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.

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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

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