That’s right. The estimated value in that complaint was just a rough estimate and not an appraisal?

KASER: Yes.

HUFFMAN: And I understand thats the vicinity of $10,000 for one piece of property and $20,000 for another piece of property?

KASER: I don’t recall the exact figures, I believe one was $21,000 which is highly valued as uknown. The other perhaps was $10,000, I just don’t recall.

HUFFMAN: Who did Ervin Kaser buy that place from, where your living?

KASER: He bought the land and then built the house later, but I don’t remember who the owners were.

HUFFMAN: Who holds the mortgage on that property?

KASER: Winderoff. Ed Rostie was the man who came to me – I can’t remember if Winderoff’s

HUFFMAN: And where do they live?

KASER: In Salem, but I can’t say where.

HUFFMAN: Do you know how much the mortgage balance is?

KASER: $5,000.

HUFFMAN: $5,000?

KASER: Yes.

HUFFMAN: Is that the only mortgage against the property?

KASER: To my knowledge.

HUFFMAN: Your daughter at the time of your first divorce, how old was she?

KASER: Five I believe.

HUFFMAN: Did you receive any support money from your divorce decree?

KASER: No.

HUFFMAN: Did you ask for any?

KASER: I didn’t ask.

HUFFMAN: Was there some reason you didn’t ask?

RHOTEN: I don’t think that would be material in this investigation.

HUFFMAN: Do you object Mr. Rhoten?

RHOTEN: Yes, I think we’ll leave that out.

HUFFMAN: Can you think of any other questions, Denver?

SHERIFF DENVER YOUNG:

HUFFMAN: Is there any statement that you wish to make right now Mr. Rhoten?

RHOTEN: No, I don’t believe there is anything at the present time I might say that when and if the appraisal is made on the estate why it is a matter of public record and if you would like we would be glad to furnish you a copy. Also the records with respect to the obligations when they are determined will be available to you here if you like.

HUFFMAN: I think that would be kind of nice to have a copy of that don’t you Denver?

YOUNG: For a matter of complete information?

HUFFMAN: Yes.

YOUNG: It might be well if we could get a copy.

HUFFMAN: We could get a copy of that and for the Sheriff’s Office.

RHOTEN: Yes, we don’t know when that wil be of course because we haven’t any idea yet as to what those assets might be. Its all outside of the real property.

HUFFMAN: Mrs. Oveross with permission of your attorney, Mr. Rhoten –

KASER Oveross?

HUFFMAN: Correction! Mrs. Kaser with the permission of your attorney, Mr. Rhoten I would like to ask you were you ever out with Casper Oveross prior to your husbands death?

KASER: No.

HUFFMAN: Or at any other time?

KASER: No.

HUFFMAN: Had you – were you with some other party instrumental to your husbands death?

KASER: No.

HUFFMAN: Did you kill your husband?

KASER: No!

HUFFMAN: Do you know who may have killed your husband?

KASER: No.

HUFFMAN: Do you have any questions, Denver?

YOUNG: No, not right now.

HUFFMAN: This ends the interview with Mrs. Kaser, 2:31 P.M., March 2, 1955. Present were her attorney Mr. Rhoten, Sheriff Denver Young, Sergeant Wayne Huffman.

[signed] Wayne G. Huffman Sgt

State Police Lieutenant Farley E. Mogan: (letter to Norris Ames)

March 2, 1955

Mr. Norris Ames
Greener Apartments
Cathedral City, California

Dear Sir:

On the night of February 17, 1955 Mr. Ervin Kaser was murdered near Silverton by someone who shot him with a high caliber rifle. We are attempting to ascertain the identity of the individiual who committed this crime. We are checking on several firearms that might have been used in this case and one of these is a model 94 Winchester 30-30 rifle which we believe you may have sold to Mr. Casper A. (Cap) Oveross of Silverton in 1946 or 1947. We would greatly appreciate it if you would advise us if you have any recollection or records regarding the sale of this gun to Mr. Oveross.

Very truly yours,

H. G. MAISON, Superintendent
By [signed] Farley E. Mogan
Farley E. Mogan, Lieutenant

Thursday, March 3, 1955

Sheriff’s Deputy Amos O. Shaw:

10:20 AM Check out Gervais Hardware. Sells rifles on order only. Doesn’t recall any sales to Casper Oveross.

10:30 AM Check Scarboroughs Hardware Woodburn. In business 14 yrs. never sold to Casper Oveross.

10:40 AM Check Ahrens Hardware, Woodburn. Books go back to 1950. Never sold to Casper Oveross.

10:50 AM Check with Roy’s gun & Repair Shop, Woodburn. Sold since 1944. Never to Casper Oveross.

11:00 AM Check with J. Nathans Hardware, Woodburn. Since 1930, Never to Casper Oveross.

11:15 AM Check with Guy Graham, Gunsmith, Woodburn. Never sold to Casper Oveross, never done any work on Oveross gun.

11:50 AM Contact Hardware Store in Hubbard, 6 yrs. in bus. Never sold to Casper Oveross.

11:55 AM Contact Mr. Duncan, gun smith at Hubbard, Never done any work for Casper Oveross.

12:15 PM Contact Sma Matheney. Stated that Dunn of State Police had all info. he might have.

Stated he has known Casper only since Cap has been working for him, about 2 or 3 weeks.

Stated he was all for Casper, and would help him out financially, or in any way he could regardless if Casper was guilty or not. However in the next breath says we had to find the guilty person.

Sam asked Cap upon his return to work after the Grand Jury released him, about his alibi, and why he didn’t clear himself. Cap told Sam he wasn’t talking about it to any one, that the police could drag him right back in any time we wanted to.

Sam said he didn’t know if Casper O. had a rifle or not but presumed that he did and that confidentially he had heard that Cap owned a rifle but wouldn’t reveal whom it was that told him.

Stated that Sam’s son Bob Matheney has known Cap for some time and thinks a lot of Cap. That Bob was pretty badly broken up and bitter about the police locking Cap up for the Grand Jury. Stated that he (Sam) didn’t think that Bob Matheney knew if Cap had a gun or not, and stated that if Bob did know he wouldn’t tell us. Wasn’t sure if State Officer Dunn had talked to Bob or not.

3:15 PM Check out William Roberts at Stout Lmbr. Co. Mehama, (prior clerk for Aumsville

4:20 PM Contact Harold Whitley, doesn’t know Casper Oveross.

4:45 PM Contact Frank Pfaff, Mill Town Tavern, Silverton, reg. possibility of Ervin Kaser or Casper Oveross having been in the Tavern night of murder. Stated he knows both well and they never was in the Tavern. Closed at 10:30 PM on 2-17-55.

State Police Private Lloyd T. Riegel:

Deputy Shaw and the writer following assigned leads checked the hardware, sporting goods stores and other places selling guns in the Brooks, Gervais, Woodburn, West Woodburn, Donald, Aurora and Hubbard area. There was no record shown that would indicate that any rifle had been sold to Casper Oveross. Gunsmiths, Ray Dugan of Hubbard and Guy Graham of Woodburn, were also checked. Neither gunsmith has done repair work for Casper Oveross.

