Not Innocent: The Investigation (part 13)

This brings us to the close of the investigation with the discovery of the rifle and the arrest and indictment of Casper Oveross.  It’s pretty obvious that the investigation had been winding down, with all the leads running out.  But then came Sunday, May 8th, two and a half months after the murder, and three young boys were, well, being boys…

May 5, 1955

Sheriff’s Deputy Amos O. Shaw:

GUNS: Writer on 5 May 1955 returned the following 30 Cal. Rifles to owners after completion of Ballistics, and having been released by Oregon State Crime Lab.

1- Calvin Kaser, Silveront (Obtained Receipt)
2- Melvin Kaser, Silverton (Obtained original rec.)
3- Wayne Moore, Silverton (Obtained Original Rec.)

ADD’T INFO.: Writer contacted Mrs. Wayne Moore, Silverton and received the following information relative to the Ervin Kaser, case.

Ervin was planning on Subpoena’ing Cap Oveross into Court to testify at his Divorce proceedings. Casper Oveross supposedly knew this thru Ethel. (It has been rumored that Ervin was going to use some of the information that Cap had supposedly dug up inferring that Ethel was aloose woman morally.)

Writer contacted HARVEY KASER, Silverton relative to a conversation between Harvey and Emanuel Kellerhals.

On 5-2-55 Harvey was helping Emanuel Kellerhals @ Manny, in the cultivations and exterminating of some Ragweed. Manny K. asked Harvey, have you heard any thing new on the case yet? (Reference to the Ervin Homicide)

Harvey said Nothing since Ethel took the Lie Detector Test.

Manny said I am surprised the Police hadn’t asked me to take the Test.

Harvey said. Well if you did it would make you out a Liar wouldn’t it Manny?

Manny Replied. I told Connie that if we ever took it, that would be the biggest lie if we said no we didn’t recognize the car.

Harvey said. Manny you know in your own mind whose car it was.

Manny replied. I knew immediately in my own mind whose car it was. I just couldn’t Testify as to whose car it was and maybe stretch an innocent mans neck.

Harvey said. Well how can he be innocent if he went up to Gilhams at 11:00 Oclock.

Manny Replied. I cant understand what he went up there for?

Harvey said. He went up to establish and Alibi, they always make one mistake some place.

Note; This conversation is Verbatum and as accurate as Harvey can recall at this time. He stated there may have been additional words or some thing that he cant recall at this time. But believed this to be a correct version.

May 8, 1955

Sheriff’s Deputy Amos O. Shaw:

DESCRIPTION OF ARTICLE FOUND: One 30-30 Caliber Winchester Carbine, Model 94, serial 1538797, the gun upon being handed to Officer was unloaded. Gun had appearances of mud, and rust in various places around Barrell and Breech. Gun was turned over to Writer at 3:44PM May 8, 1955. Turned over to Writer by LARRY WACKER, Age 12 yrs.

DATE FOUND: Gun was found as nearly as can be remembered at about 3:00 PM Sunday May 8 1955, Found by LARRY WACKER, Age 12 yrs., and Neil Beutler 11 yrs., and Ralph Beutler 8 yrs.

Other ITEMS: RECEIVED: Also turned over to Writer was a Live Kore Lock type 30-30 Cartridge, that the boys stated they had found in the Gun. (Writer Marked this and Identified it for future.)

Writer also received a Tape Recording made at Emmanuel Mennonite Church, at Pratum, Recording is voluntarily given by Boys finding the Rifle, Writers comments, and the Comments of Reverand Frank Harder.

PLACE FOUND: According to Statements of Boys the gun was found in what is called the Little Pudding River. This Stream runs between the Cornelius Bateson residence at Rt 5 Box 382, and neighbor on East, Albert Scharer, Rt 5 Box 383. Bridge according to Automobile speedometer is 6 tenths of a Mile East of Pratum School, District 50. Gun was found closest to East Bank, and about 24 feet North from base of bridge. According to boy the Butt of the rifle was sticking out of the Water about ten inches.

STATEMENTS: Neil Beutler, 11 yrs., Ralph Beutler, 8 yrs., Larry Wacker 12 yrs. all were with the parents over to John Rother residence at Rt 6 Box 520. About 3 pm. May 8th. the boys were on their bikes riding East. They were crossing a bridge over little pudding river and Larry Wacker said he was going under the bridge to see if he could find some fish. Neil, and Ralph Beutler waited for him on the bridge. Larry said he saw the butt of the gun sticking out of the water and thought it was a piece of an old toy rifle. He pulled it out, and took the gun up on the bridge. Worked the breech and extracted an empty cartridge, and a live cartridge jammed in the breech. One of the boys took the empty and threw it back over into the creek. The boys then took the rifle over to the Roth residence and with the help of their Father extracted the live cartridge. One of the parties there stated the Sheriff Office was looking for a rifle like that, on the Murder of Kaser. So the Sheriff Office was called and a deputy requested.

Larry Wacker did state to this Officer that he looked at the make of the Gun and it was a 30 30 Winchester, this was done prior to taking the gun up on the bridge.

SUMMARY: The rifle was given to Writer along with a Live Cartridge. A Tape recording was made and several pictures was taken of the scene. Cartridge, and Rifle was marked and identified for evidence. On May 9th writer and Officer (State Police) Lloyd Riegel took the gun and Cartridge into the Crime Lab. And turned them over to Ralph Proudy Technician. A receipt for Rifle with serial Number written on it was given Wacker.

Pudding River Bridge

Pudding River Bridge, looking west towards Pratum (so north is to the right), April 27, 2014.  Whether this is the bridge that was there in 1955, or whether the bridge has been rebuilt since then, I don’t know.  Cloreta Kaser told me once that this was the road she used to take most of the time when she went to Salem, and for decades after the murder, every time she crossed this bridge she thought about the rifle having been thrown off there into the water.

Pudding River Bridge

North side of Pudding River bridge, April 27, 2014. It’s probably about 40 feet vertically from the roadway down to the water.

Pudding River

Pudding River north of the bridge, April 27, 2014. The rifle was found about 24 feet north of the bridge, towards the right-hand (eastern) bank.

Pudding River

Pudding River, north of the bridge, April 27, 2014. The gazebo and road probably were not there in 1955, and undoubtedly the amount and type of brush along the banks was different.

State Police Private Lloyd T. Riegel:

At 7:00 AM 8 May 1955 [EK_NOTE: Must have been PM not AM] the writer contacted Deputy Shaw, Marion County Sheriffs Office and first observed a 30-30 Winchester Carbine, Serial number 1538797. This weapon is the same number as one of the two weapons found to have been sold to the Ames Hardware, Silverton, Oregon. The writer accompanied Deputy Shaw in taking this weapon to the Crime Labitory in Portland, Oregon where Ralph Prouty conducted a series of tests and reported that the test shots from this weapon and the bullet from the body of Ervin Kaser were fired by the same weapon. Ralph Prouty stated that a letter would follow.

The writer and Deputy Shaw then contacted Mr. Norris Ames at Hande’s Hardware in Silverton, Oregon relative to the book in which he recorded serial numbers of guns that he sold while owner of the hardware. A search for the third time was made of the old records stored at the Hande’s Store. The record of a gun sale to Casper Oveross showing the gun by serial number could not be located. Mr. Ames was questioned regarding the invoice found at the store and to the possibility of the two guns shown on this invoice being the only guns in the store at that time. Mr. Ames stated that it would be impossible to determine that at this time. Mr. Ames stated that he not only handled new guns but that he would purchase second handed guns of which there was no record kept until they were sold. He further stated that the actual recording of serial numbers of sold weapons was left up to the bookkeeper, Marion Zahler, now in Eugene. A search was also made of some records that Mr. Ames had taken to his home upon selling the business to Carl Hande. There was no record found that shows the serial number of the weapon.

State Police Sergeant Wayne G. Huffman:

Sheriff Denver Young, Marion County Sheriff’s office, called writer on 8 May 55 at 6:55 PM and advised that three young kids had found a 30-30 rifle in Pudding River just east of Pratum where the county road crosses Pudding river. He advised the gun bore Serial number #1538797 and was one of the two listed in Officer Riegel’s report dated 1 Apr 55. He advised the gun was found about 3:00 PM on 8 May 55 and that his Deputy Amos Shaw had checked weapon and interviewed the three kids, one of who was, Larry Wacker, 853 Gaines Street, Salem, Oregon, and 12 years of age.

On 8 May 55 Officer Riegel and writer checked sales slips that had been picked up from Ames Hardware Store, Silverton, for any possible sales of rifles and writer found a sales slip to John ZOLOTOFF, Silverton, dated 3-26-49, showing purchase of 30-30 Winchester rifle, no serial number listed, with a price of $62.45. This was a charge sale and it was signed “STEVE ZOLOTOFF”. Writer caused a check be made with Steve Zolotoff, Silverton, who advised that he had purchased a 30-30 rifle from Ames Hardware store in Silverton, in March, 1949 and that the gun has since been in his constant possession and has never at any time been loaned to anyone. He stated he would gladly let the Police check the gun on Ballistics.

Statesman Newspaper, Salem, Monday, May 9, 1955:

PRATUM — The lengthy, discouraging search for the weapon used in the slaying of Ervin Kaser near Silverton last Feb. 17 may have ended Sunday when a 12-year-old boy pulled a .30-.30 rifle from Pudding River about a mile east of here.

Marion County Sheriff Denver Young, after examining the gun found by Larry Wacker, 853 Gaines St., Salem, said “There is a good possibility this is the murder weapon.”  Slugs found after Kaser was shot to death in his car by an unknown assailant indicated the weapon used was a .30-.30 rifle.

Site where the gun, a Winchester model, was found is approximately five miles by road from Kaser’s Silverton area farm home, scene of the slaying. Young said the rifle pulled from the river was “in pretty good condition” though indications were that it had been in the water for a considerable time.

The gun and cartridge were to be sent to the state crime laboratory at Portland for a check, Young said.

What might be a major break in the Kaser case came because young Wacker and two companions chose to make a playful trek from Pratum Road to the river in the vicinity of Pudding River bridge.  The companions were Neil Beutler, 11, and Roger Beutler, 8, both of Salem Route 6, Box 517.

The Wacker boy reportedly pulled the rifle from the river about 4 p.m. Sunday after spotting it sticking above the ebbed waters.  he told Young he ejected one empty cartridge.  One live cartridge was still in the chamber when authorities examined the rifle.

After making the find, Wacker and his companions ran back to the John Ross home, Salem Route 6, Box 520, where their parents were visiting.  Authorities then were notified.

Failure to find the murder weapon has been a major handicap in investigation of the case.  The sheriff’s office and state police, in efforts to find the weapon, had combed the countryside in a wide radius about the murder site.

Spot where the gun was found is about three miles west of Pratum Road’s juncture with the Silverton-Sublimity Road.  The site where Kaser was shot is on the Silverton-Sublimity route some two miles north of the junction.

Shortly after the Feb. 17 slaying one suspect was charged with the crime but a grand jury failed to indict for lack of evidence.

May 9, 1955

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

Received from Officer Riegel and Deputy Sheriff Shaw Marion County, one 30-30 carbine, Model 94 serial no. 1538797 in connection with the above case at 8:45 A.M., May 9, 1955. (2) 1 ENVELOPE CONTAINING A LOADED 30-30-Rem-??? cartridge from gun.

State Police Sergeant Wayne G. Huffman:

On 9 May 55 Officer Riegel and Deputy Sheriff A. Shaw delivered the above weapon to Mr Ralph Prouty, University of Oregon Medical School, Crime Laboratory, and learned that it was definitely identified by the Laboratory as being the weapon used in killing above victim.

On 9 May 55, Sheriff Young and writer picked up 30-30 Winchester rifle, Model 94, Serial number #1541417, which was in possession of STEVEN J. ZOLOTOFF, Silverton, Oregon. He was shown the Purchase slip dated 3-26-49 and identified his signature thereon and stated he could testify to that being his signature, also that Mr Ames sold him the gun and wrote the sales slip out and at the time the gun was purchased on his father’s account, who was JOHN ZOLOTOFF.

A search was made where gun was found in Pudding river for possible 30-30 casings with negative results, a more concerted effort will be made in near future and if any are found it will be reported.

Sheriff Young and writer contacted Manny Kellerhall, who stated when he heard the shooting and looked out his bedroom window on night of 17 Feb 55, that his first impression of the vehicle parked in back of his truck and near his driveway and from which the shooting was coming from, was a Ford make vehicle and sedan type body. He stated after this first impression then he thought it was Cap’s car and wondered if that was him shooting at Kaser. He stated he remembers the round emblem on the front of the vehicle which is the type on a 50 or 51 Ford.

May 10, 1955

State Police Private Lloyd T. Riegel:

On 10 May 1955 the writer conducted a neighborhood check along the entension of Market Street. The check was conducted from Pratum east to the Silverton Stayton road, then across the cross roads from the Market Street extension to the State Street Extension then east along the State Street extension to the Silverton-Stayton road. This check was conducted in effort to obtain additional information relative to the 30-30 Winchester Carbine, serial 1538797, found in Puddin River near Pratum on 8 May 1955. There was no information obtained that could be connected with the person who might have thrown the rivle in the river. The name JACK HANSON was developed as being a possible subject that might have been travling this road at the time of night which is felt that the gun was disposed of. This subject will be contacted for any information that he may have.

[EK_NOTE: In the following paragraph, references to “JACK KASER” should be “JEFF KASER.”]

The writer then contacted HARVEY KASER, brother of the deceased, relative to his statement that he could find expended bullets in the field behind the OVEROSS residence. The writer and Mr. KASER spent considerable time digging for these bullets without success. The writer was given five shell casings, 30-30 Cal., that had been picked up in the OVEROSS field by HARBEY KASER’S son JACK KASER, age 10 years, during a time when CASPER OVEROSS was doing target practice. These shell casings have been in the possession of JACK KASER since they were found in 1954.

State Police Sergeant Wayne G. Huffman:

Sheriff Young and writer on 10 May 55, delivered to Ralph Prouty, Crime Laboratory, one (1) 30-30 Winchester rifle, Model 94, Ser.1541417, which is the property of STEVEN J. ZOLOTOFF, Silverton, Oregon. This weapon is one of the two listed on INVOICE #M93738, from HIBBARD-SPENCER-BARTLETT Co, Evanston, Illinois, and directed to AMES Hardware Co, Silverton, Oregon, and dated Feb 23, 1949.

Mr Prouty advised he would compare the two empty 30-30 casings found on Casper Oveross’s property, refer to report by Officer Riegel, 19 Mar 55, with 30-30 Winchester Rifle, Ser.1538797, which was found in Pudding River and has been identified as the Murder weapon.

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

Received May 10, 1955 at 11:00 A.M. From Sheriff Young, Marion County and Sgt. Huffman, Oregon State Police a rifle, Model 94 Winchester, Serial no. 1541417 in connection with the above case.

May 11, 1955

State Police Private Lloyd T. Riegel:

On 11 May 1955 the Writer and Sheriffs Deputy Amos Shaw took these shell casings [EK_NOTE: the shell casings received from Harvey and Jeff Kaser] to the Crime Labitory. Ralph Prouty compared these casings with known casings from the gun found in the Puddin river and stated that four of the casings were fired in the gun in question and the fifth from a different gun. Mr. Prouty stated that additional checks would be made before the time they would be entered as evidence.

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

Received May 11, 1955 at 2:15 P.M. from the Crime Detection Laboratory a rifle, Model 94 Winchester, Serial no. 1541417 in connection with the above named case.

[Signed] Lloyd T. Riegel
[Signed] Amos O Shaw

[SIGNED RECEIPT]
Received from Marion County Sheriff Office 1-Rifle 30-30 Cal. Serial 1541417

[Signed] Mrs Steve Zolotoff

[EK_NOTE: These are receipts, for the trail of evidence, of Steve Zolotoff's rifle being returned by the Crime Lab to the police and then from the police to Mrs. Zolotoff.]

State Police Sergeant Wayne G. Huffman:

*List of witnesses on above case and what they can testify to.

MANNY KELLERHALL
CONNIE KELLERHALL, Rte.3,Bx.115,Silverton, Both can testify as to Murder suspect’s car, type of vehicle, sound and general style of car and what they thought was make of vehicle, number of shots fired, position of victim’s car and Murderer’s car, also approx.time of murder, and their actions, calling of Kaser’s brother, Melvin.

MELVIN KASER, Rte.3,Silverton, Identify deceased, what he found when he went to deceased home, location of deceased’s car in driveway and also deceased’s background.

JAMES PAINTER, City PD, Silverton, Can testify to what he observed in Oveross’s cabin #6, no guns on first trip and shotgun last trip at Time suspect picked up for questioning (Sheriff Young, Officer Dunn, Chief Main, present) (Huffman’s report, 3-1-55)

ROBERT DUNN, State Police, Testify to statement of Oveross when first questioned, about him not owning a 30-30 rifle and selling 32-20 rifle, and denying being in area of crime scene anytime that night and being in taverns in Silverton that night. (Dunn’s report, 20 & 24 Feb,55)

DENVER YOUNG, Sheriff, What was found at scene of crime, statement of suspect, verifying Officer Dunn’s testimony, taking of Zolotoff’s gun to Lab, finding of spent bullett in Strawberry patch.

DANIEL J. GILHAM, Testify to suspects visit at 11:00 PM, 2-17-55, statement of suspect, “There was 3 slugs in Kaser”, “I want you for my witness” also observed suspect at Ethel Oveross residence at 8:00 PM and again drive by at 10:30 PM headed north toward victim’s house. (Huffman’s reports, 23 Feb 55 & 23 Mar 55)

MRS JENNIE GILHAM, Testify to time suspect arrived at Gilham’s residence, at 11:00 PM, 2-17-55, his actions, type of car driven, seen him cover something up in back seat, also subjects actions, (Huffman’s report 23 Feb 55.)

GERALD HOYT, Bartender at Townhouse Tavern, testify to suspect not being in Tavern until 12:45 AM, 2-18-55, also that witness OSTER & wife had left Tavern before suspect entered. (Huffman’s report,23FEB55)

RODNEY OSTER, Bartender, Mac’s Tavern, knows suspect, saw him at 9:35 PM, 2-17-55, at Shorty’s Tavern and talked to him about family troubles and can testify he was not in Townhouse tavern. (Huffman’s report, 23 Feb 55)

ETHEL OVEROSS, Her activities with deceased, suspects knowledge of these activities, suspects threats, when she left home 2-17-55 and time she arrived home, hearing the shots and hearing car go by that sounded like suspects. Suspects guns, when last seen, in Aug,54, where he kept them in house, also buying new gun and selling his other gun. (Huffman’s report,23 Feb 55 and 1 Mar 55, and Capt. Howard’s report,26 Apr 55)

ROBERT BARNES, Testify to threats suspect made against victim, also suspects movements at 8:15 PM, 2-17-55 and his actions when driving by victim’s house, also target shooting with suspect, (Huffmans report 23 Feb 55)

WAYNE MOORE, Type of gun owned by suspect, type of shells suspect used, knows suspect is good shot and quick in shooting. Was hunting with suspect about 2 years ago and had 30-30 rifle then, also knows suspect did some target shooting on his place, (Huffman report 23 Feb 55)

NOAH WENGER, Bought 32-20 from Cap, also borrowed Cap’s 30-30 rifle (new) to take elk hunting with him. This was in November, 1949.

CLIFFORD KUENZI, Can verify this hunting trip and Wenger borrowing gun and where.

FRANK DEDERICK, State Police, Eugene did some target shooting with Cap Oveross and also shot his rifle, a 30-30 Winchester similar to Sate Police rifles, around 1 Oct. 54.

HOMER BAILEY, Former clerk at Ames Hdwe. Co. can testify to scarcity of guns in 1946-47-48-49.

CHARLES HOPKINS, Threats by suspect as to shooting Kaser, the deceased – this was around 1 Sept. 54.

HARVEY KASER, Threats made by suspect- shooting Kaser (victim) (around middle of September 1954). Edith Kaser present. Empty 30-30 casings found by his son when Cap and Harvey were target shooting.

MARIAN ZAHLER, Sold 30-30 Win. Rifle to Casper Oveross. Can identify sales slip Ames Hdwe Store also account slip and invoice order for 2 30-30 rifles.

OFFICER RIEGERL AND DEPUTY SHAW, (1) Time of run from deceased home to David Gilham’s house, 5 miles – 5 min. 45 sec. (2) Shells to crime lab found on Cap Oveross’ place. (3) Murder weapon to crime lab. Found in Pudding River. (verify Larry Wacker’s testimony). (4) Shells, 30-30 casings from Harvey Kaser’s son to crime lab. 11 May 55. (5) Finding of sales slip at Harde’s Hdwe Co. – to Cap Oveross – purchase of gun. (6) Finding of invoice showing 2 30-30 Win rifles. Serial # 1538797 and #1541417. (7) Finding of ledger sheet – Oveross’ account.

SHERIFF YOUNG and SGT.HUFFMAN, Rifle Ser. #1541417 to Crime Lab. Huffman – finding of sales slip of purchase of above gun by John Zolotoff, 3-26-49. Young – What statements suspect made and what was found at crime scene.

DR. H. H. HARRIS, Medical testimony – cause of death and laboratory analysis.

MR. RALPH PROUTY, Photographs of crime scene- Ballistic tests of various rifles and murder weapon – Extractor marks fixing pin impressions of guns.

DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE RIEGEL’S list, Sales slip to Cap Oveross invoice record-to Ames Hdwe Co. Ledger sheet – payment records of suspect’s account.

LARRY WACKER, 12 yrs. – Finding of 30-30 rifle in Pudding River by bridge near Pratum & 2 other boys with him.

May 13, 1955

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

At 8:45 A.M., March 9, 1955 there is received from officer Riegel, Department of State Police and Deputy Shaw, Marion County Sheriff’s office the following items of evidence:

Item E-17 is a 30-30 carbine, Winchester model 94, serial #1538797. This item bears a Sheriff’s Office official evidence tag with the notation “May 8, 1955 Ervin Kaser homicide, Marion County Sheriff and State Police, serial no. 1538797. 30-30 caliber rifle Winchester.” On the opposite side of the tag is the signature of Amos O Shaw. Examination of this rifle reveals a heavy encrustation of rust around the muzzle and forward end of the magazine. Examination of the bore reveals the presence of much soft, red rust which extends for a distance of approximately 4 inches down the bore. This rust is removed by soaking with oil and gentle brushing. The remainder of the firearm is pitted with indications of rust. This item has the appearance compatible with that of a firearm submerged in water for an extended period of time. The action is operated, and found to perform in a satisfactory manner. Upon completion of the cleaning process, this item is test-fired in the laboratory, and found to function in a satisfactory manner. The test-fired bullets are compared with Items E-1 and E-2 of laboratory report dated March 2, 1955, and it is noted that the bore details consist of six lands and grooves of right hand twist. Further examination reveals that the microscopic details of the test-fired bullets are similar to those on Items E-1 and E-2, indicating that both items were fired through the bore of Item E-17. The test-fired cartridges fired in the chamber of this rifle are compared with Items E-20, E-22, E-23, and E-24, and found to be similar in microscopic details, which indicates that they were fired in this firearm. Removal of the butt plate and close inspection of other portions of this rifle fails to reveal any identifying marks other than the serial number, 1538797.

Item E-18 is a loaded 30-30 cartridge enclosed in a white envelope which bears the notation “May 8, 1955 AOS. Shaw. IKH. Live cartridge from 30-30 Winchester found by Larry Walker.” Examination of this loaded cartridge reveals that it is a Remington 30-30 170 grain soft point, Kor-lockt type bullet. The extracter marks on the rim of the cartridge are compared with those on test-fired cartridges from Item E-17 and are found to be similar, indicating that this cartridge has been worked through the action of Item E-17. The construction of the bullet is compared with Item E-1 and Item E-2, and Item E-14 (see report dated April 21), and found to be of similar construction.

At 11:00 A.M., May 10, 1955 there was received from Sheriff Young of Marion County and Sgt. Huffman, Oregon State Police, Item E-19. This item is a 30-30 model 94 Winchester carbine serial #1541417. This item is test-fired in the laboratory and it is noted that the test-fired bullets have six lands and grooves of right hand twist. However, the lands are considerably more narrow than the land impressions of test-fired bullets made in Item E-17 and the land impressions on Item E1, E-2, and E-14. This clearly indicates that this rifle could not have been used to fire Items E-1, E-2, and E-14. Nothing else remarkable is noted.

At 2:15 P.M., May 11, 1955 there was received from Officer Riegel, Oregon State Plice and Deputy Sheriff Shaw, Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Items E-20, E-21, E-22, E-23, and E-24.

Item E-20 is a 30-30 Winchester Super-X fired cartridge which has a spherical indentation in one side of the case between the neck and the rim. Comparison of the firing pin impression and breech block marking on the base of this cartridge with test-fired cartridges fired in Item E-17 reveals that they are similar, indicating that they were fired in the chamber of the same firearm. This item reportedly was found on the Oveross property.

Item E-21 is a 30-30 Winchester Super-X fired cartridge reportedly found on the Oveross property. Examination of the firing pin impression and breech block markings reveals they are clearly dissimilar to those on test-fired cartridges made in Item 17, therefore could not have been fired in that weapon.

Items E-22, E-23, and E-24 are 30-30 Remington fired cartridges reportedly found on the Oveross property which are compared with test fired cartridges made in Item E-17, and it is noted that the firing pin impressions and microscopic breech block markings are similar, indicating that they are fired in Item E-17.

At the request of Sheriff Young and Sgt. Huffman, a comparison was made of the microscopic markings on the 30-30 cartridges reportedly removed from the house and person of Kasper Oveross on February 18, 1955. Extended examination of these items fails to reveal any markings that would indicate that they had been placed in Item E-17.

SUMMARY:

We are of the opinion that

(1) Item E-17 was used to fire the bullets listed as E-1 and E-2 and could have fired Item E-14

(2) The bullet in Item E-18 is similar in construction to E-1, E-2, and E-14. The loaded cartridge has been worked through the action of Item E-17.

(3) Item E-19 could not have fired E-1, E-2, and E-14

(4) Items E-20, E-22, E-23, and E-24 were fired in the action of E-17

(5) Item E-21 was not fired in the action of E-17.

Sheriff’s Deputy Richard C. Boehringer:

I stopped one car just as you were leaving, the party lives just east of Pratum but does not travel that road only very seldom at night.

I left at 12:10 A.M. To resume patrol.