Deputy Shaw and the writer then contacted Sam Mathany relative to Casper Oveross’ working at his place on 17 February 1955. Mr. Mathany verified the fact that Casper had worked until noon on 17 February 1955 and that he had left giving the excuse that he needed to go to the bank in the afternoon. Mr. Mathany was quite cooperative, however he had no information of any value. He was also quite forward with the fact that he was willing to assist Casper Oveross in any way if he was picked up again by the officers. Stated that he would be willing to furnish money to hire an attorney even though he was sure that a considerable amount of money from other sources was available. Mr. Mathany stated it made no difference to him whether Casper had shot Ervin Kaser or not, that he was still a friend of Caspers and would remain a friend. Mr. Mathany stated that he did not know whether Casper Oveross had a rifle or not. Stated that he had heard that Casper had a rifle but that he had not actually seen the gun. He was also questioned about his son, R. D. Mathany. Sam Mathany stated that his son did not know too much about Casper Oveross and he was quite sure that it would do us no good to talk to him about Casper Oveross as his son was quite bitter about the fact that Casper had been picked up by the police and that he had refused to talk to his father about the situation. Mr. Mathany stated that when Casper returned to work on Tuesday, 1 March 1955, that he had tried to talk to Cap some about the situation. Cap had replied that he had been instructed by his attorney Bruce Williams that he could be picked up again at any time by the officers and that he should not say anything about what had taken place previously or what he had been told by Bruce Williams or what he had told Bruce Williams and to make no comments to anyone relative to anything in connection with the shooting of Ervin Kaser. Mr. Mathany stated with that he had given up attempting to talk to Casper Oveross.

The writer and Deputy Shaw then contacted Mrs. W. J. Haverly, Rt. 3, Box 87, Silverton. Mrs. Haverly stated that she was a very good friend of Cap Oveross and that she felt he had done the community a great favor by shooting Ervin Kaser. She did not say directly but more or less implied that if she had any information that she would not be willing to give it if it would be on injurious nature to Cap Oveross. She further stated that she did not know anything about Cap’s guns and that she had never seen a gun. She stated that Casper had worked for her considerable painting the house, painting various buildings and doing carpenter work. That he at one time stated that he was having some family trouble and that Ervin Kaser was the cause of it. Mrs. Haverly stated that Cap at that time had told her that he was sueing for divorce and that he would like to receive custody of the children as he did not want Ervin Kaser to raise his children that he felt Ervin Kaser would take advantage of the young girls as soon as they were large enough.

The writer contacted William Roberts, owner of the Aumsville Hardware since 1947. Mr. Roberts stated that it was very doubtful that Cap Oveross had ever purchased a gun in his store. He further stated that he did not handle guns until 1950 and that the first gun they received in 1950, just at hunting season time, he had himself taken. They had received very few guns in 1951 of which were sold to his friends and people in the Aumsville area. Stated that he did not have an actual record of where the guns were sold but he is quite sure that all guns sold were sold to friends or people that he knew.

A Mr. Harold Whitley, reportedly to have worked with Casper Oveross in the Stayton area as an apprentice carpenter, was contacted relative to any knowledge he may have of Casper Oveross. Mr. Whitley stated that he did not Casper Oveross and he had not worked with him. He stated that he was an apprentice carpenter, that he had done some work in the Silverton, however, it had been with large contstruction company and that he was sure that Casper Oveross had not been a member of the crew. Mr. Whitley further stated that he is now working with his brother in the upholstery business in Stayton and that he does not remember Cap Oveross ever coming to their place of business.

Sheriff Young and Sergeant Huffman requested Deputy Shaw and the writer to contact the tavern in Mill Town, Silverton, Oregon. This tavern known as Frank and Mauds Tavern on Lincoln Street was contacted by Deputy Shaw and the writer. Frank Pfaff, the owner and bartender, was contacted relative to Casper Oveross having been in his place of business on 17 February 1955. Mr. Pfaff stated that he was quite well acquainted with Casper Oveross and that he is sure that he would have noticed Casper if he was in his place on 17 February 1955. He further stated that he had not seen Casper for over four months. He was questioned relative to Ervin Kaser having been in his place of business. Mr. Pfaff stated that he knew Ervin Kaser quite well and to the best of his knowledge Ervin Kaser had never been in his place of business and that he was definitely not in his place on 17 February 1955.

Sheriff Denver Young:

Highway fuel, contact Don Davis re rumor of Ervin having an affair with a woman in Madras Ore. States that it was only hearsay.

11:00 AM. Contacted Mrs. Ida Brady at J.C. Penny store in Salem. She was raised in Silverton. Went to Evergreen school. She had heard that Ervin Kaser had written a letter to Myrtle Schar so had written a letter to Mrs. Harvey Kaser about it. Doesn’t know when it was written.

1:00 P.M. Contacted Ethel Oveross re: incident where Casper was supposed to have run her off the road. States that in October or November Casper followed her towards Salem and at Pratum he forced her to stop and that he tried to tear the wires out of her car. She was able to drive off and leave him but he followed her for a while before he left.

5:25 P.M. Silverton. Contacted C.G. Grainger taxi driver for address of Chas. Bordie. States he works for Pacific Handle Co. 200 Center St. Silverton.

5:30 P.M. Marshall Wells store for locate on Chas. Hopkins.

5:40 P.M. Contact res. Of Chas. Borte. 200 Center St. Silverton.

States he saw Casper at LeGards service station bet. 8:30 & 9:00 P.M. Did not see inside of car.

Oregon State Police Sergeant Wayne G. Huffman:

Sheriff Young and writer contacted Mrs. Ethel Oveross on 3 March 1955 and additional information was obtained to the effect that Casper Oveross had sold a 32-20 rifle to a Noah Wenger, Silverton, Oregon, just a few weeks or a couple of months before he purchased his new 30-30 rifle. She also stated Ervin Kaser had remarked that night when they were together, if he hadn’t received a phone call that night he would have been in Madras, Oregon. She stated he implied the phone call came from Madras but he did not state what the phone call was about. She stated she never inquired as to what it might have been. There was nothing additional that she could add.

Sheriff Young and writer on 3 Mar 55 contacted ETHEL OVEROSS again for any additional information she might have, but met with no new information. She did state she heard another car that night on 17 Feb 55, go by the house but it appeared to be driving slow, this was just shortly before she heard her sister’s pickup go by. She stated she couldn’t tell if it was CAP’S car or not. She stated she has heard CAP’S car come into the driveway considerable times and she could recognize it by the sound, but she couldn’t be sure if it was the car she heard go by on the night of Feb 17, 1955. She did stated that she and ERVIN KASER had talked over the threats that CAP had made, at least the ones she heard about and they were always careful when they were out together so as not to be seen. She stated if they thought a car was following them that ERVIN would always speed up or let the car pass to see if it was CAP. Also sometimes they would drive in a round-about way on back roads if they thought anyone was following them. She stated that night of the 17th when she was with ERVIN that he mentioned if he hadn’t received a telephone call he would have gone to MADRAS, OREGON that night. She stated he implied the call was from there.