May 14, 1955

Sheriff’s Officer Doney:

At about 10:15 AM, 5-14-55, Chief Main of Silverton called this office by radio and asked if Deputy Shaw would be in the Silverton area today. That he had some information regarding the Kaser case.

The writer called Shaw at his home and Shaw said that he would go over and see what it was.

Upon Shaw’s return he called the writer by phone and asked that the following information be relayed to Sheriff Young:

FLOYD KASER reported to Chief Main that he overheard a conversation between FRANK SCHROEDER of Stayton, Oregon and JIM RIPP of Sublimity. They were all in a Tavern at the time. FLOYD KASER told Chief Main that he overheard SCHROEDER say that “he hoped they didn’t make too much of a thing over the rifle that was found in the creek as he had owned it at one time”. Shaw said that he contacted JIM RIPP and was advised that SCHROEDER had not made such a statement. Said that he and SCHROEDER had been talking about the rifle and that SCHROEDER had said that he had owned one like it at one time. Shaw did not contact SCHROEDER as he was up above Mill City some where.

After the conversation with RIPP, Shaw was of the opinion that FLOYD KASER had been drinking quite a bit and had misinterpreted the conversation between SCHROEDER and RIPP.

Oregonian newspaper, May 17, 1955
Grand Jury Eyes Death
Probe Reopened In Rancher Slaying

SALEM (AP) — The Marion county grand jury met Monday for reconsideration of the murder of Ervin Kaser, Silverton hop rancher who was cut down by four rifle bullets as he returned home the night of February 17.

District Attorney Kenneth Brown said he would call about 25 witnesses before the jury in an effort to get an indictment.  Casper Oveross, 44, a former neighbor of Kaser, was charged with the murder, but was freed when the grand jury failed to indict him.

The rifle used in the slaying was found in the Pudding river near here a week ago, Brown said.  Brown added that he has traced the ownership of the rifle.  On the basis of this new evidence, Brown went before the grand jury again.

Relatives of Kaser asked Brown to withdraw from the case and appoint a special prosecutor.  They said they believe that fact that Brown’s home is in Silverton would make it desirable to have somebody else prosecute the case.

[EK_NOTE: From what I've been told by family members, it wasn't that Brown lived in Silverton, but rather they felt he had NO experience with a murder trial, and he'd just been a small-town (Silverton) lawyer before being elected D.A.  The family didn't feel that he had what was needed to put on a good prosecution.]

May 17, 1955

State Police Private Lloyd T. Riegel:

The following is a list of those who testified before the Grand Jury on 16 May 1955, and the times they testified.

1. Sheriff Denver Young 10:00 AM to 10:40 AM
2. Dr. Harris 10:45 AM to 11:05 AM
3. Connie Kellerhal 11:07 AM to 11:21 AM
4. Emmanuel Kellerhal 11:24 AM to 11:36 AM
5. Silverton City Officer Painter 11:37 AM to 11:47 AM
6. Rodney Oster 1:10 PM to 1:15 PM
7. Gerald Hoyt 1:17 PM to 1:25 PM
8. Melvin Kaser 1:27 PM to 1:35 PM
9. Mrs. Jennie Gilham 1:35 PM to 1:40 PM
10. Daniel Gilham 1:42 PM to 1:50 PM
11. Robert Barnes 2:00 PM to 2:08 PM
12. Ethel Oveross 2:10 PM to 2:25 PM
13. Harvey Kaser 2:27 PM to 2:48 PM
14. Jeffery Kaser 2:48 PM to 2:50 PM
15. Charles Hopkins 2:52 PM to 2:58 PM
16. Wayne Moore 3:00 PM to 3:08 PM
17. Marion Zahler 3:08 PM to 3:30 PM
18. Officer Riegel 3:35 PM to 3:42 PM
19. Ralph Prouty 3:42 PM to 3:58 PM
20. Ohmar Bailey 4:08 PM to 4:12 PM

Noah Winiger did not appear before the Grand Jury, neither did the boys that found the rifle in Pudding River.

Statesman newspaper, Tuesday, May 17, 1955
D.A. Mulls Plea to Leave Murder Case

District Attorney Kenneth O. Brown said Monday he did not feel he would be justified in stepping aside as prosecutor of Casper Oveross, indicted for the rifle slaying of Ervin Kaser.

Brown admitted that members of the Kaser family had suggested he turn the case over to a special prosecutor presumably because all principals in the case including Brown are from the Silverton area.
I feel I am qualified to try the case.  I do not feel that I am in anyway prejudiced because I live in Silverton inasmuch as I have never to my knowledge so much as met the accused or the victim,” Brown stated.  “I have been elected by the people to presecute criminal actions in Marion County, including Silverton.  I hesitate to ask the county court to incur the expense of hiring a special prosecutor.  However, the feeling of the relatives creates a difficult situation and I wish to consider the matter at greater length.  At present time, my general feeling is that I would not be justified in stepping out of the case simply because I am from Silverton.”

Once in recent history has a district attorney of the county disqualified himself as prosecutor.  During the term of office of Lyle J. (Barney) Page 17 years ago in the case involving the county treasurer, sheriff and county court offices, Page disqualified himself on the grounds he was the legal advisor for those offices.  The county court then appointed a special prosecutor to conduct the case.

Brown said the only ways he could be superceded in the case would be for him to voluntarily step aside, or for the governor to ask the attorney general’s office to intercede as it did in last year’s Lincoln County vice probes.

May 16-18, 1955

[EK_NOTE: Oregon State Police sent numerous TWXs and telegrams to various police agencies around the area, notifying them of an arrest warrant for Casper Oveross, searching high and low. One example follows.]

THIS IS SAL 153 ORE ST POLICE SALEM 5-17-55 AT 8-52 AM

MARION COUNTY SHERIFFS OFFICE SALEM ORE ADVISE THEY HOLD A CIRCUIT COURT BENCH WARRANT FOR THE ARREST OF THE FOLLOWING SUBJECT CHARGING MURDER IN THE FIRST DEGREE

CASPER OVEROSS ALIAS CAP OVEROSS 44 YRS 5 FT 10 IN 180 LBS DK HAIR AND BLUE EYES SUBJECT IS A CARPENTER BY TRADE HAS A BROTHER MARDEN OVEROSS TEACHING SCHOOL IN PASDENA CALIF AND ANOTHER BROTHER LLOYD OVEROSS IN HAPPY CAMP SISKIYOU COUNTY CALIF SUBJECT WAS OPERATING A 1950 FORD SDN ORE LIC 1A118 IF LOCATED ARREST AND NOTIFY DENVER YOUNG SHERIFF MARION COUNTY ORE

PLEASE EXPEDITE CHECK AT HAPPY CAMP CALIFORNIA

REFER SERGEANT EATONS REPORT RE KASER MURDER INVESTIGATION

R G HOWARD CAPTAIN END

May 19, 1955

United States Post Office, Silverton, Oregon:

Air mail letter
To Henry Oveross no return add. Postmark Fairbanks, Alaska. May 17, 1955, 9PM

Air Mail letter
To Miss Colleen Oveross R3 no return add. Postmark Fairbanks, Alaska, May 17, 9PM

Air Mail pkg
To Miss Colleen Oveross, R3 from 1563 Noble St Fairbanks Alaska, Postmark Fairbanks Alaska May 16, 1955

May 20, 1955

State Police Captain R. G. Howard:

Vern Davis, Special Agent, F. B. I., advises that federal warrant of arrest charging Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution for Murder, issued in Federal District Court, Portland, is now outstanding for Casper Oveross, recently indicted on a charge of Murder in the First Degree by the Marion county grand jury. The F. B. I. will check out of state leads and will keep this office informed of results.

R. G. HOWARD, Captain

[EK_NOTE: later added in handwriting...] Now OK – arrested Fairbanks, Alaska 5-20-55. RGH

May 25, 1955

State Police Captain R. G. Howard:

Memorandum to Mr. H. G. Maison, Superintendent

Sheriff Young and Sergeant Huffman have been designated as state agents to return Casper Oveross from Fairbanks, Alaska, to Salem to stand trial on an indictment charging first degree murder. The entire cost of returning the prisoner to Salem will be paid by the state and no expense will be charged to the department.

The two officers will depart from Salem early Thursday morning, May 26, and are scheduled to return to Salem on Sunday morning, May 28.

Sergeant Huffman has been authorized to accompany Sheriff Young in accordance with our conversation of May 21.

May 26, 1955

Marion County Sheriff Denver Young:

On May 26, 1955 the writer and Sgt. Wayne Huffman left the Portland Airport atc 4:00 A.M. For Fairbanks Alaska to return Casper Oveross to answer to the charge of Murder in the First Degree based on an indictment by the Grand Jury.

Arrived in Fairbanks 12:00 noon 2/26/55

May 27, 1955

Marion County Sheriff Denver Young:

10:45 A.M. Contact Lt. Wm. Trafton of the Alaskan Territorial Police.

4:00 P.M. Accompanied Officer Goodfellow who arrested Oveross to the office of United States Commissioner who dismissed the Federal charge of Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution, and then arraigned him on our warrant and had him sign waivers of Extradition, two copies were furnished me. Oveross was then returned to the Feral jail until the following morning when we picked up his car and possessions.

4:30 P.M.

Made special contact with agent of the Carpenters Union to attempt to get refund for Oveross on $75.00 payment on initiation. Agent promised that he would take it before the board at their next meeting and felt that they would make a refund.

May 28, 1955

Marion County Sheriff Denver Young:

Oveross and Denver Young return from Alaska

Silverton Appeal, June 3, 1955 — Casper Oveross, Silverton carpenter and farmer, is shown alighting from a United Airliner at Salem Sunday back of Sheriff Denver Young who flew to Fairbanks, Alaska, to return him to Marion county to answer a grand jury indictment for the murder of Ervin O. Kaser, Silverton hop farmer, who died Feb. 17 from a rifle blast as he sat in his car in his driveway.

8:30 A.M. Contacted Officer Goodfellow at Federal Jaiol and picked up Oveross. Drove him out to lot where he had been living to pick up his car and other things. No restraint used on trip. Stood by while Officer Goodfellow took several pictures of Oveross car. Brought Oveross car into Fairbanks and left it at the residence of John Slentz 1563 Noble St. Fairbanks Alaska.

10:00 P.M.

Left Fairbanks for Seattle & Salem.

May 29, 1955

Marion County Sheriff Denver Young:

10:00 A.M. Arrived in Salem.

Booked prisoner at County Jail

Capital Journal newspaper, Tuesday, May 31, 1955
Oveross Trial Set June 21

“Not guilty,” said Casper Arnold Oveross in a clear calm tone Tuesday forenoon in Marion County circuit court when asked by Judge George R. Duncan for his plea to an indictment that charges him with the first degree murder of Ervin O. Kaser.  He will go to trial June 21.

Dressed in a black and white checked soft shirt and grey trousers, Oveross appeared earnest in manner but grave.  Other than his reply concerning his guilt, he had nothing to say, although he conferred at times with his attorney, Bruce Williams.

Attorney Williams and District Attorney Kenneth Brown immediately went into conference with Judge Duncan to arrange a trial date that is agreeable to all. Both the district attorney and defense counsel expressed the belief that the trial would consume from two to two and a half weeks.  Brown asked two weeks to prepare for the trial and Williams requested a trial as “early as possible.”

Oveross accused of killing Kaser by shooting him with a rifle the night of February 17, 1955, as Kaser drove up to his farm residence south of Silverton, was returned to Salem Sunday by Sheriff Denver Young from Fairbanks, Alaska, where Oveross said he had gone in search of work.

Oveross drove his automobile over the Alcan highway to Fairbanks, taking some eight days for the trip, reported Sheriff Denver Young.  Oveross had found employment as a construction worker at a age of approximately $30 a day.  The high wage is reflected in the fact that rent for a two room shack costs $125 a month.

June 2, 1955

Sheriff’s Deputy Amos O. Shaw:

LOCATION: CREEK, approximately 1/2 Mile East of Pratum Grade School, Pudding Creek (Little Pudding). Approximately 15 feet from base of bridge on North side in estimate 15 inches of water.

SUBJECT: Writer searched the bottom of the creek looking for Cartridges that may be in the water. Writer found numerous cartridges, empty and live cartridges in the creek of various calibers. Most of them seemed to be of a Foreign make. However found one only, 30-30 Caliber empty cartridge. This cartridge was marked for identification as follows. AOS 6-2-55 2:00 PM. The Cartridge was bent and split on the end which projectile would normally be.

Writer contacted Neil Beutler, whom was present when a 30 Cal. Rifle was found close to where the empty cartridge was located and subject was unable to Identify the Cartridge I showed him.

DISPOSITION OF SHELL: On June 6, 1955 Writer handed the Cartridge mentioned in above para. To Ralph Proudy of the State Crime Lab. for comparison with other Cartridges known to have been fired from the Gun found at this spot. A Receipt for same will be mailed to this Office. Cartridge was given to Mr. Proudy at 4:00 PM on June 6th.

SUMMARY: It is possible that other 30 Cal. Cartridges are lodged on the Creek bottom however at this time it will be very difficult to locate them due to the Milky discoloration of the water, and the rocky formation of the bottom.

June 2, 1955

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

There was received from Deputy Sheriff Amos Shaw of Marion County June 6, 1955 at 4:00 P.M., one 30-30 cartridge in connection with the above case.

June 8, 1955

Sheriff’s Deputy Amos O. Shaw:

At 4:55 PM this date Writer and Sheriff Denver Young interviewed Casper Oveross, at the Marion County Jail, Salem Oregon.

Sheriff Young, asked Casper during the Interview following questions.

Casper you have maintained your innocence right along, that you didn’t have any thing to do with the shooting out there, and I wondered if you would submit to a Lie Detector test, with the consent of your Attorney.

Casper replied I am innocent and I have nothing to say, you can talk to my attorney if you want.

Sheriff Young replied well Casper will you submit to the test with your attorney’s Consent.

Casper replied, If that is all your going to talk about, you might as well take me back to the Cell.

Sheriff Young asked him again if he would submit to the test if it was all right with his Attorney, to which Casper stated I am not going to say any more just talk to my Attorney, and started remarking about some books in the shelves.

June 14, 1955

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

At 4:00 P.M., June 6, 1955 there is received from Deputy Sheriff Amos Shaw, Marion County Sheriff’s Office, the following item of evidence:

Item E-25 is a fired 30-30 caliber cartridge reportedly found in the Little Pudding River near the location where Item E-17 was found. Examination of this fired cartridge reveals that it is manufactured by the Remington Arms Company. This item bears the notation “AOS 6-2-55 2:00 P.M.” An area extending approximately 1/4 of an inch down the neck of the cartridge is the site of considerable mutilation. The firing pin impression and the breech block markings of this item are compared with test-fired cartridges fired in Item E-17, the 30-30 carbine Winchester model 94, serial number 1538797, and it is noted that the impressions are dissimilar. Examination of the rim for extractor marks reveals the extractor marks are dissimilar to those on test-fired cartridges. Nothing else remarkable is noted.

SUMMARY: In our opinion, Item E-25 was not fired in the chamber of Item E-17.

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

And that’s pretty much the end of the investigation, other than a few things that were looked into during the trial.  Next time, a couple of documents that were probably put together by the police for the prosecution, leading up to the trial, and maybe the beginnings of the trial.

Blogically yours,
Everett

Not Innocent: The Investigation (part 12)

It’s now a month since the murder, and the police are starting to run out of leads to investigate.  They’re convinced at this point that Casper Oveross committed the murder, and they have plenty of evidence and witnesses that paint a pretty convincing picture of how and why it killed Ervin Kaser.  They’ve found the receipt showing him buying a 30-30 rifle from Ames Hardware in 1949, which Oveross denied.  But they still can’t prove that (without a SHADOW of a doubt) that it was his rifle that fired the fatal bullet and that he pulled the trigger.  In the following reports, they have trouble with Cloreta Kaser’s name, referring to her as Colleta or Koreta.

Friday, March 18, 1955

Sheriff’s Deputy Amos O. Shaw:

8:00 AM On duty work on Reports

9:30 AM Discuss Case with Sheriff & State Police

10:45 AM Leave for Mount Angel to make contacts

11:05 AM Check sources of info. In Mount Angel, regarding Melvin Torresdahl

11:15 AM Contact Melvin Torresdahl Rt 2 Box 86 Silverton

He stated the information come to him second hand that Willis Bean, Men’s Store Mount Angel seen Cap’ Oveross in Mount Angel on night of Murder. Isn’t sure of time.

12:00 PM Silverton Wait for contact with Sheriff

1:00 PM Lunch & Discuss case

2:10 PM Contact Telephone Office.

NOTE* Parties on Kellerhals Phone line

#1- Otto Stadely
#2- E. Kellerhal
#3- Ted Finlay
#4- John Kauffman
#5- Ervin & Mary Kaser
#6- E.M Peer
#7- E.A. Bolliger
#8- Ralph Detwyller
#9- Melvin Kaser

The Telephone company verified the fact that all Kellerhal would have to do in order to ring Melvin Kaser would be to dial 9-2-9 and it is possible that a Ring-Back would have come through No. 7 E.A. Bolliger and he could have answered the phone. (Refer to Statement of Mrs. Colleta Kaser and her conversation with Connie Kellerhal)

3:00 PM Contact Mrs. Melvin Kaser [EK_note: Cloreta], and obtain signed statement also revealed the following information.

Family Insurance has been carried thru Edward Rosteen, Salem. And if Ervin carried any Insurance it likely would have been thu him.

Mary Kaser stands to gain 28 Acres of Hop ground in hers and Ervin’s name that cannot be attached by the Estate, valued at 15000 Dollars. Which will be clear. Also any Machinery and equipment where Ervin’s Mother doesn’t have any thing in writing Mary is going to take. However all of Family is of the opinion that the Equipment belonged to Ervin’s Father prior to his Death.

Mary Kaser told Connie Kellerhal that she was a suspect until the case was cleared, meaning Mary was suspect.

Also information was revealed that Mary Kaser doesn’t get home to very late every night and Colletta stated she knew that Ray Rhoten doesn’t have Office hours that late.

Also stated that Ervin’s father had continually come over to see Mary when Ervin wasn’t home. Would park his car and stay all day. When Ervin come home Father Kaser would leave. Also was continually patting Mary, and putting his arm around her loving her up. Mary seemed to like it and would snuggle up to him. He had tried to make passes at Colletta but she wouldn’t have any thing to do with him so he left her alone. Also remarks about making a trip to Fort Lewis Washington during the War to see Melvin, they used Father Kaser’s car and Colletta and Ervin sat in the front seat, and Old man Kaser and Mary sat in the rear seat. She would sit on his lap and he had his arm around her all the way. Ervin never seemed to mind. And Colletta stated she didn’t think that if Ervin had found them in bed he would have let it bother him any, but would have used it in his Divorce. If he stood to gain any thing by it.

Coletta was picking up walnuts for a Mr. McDonald whom has large orchard on East hill out of Silverton. He told Colleetta that Cap was getting info. for his and Mary’s divorce and it would leave Ervin with everything.

State Police Private Lloyd T. Riegel:

On 18 March 1955 the writer and Deputy Shaw contacted Melvin Tarresdahl, Rt. 2, Box 86, Silverton. Mr. Tarresdahl stated that he had heard, second handed, that Willis Bean now proprietor of the Man’s Store in Mt. Angel had seen Casper Oveross on the evening of 17 February 1955 in Silverton. When questioned as to who had told him of the statement made by Willis Bean, Mr. Tarresdahl stated that he could not remember as to whether it was conversation he had overheard in town or whether it was conversation he had overhead by other farmers while visiting at his place. Stated to the best of his memory that he had heard it approximately two weeks ago and that he was not sure that the information was correct. This information was given to Sheriff Young and Sergeant Huffman who contacted Willis Bean. (See report by Sergeant Huffman covering information obtained). The writer was told by Sergeant Huffman of a negtative result so Melvin Tarresdahl was again contacted in an attempt to pin down more definite where he had heard this information. This was without results.

The telephone company in Silverton, Oregon, was then contacted by the writer and Deputy Shaw relative to information regarding members on the party line of the Ervin Kaser, also the dialing of one member of the party line to another member on the party line. Information had been received from Connie Kellerhal that while attempting to phone Melvin Kaser on the evening of 17 February 1955 that another party had picked up the phone and answered and advised her that she had the wrong number, however, at the same time Koreta Kaser answered the phone and this being on the same party line. Information from the telephone company revealed that there are nine members on this party line and that another member of the line ca phone to a second member on the party line by dialing 9 the last digit of their phone number and the last digit of the phone number the party they desire to call. The receiver then has to be hung up and the phone will ring at both parties at the same time. They also stated that in the case of Connie Kellerhal phoning the Melvin Kaser residence that the number to have been dialed would have been 929, which was actually the number dialed by Connie Kellerhal. They state that no other phone along the line would hear this ring, however, that it is possible that the reverse ring of number 2, which would be number 7, might hear a slight ring on their phone. Phone number ending in number 7 belongs to E. A. Bolligar. Other than the Bolligar phone there would be no sound on any other party phone.

The writer and Deputy Shaw then contacted Koreta Kaser, the wife of Melvin Kaser, residing at Rt. 3, Box 114, Silverton, Oregon. Koreta Kaser stated that on the evening of 17 February 1955 that she and her husband, Melvin Kaser, had been at her father’s place in Silverton and had returned home at approximately 10:00. They had taken approximately 10 to 15 minutes getting ready and getting into bed and that they had fallen asleep. She stated that the first she knew of anything happening in the area was when she heard her phone ring twice and that she jumped up and answered the phone and it was Connie Kellerhal stating that Ervin Kaser had driven into his driveway, that another car had driven up behind, parked along side the road and that they had heard one shot a pause then had seen the flashes from three shots. Stated that they believed that they were shooting at Ervin Kaser and asked Koreta what they should do. Koreta stated that she heard a phone receiver raise or being replaced this was indicated only by a click in her receiver. Beings it was a party line and she felt that other parties might be listening on the line she advised Connie Kellerhal to do nothing about it and to go back to bed. At that time Connie hung up. She stated that she woke her husband after she had looked out the kitchen window and seen Ervin Kaser’s car setting in the driveway with the headlights and the dome light on. She stated as soon as her husband got up that she did nothing further as she left any further action up to her husband and Emanual Kellerhal. She stated that she and her husband looked out the window and saw one or two cars pass and that they could see no one laying near Ervin Kaser’s car so her husband then phoned Emanual Kellerhal and talked with him a few minutes, the conversation unknown. She stated her husband then went to the scene and arrived there at approximately the same time as Mr. Depeal, Constable from Silverton.

Koreta Kaser was then questioned relative to any family problems that she knew of particularly between Ervin Kaser and Harvey Kaser or Ervin Kaser and Melvin Kaser. Koreta stated that there had always been family problems and that the brothers had not got along for several years. She further stated that she knew of the fight between Harvey Kaser and Ervin Kaser but she did not know exactly what the fight was over, however she had assumed from the conversation after the fight that it was something to do with the settlement of the fathers estate. She was questioned as to her friendship with Mary Kaser, the wife of Ervin Kaser. She stated that she had never been friendly with Mary and Mary had always felt herself much better than she and that they had never been friendly while living in the community. She gave of her own free will without question what she thought might possibly be information relative to the case. She stated that Ervin Kaser and Mary Kaser jointly owned 28 acres of land which was valued at approximately $15,000. She stated that this 28 acres was not included in the estate and it was free of all debts and that no debt could be filed against the valuation of this estate. She further stated that the home place, presently occupied by Mary Kaser, was valued at approximately $7,500, this did not include the valuation of 10 acres of land on which the home place sets. She further stated that the farm equipment, machinery, the hop drying machine and the irrigation equipment had been jointly owned by Ervin Kaser and his father and when his father passed away that the ownership reverted to Ervin’s mother. However, Ervin’s mother had nothing to show that she owns a portion of this equipment and machinery and that Mary Kaser had adopted the attitude unless she can show definite proof of ownership that the property belongs to her and that she is going to take it. She further stated that since the shooting of Ervin Kaser, Mary Kaser has been keeping very late hours and not returning home until some times as late as 10:00 and 11:00 in the evening. Never has she returned home shortly after her working day from the Secretary of State’s office, Salem. Koreta Kaser further stated that there had been an affair between Mary Kaser and Ervin Kaser’s father or referred to as Father Kaser. She stated that many is the time that Mr. Kaser would spend the entire day with Mary but as soon as Ervin returned home that he would leave. She further stated that at one time while visiting with her husband, Ervin Kaser at Camp Ord, California, [EK_note: that should be “...her husband, Melvin Kaser at Camp Ord...”] that father Kaser and Mary Kaser had gone along and during the time while at Camp Ord, California, that father Kaser and Mary Kaser had carried on quite shamefully. They had actually ridden in the car, Mary had set on his lap and they had proceeded to make love in various manners. She also stated that father Kaser had made passes at her when she and Melvin were first married but that he had quit after she had told him off a time or two.

Koreta Kaser stated that while she was working for McDonald Nut Growers on the east hills of Silverton that Mr. McDonald had told her that Casper Oveross was collecting information for Mary Kaser to file for a divorce and that if the information was filed that Casper Oveross had found out, that Ervin Kaser would be left without a thing, that Mary would be successful in gaining control and possession of all property, monies and equipment.

The writer and Deputy Shaw contacted Richard Hacek, Rt. 5, Salem. Richard Kacek stated that he was a good friend of Danny Gilham and that they had gone to school in Silverton together. He stated that some time during the unior year that Danny had started going with Colene Oveross and that to the best of his knowledge the two had gone together since that date. He further stated that Danny had talked to him very little about the incident and basicly the only thing said was, quoting Danny, that he had been talked to by the police several times relative to the incident and that he was more or less being accused of driving the car used by Casper Oveross. He had not mentioned to Richard Hacek that Casper had been at the Gilham place or any other information pertinent to the case. Richard Hacek stated to the best of his knowledge the one good friend that Danny had in that area was Frank Kaser, the son of Harvey Kaser [EK_note: 'Frank' should be 'Fred'], who at the present time is attending Oregon State College, Corvallis. However, he is not sure whether Danny is contacted Frank Kaser since the incident or not and that he does not believe that Frank had been home other than the one day for Ervin’s funeral. Richard Hacek stated that on the evening of February 17, 1955 that he had attended a national guard meeting in Salem, battery D, Oregon National Guard and that he had left the meeting at approximately 11:00 P. M., had driven to a drive-in near Salem and had a cup of coffee and proceeded out State Street to his home. He further stated that while traveling along this road he did not observe any vehicles parked along the highway or does he remember meeting any vehicles other than close in at the Four Corners area and that he was not able to give any description of the vehicles he met near Four Corners. Stated that he arrived home at approximately 11:30 P. M.