She also stated that a few weeks or possibly 2 months before CAP bought his 30-30 rifle that he had a 32-20 rifle and had left it at the Marshal-Wells store in Silverton for the manager to sell for him. She stated it wasn’t sold so he brought it home and had both guns there at the house for about 2 weeks or a month and then he sold the 32-20 to a NOEL WANER (phonetic) [EK_note: Noah Wenger] and kept the 30-30 rifle. She stated she believed the gun to be a new gun when he brought it home and she doesn’t remember if it was in a box or not. She stated her daughter, Coleen, and she had talked about the shooting and her daughter, Coleen, and she had talked about the shooting and her daughter believed her father hadn’t shot ERVIN. She stated there was a strained relationship between she and her daughter since the shooting and there has been arguments, but only over the fact that it was her fault that ERVIN was shot and CAP suspected. She stated if at anytime there is anything she remembers concerning the rifle or other information she may get that she will either contact Sheriff Young or writer.

Contacted a Charles Borte, 201 Center St, Silverton, Oregon, who stated he has known CASPER OVEROSS for several years and that on the night of 17 Feb 55, he saw CAP at LEGARDS Union Service State, sometime between 8:30 and 9:00 PM. He stated CAP pulled into the service station in his car and up to the gasoline pumps and they had a new Hydraulic jack there, so to see how it worked they jacked up the front end of CAP’S car. He stated CAP got out of the car and he didn’t appear to be drinking, although he didn’t get close enough to smell anything. He stated he didn’t look in the car for any rifles and that CAP was supposed to have bought some gas after he (Borte) had left. He stated he remembered the time as he had to be at Frank’s store before it closed that night. He stated there was nothing he heard in the way of remarks made by CAP. He stated he didn’t know what kind of gun CAP owned.

The Salem City Police Department, Detective Division, checked all pawn shops and second hand stores for possible sale of gun to CASPER OVEROSS and all other relatives listed in writer’s report as of 1 March 55. They reported negative results.

U of O Med School, Crime Detection Laboratory, Ralph W. Prouty:

On February 18, 1955 the writer examined a 1949 Plymouth sedan, Oregon license 569-497 at the Kaser residence located on Route 3, Box 115-W, Silverton, Oregon. At 5:35 A.M., the writer removed a fired rifle bullet from the front seat of this vehicle. This item is listed as Item E-1. Examination of this item reveals that it is of 30 caliber, and was fired from a weapon having six lands and grooves of right-hand twist. The entire core has been expelled from this item, and only the jacket portion remains. This bullet is too badly distorted to be able to ascertain the pitch of the rifling. The construction of the jacket is compared with known standards in the laboratory, and found to be similar to a Remington Core-lokt bullet. The rifling details are compared with Item E-2, and are found to be grossly and microscopically similar.

At 7:15 A.M, February 18, 1955 there was received from D. Home H. Harris the following item which was removed from the body of Ervin Oren Kaser at the time of autopsy:

Item E-2 is a 30 caliber bullet with six lands and grooves of right-hand twist. Examination of this item reveals that the core has been expelled from the outer casing. Comparison of the remaining jacket portion with known laboratory standards reveals that it has a construction similar to Remington Core-lokt type bullet. The bore details are compared with Items 1, and it is noted that it is similar. This bullet is badly distorted, and it is impossible to ascertain the rate of twist. The mutilation of the rifling microscopic details makes it impossible at this time to definitely associate it with any particular bore. However, the class characteristics of lands and grooves in their width, number, and direction of twist is similar to that of the Model 94 Winchester, Item 4.

Item E-3 is a number of envelopes containing fragments removed from the body of Ervin Oren Kaser. These are studied, and it is observed that they are composed of numerous lead and copper particles similar to the construction of a high powered rifle bullet. Further examination is being made of these particles to determine more accurately the type of ammunition from which they came.

At 10:30 A.M., February 24, 1955 there is received from Officer Riegal, Oregon State Police and Deputy Shaw, Marion County Sheriff’s office, the following items of evidence.

Item E-4 is a 30-30 caliber Winchester model 94 rifle, serial #118533. Examination of this item reveals it has a sheriff’s office official evidence tag dated February 22, 1955 “Homicide of E. O. Kaser, property of Wayne Moore. Picked up by Hoffman and Young, serial #118533, 30-30 rifle, to be used for ballistics comparison. D.Y.” Examination of this item reveals that it is marked on the forearm with the initial “D” and the date 2-22-55. The bore of this weapon is examined, and it is noted that near the muzzle is a small patch of bright rust. A patch is forced through the bore, and it is noted that it has a black, greasy residue adhering to it indicating that this weapon has been fired since it was last thoroughly cleaned. Examination of the magazine reveals that it contains six loaded 30-30 caliber cartridges. These are listed as “4-A, 4-B, 4-C, 4-D, 4-E, and 4-F” in the order in which they were removed from the magazine. Examination of Items 4-A, B, C, and D reveals that they are Western Super-X 30-30 Winchester cartridges loaded with a 150 grain silver-tip bullet. Examination of the markings on these cartridges reveals that all four have been worked through the chamber of Item E-4 once, and have been placed in the magazine two times as evidenced by the characteristic magazine marks of Item 4. Item 4-E is a Remington 30-30 cartridge of 170 grain soft point Core-Lokt type cartridge which, upon examination, reveals that it has been worked through the action of the Model 94 Winchester, and placed in the magazine many times. Item 4-F is a Remington 30-30 cartridge of 170 grain soft point Core-Lokt type cartridge which, upon examination reveals that it has not been worked through the mechanism of the Model 94 Winchester, and has been placed in the magazine only one time.

Item E-5 is a Savage 30-30 caliber rifle, Model 340 with no serial number. This weapon is a bolt-action, clip-type rifle. It bears the tag “Seized from Virgil Huddleston, Rt. 3-B 123 A, Silverton Date seized 18 February, 1955. County in which seized, Marion; seized by Sheriff Young to be compared with slug removed from body of Ervin Kaser by Dr. Harris.” Examination of the bore reveals black, greasy residue indicating that this weapon has been fired since it was last thoroughly cleaned. The bore details consist of six lands and grooves of right hand twist. Test fires are made, using this item and compared with Item E-2 and Item E-3, and it is found that the land impressions are more narrow than in the evidence bullets, indicating that this weapon could not have been used to fire Items E-1 and E-2. No further examinations are made of this item.

Item E-6 is a Marlin 30-30 caliber carbine, Model 336-RC, serial number J 4465 which bears a tag with the notation “Seized from J. W. Gillham, Route 5, Box 417, Salem, Oregon. Seized Feb. 21, 1955.” Examination of the bore of this weapon reveals that it has four lands and grooves clearly indicating that it could not have fired Items E1 and E-2. No other examinations are made.

Item E-7 is small box with the notation “To State Crime Laboratory. Contents two rifle cartidges Remington 30-30 caliber Core-Lokt removed from the cabin of Kasper Oveross 2-18-55, one empty shell case 30-30 Remington removed from shirt pocket of Kasper Oveross 2-189-55 to be used in checking in case of homicide of Ervin Kaser 2-17-55. D. Young, Sheriff Marion County, Oregon. All cases marked ‘D’”. Examination of the contents of this item reveals there are three loaded cartridges rather than two, two of which are Remington 30-30 caliber Core-Lokt type bullets, and one Remington 30-30 cartridge loaded with a plain lead hollow-point bullet. There is a fired Remington 30-30 cartridge contained in this box. It was reportedly removed from the shirt pocket of Kasper Oveross. This item was reportedly fired in the 30-30 Savage, Item E-5. The microscopic details of the firing pin impression and breach block markings are compared with the test-fires prepared in Item E-5, and found to be similar. Examination of the two Remington Core-Lokt type cartridges reveals that one of them has been worked through the chamber of the Model 94 Winchester, Item E-4. The cartridge case of the other Remington 30-30 cartiridge appears to have no markings that it has been placed in any type of firearm. The plain lead 30-30 Remington cartridge is examined, and no microscopic details are noted on the rim. This has the appearance of having been polished smooth as one may expect from a cartridge which has been carried in a pocket for a considerable length of time. Nothing else remarkable is noted about it.

SUMMARY: In our opinion,

1. Item E-1 and Item E-2 were fired from the bore of the same weapon, and may possibly have been fired in Item e-4, the 30-30 caliber Winchester Model 94. Additional studies are being made of these items to determine if a positive identification or elimination can be made.

2. The bullet fragments of Item C-3 are being studied to determine if it is possible to identify them as parts of any particular type of bullet.

3. The fired 30-30 caliber cartridge removed from Item E-7 was fired in the chamber of the 30-30 Savage, Item E-5. One of the loaded Remington 30-30 cartridges reportedly removed from the cabin of Kasper Oveross has been chambered in the Model 94 Winchester, Item E-4.

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And that’s enough for this week, I think.

Blogically yours,
Everett

Not Innocent: The Investigation (part 7)

Now ten days after the murder, everyone seems to have taken a day off on Sunday, February 27, 1955.  The hunt for the weapon continues, especially the hunt for witnesses or records of Casper Oveross buying a 30-caliber rifle.  The police have a number of witnesses stating that Oveross did have a hunting rifle, knew that he had hunted with it, but Oveross denied ever having it.  So, the hunt for the purchase goes on, as well as continuing to check all 30-caliber rifles that Oveross (or anyone else in the area) might have had access to.

Monday, February 28, 1955

Sheriff’s Deputy Amos O. Shaw:

8:30 AM Sheriff Office plan activity for the day

10:30 AM At Hardware store in Aumsville regarding rifle sales. Mr. Roberts is previous owner of store sold out in 1951. At present at Lyons Oregon. Talked with Mr. M.C. Franklin had place for 4 yrs. No information of value.

10:50 AM Stayton Oregon contact Mr. Powell has had sporting goods store since 1954, Jacks Sporting Goods Store. No gun sales recorded. Doesn’t believe that he ever sold a gun to Oveross. Following gun smiths in Stayton: Lloyd Schenauer (Moved to California), Mat Frost (Works for Philippi), Gun smith in Turner

11:00 AM Contact Marshall Wells Store in Stayton, Clifford Likes, Owner. Kenneth Gar and checked books since 1947 no gun sales listed to any Oveross.

Wayne Huffman checked Santiam Hardware. Nothing of value. Lloyd Riegel checked Western Auto. Nothing of value.

11:27 AM At Philippi’s to check with Mat Frost, no information of value, does mostly stock work.

11:30 AM Check with Chief of Police Norfleet. No information of value.

11:45 AM Check with Ferres at Sublimity Lumber Yard. Cap hangs out around there and they sell rifles. (Info. From Norfleet Stayton) Also advised to check with a Wick, Body and Fender man at Ford Garage. Stated he was with Oveross 2 weeks ago, and is a personal friend of Oveross.

12:10 PM At Dolph Heater residence to talk with Ronald Heater. Wrong house will attempt to locate home.

12:15 PM Sarg. Huffman learned that Ronald Heater is in Silverton, will contact there.

12:36 PM Contact Frank Shepherd, Silverton P.D. Frank reports that Mrs. Frank Wolfe had been talking to him and had heard her neighbor say that a car had followed her home, or pulled around her on evening of 17th. She saw them pull down a lane by her home and saw 2 cars exchange something. (Frank will try to gain additional information Mrs. Wolfe reluctant to talk to police.) Received additional information of importance, will check on this information thru other sources available.

1:00 PM Contact Ronald Heater. No information.

1:10 PM Lunch Silverton

2:00 PM State Patrol Office

3:30 PM Contact Wayne Moore at District Attorney Office. Wayne says he has owned gun for 15 yrs. was formerly property of father.

Gun has been kept in the woodshed and garage at Moore residence for considerable length of time. Been in the woodshed for at least on month prior to being picked up by Sheriff. Stated he had never taken very good care of the gun. And that Casper knew he kept it in the woodshed and had easy access to it.

Wayne stated that the last time he used the gun he shot at a dog bothering some sheep on his place. This was about 1 month ago. Gun is always left fully loaded. Stated he hadn’t cleaned the gun for a month or more.

Doesn’t know how many shells were in gun. Could have been hollow points or Remington Kleen Bores.

Stated that Casper never used the gun to his knowledge. Nor has ever borrowed the gun for target practice or other purposes to the knowledge of Mr. Moore.

2 years ago Casper Oveross had gone hunting with Mr. W. Moore and it is possible that he could have ejected one of the shells from Mr. Moore’s gun without the knowledge of Mr. Moore. Casper never used the gun on that trip. Wayne Moore stated Casper had a 30-30 rifle he used on the trip. Wayne further stated he didn’t use reloads, nor had he ever given Casper any ammo. to the best of his knowledge.

Wayne stated it is possible that Casper could have gotten his rifle on the 17th. Or prior to the 17th. And used it in killing Mr. Kaser. And that this possibility had occurred to Mr. Moore and worried him to the extent that he immediately upon arriving home from work on 18th. went and checked the gun. He stated he found it in approximately the same place he had left it, and gun was loaded. Gun was checked at about 5:35 PM 2-18-55.

There has been hard feelings by Casper toward’s Wayne Moore, and has implied to Mr. Moore that Casper felt he was chasing around with his wife.

4:30PM Mr. Moore further stated that Casper was shrewd enough and capable of using Mr. Moore’s rifle for the shooting.

5:00 PM Contact State Patrol office.

5:30 PM Contact Frank Shepherd, he contacted Mrs. Wolfe whom stated as follows:

A lady that is a 4-H leader is supposed to have seen 2 cars pass some thing between them on lane by their place. Mrs. Wolfe was reluctant to give the name of party that observed this transaction. It is felt by Shepherd that the most logical party whom observed this is Mrs. Lensman. (A check with 4-H club is advisable to gain parties name.)

6:40 PM Check with Charley Hopkins, 208 Mill St. Silverton whom advised that Mrs. George Hopkins, cabin #5 Hollan Court, has some information for us.