EK_note: I can’t find a recording, but after reading the above reports 10-12 years ago, I asked my parents, Calvin & Wilma Kaser, about Cloreta’s story of my grandfather Fred Kaser and Mary being ‘friendly.’  They both confirmed that, yes, he had been “overly friendly” with all of his daughters-in-law, including my mother Wilma, but left them alone after they told him to stop.  Apparently, based upon what Cloreta and my parents said, Mary never told him to stop, but rather encouraged the attention.  I did find this little piece of an interview with my parents:

Everett: How did your Mom deal with your Dad running around with Mary? Or did she know?

Calvin: Oh, it’s hard to believe she didn’t know. But she never, ever said anything, not that I ever heard.

Wilma: I didn’t think she liked it that he spent so much time up there with Mary. Maybe there wasn’t anything going on, but he hung around…

Calvin: Yeah, he’d be up there every day, for two or three hours every day. He’d drive the car up there, he couldn’t walk. About the only time Ervin and Mary socialized with the family was at Christmas or sometime, when the family got together, but I think Mary got along with the rest of them [meaning the rest of the family].

Saturday, March 19, 1955

Sheriff’s Deputy Amos O. Shaw:

8:00 AM On duty

8:30 AM Sheriff Office for briefing

9:20 AM Leave for Mount Angel to recontact Mr. Torresdahl

9:50 AM Talk to Melvin Torresdahl. The only additional information we were able to obtain was that Torresdahl had heard the rumor that Willie Been, had seen Cap on the evening of the murder of Ervin Kaser. Wasn’t able to reveal who gave him the information nor any thing else of importance.

10:45 AM Talk to Richard Hacek 18 yrs. Home is next to Danny Gilham’s home.

Information that Freddy Kaser, (College Student Oregon State) was close friend of Danny Gilham went out on dates together Etc.

Danny never told Richard much about the murder but did mention that the Police had picked him up and questioned him. And that they thought that he drove the car.

Danny Gilham formerly went with a girl name of Shirley Doerfler, Silverton and stopped going with her when he stared going with Colleen. They have been going together for the past 2 1/2 yrs.

Richard Hacek was at a National Guard meeting night of murder and left Salem for home about 11:00 PM coming out State street on East until reaching home, doesn’t remember passing any cars East of Pratum on that night. Arrived home about 11:30 PM.

11:30 AM Contact Floyd Kaser, supposedly last seen Ervin Kaser June of 1954. Ervin never talked much about business dealings and never about family difficulties.

Cap’ Oveross and Floyd went coon hunting 6-7 yrs. ago and Cap used his 32-?? never saw any other guns of Cap’s.

No further information of value.

1:00 PM Home off duty

State Police Sergeant Wayne G. Huffman:

On March 19, 1955, Sheriff Denver Young and writer contacted Daniel Gilham where he was working near his residence, Rt. 5, Box 417, Salem and asked him if he would be willing to undergo a lie detector test on the information he had concerning Casper Oveross’ movements on the night of February 17, 1955. He stated that he did not think it was necessary to take the test inasmuch as he was telling the truth, but finally consented and agreeded to accompany Sheriff Young and the writer to Eugene and undergo the test at the State Police office at Eugene.

Upon arrival at the State Police office, Eugene, Sheriff Young and writer contacted Sergeant Baker and city officers Oakley V. Glenn and Warren Wiley of the Eugene City Police Department. They were given a resume of the highlights of the investigation on the Kaser murder case and a list of questions was submitted for them to ask Danny Gilham and check his reactions on the lie detector. The lie detector was set up in the interrogation room at the State Police office in Eugene and the city officers Glenn and Wiley interrogated Danny Gilham with the questions that were assembled. The city officers made several tests with Danny Gilham on the machine and stated that they would submit a report with copies for the State Police office and the Marion county Sheriff’s office at the conclusion with opinions of their findings.

They stated that the lie detector reacted considerably to the question “Did Casper tell you he killed Ervin Kaser?”. They stated on the first test the machine registered 9, which is considered high, and on the second and third tests it registered 4, which is still considered high. City Officer Wiley stated the first test where it registered 9 was understandable as Danny Gilham was not use to the machine, but where the machine attained reaction 4 on the next two tests would show that he was lying when he replied “No” as the answer to the question. City Officer Wiley stated that there is a possibility that he does know Casper Oveross killed Ervin Kaser and the guilty knowledge may cause him to react to that question.

City Officer Wiley stated that Gilham’s reaction to other questions varied between 1/2 and 2 1/2 which is normal for a person telling the truth. He stated Gilham probagbly has guilty knowledge that Casper killed Kaser and this would cause some reaction in addition to probably something else that he might know. He stated in the question “Do you know where Casper’s gun is?” he received the answer “No” and the machine showed that Gilham was telling the truth as there was no reaction other than between 1 and 2.

City Officer Wiley of the Eugene City Police Department stated that this machine was available for the further use in this case should this department need it. Any request for the use of this machine should be made through Chief of Police Vern Hill at Eugene. He stated that either City Officer Glenn or himself would be available to conduct the tests and that the machine could be brought to Salem if it was necessary.

City Officer Wiley stated that when Gilham was questioned if he had seen Casper Oveross at 10:30 P. M. on the night of February 17, 1955 near the Ethel Oveross residence he replied in the infirmative. Also that this north bound car that went by the Ethel Oveross residence as Gilham was backing out of their driveway and which sounded its horn at him was Casper Oveross’ car and that Casper was in the car alone. City Officer Wiley stated that Gilham was pretty definite in his answer to this question.

All undeveloped leads in this case were turned over to Officer Riegel who is continuing the investigation in conjunction with the Sheriff’s office, Marion county.

Sunday, March 20, 1955

Day off.

Monday, March 21, 1955

No reports.

Tuesday, March 22, 1955

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

1:00 PM Proceed to Silverton to Contact Informant.

1:30 PM Make contact, obtain the following information regarding Ervin Kaser Murder.

Hilman Loveland, told Informant that his next door neighbor has a lot of information about the Murder but he wasn’t going to tell what it was. Neighbor that supposedly has the information is Chauncey Bowen, Silverton. Bowen is supposed to be a friend of Kaser’s, & Kellerhals.

2:20 PM Attempt to Contact H. A. Barnes residence no one home.

3:00 PM Attempt to Contact Roy Jacobson, residence, no one home.

4:00 PM Contact Mr. & Mrs. Herbert A Barnes, Rt 3 box 100 Silverton.

Mr. Barnes said that on night of Murder of Ervin Kaser he was home alone and had laid down on Davenport by large picture Window. He had intended to listen to the 10:00 PM News broadcast, and had woke up shortly before hearing the 1st shot. he at first thought it was an Automobile back firing coming down the hill by Oveross home. He thought there was a 4 or 5 second interval then 3 more shots closely spaced. Not sure of the time of the Shots but believe it to have been not later than 10:25 PM. Further stated I had got off the Davenport and was looking out the Window North toward the Oveross home and Highway, saw at least 4 or 5 cars coming down the hill going South on Black top. I thought at the time that there must have been a basket ball game in town and kids are returning home. Never saw any vehicle turn into Harvey Kaser home, or turn up the Golf Course Road.

(Note: this wittness was some what confused as to wheather he stood looking out the window before hearing thelast shot fired, or if he looked out the Window and saw the Vehicles coming down the Hill 5 Minutes after the last shot was fired.)

Mr. Barnes stated he doesn’t remember ever seeing Casper Oveross Rifle. And cant recall ever having seen Cap’ fire a rifle down in Bean patch where they had been sighting in Rifles.

Mr. Barnes stated he has known Cap’ since 1943, and had gone Fishing with him Etc however was under the impression that Cap’ had been losing his mind the past year over this Family trouble, and continually talked about it in recent months. Cap’ made the statement on one occasion that He knew Ervin was going out with Ethel, and that he would like Catch Harvey Kaser, and Wayne Moore out with her.

4:40 PM Robert Barnes & Wife come to Herberts house and remarked that around the 13th. March 1955 he and Wife had seen Danny Gilham, and Cap’ Oveross going South toward Sublimity in Danny’s Car. Danny honked and Waved, Cap’ wouldn’t wave.

5:00 PM Mr. Barnes has a 30-30 Cal. Winchester Carbine. Also stated no car pulled into his Driveway night of Murder at the critical time.

Wednesday, March 23, 1955

Sheriff’s Deputy Amos O. Shaw:

8:00 AM On duty

8:30 AM type up back days reports, and catch up on Office duties.

9:30 AM Work in Office of Kaser Homicide case.

12:30 PM Lunch

1:25 PM Leave Office to pick up State Officer Lloyd Riegel.

1:45 PM Leave State Police Office with Riegel.

2:15 PM At Hande’s Hardware store Silverton, for search of Serial No. on Rifles sold in 1949.

3:20 PM Found

INVOICE HIBBARD, SPENCER, BARTLETT & CO.
2201 W Howard St.
Evanston Illinois
Date Shipped Feb 22 1949

SOLD TO: AMES HARDWARE & FURNITURE CO SILVERTON OREGON
Date Sold 2/18

2 Only 30-30 Winchester Carbine 1538797 – 1541417
$62.45 Net 46.85 $93.70 Postage 2.13 $95.83

[EK NOTE: meaning each gun had a list price of $62.45, was sold wholesale for $46.85, times 2 = $93.70, plus $2.13 shipping for both rifles from Illinois to Oregon for a total cost to Ames Hardware of $95.83.]

The above described Invoice was Found by Writer and Lloyd Riegel in a Box containing Jobbers Invoices from January to June 1949. This is the Only Invoice we found where 30-30 Carbine’s had been shipped to Ames Hardware in 1949 Jan to June. Found Invoices where Ammunition, Bee rifles, & 22 Rifles had been purchased and shipped to the store and where 30-30 Winchester Rifles had been ordered but not shipped.

The Above described Invoice was marked and Identified as to time of find, Date and Initials of Writer, & Loyd Riegel. Also the Box containing the Invoice was similarly marked and initialed.

Continued search of files, Invoices, and Charge slips until 5:00 PM when we asked permission to bring the box of Charge slips with us to check at the Office. State Police Officer Riegel kept the Box, and Invoice for Photo-Static Copies.

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

At this point the police reports come to a halt for about a week, probably because they’re running out of leads, without having found the murder weapon.  There’s a few more reports in April 1955, with Officer Riegel notifying various agencies that there is no further need to search for records of Casper Oveross purchasing a rifle, because they’ve now found the records at Ames Hardware

Friday, April 1, 1955

State Police Private Lloyd T. Riegel:

4:00 PM

From the records of Ames Hardware Silverton, Oregon a ledger sheet and sales slip have been found that shows the sale of a 30-30 Winchester Carbine to Casper Oveross on 5 March 1949. From an invoice sheet found within the same set of files it is now believed that the rifle Casper Oveross purchased carries the serial number of 1538797 or 1541417.

A request has been made with the records section and the pawn shop detail of the Portland Police be on the alert for the sale of a weapon which carries either of the above listed serial numbers.

State Police Private Lloyd T. Riegel:

4:30 PM

It is requested that the pawn shop detail and records section be advised that the State Police Department is vitally interested in locating a 30-30 Winchester Carbine bearing serial number 1538797 or 1541417, believed to be connected with a case presently being investigated by this department.

If information is obtained regarding a weapon bearing either of the two above mentioned serial numbers advise the Department of State Police, Salem, Oregon.

cc to Capt. Gurdane
cc to Portland Police Department
cc to Salem Police Department
cc to Eugene Police Department

State Police Private Lloyd T. Riegel:

5:00 PM

Information has been obtained which eliminates the necessity of further checks of gun stores for the sale of a weapon to Casper Oveross.

cc to Capt. Gurdane

April 26, 1955

State Police Captain R. G. Howard:

The following is copied from reports pertaining to the ERVIN KASER case which have been delivered at this office by Sheriff Denver Young:

The following information was volunteered by Mr. Wayne Moore, neighbor of victim and also of suspect Casper Oveross.

Mr. Moore stated that last fall Ervin Kaser told him that some one had followed him home after he and Ethel Oveross had been out for the evening. The car that followed him passed as he turned into his driveway and continued on to his brother Melvin’s driveway where it turned around and went back to the north. At the school the car turned to the left and drove back of the school and towards the back of the elder Mrs. Kaser’s home.

Ervin stated that he followed this car and cornered it back of the school and by turning his headlights on it was able to secure the license number. He said that he went into Silverton and gave the number to the Silverton police officer to check the ownership. A State Police Officer who was there at the time stated that the car involved was one which he had been trying to locate on a spotlighting case.

Mr. Moore also stated that Ethel Oveross told him approximately the same thing which indicated that she was familiar with the affair.

Moore also stated that he was sure that Mrs. Oveross also told him that on the night of the shooting, 2/17/55, a coupe automobile followed either her or both her and Kaser. She stated that she had seen the car since then in front of the Mary Kaser (Mrs. Ervin Kaser) residence. This information has never been mentioned before in our conversation with Ethel Oveross.

A further interrogation with Mrs. Oveross to clear up these two points will be undertaken in the near future.

(sd) Denver Youngsters
Denver Young, Sheriff”

Re: OVEROSS, Ethel
WFA, 40 yrs.
Rt. #3, Box 110, Silverton, Oregon

Following is technician’s interpretation of results of lie detector test administered to the above named subject on 20 April 55 at approx. 3:00 PM in the office of the Marion county sheriff. Test was conducted by the two undersigned officers of the Eugene Police Dept. in the presence of Sheriff Young and Sgt. Huffman, OSP.

Questions Answers

  1. Is your name Ethel Oveross? yes

  2. Do you live at Rt. 3, Box 110? yes

  3. Do you smoke? no

  4. On the night of Feb. 17th ’55 did you hear shots? yes

  5. Do you own a car? yes

  6. Did you hear a car go by right after you heard shots? yes

  7. Do you work in Stayton? yes

  8. Did you discuss the Kaser shooting with Colleen? yes

  9. Is your car a Ford? yes

  10. Do you have a sister? yes

  11. Have you told the truth to all these questions? yes

  1. Is your name Ethel Oveross? yes

  2. Do you own a Ford? yes

  3. Do you have a sister? yes

  4. Did Colleen blame you for the shooting? no

  5. Did it rain today? yes

  6. Is Colleen still living with you? yes

  7. Have you talked to Cap recently? no

  8. Do you live at Rt. 3, Box 110? yes

  9. Did Cap ever threaten you or Kaser with harm if you continued to see him? yes

  10. Have you told the truth during this test? yes

One other question was asked: “Did you recognize the car that passed just after you heard the shots?”. MRS. OVEROSS answered this question, “No.”. Machine reaction to this answer was 13 units which with one exception was the highest reading obtained throughout the test.

General reactions to the questions were very erratic showing some 10 and 12 points to some known truthful answers as compared to 3 and 5 to others. Only possible results to be reached were that of inconclusive test, however, following is alist of indications which may furnish some leads.

A. Previous to actual test MRS. OVEROSS was asked, “Did Cap ever threaten you with harm if you continued see Kaser?” She answered “No.” to this. The question asked on the test was, “Did cap ever threaten you or Kaser with harm if you continued to see him?” She answered “Yes” to this.

B. The question, “Have you talked to Cap recently?” seems to have bothered the subject.

C. Subject stated under interrogation that she supposed that Colleen blamed her for the shooting but she denied that Colleen had specifically stated that she did.

D. Subject denied under interrogation that she had relatives living in Eugene or Eugene area. It is a matter of personal knowledge to the undersigned that subject does have a cousin living just out of Eugene, off Country Club road. Name is not known at this time but can be obtained if necessary.

E. Subject attributes relatively high reaction to identity of passing car to fact that she knows that her sister drove by.

(sd) W. Wiley
W. Wiley, Ident. Officer

(sd) O. V. Glenn
O. V. Glenn, Supt. Of Ident.”

May 4, 1955

State Police Sergeant Wayne G. Huffman:

Sheriff Denver Young, Marion County Sheriff’s office, called this office this date and advised that Deputy Amos Shaw had secured information from Melvin Kaser as follows- His brother Harvey Kaser had worked for Mr Kellerhall and was told by Mr Kellerhall that he knew who’s car that was that was parked on the highway and from which the shots came from that killed KASER. He also stated he didn’t want to say this as he was afraid of what the Defense Attorney would do to him when he got him on the Witness stand, also he didn’t wish to get involved in the case anymore than he had to.

Sheriff Young wished this information be checked further by this office in conjunction with his office and possibly the Sychometer could be used on the questioning of Kellerhall.

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

And that is very close to the end of the investigation… close, but not QUITE done.  Up next: The Rifle.  And then, there will probably be a gap of a few weeks (at least), while I work on the rest of the story: The Trial.

Blogically yours,
Everett

Not Innocent: The Investigation (part 11)

With the records from Ames (Hande’s) Hardware, the police renew their efforts to show that Casper Oveross did have a 30-30 Winchester model 94 hunting rifle, despite his claims to the contrary.

Tuesday, March 15, 1955

Sheriff’s Deputy Amos O. Shaw:

8:00 AM On duty

9:10 AM Leave with Officer Riegel to make contacts in Silverton area

9:50 AM Contact Lee Kuenzi,

Remembers going hunting with Lund Bros., and Noah Weneger, Cliff Kuenzi, believes it was during Elk season 1949. Also stated he thinks that he could find the place they were target shooting on the trip.

Said he remembered that Noah Wenger had put aside the 8MM he had been using because it Jammed on him. Thought that the other gun Noah used was a 30-30 caliber Carbine, new gun, lever action.

10:20 AM Contact Clifford Kuenzi home again for additional details as to time went on Elk hunting trip. Cliff stated that they went on the trip 13 November 1949. Also stated that people in the community are getting a little worried for Wayne Moore, and sounds as if Casper Oveross has done some talking.

Further revealed that Hanson had the information on night we talked with him that Gilham had heard Casper Oveross say Ervin had 3 slugs in him, however they didn’t tell us.

11:10 AM Contact Alvin Lund, Stated that Noah Wenger had borrowed a 30-30 Carbine from Casper Oveross to be used on Elk Hunting trip, also had a 8MM he was using. Stated he was not with Noah when he got Cap’s gun.

12:05 PM Contact Alfred Von Flue stated he was on the hunting trip and remembers others on trip. Had talked over with Cliff Kuenzi, about Caps gun being on the trip and seems to remember it.

12:30 PM Lunch

1:30 PM Sheriff Office

2:50 PM Contact Mr. James Sullivan, Stayton, knows Casper Oveross and has worked with him doesn’t know any thing about family troubles, nor any thing about Cap’s rifle.

3:30 PM Contact Kolstads Cannery Silverton reg address of 2 contacts.

4:10 PM Contact Lloyd B Larson stated he has known Casper Oveross for several years doesn’t know of Cap’s guns doesn’t know of Cap’s marriage difficulties.

Says he has just finished fixing up Cap’s income tax report form, and he still claims Ethel Oveross for the entire year 1954, advised Cap he couldn’t do it however Cap insisted that was the way he wanted it made out. Also that Cap never made over 1000 Dollars in Wages last year. Most of money was derived from property sales.

[EK_note: here's a third instance of Shaw re-reporting a day's activities, shown below]

8:00 AM On duty

9:10 AM Leave Office with Officer Riegel to make contacts in Silverton Area.

9:50 AM Contact Lee Kuenzi Remembers going hunting with Lund Bros and Noah Weneger & Cliff Kuenzi. Believed to have been during Elk season 1949. Also remarked that he though he could find the spot they had been target shooting. Said he remembers Weneger had put aside the 8MM Mouser he had been using because it Jammed on him, and thought that the other gun he used was a 30-30 Caliber Carbine lever action rifle.

10:20 AM Contact Clifford Kuenzi home again for additional details as to time he went Elk hunting and Cap’ Oveross rifle was taken along. Hunting trip was 13th. Of Nov. 1949. People in community are getting a little worried for Wayne Moore, and it sounds as if Cap’ Oveross has done some talking. Also stated that Hanson had the information that Cap’ had contacted Danny Gilham night of murder however Hanson never told us when we contacted him. Hanson had the Info. night after the Murder.

11:10 AM Contact Alvin Lund, stated that Noah Weneger had borrowed a 30-30 Cal. Carbine, from Casper Oveross the time all went Elk hunting in 1949. Stated that Noah also had a 8 MM rifle he used. Stated he was not with Noah when he borrowed the gun from Cap.

12:05 PM Contact Alfred Von Flue Stated he was on the hunting trip and more or less verified the information given by Cliff Kuenzi.

12:30 PM Lunch

1:30 PM Sheriff Office

2:50 PM Contact Jr. James Sullivan, knows Cap’ and has worked with him. Doesn’t know any thing about guns of Cap’s. Nor any of Cap’s family troubles.

3:30 PM Contact Kolstad Cannery, Silverton and obtain Address of some people whom used to work in there and we have to contact.

4:10 PM Contact Lloyd B Larson, stated he has known Cap Oveross for several years, doesn’t know any thing about Cap’s guns. Doesn’t know Cap’ marriage difficulties.

Says he has just finished fixing out Cap Oveross Income Tax return for last year, and Cap’ Claims Ethel Oveross for the entire year of 1954. He told Cap’ he couldn’t get away with it but Cap’ had him fix it up that way. Also that Cap’ never made over 1000 dollars in Wages during 1954, most of income come from Property sales.

4:36 PM Contact Chief Buck Main, Silverton. Reports Don Maulding’s Brother was shot at last week. Will attempt to get name of brother and all information available to ascertain if it has any bearing on this case.

State Police Private Lloyd T. Riegel:

On 15 March 1955 Deputy Shaw and the writer contacted Lee Kuenzi. Lee Kuenzi was one of the members of the hunting party referred to by Cliffor Kuenzi. Lee Kuenzi stated he remembered the hunting party and to the best of his knowledge that it was in the first part of November 1949. He stated that he remembered Noah Winiger and the fact that Noah Winiger had taken two rifles on this hunting trip. He believed that one rifle was a 8mm bolt action that he had borrowed from a Emanual Kellerhal and that the other was a 30-30 carbine that he had borrowed from Casper Oveross. Lee Kuenzi stated that he did not shoot this rifle, however, there was some target practising in the area and that he was quite sure that this gun had been used in the target practising. When questioned as to the exact location of the target practise, Lee Kuenzi stated that he was quite sure that he could return to the exact spot as it was only a short distance from their camping area in eastern Oregon. He further stated that he believed the 30-30 used by Noah Winiger was the only 30-30 in the crowd that was used at the time of target practise.

Clifford Kuenzi was then contacted for more specific information and for the date which he in the previous reports stated that he would get. Clifford Kuenzi stated that they had left Silverton on 13 November 1949 and that the above mentioned group had gone in his truck and had hauled a jeep belonging to Alfred Vonflue. Clifford Kuenzi also stated that he was quite sure that he could return to the exact spot of the target shooting. However, it was in the Wallowa Mountains and it would be snowed in at this time of year. He stated to the best of his knowledge and remembrance the target practise was across a valley into a side of a bank approximately 300 yards and that there had been two or three small rocks laying against this bank into which they had shot. The question came about as a result of a elk walking by this area and that no one had shot because they thought the distance was to great for a 30-30 rifle to carry, however during the target practise dust was kicked up in this area and they were quite sure that the shots had been fairly close to the rocks. Clifford Kuenzi gave information that while visiting with the Monroe Hanson residence that Hanson’s had stated that they were quite worried since Casper Oveross had been released and they felt some danger for themselves but more for the Wayne Moore’s as Casper Oveross had made statements showing his dislike for Wayne and Mrs. Moore. Hanson’s further stated that the day following the shooting 17 February 1955 that Mrs. Hanson while talking with Ethel Oveross had been advised that Cap Oveross had been at the Gilham residence shortly after the shooting on 17 February 1955 and that he had attempted to establish an alibi for his time by telling Danny Gilham Ervin Kaser had three slugs in him and that Danny Gilham would be his alibi. It was also the opinion of Monroe Hanson that Casper Oveross had left his gun at the Gilham residence at that time and that Gilham had taken the gun some place and hid it or taken it to another party when he was called at 3:00 A. M. on the morning of 18 February 1955 by Colene Oveross. Mr. Kuenzi stated that he had no definite information of this and that this had devloped during a conversation with Mr. Hanson and as far as he knew Mr. Hanson had no definite information. That it was merely his opinion or thoughts.

Mr. Kuenzi further stated that he was quite sure that several people in the Dutchman Flats area had valuable information relative to this case and information that the police should have. But that they were very reluctant to give this information and he is quite sure that they will never come to the police and volunteer the information, however, if they are contacted they may give what information they have. He further stated that he himself had thought considerable of coming to the police with his information relative to the gun and that he had decided not to contact the police himself, however, if he was contacted by the police that he would give what information he had. He feels that most of the people in this area are of the same thought relative to the case.

Alfred Lund and Alvin Lund and Melvin Lund were all contacted relative to the hunting trip referred to by Clifford Kuenzi. The Lund boys admitted that they had knowledge that Noah Winiger had borrowed a 30-30 carbine from Casper Oveross to use on this hunting trip. They stated that they were under the opinion that Winiger was to use Emanual Kellerhals 8mm Mauser, but Casper’s gun was to be used only in a case of failure of the 8mm. The 8mm did fail to function and Noah Winiger had used Casper Oveross’ rifle a major portion of the hunting trip.

Alford Vonflue was also contacted, stated that he had gone on the hunting trip. Stated that he was not a hunter and that it was the first time that he had ever hunted and that he had more or less gone along just for the enjoyment of being outside. Stated that he did not own a rifle and that he had borrowed a rifle, a 30-30 carbine from Alvin Lund. He further stated that he knew very little about guns but while on the hunting trip he was comparing the 30-30 carbine that he was carrying with that being carried by Noah Winiger. He stated that the guns were exactly the same as near as he could tell. The gun actually carried by Alford Vonflue was a 30-30 Winchester carbine model 94 belonging to Alvin Lund.

Marion County Sheriff Denver Young:

9:40 A.M. Contacted Beth Mulkey, 590 Browning Ave., Never heard any comments about shooting. Anything that she might have said was purely for conversation.

5:15 P.M. Contacted Mrs. Mary Kaser at office. She states that Ervin wanted her to wait and let him file for divorce first. He has seen her twice since she left him and has asked her for dates which she refused. Also wanted her address.