7:00 PM Contact Shirley Hopkins, cabin #5 Hollan Court, whom revealed the following information:

Stated that some one had a wrapped object and put it in a car. Car was described as a light gray colored late model Ford Coach or Sedan. 1949 or 1950 model. That was the first thing removed from the cabin and the only thing loaded into this particular car. The car left immediately and was gone about 15 minutes then returned to the cabin. Subject in the vehicle was described as 20 yrs., tall slender. (Knows Danny Gilham and stated it was not him.) Other people at Oveross cabin during this time was an older man and an older heavy-set woman, and Colleen Oveross. 3 cars was there the one mentioned above, and a late model Salmon colored Ford, and another vehicle believed to be a pre-war model gray vehicle. This occurred Wednesday 23rd. About 5:30 PM.

Also Shirley stated that a girl friend of her’s VERNA TEGLUND, mother in law of Mrs. Seward 212 W Center Street, stated she saw and talked to Casper Oveross approximately 15 minutes after the shooting. [EK_note: See the end of Riegel’s report below for clarification of this, it was earlier in the evening, not after the shooting.]

Also on night of murder Mrs. Hopkins, cabin #5 Hollan Court, and her brother Duane Hopkins, and his girl friend heard a car drive up and stop in front of Casper Oveross cabin #6 Hollan Court. This took place at 8:40 PM 2-17-55. She heard some one go in the house was in about 10 minutes at most, and left. She didn’t look out to see whom it was and took for granted it was Casper.

Also stated that Casper had worked with a young man, and associated with him considerably. Man described as 21 yrs. nice looking, curly hair dark colored. Subject does carpenter work and resides in Stayton. Was last seen about 2 months ago.

Also stated that on Friday 2-18-55, two young men had come up and knocked on Cap’s door and had enquired if she knew Casper, and enquired as to his age, etc. Stated they would leave a note in his mail box for him. However she watched them and they didn’t leave any note. [EK_note: Reporters?  Hard to say.]

Concludes activities of 2-28-55

State Police Private Lloyd T. Riegel:

On 28 February 1955 Sgt Huffman, Deputy Shaw and the writer proceeded to Aumsville Oregon and checked the Roberts Hardware Store for any record of guns purchased by Casper Oveross. The records present at the store were checked with negative result but an additional check is to be made with a former bookkeeper. Results in later report. The above officers checked the Jack’s Sporting Goods, Santiam Hardware, Western Auto, and Coast to Coast stores in Stayton, Oregon. All stores were checked with negative results. Mathew Frost, gunsmith in Stayton, was checked for sale or repair work on any guns belonging to Casper Oveross, this also was with negative results.

Dolph Heater was contacted relative to his knowledge of guns owned by Casper Oveross. Mr. Heater stated that he knew Casper Oveross only to speak to and to have a drink with. Stated that he has never hunted with Casper Oveross and had no idea about as to what type or kind of gun Oveross owns.

The writer and Deputy Shaw contact Wayne More relative to Casper Oveross having borrowed shells or guns from Mr. Moore. Mr. Moore stated that the gun, now in possession of Sheriff Young, had belonged to his father before him and that he had never loaned the gun to anyone. Mr. Moore stated that he had hunted in Eastern Oregon two years ago with Casper Oveross but Oveross had not used his gun and to the best of his knowledge had not loaded or ejected shells from the gun. Mr. Moore was questioned regarding his having shot on the Oveross residence. Mr. Moore state that he had never practiced shooting on Oveross’s place and that to the best of his knowledge his gun has never been used to shoot at any targets on Oveross’s place. Mr. Moore further stated that he has never loaned shells to Oveross nor has he borrowed shells from Oveross. He further stated that for the last year he and Oveross have not been on the best of terms, as Oveross had warned him against being friends with ERVIN KASER. Oveross told Mr. Moore that he would not remain a friend of his as long as Mr. Moore remained friendly with ERVIN KASER. Mr. Moore said he paid little or no attention to this because it only came up when Oveross had been drinking. Mr. Moore was questioned regarding where he normally leaves his gun and as to whether or not the gun is left loaded or unloaded. Mr. Moore stated that he always leaves the gun setting in the wood shed and the gun is always loaded. Mr. Moore further stated that he last noticed the gun about thirty days ago when he shot a dog on his place and he was quite sure the four shells left in the gun were either silver tip or core lock or some of each. Moore was questioned about the type and size of shell he uses. He stated that he has never used re-loads and has always bought the 170 grain bullet. The writer questioned Mr. Moore regarding his activity on the night of 17 February 1955 and to the possibility that Oveross could have taken his gun from the woodshed and returned it without the Moore family knowledge. Mr. Moore stated that he arrived home about 6:10 PM, had supper and watched television until about 10:30 PM then retired. Mrs. Moore, Erma Moore, stayed up after 10-:30 PM waiting from their daughters return from a skating party in Salem, Oregon. Wayne Moore further stated that Oveross has been at his home many times and would know that the rifle is always kept in the woodshed. He further stated that from the living room of his home it would be impossible for either he or his wife to see or hear anyone enter the place from the south and into the woodshed. The Moore lies about 500 ft to the north and east of the Casper Oveross residence. Mr. Moore stated that he became quite worried about this gun after he left for work on 18 February 1955. Upon return to his home he checked and found the gun setting in its usual place and the gun was still loaded as he had left it. Mr. Moore stated that there is no definate manner in which the gun is placed in the corner of the woodshed.

The writer and Deputy Shaw then contacted a Shirley Hopkins who lives in cabin 5, Hollin Auto Court, Silverton. Mrs. Hopkins stated Verna Tagelands mother-in-law, a Mrs. Rose Mary Seward, 212 West Center St. Silverton, Oregon, had seen and talked with Casper Oveross about 11:15 PM 17 February 1955. Mrs. Hopkins further stated that on the day following Oveross’s arrest a light, almost white, 49 or 50 Ford came to the Oveross cabin and took one object from the cabin. This was wrapped in a quilt and appeared to be either a broom or gun from the shape of the object. This man was described as slender, dark hair and appeared to be about 21 years of age. The man left and returned in just a few minutes. At this time there was another couple at the house in another car. Mrs. Hopkins stated that she had never seen either of the three before. One of the three was a woman, partly gray hair, short and rather heavy build. Mrs. Hopkins further stated that on the evening of 17 February 1955 she and her brother Duane Mattox, 936 So. Water St. Silverton, were watching television when they heard a car drive up to the Oveross cabin. Someone got out of the vehicle and went into the house and stayed about 10 minutes. From the way the vehicle drove up and the manner the subject went inside the cabin Mrs. Hopkins go the idea it was Oveross, however she did not actually get up and see either the vehicle or the man. Mrs. Hopkins was rather sure that this was between 8:30 PM and 8:40 PM, however she was unable to attach this to any program or other incident to be sure of the time. Mrs. Hopkins heard no talking and assumed that Oveross was alone.

Duane Mattox was contacted and related the same story with the fact added that he thinks he looked outside and noticed that the vehicle that drove up was Casper Oveross’s vehicle and that who ever was driving the vehicle was alone.

The writer and Deputy Shaw contacted Rose Mary Seward. She stated that she and her husband were shopping at Franks Grocery about 8:15 PM 17 February 1955, and that they had seen Casper Oveross in the store buying groceries. She further stated that she and Casper had spoke to each other while shopping. Mrs. Seward said that this is the last time she had seen Casper Oveross and that she had definitely not seen him at 11:15 PM 17 February 1955.