State Police Sergeant Wayne G. Huffman:

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.

Sheriff Denver Young contacted Mrs. Mary Kaser on 15 March 1955 and she stated, through permission of her attorney Ray Rhotan, that Casper Oveross had been to see her three times at the Capitol building where she is employed by the Secretary of State office besides the once he visited her at the house on July 4, 1954. Sheriff Young also stated that Mrs. Kaser advised him that Ervin Kaser had met her at her parking lot near the apartment where she lived and they talked concerning their divorce actions. She stated that Ervin Kaser contacted her on January 19, 1955 at the parking lot in back of the apartment, also again on February 11, 1955 in the same place. At that time he said that he would see her again on the 18th of February 1955. She stated that Ervin Kaser told her one time that he did no plan on marrying anyone and when she had questioned him concerning Ethel Oveross he told her that she had been listening to too many rumors. When questioned by Sheriff Young as to why he made so many contacts she stated that he tried to make advances to her and she may have permitted him to if she had not been in her menstrual period. She believed that Ervin Kaser might have been planning on giving up Ethel Oveross.

Wednesday, March 16, 1955

Sheriff’s Deputy Amos O. Shaw:

8:00 AM On duty

8:30 AM Sheriff Office

9:00 AM Discuss case and leads in Sheriff Office

10:00 AM Search lumber and area around property previously belonging to Casper Oveross on Golf Course Rd. Finding nothing of signifigance.

11:00 AM Contact Danny Potter Kolstad’s Cannery.

Danny knows Cap and Ethel Oveross and Ervin Kaser, never saw Ervin pick Ethel up or try to contact her at the Cannery. Knows Cap and knows he goes hunting however knows nothing of his Fire-arms.

Floor lady Wanda Schultz on Edison Rd., Silverton. Stated to D. Potter that Ethel and Ervin were going together.

1:30 PM Contact Mrs. Calvin Kaser

2:00 PM Contact Calvin Kaser at S&M Trucking Co. Silverton. Venita Mc-Morris told Calvin that Cap Oveross had been to the State House 3 times prior to the Murder, and contacted May Kaser there. Ted Finlay told Calvin that Wayne Moore had even been accused of going with or helping some else go with Mary, accused by Cap.

Calvin saw Ervin and Ethel in Salem and this was April or May, 1954. Ethel was confronted with this and strongly denied it at the time. After the murder she admits it was her with Ervin that Calvin saw.

[EK_note: In 2002, my parents Calvin and Wilma Kaser, remembered it this way:]

Calvin: The first instance that we had of it… I was driving truck for S&M Truck Line, and every Tuesday and Friday, I had a route in Salem, we’d take freight over, and we’d pick up freight. And most of the time, that was one of my jobs, to go to Salem and pick up freight. This day I went to Salem, and I was going down what now would be 12th and Mission, before all the reconfiguration, you gotta remember, this was back in the 1950’s. I came up to the stop sign, and I had to stop, and I was in a cab-over truck, you sat up pretty high in this truck. And you looked down at the cars. And I looked down [to the right, to the car stopped on the street coming in from the right], and here was Ervin and Ethel Oveross, and Ethel, oh god, she just scoots down and tries to hide.

Wilma: I was along. I don’t remember why, but I was along with you. That was a Friday, and that night there was something going on out at Evergreen School, and we were getting ready to go out there. Before we left, Ervin was at our door.

Calvin: He never said anything about it, but it was the one and only time he ever came to our house. He was a guy who could be just as nice as Peaches and Cream. He wanted to find out if I was going to say anything, but he never said anything. He talked there for a little while, then left because we said we were going somewhere.

2:45 PM Pick up 30-30 Cal. Carbine from Calvin Kaser Serial 1306368, give receipt for the gun, and hold for a Ballistics. Also 2 30-30 shells Live Ammo. mark & Identify.

3:25 PM Check with Derald Maulding, regarding shot fired at him on 9 March 1955, Subject was at first reluctant to talk and didn’t know any thing about any shot being fired. Later remembered and admitted to having been driving along looking at some Timber he wanted to buy. He had just stopped the Jeep when a shot rang out and the bullett missed the top of Jeep about 2 inches in front of window. Didn’t believe it was intentional, however did state if it was intented for him it was over a Lumber deal, and wouldn’t talk further on the subject.

Stated that he was positive that the incident had nothing to do with the E. Kaser Murder.

Doesn’t know Kaser but is a good friend of Cap’ Oveross and wont say any thing of value to us about Cap’.

4:30 PM Contact D.D. Kuenzi. No additional information

State Police Private Lloyd T. Riegel:

On 16 March 1955 the writer and Deputy Shaw contacted Darrel Maulding, Star Rt., Silverton. Information had previously been received that Darrel Maulding had been shot at some time between the 17th of February 1955 and the 12th of March 1955. It had also been determined that Darrel Maulding was a good friend of Casper Oveross. When Darrel Maulding was questioned relative to his having been shot at, Maulding denied the fact. Maulding was asked if he had been shot at would he admit it? Maulding stated that he would not, that it was none of the business of the police, that it was a personal private problem of his own and that he felt until it was reported to the police that it was none of their business. Taking this as a point to work on the writer then questioned Maulding as to whether the shots were connected with the Ervin Kaser case. To this Maulding stated that they were not in any way connected with the Ervin Kaser case. Using this as admitting that the shot had been fired the writer questioned Maulding as to why the shot had been fired at him. He stated that a few days ago while looking at a piece of timber that a shot had been fired in front of his vehicle and that it struck a tree, stated that he was quite sure that this was over the timber that he was trying to underbid another man and that there had been quite some hate and arguments over this timber. There was nothing to indicate through the questioning that there was any connection between the Ervin Kaser case and the shots having been fired at Darrel Maulding.

Maulding was asked to point out the tree in which this slug had landed. Maulding stated that the slug did not land in the tree that it hit the tree, knocked off the bark and glanced off and he further stated that he would not point out the tree where the shot was fired as he still did not feel that it was any of our business and if we would possibly find the slug, or if we found the slug, might try to make an issue out of the shooting and that it was connected strictly with the lumber deal and not with Ervin Kaser or Casper Oveross in any way.

State Police Sergeant Wayne G. Huffman:

Sheriff Young and writer contacted Mr. and Mrs. Calvin Kaser, Rt. 1, Box 198, Silverton, on March 16, 1955. They stated that they knew the suspect Casper Oveross but they had never visited with him and did not know what kind of guns he might have. Calvin Kaser stated that at one time he observed Ervin Kaser and Ethel Oveross in Salem. He does not recall the time but they were together and he observed just as they drove by in Ervin’s car.

Mrs. Calvin Kaser stated that Mary Kaser, wife of Ervin, had told her that Casper Oveross was in to see her three times where she is employed at the Secretary of State’s office. This was relative to their divorce proceedings. He had supposedly told Mary Kaser that he had considerable information on Ervin Kaser and Ethel Oveross going out together. She stated that Edith Kaser, wife of Harvey Kaser, mentioned that Casper Oveross used to watch Ethel when she got off work at the cannery, during last summer, where she was employed there working nights. She stated Casper used to hang around and watch her when she got off work to see where she may have gone before going home. She also stated that she had heard that Ethel had forbid Casper to come on the place since Ervin Kaser had been shot.

Calvin Kaser stated he owned a 30-30 Winchester model 94 carbine rifle and that the would voluntarily submit it for ballistic test. Check showed this rifle to be a 30-30 Winchester model 94 carbine, serial #1306368. This rifle was picked up and a receipt given and was taken to the crime laboratory for ballistic tests by Officer Riegel and Deputy Sheriff Shaw. Mr. and Mrs. Calvin Kaser could supply no other information on Casper Oveross or Ervin Kaser.

Contacted an Alvis Bruner, 514 W. Main Street, Silverton, former employe of Ervin Kasers, relative to information that he might know considerable about Ervin Kaser and Ethel Oveross. He stated he worked for Ervin over a period of approximately six years and that he never at any time knew that Ervin and Ethel were going out together. He stated that when Ethel was driving tractor for Ervin at the hop fields that whenever Ervin went over there to see her, how she was getting along, the lights on the tractor would go out and Ervin always said that there was a short in the light system. He stated that he did not think this was unusual as the lights did occasionally short out when the hop vines had covered the wiring. He stated he could supply no information of Casper Oveross as he did not know him very well nor could he supply any information of any gun he may own.

Contacted Recruit State Police Officer Frank Dederick, who stated that a Robert Barnes had told him that a subject by the name of Ben Eckley had sighted Casper Oveross’ gun in one time when they were target practising on Casper Oveross’ place. He stated some time just prior to last hunting season, possibly in the last two weeks of September 1954, that he had gone up to Casper Oveross’ bean yard to do some shooting to target his rifle in. He stated that he was suppose to meet some others up there but no one showed up so he started shooting at targets. He said he had been there a short while when Casper Oveross came over and watched him. Then Casper Oveross went back towards his car and was gone for a short time and then came down again with a rifle. Dederick said it was a short barreled carbine like our state police rifles. He stated it was a lever action. He further stated that Casper Oveross and he target practised there for a short time and that he had shot the rifle of Casper’s about three times. He stated it seemed to shoot straight but he was not accustomed to shooting it so he did not make a very good score. He further stated that when he was practising there with Casper Oveross that he was using a 30-06. He stated that this time was approximately a week prior to the time that he was out there shooting with Ben Eckley and the others. He stated it was either the Saturday or Sunday before he was with Ben Eckley.

[EK_NOTE: Casper Oveross's "bean yard" would have been on the 20 acres on the south side of Finlay Road (the old Golf Course Road), south of Harvey Kaser's place.  That 20 acres ran downhill to Drift Creek, and the land on the other side of the creek rapidly rises back up, providing a reasonably safe backdrop for target practice.]

Contacted a Benjamin Eckley, Rt. 1, Box 119, Silverton, who is employed at the Credit Production Corporation in Salem. He stated he was at what is known as the Barnes Bean Yard target shooting just before hunting season. He believes it was the last week of September 1954. He believes it to be the 19th of September 1954 but he is not sure. He stated the date could be checked as the Sublimity rifle club had a contest that same day. He stated that he was in charge of the practise session out there and those present were Herb Barnes, Robert Barnes, Richard Barnes, Dr. E L. Hinkle, Frank Dederick and an Oswald Johnson, Stayton, Carol Nelson of Salem and George Fullenwider, credit corporation in Salem. He stated they all had individual targets and that Casper Oveross was not there that day. He stated that he thought Frank Dederick was mistaking about Casper Oveross being there on the day they were all target practising. He stated he shot most of the rifles that were there to check if they were sighted in and he does not remember shooting Casper Oveross’ rifle. He stated they left there about 5:00 P. M. in the afternoon and went to Herbert Barnes place to plan a hunting trip.

Benjamin Eckley stated that between March 25 and April 25, 1954 that he was at Casper Oveross’ place and there was a carbine 30-30 rifle where he was building his new house in back of the old house. He stated it was standing up by his carpenter tools. It was either a 30-30 or a 32 special carbine. He believes that it was equipped with a saddle ring but he was not sure. He stated it looked old, like it had seen lots of service or was poorly cared for.

Deputy Sheriff Shaw, Officer Riegel, Sheriff Young, Recruit Dederick and writer checked the area where Frank Dederick and Casper Oveross reportedly shot the targets at the bean yard on the Casper Oveross place just off the Golf Course Road. Check the area where the firing was taking place and was unable to locate any empty casings from any type of guns that might have been fired. Checked the target area and it showed the targets were placed on bean posts spaced at approximately ten foot intervals. The targets appeared to be quite old. Check of the bean posts revealed that most of the shells were fired and went completely through the posts and across Drift Creek and into some brush on the bank on the other side. Check of the trees in that area showed some bullet holes in the trees and the bullets stayed inside with no indication that they had come out of the trees. A later check in that area may reveal some bullets still inbeded in the trees near Drift Creek and directly behind the target. Some of the targets were initialed H. B. which is presumably is Herbert Barnes. Others are not initialed.

[date uncertain] State Police Sergeant Wayne G. Huffman:

Sheriff Young and writer contacted the James Gilham residence in an effort to contact Danny Gilham for other information. We learned that Daniel Gilham had left to go to Toledo, Oregon, to look for work. His mother, Mrs. Ginny Gilham, stated that he has a cousin in Toledo by the name of Allen Parton who is a mill right or mechanic foreman at the C. D. Johnson Lumber Company. She stated that Daniel did not get a job there he would return to their residence that night but if he secured work that he planned on staying over and would be home on the weekend. She stated that he also has another cousin there by the name of Ernie Parton. Mrs. Gilham was requestioned concerning Casper Oveross’ actions on the night of 17 February 1955 when he came to their house about 11:00 P. M. and she stated that she watched the car turn around in their driveway, as she had heard that Casper drank and she wondered if he was drinking that night, if he would be able to make it. She stated that she saw that he drove off alright and that as he went out the driveway towards the road that she lay down on the bed and did not see which way the car went after it left their place. She stated it sounded like it drove out like the other cars do out towards the highway. She stated that Colene Oveross and two men who identified themselves as Mr. Williams and Mr. Jones came to their place and wanted information on what they had told the police. They would not give them any information as they said the D. A. advised them not to talk with anyone about it. She stated Mr. Williams wanted to know what they would do if the police picked up Danny and they told him they would not hold him unless he needed holding and they were trying to threaten them through Danny. She stated Colene did not appear very angry towards them at that time.