Capital Journal, Monday, February 28, 1955 (afternoon newspaper)
Marion Grand Jury Hears Witnesses in Probe of Slaying of Ervin Kaser

Eleven of the approximately 15 witnesses to be questioned by the grand jury in the investigation of Casper (Cap) Oveross, charged with the murder of Ervin O. Kaser, had been quizzed when the grand jury adjourned at noon Monday.

The grand jury swung into action on the case promptly at 9:30 Monday morning, and indications were that its questioning of witnesses would easily be completed before the end of the day.  A grand jury report today is possible.

Witnesses questioned Monday before noon were: Denver Young, Marion County sheriff, who was in charge of the investigation that resulted in Oveross’ arrest; Edward A. Finley, a relative of Kaser, the murder victim [EK_note: only distantly by marriage.  More notably he was a neighbor]; Mr. and Mrs. Emmanuel Kellherhals, Jr., neighbors of Kaser; Melvin Kaser and Harvey Kaser, brothers of Ervin, and Mrs. Harvey Kaser;  Mrs. Betty Hollin, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Anundson, and William Specht.  All are of Silverton or vicinity except the sheriff.

It was believed others to be called by the jury might include: Ethel Oveross, former wife of the accused man; Wayne Moore, Virgil Huddleston, and a Mr. and Mrs. Gillian.

Members of the grand jury investigating the case are Clarence M. Byrd, Salem, foreman; Ruth D. Teter, Silverton; Anna Adams, Silverton; Durward V. Balweber, Woodburn; Alvin E. Hollin, Silverton; Lester C. Davidson, Salem; and Harvey C. Epping, Salem.

If an indictment is returned against Oveross by the grand jury Bruce Williams, the accused man’s attorney, said Monday that he would move to have him appear for plea before the circuit court at the earliest possible time, and would follow up with an effort to bring the case to trial at an early date.

Kaser was shot and killed in his automobile the night of February 17 just as he had stopped at his garage door at his home near Silverton.  Oveross was arrested after an investigation of several days.

The Statesman, Tuesday, March 1, 1955 (morning paper)
Murder Charge Dismissed; Oveross Released
Jurors Decline To Indict
By Vinita Howard, Staff Writer, The Statesman

A jeans-clad Casper Oveross walked out of the Marion County Courthouse late Monday afternoon freed from the first degree murder charge which had been lodged against him nearly a week ago.

Oveross was released when the grand jury refused to indict him on the first degree murder charge for the Feb. 17 rifle-slaying of a Silverton hop-grower, Ervin O. Kaser.  Oveross, a 44-year-old carpenter, accepted the news calmly. His only comment, made to his attorney, Bruce Williams, when he was brought into the sheriff’s office from his cell was, “Is it true?”

Not Considered Sufficient

District Attorney Kenneth Brown said he had presented all evidence available at this time, but the grand jury had not considered it sufficient for indictment.  “If we get additional evidence later,” he said, “I’ll call in the grand jury again.” Oveross could be indicted at a later date.

The grand jury made its report to Circuit Judge George R. Duncan shortly before 4 p.m. In less than an hour, Oveross had been brought into district court before Judge E. O. Stadter Jr., who allowed a motion for dismissal. Oveross appeared unexcited as he listened to the brief proceedings. His only remark was a quick, “Thank you, Judge,” before he left with his attorneys, George Jones and Williams.

Effects Returned

Cap Oveross and daughter Colleen

Casper A. (Cap) Oveross, as calm upon his release from jail as he was when arrested nearly a week ago, is shown with his daughter, Colleen Oveross, shortly after a first degree murder charge against him was dismissed. A grand jury earlier Monday had refused to indict him on the charge. Oveross was greeted by his daughter at the office of his attorney, Bruce Williams, Salem.

A few minutes later, Oveross checked out of the Marion County jail after receiving his personal effects, including about $4 in cash, which he had with him when arrested.  In his arms he carried the clothing which he was wearing at the time of his arrest last Tuesday night.  Not until he met his daughter later at the office of his attorneys did he show any sign of happiness or relief over developments which led to his release.

The grand jury, which had been called for a special session by District Attorney Brown, heard evidence from 9:30 Monday morning until mid-afternoon. Since Oveross had not been bound over to the grand jury by a preliminary hearing, the jurors did not have to bring in either a true or not true bill on the matter.

Testimony Given

Sheriff Denver Young, who with state police conducted the investigation that led to Oveross’ arrest, said later that witnesses before the grand jury had cast doubt on Oveross’ story for the time of the shooting, and that others testified he had threatened Kaser’s life.  Oveross, who has steadfastly maintained his innocence, refused to take a lie detector test, Young said.

Other evidence offered to the grand jury attempted to show that Oveross had been at his former home, located near Kaser’s home, the night of the shooting, testimony was introduced attempting to place him in an area close enough to the scene, Young said, so that he could have gone there an returned.

Reports Not In

Cap Oveross and attorney

Casper (Cap) Oveross, left, held a conference with his attorney, Bruce Williams, following his release from the county jail Monday. Oveross was given his freedom when the Marion County Grand Jury after hearing evidence throughout the day refused to return an indictment charging him with the murder of Ervin O. Kaser, Silverton farmer. A complaint charging first degree murder was dismissed after the grand jury report was made. (Capital Journal photo)

Ballistics reports and other crime laboratory tests are still being made in Portland, according to Young. Another missing piece of evidence in the slaying is the rifle with which the shots were fired.

Kaser was shot to death Feb. 17 just outside his hop farm on the Silverton-Stayton highway, two miles south of Silverton.  Four shots, one of which lodged near his heart killing him almost immediately, were fired while he was sitting in his car in his driveway.

Oveross, who police say had blamed Kaser for the break-up of his marriage, was charged with first degree murder five days after the starlight slaying.

Sheriff Young Friday night would say only that his office will “continue investigation of the crime.” Meanwhile, the Ford car belonging to Oveross, which officers impounded when he was arrested, is scheduled to be returned to him today.

Seventeen persons were called Monday to testify before the grand jury investigating the first degree murder charge against Casper A. (Cap) Oveross, a Silverton carpenter. Oveross was released when the grand jury refused to indict him on the charge.  Testimony taken Monday by the jurors came from Silverton-area people with the exception of Marion County Sheriff Denver Young and Dr. Homer Harris of the state crime laboratory, Portland.

Others subpoenaed to tell what they knew of the Feb. 17 rifle-slaying of Ervin O. Kaser, Silverton hop grower, were: Edward Finley, a cousin of Mrs. Oveross; Mr. and Mrs. Emmanuel Kellerhals, who live across from the Kaser home; Melvin and Harvey Kaser, brothers of the murdered man; Mrs. Edith Kaser, wife of Harvey Kaser and a sister of Mrs. Oveross; Mrs. Betty Hollin, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Amundson, William Specht, Daniel Gilham, Mrs. Jennie Gilham, Ethel Oveross, Rodney Oster and Robert Barnes.

Members of the grand jury called-in by District Attorney Kenneth Brown in a surprise legal move Friday were: Clarence M. Byrd, Salem, foreman; Ruth D. Teter, Silverton; Anna Adams, Silverton; Durward V. Balweber, Woodburn; Alvin E. Hollin, Silverton;  Lester C. Davidson, Salem; and Harvey C. Epping, Salem.  The grand jury made its report shortly before 4 p.m. before Circuit Judge George R. Duncan. It had been hearing testimony gathered by the state since 9:30 a.m.

Tuesday, March 1, 1955

Sheriff’s Deputy Amos O. Shaw:

8:00 AM On duty and discuss Homicide case, and contacts with Sheriff and Sarg. W. Huffman and State Officer Riegel.

11:05 AM Contact Bob Evans, 5th. & C street, Hubbard, subject offered theory on murder, however no substantiating facts.

2:30 PM Contact Roy Hage, residence Silverton. Daughter says he knows Casper Oveross however not home now. Will attempt to contact tomorrow.

2:45 PM Contact Omer Bailey, felt it may be advisable to check with Clyde Ramsby, Cutler City Oregon. As Ramsby had sold second hand guns right after the War.

3:00 PM Contact Mr. Craig, Coast to Coast Store, checked back thru his books since 1945, and found no recorded sales to Oveross.

3:15 PM Check books at Hande’s Hardware store again, Larry Oveross has several sales of shot guns recorded. (Found out Larry Oveross is in Air force and family lives in Silverton up by Hospital.)

4:00 PM Check on mileage and time of Ethel Oveross on approximately the same route she used upon leaving Ervin Kaser, night of 17th. Feb. 1955. (Speed was approximately 45 MPH.)

Start Abiqua Creek road at Bridge Mileage 53711.0 Time 3:40 PM No seconds

Finish E. Oveross home Mileage 53718.0 Time 3:51 PM 30 seconds

Total Mileage 7.0 Time 11 min. 30 secs.

4:00 PM Check at W. Moore residence, no one home.

4:15 PM Contact 410 Silver St. Mrs. Opal Burns, was Burns now Nuison, has known Casper Oveross for approximately 1 Yr. Never been on a date with him. Made one trip to Stayton with him approx. 1st. Of Yr. 1955. Hasn’t seen Casper for at least 2 wks. prior to murder.

State Police Private Lloyd T. Riegel:

On 1 March, 1955 Deputy Shaw and the writer contacted Omer Bailey, Silverton, Oregon, relative to his locating the book at Hande’s Hardware which showed the registration of weapons sold prior to 1 Januarary 1950. Mr. Bailey stated that he had looked in the records left by Mr. Ames when he sold the store and that he had been unable to locate the book in which the sale of weapons was registered. Deputy Shaw and the writer checked at Hande’s Hardware and found that on 11 November 1954 that Larry Oveross had purchased a used model 94 Winchester 32 special, serial 1519912. A check was conducted to determine who Larry Oveross was and it was found that he is the son of Lloyd Oveross who is presently in California. Larry Oveross is a member of the United States Air Force and has been for the past year. Deputy Shaw and the writer were unable to determine where the weapon referred to is at the present time or whether the weapon has been sold or traded. It was also determined that the previous owner of Hande’s Hardware, a Mr. Norris Ames is presently living at the Greener Apartments, Cathedral City, California. A letter has been written Mr. Ames requesting any information he may have relative to the sale of a weapon to Casper Oveross.

Opal Burns, reportedly to have been a girlfriend of Casper Oveross, was checked by Deputy Shaw and the writer. It was learned that Opal Burns, now Opal Nuison, has never gone with Casper Oveross. Stated that she has known Casper for several years and their friendship was developed at Shorty’s Tavern during shuffleboard games and tournaments. She stated that she had made one trip to Stayton about the first of the year, that Casper had gone to Stayton one afternoon with reference to a carpenter job that he was attempting to obtain in the Scio area. Opal stated that she knew nothing of Casper’s home trouble and that he had never spoken of any difficulties he was having with his wife and Ervin Kaser.

[Author unknown, almost certainly someone with the State Police]

LEADS CHECKED

Signed statements have been taken from the following people.

Mrs. Ethel Oveross, Rt 3 Box 110, Silverton, Oregon
Mrs. Edith Kaser, Rt 3 Box 109, Silverton, Oregon
Mr. Robert Barnes, Rt 3 Box 96, Silverton, Oregon
Mr. Waldo Rue, Rt 3 Box 93, Silverton, Oregon
Mr. Robert Richie, Rt 3 Box 89, Silverton, Oregon
Mr. Daniel James Gilham, Rt 5, Box 417, Salem, Oregon
Mr. James W. Gilham, Rt 5 Box 417, Salem, Oregon
Jennie Gilham, Rt 5, Box 417, Salem, Oregon
Mr. Gerald Hoyt, 119 Fiske St. Silverton, Oregon (Bartender Town House)
Rodney R. Oster, 115 James St., Silverton, Oregon
Mr. Edward Finlay, Rt 3 Box 112, Silverton, Oregon
Mr. Emanuel Kellerhal, Rt 3 Box 115, Silverton, Oregon
Connie Kellerhal, Rt 3, Box 115, Silverton, Oregon
Betty Hollin, Rt 3 Box 108, Silverton, Oregon
Mr. Julius Gehring, Rt 3 Box 107, Silverton, Oregon
Mr. Charles Hopkins, 208 Main St, Silverton
Mr. and Mrs. Wayne Moore, Rt 3 Box 111, Silverton, Oregon
Mr. Floyd Staiger, Rt 1 Box 301A, Silverton, Oregon
Mr. William Specht, Rt 1, Silverton, Oregon

Leads Checked.

Time element from Ervin Kaser’s residence to the Daniel Gilham residence.
Gun stores in Salem, Oregon- negative results.
Obtained Ervin Kaser’s hat, forwarded to Crime Lab.
Three guns forwarded to the Crime Lab.(Moore, Gilham, Hudelson)
Restaurants in Silverton (For evidence of Ervin Kaser eating late 2-17-55). Negative.
Gun Stores in Stayton, Oregon – Negative results.
Contacted Ronald Heater, Friend of Oveross, negative results.
Contacted Mat Frost, does gun work, mostly stock finishing, negative.
Hardware store in Aumsville, Oregon – negative results.
Gun store in Mt. Angel, negative result.
Checked Earnie Crowder, James Fornier and Willie Bean in Mt. Angel (Negative).
Search of Cabin #6, Hollan Auto Court, Silverton 2nd and D st
Checked Cemetery Hill Road, Waldo Hills Grange Hall and bridges over Drift creek, in that area. Negative results.
Took measurements of markings on door casing at the Ethel Oveross place. (indicated as markings left by rifle owned by Casper Oveross) 2 markings, 1 – 38 ¼” from floor. 1 – 49 ½” from floor.
Caused a check with the Game Commission on resident hunting license #297104, Casper Oveross. Results unknown.
Checked the Budget Locker and Montgomery Locker for evidence of deer meat and calibre of gun used to shoot deer. Negative results.
Check with Rusty Hudelson relative to Casper Oveross shooting four practice shots at his place.
Safeway Store Silverton, relative to Ervin Kaser purchasing groceries.
Frank Sexton, relative to the time the Gilham boy returned home 2-17-55.
Checked Al Foster, gunsmith Silverton.
Contacted Roy Phillippi, cousin of Ethel Oveross, no information.
Shorties Tavern relative to times Casper Oveross was there and left.
Checked John Seems, relative to Ervin Kaser offering farm machinery for sale.
Drug pond near the Harvey Kaser Residence for possible rifle. Negative results.
Checked residents along road from Silverton to Ervin Kaser residence.
Checked with Anna Kinsey, student nurse who travels this road at 11:00 PM daily.
Check bridges across Drift Creek on the Larden Road. Negative results.
Olson Drug Store, Silverton relative to shells purchased by Oveross.
Check Ray Ruscher and Charles Ertitle, supposedly seen Oveross 2-17-55, 10:00 PM.
Search Henry Oveross Residence 514 So. Water St. Silverton, Oregon. Negative
Check Floyd McMullin, reportedly to have seen Oveross 2-17-55, 12:30 PM.
Checked behind Oveross residence for possible target area and bullets. Negative.
Search residence of Ethel Oveross, and houses behind the Oveross residence. Negative.
Contact Merle G. Eisenhart, statement taken. Gunsmith, 335 Mill St. Silverton. Supposedly had sold Oveross shells and talked guns, seen two guns owned by Oveross.
Check Henry Wellman 3120 Widows Lane, re guns owned by Oveross.