Thursday, March 17, 1955

Sheriff’s Deputy Amos O. Shaw:

8:00 AM On duty

8:30 AM Sheriff Office

10:35 AM Contact Ed Crosby Rt 1 Box 263 Woodburn Oregon

Saw Ervin Kaser about 1 week before Death in Salem before the Capitol Drug Store. Talked about Hop crops, and Ervin stated that he and Brother Harvey hated each other, didn’t give reason for dislike.

Saw Harvey last Spring 1954 and Harvey said that he and Ervin hated each other and didn’t speak.

Doesn’t know Casper Oveross at all

12:20 PM Contact Ed Norton Forrest Grove Oregon, Manager of J.C. Penney’s store. Knows Cap’ Oveross and had him do some work on his house was employed for about 1 month. Last worked for him in Jan 1955. Doesn’t know any thing about Cap’s rifles. Never worked for Ames Hardware store in Silverton (Now Hande’s Hardware) Doesn’t know Ervin Kaser to the best of his knowledge.

2:15 PM At state Crime Lab. Ralph Proudy, leave Rifle of Calvin Kaser Ser. 1306368 Also 2 30-30 Cal. Rifle shells marked and Identified. Also leave fragment of Bullett recovered near scene of Fatal Shooting of Ervin Kaser 2-17-55 signed D. Young. Also 1 30-30 Cal Rifle Serial 361221 from Melvin Kaser and 3 Shells submitted by Melvin Kaser with rifle.

4:30 PM Contact Sheriff and Sarg. Huffman at Silverton

5:00 PM Go out to Target area in attempt to locate Shell casings or bulletts supposedly where Cap’ Oveross had been shooting. Unable to locate any shell casings or lead bulletts.

State Police Private Lloyd T. Riegel:

On 17 March 1955 Deputy Shaw and the writer took to the the crime laboratory a 30-30 Winchester carbine #1306368 belonging to Calvin Kaser and a 30-30 Winchester Model 94 octagon barrel #361221 belonging to Melvin Kaser, the bullet found in the Melvin Kaser strawberry patch and the two casings found by the writer on the Casper Oveross property. On the way to Portland Edgar Crosby, Rt. 1, Woodburn, hopgrower was contacted relative to his association with Ervin Kaser and any knowledge he may have pertaining to this case. Crosby stated that he had known Ervin Kaser several years and had been strictly a business relationship in hop growing and hop drying. Stated that he had no knowledge of Ervin Kaser family problems, kaser had never talked of family problems and that he did not know whether Ervin Kaser was married, divorced or just what his status was. Stated that he had no knowledge of Casper Oveross other than what he had read in newspapers.

Deputy Shaw and the writer contacted Ed Norton, assistant manager J. C. Penny Store, Forrest Grove, Oregon. Ed Norton stated that he knew Casper Oveross and that Casper Oveross had done some building for him during the first part of January 1955 while he was still the assistant manager of the J. C. Penny Store in Silverton. He stated the only comment Casper had ever made was that he could live cheaper under the present conditions than he could while living with his family at their home place. He also stated that in 1954 during the pheasant season while talking with Casper Oveross relative to this building project and securing some plans for the building project that he had mentioned pheasant hunting and Cap had stated that he had a model 97 Winchester pump 12 guage shotgun and that he would like to go hunting with Edgar Norton some time if the opportunity arose. He further stated that he did not know if Casper Oveross had a deer rifle that he had never seen it and had never talked deer hunting as he himself did not care to hunt for deer.

Crime laboratory was contacted the above mentioned articles were left with Ralph Purdy for ballistic checks and other checks necessary.

Upon return to the Silverton area Deputy Shaw and the writer assisted Sheriff Young and Sergeant Huffman in the search of the bean yard which lays along the Golf Course Road, south side of the road and on the rear of the Barnes property. This bean yard actually lays between the Barnes property and the land previously owned by Casper Oveross. Information received from Frank Dederick, State Police Officer, Salem, revealed that some time prior to the hunting season in 1954 that he and Casper Oveross had done target shooting in this area. A check of the area failed to locate any bullets or casings from the target shooting. Additional report by Sergeant Huffman will cover this in more detail.

Sergeant Huffman and the writer on the evening of 17 March 1955 contacted Mr. and Mrs. Emanual Kellerhal for additional information and for an actual view from their bedroom window to the spot where they believe and had previously stated that the slayers vehicle was standing. Detailed information will be covered by Sergeant Huffman’s report.

State Police Sergeant Wayne G. Huffman:

On this date Sheriff Young and writer contacted Joseph Schmidgall whose new address is Rt. 2, Box 280, Silverton, Oregon. He stated that he and his wife visited with Kellerhals and on leaving they turned by the Evergreen School and went up over the hill to the Brush Creek School Road and across and home which is closer than going through Silverton. He stated they left the Kellerhal residence between 10:00 and 10:15 P. M. on 17 February 1955 and that they never noticed any cars going by when they left also never saw any cars parked when they turned at Evergreen School, did not remember any cars on the back road at all that night. He stated that if there had been any cars that he knew he would have remembered it as he knew Casper Oveross’ car which he described as a blue 1950 or 1951 Ford, he believed it to be a two door sedan. He stated that they went to Kellerhals that night to put antifreeze in the truck and they started the truck and left it run for about fifteen minutes and this was around 9:00 or 9:15 P. M., he was guessing on that time as he never looked at a clock. He stated that there were no cars went by as they were out working on the truck, at least any that he recognized. He stated he did not know if Cap had a rifle but Casper did tear down a building at Lyons which he thought was a dry kiln and he had some lumber to sell and they bought some of this lumber. Also he stated that the truck driver that went up to haul the lumber was a Jim Lawrensen, Silverton. He stated that Lawrensen may know Casper and also that Casper may be acquainted around Lyons.

On March 17, 1955 Officer Riegel and writer contacted Mrs. Kellerhal, who stated that she had received third hand information that a Mel Torresdall, Rt. 2, Silverton, had heard that a businessman in Mt. Angel had seen Casper Oveross in Mt. Angel on the night of 17 February 1955 and that he had asked him what he was doing in Mt. Angel and Oveross supposedly replied “I’m looking for a son-of-a-bitch and it’s going to be to bad for him if I find him”. She stated she would rather her name not be used but be treated as a confidential informant. Mrs. Kellerhal was assured that her name would not be brought to the investigation as far as where the information came from.

In re-inacting their movements on the night of February 17, 1955, Mrs. Kellerhal stated that upon hearing the first shot she jumped out of bed and went to the front bedroom window which faces the main highway that goes directly past their place. She stated that as she glanced out she looked to her left, which would be north towards Silverton, and observed a car parked beyond their truck in the other driveway that goes into the field. She stated that as she looked at this car she saw three more flashes which appeared to be blasts from a rifle with the other three shots. She stated it would only have taken her two seconds or three seconds at the most to get out of bed and get to the window. She stated that she then looked over toward Kaser’s driveway and observed his car sitting in the driveway with the headlights on and the dome light on inside. She stated her husband had also jumped out of bed and went to the window approximately the same time she did. She stated after the shots they had waited a few moments and debated as to what to do then they went to the phone and called Ervin Kaser’s residence. She stated she dialed 925 then hung up and let the phone ring two or three times and in getting no answer she took the receiver off the hook and they looked out the window again to see if there was any activity around Kaser’s car. She stated they then called Ervin’s house again and let the phone ring again for two or three times and still no answer. She stated she took the receiver off the hook, got the dial tone and dialed Melvin Kaser’s number which is 929. She stated she let the phone ring twice then she took the reciever off the hook and someone, a man, said “Hello”. She stated she asked inquiringly “Mel” and he said “No, you have the wrong nuymber” and hung up. She stated as he hung up Koreta Kaser came on the line and she stated she told her someone was shooting at Ervin. She had asked her what to do. She stated Koreta said “Oh, let’s forget it and go to bed”. She said she hung up then and they both, she and her busband, went to bed. She stated they decided to wait ten minutes and if Ervin’s lights did not go off they would take some other action. She stated they were in bed a short while, approximately two or three minutes or maybe longer, and the phone rang. She got up and answered it and it was Melvin. She stated that Emanuel, her husband, and Melvin were talking just as the clock struck 11 chimes for 11:00 P. M. She stated they repeated the information given to Melvin’s wife and that he said he would call Officer Depeal at Silverton. She stated looking up their phone numbers in the book and fumbling around in the dark in the house and their other actions would have taken at least 10 minutes and not more than 15 minutes.

Contacted Charlotte Moore, 15 years, Rt. 3, Box 111, Silverton, daughter of Wayne Moore. She stated she goes to Silverton High School and that she is a close friend of Karen Oveross and that she knew Colene when she was going to high school, but they did not chase around together. She stated the date that Deputy Sheriff Shaw and Officer Riegel came out to Colene Oveross’ house to pick up Danny Gilham that she had been there that day but not while the officers had picked him up. She stated she got down there after Danny had been taken in. She stated she had to take some milk down that day as they bought milk from them and that Karen was there alone when she got there. She stated that Karen was mad because they had taken Danny by force and just because he had a 30-30 rifle. She stated she was there when Colene returned with the two attorneys from Salem and that Colene was very mad and she mentioned something about Mrs. Gilham, the old biddy, being on the side of the law. She stated that the attorneys wanted Colene to get the names of everyone who was on the Kellerhal’s phone line and that she, Charlotte Moore, helped Colene get these names. She stated that Colene phoned her boss that afternoon as she was suppose to go to Portland with her boss. Charlotte Moore stated she asked Colene what she was going to Portland with him for, Colene replied “shopping”. She stated she told Colene “Oh, pardon me for asking” as she knew she had said the wrong thing from Colene’s attitude. She stated that the attorneys also told Colene to have Danny call them as soon as he got out. She stated there was nothing else said and they did not talk very much while she was around.

Contacted Wayne Moore, Rt. 3, Box 111, Silverton, who stated that old man Kaser, Ervin’s father, was having an affair with Ervin’s wife. He stated this information came to him through Harvey’s wife to Ethel Oveross who had told it to him and his wife. He stated that he had seen old man Kaser’s car parked at Mary Kaser’s place while Ervin had been gone and he knew that the old man Kaser’s wife, or Ervin’s mother, was home working outside. He stated he has seen that car parked there many times and he often wondered about it. He stated old man Kaser would probably not get to old to have an affair with a woman as he was pretty well of the same type as Ervin. He stated he has been hunting with Casper Oveross and that Casper has a 30-30 rifle carbine and he said he hunted with him about three years ago. He had the same gun when he hunted with him two years ago. He stated that Bill Specht and Floyd Staiger were along then.

[EK_NOTE: there will be some more about Ervin's father Fred visiting with Mary in next week's post.]

He stated that he was not aware what the term 150 grain or 170 grain bullet was until just lately. He stated he always thought that was the amount of powder in a bullet but he stated that somebody told him that was the weight of lead bullet itself. He stated that possibly on this hunting trip he may have exchanged ammunition with Casper Oveross but he does not remember if he did. He stated those shells in his gun could have been put in there by himself and that he had not shot the gun more than twice since last hunting season. He stated he cleaned it right after hunting season but he does not think he cleaned it since he shot it the last time. He stated that an Elmer Olson had told him that Cap always insisted on 150 grain bullet when he bought ammunition at his place.

Contacted Mrs. Wayne Moore who stated that Ethel had told her that Ervin had informed her that he was going to subpoena Melvin to tell about his father and Mary having an affair. Also he was going to make Ethel Oveross look like a loose and immoral woman if necessary. Also that he was going to show that Mary was a loose and immoral woman. She stated that Ethel had said that she had tried to talk Ervin out of this and would have had him settle peacefully with Mary but that he would not. He was going to fight it in court and that he would really show them something.

Sheriff Young and writer contacted a Willy Bean, owner of the Men’s Shop, Mt. Angel, Oregon, who was the former proprietor of the hotel tavern, Mt. Angel. He stated he never saw Casper Oveross on the night of February 17, 1955 as he had attended a dance at the high school and was not in town. When questioned about being the subject that Casper was to have seen and takled to that night he stated that was evidentially some false rumor as he had never seen Casper that night and he did not know where the rumor could come from. He stated this high school dance had considerable young people there and the police at Mt. Angel had come and told them shortly after 11:00 that there had been a shooting in Silverton and he believed that the police were trying to locate Casper Oveross at that time.

Oregon Crime Detection Laboratory, Ralph W. Prouty:

RE: KASER, Ervin Oren
Homicide #7858

Received by the Crime Detection Laboratory March 17, 1955 at 2:15 P.M. the following items in connection with the above case:

1. One bullet 30 caliber from field – fragment
2. Winchester Model 94, serial no. 361221
3. One package of 3-30-30 cartridges.
4. One envelope of two 30-30 cartridges
5. One Winchester model 94, serial no. 1306368
6. One fired Super X 30-30 cartridge. ???? of Oveross Rec by Young

Amos O. Shaw

Deputy Shaw, Marion County Sheriff’s Office

Officer Riegel, Oregon State Police

Ralph W. Prouty

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And that’s it for this week.  Things are rapidly drawing to a close, not much further to go on the investigation.  Stay tuned!

Blogically yours,
Everett