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I have to wonder why D.A. Kenneth Brown decided to have Oveross arrested so quickly.  Public relations?  The murder was high-profile in the news, and he was undoubtedly feeling pressure to make an arrest, and I’m sure that he and the police were convinced that Oveross was the guilty person.  But still, time was on their side, as they were still hunting for the murder weapon, and it had been less than a week.

Once arrested, Oveross’ defense attorney, Bruce Williams, pressed for a speedy hearing, and claimed that if Oveross was indicted that he would push for a speedy trial.  I’m sure he would, as nothing would be gained for the defense by giving the police more time to find further evidence (such as the weapon or records of Oveross buying such a weapon or more witnesses).

The media, as always, intentionally or not, was doing their part to sway public opinion, and both the D.A. and the defense attorneys were taking full advantage of it.  The papers seemed to favor Oveross’ innocence, playing him as a simple family man, calm, claiming everyone in the community disbelieved he could have done such a thing, and reporting his supporting family and friends.  Attorney Williams obviously let reporters into his office (the photo of him and Oveross at his desk), taking full advantage of a little free publicity.  But that’s the nature of newspapers: they’re in business to make money.  If it bleeds, it leads.  They like the drama, they like a good story, because drama and stories sell papers.

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Silverton Appeal, March 4, 1955 (weekly newspaper)OVEROSS IS FREED; AVERS INNOCENCE
Thanks His Friends for Confidence

A fast-moving kaleidoscope of events starting Friday and ending Monday resulted in freeing Casper Oveross from the first degree murder charge lodged against him Feb. 22 for the Feb. 17 “ambush slaying” of Ervin O. Kaser, 49-year-old Evergreen district hop man.

The 44 year old Oveross returned to Silverton ready to take up his vocation of part time farming and carpentering that had been interrupted with his arrest in connection with the killing.  This week he was working on a building job near Oregon City.

Oveross, other than reiterating his innocence, referred all other questions to his attorney, Bruce Williams, in Salem, and said he personally had nothing to add to what had already been said and done. He said he wanted to thank all of his friends and acquaintances in Silverton for maintaining their confidence in him despite the circumstances that brought about his arrest.

The prevailing sentiment in Silverton from the time of his jailing was that he was innocent of the crime of which he was accused and many openly voiced the hope that he would not be held. Oveross was given his freedom late Monday afternoon when the Marion county grand jury, reporting to Circuit Judge Geo. R. Duncan, refused to indict him on the basis of the evidence presented.  And Judge F. O. Stadter allowed motion for dismissal. Oveross received the news with the same calm that he had shown during his incarceration, and displayed joy later when joined by his daughter.

District Attorney Kenneth Brown, commenting on the grand jury action, said his office had presented all facts available and the grand jury had not deemed it sufficient for indictment.  The district attorney called attention to Oregon revised statutes “Who the grand jury may indict or present,” and “When the grand jury should indict.”  (1)–The grand jury may indict or present a person for a crime when it believes him guilty thereof, whether such person has been held to answer for such crime or not.  (2)–The grand jury ought to find an indictment when all the evidence before it, taken together, is such as in its judgment would, if unexplained or uncontradicted, warrant a conviction by the trial jury.

Brown said the grand jury would be reconvened if his office receives additional evidence at a later date.  The district attorney pointed out that a “preliminary hearing was not the right of a defendant held on a felony charge.  Such hearings originated in early days to provide a defendant with a speedy hearing and not subject him to unnecessary time in jail awaiting grand jury action.”  The district attorney stressed the importance of being sure of each step in such a case.

The district attorney last Friday summoned the grand jury for Monday of this week bypassing the scheduled preliminary hearing set for Wednesday.  The action took principals in the case by surprise.  It was explained that grand jury testimony is secret whereas that of a preliminary hearing is open to the public and forces the state to reveal the kind of evidence it has against the accused. Brown said it was not uncommon to do this and he took the step to speed up the case. Defense counsel opposed the move but was overruled by Judge Edward O. Stadter who said the district attorney was acting legally.  An attempt had been made to get the preliminary hearing set for Saturday.

Witnesses appearing before the grand jury reportedly testified about coincidences of time and place of the defendant on the night of the shooting; about threats made on Kaser’s life; and offered other testimony which purported to show that Oveross had been at his former home in the neighborhood of the Kaser place on the night in question.  Doubt was cast, it was said, on Oveross’ story for the time of the shooting.  Oveross had allegedly blamed Kaser for breakup of his marriage.

Kaser was shot in the back February 17 while he was preparing to get out of his car in the driveway of his home near Evergreen on the Silverton-Salem highway [EK_note: no, the Silverton-Stayton highway].  Four shots were fired, one of which lodged near his heart, killing him instantly.  The time of the slaying was set at 10:55 p.m.

Witnesses called before the grand jury included Denver Young, sheriff of Marion county, who led the investigation, E. A. Finlay, a relative of the deceased Kaser, Mr. and Mrs. Emanuel Kellerhals, Harvey Kaser and Melvin Kaser, brothers of the slain man, Mrs. Harvey Kaser, Mrs. Betty Hollin, henry Anundson and Mrs. Anundson, Daniel Gilham, Mrs. Jennie Gilham, Ethel Oveross, Rodney Oster, Bob Barnes and Dr. Homer Harris of the state crime laboratory of Portland.

The grand jury was composed of Clarence M. Byrd of Salem, who served as foreman, Ruth D. Teter of Silverton, wife of the late Dr. E. A. Teter, Mrs. Ralph Adams of Silverton, Durward V. Balweber of Woodburn, Alvin E. Hollin of Silverton, Lester C. Davidson of Salem and Harvey C. Epping of Salem.

Blogically yours,
Everett