Not Innocent: The Investigation (part 9)

Friday, March 4, 1955

Sheriff’s Deputy Amos O. Shaw:

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

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

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

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

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

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

2:00 PM Lunch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sheriff Denver Young:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

State Police Officer Sergeant Wayne G. Huffman:

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

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

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

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

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

Alvin Lund, brother to Melvin Lund, same address was contacted. He stated he has known Casper Oveross for several years but he has never associated with him for any length of time but had seen him mostly in taverns around the Silverton area. He stated that on the night of 17 February 1955 he did not observe Casper Oveross in Silverton at all. He stated he has never target practiced with Casper Oveross on his place and did not see him in any tavern with a George Jaeschke. He stated he knows of this Jaeschke but not to visit with him or be friendly, only just by sight.

Marion County District Attorney Kenneth E. Brown:

University of Oregon Medical School
Crime Detection Laboratory
Portland, Oregon

Attention Mr. Ralph Prouty

Re: Investigation of death of Ervin Oren Kaser

Dear Mr. Prouty:

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

Sincerely yours,

Kenneth E. Brown
District Attorney

Saturday, March 5, 1955

Sheriff’s Deputy Amos O. Shaw:

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

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

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

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

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

12:10 PM Lunch at Silverton

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3:25 PM Continue house to house check

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

State Police Private Lloyd T. Riegel:

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

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

Evergreen map

Police map of area of the murder

Sheriff Denver Young:

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

10:15 Left Salem for Silverton.

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

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

Checked other phone call made

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

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

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

State Police Officer Sergeant Wayne G. Huffman:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, March 6, 1955

[Day off, no reports]

Monday, March 7, 1955

Sheriff’s Deputy Amos O. Shaw:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

8:30 AM On duty

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

State Police Private Lloyd T. Riegel:

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

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

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

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

State Police Captain R. G. Howard:

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

Dear Sir:

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

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

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

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

Yours very truly,

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

Lieutenant, District Two

Tuesday, March 8, 1955

State Police Private Lloyd T. Riegel:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sheriff Denver Young:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

State Police Officer Sergeant Wayne G. Huffman:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Blogically yours,

Not Innocent: The Investigation (part 8)

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

Wednesday, March 2, 1955

Sheriff’s Deputy Amos O. Shaw:

8:00 AM On duty.

8:45 AM Conference with Sheriff and investigating officers.

9:40 AM Clear of office enroute to Silverton.

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

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

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

11:30 AM Contact Sheriff and Sarg. Huffman

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

12:05 PM Lunch at Silverton

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

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

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

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

2:25 PM Contact Mrs. Erma Moore.

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

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

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

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

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

State Police Private Lloyd T. Riegel:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sheriff Denver Young:

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

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

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

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

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

Oregon State Police Sergeant Wayne G. Huffman:

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

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

Compells plaintiff to support herself.”

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

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

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

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

Defendant is sullen and has a mean disposition.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Statement of Mary Kaser, wife of Ervin Kaser:

[XXXXX is used in this transcript to denote where the State Police have blacked out the names of minors and medical information. I’ll restore, in square brackets, those names that I can from other sources]


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

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


HUFFMAN: What is your middle name?

KASER: Louisa.

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

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

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

KASER:2054 North Capitol, Salem.

HUFFMAN: And that was on February 17, 1955?


HUFFMAN: What time did you learn of his death?

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

HUFFMAN: On February the 18th?

KASER It was the Friday morning following the –

HUFFMAN: Friday morning following shooting?


HUFFMAN: And how were you notified?

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

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

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

HUFFMAN: Is there any specific name for those apartments?

KASER: Not that I know of.

HUFFMAN: When were you and Ervin Kaser married?

KASER: October 21, 1939.

HUFFMAN: Had you ever been married previous to that?


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

KASER: Clarence Huntley.

HUFFMAN: Clarence Huntley?


HUFFMAN: Is he still living?


HUFFMAN: Where does he live?

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

HUFFMAN: Goldhill, Oregon?


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

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

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


HUFFMAN: What is her name?

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

HUFFMAN: Mrs. Virgil Boyd?


HUFFMAN: Where do they reside?

KASER: 4810 Rymon Road, Salem.

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


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


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


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


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

KASER: Hadn’t been.

HUFFMAN: Hadn’t been consummated, the divorce?


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

KASER: Ethel Oveross.

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

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

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


HUFFMAN: Would you mind explaining?

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

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

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

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

KASER: Casper.

HUFFMAN: Casper Oveross?


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

KASER: Mr. Kaser’s actions.

HUFFMAN: What was that?

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

KASER: Sunday, February 20th.

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

KASER: The day you were at my home?


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

HUFFMAN: Day before?


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

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

HUFFMAN: Your attorney instructed you to do this?

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

HUFFMAN: Is that in order to protect the estate?


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

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

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

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

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


HUFFMAN: Did you tell me that earlier?


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

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

HUFFMAN: And where would this certain place be?

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

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

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


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

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

KASER: I didn’t name anyone.

HUFFMAN: Was it one woman or many women?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HUFFMAN: Your – Was Clarence Huntley your first husband?


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

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

HUFFMAN: How long ago has that been?

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

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

KASER: In Scio, inside of Scio.

HUFFMAN: What are their names?

KASER: Haskal Huntley.

HUFFMAN: Haskal Huntley?


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

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

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


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

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

HUFFMAN: I understand that you inherit the property?

KASER: I inherit the debts.

HUFFMAN: The debts. Considerable debts on the property?


HUFFMAN: How well have you known Casper Oveross?

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

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

KASER: They have, yes.

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

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

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

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

HUFFMAN: Have you ever seen him with a rifle?


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


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

KASER: Say that again please.

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

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

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


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

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

HUFFMAN: He advised you to move?


HUFFMAN: Do you have any questions, Denver?

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

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


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


HUFFMAN: You never heard that story?


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


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

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

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

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

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

KASER: I heard him make no threats.

HUFFMAN: Did you hear of any threats made?

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

HUFFMAN: Who did you hear this gossip from?

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

HUFFMAN: Brothers?

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

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

KASER: Absolutely not.

HUFFMAN: Have you ever heard of any?


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


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

KASER: I’d say that, yes.

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

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

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


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

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

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

HUFFMAN: How long were you married to Ervin?

KASER: Almost fifteen years we were married.

HUFFMAN: Do you have any children by him?


HUFFMAN: Is there any reason for that?


HUFFMAN: Did that cause any family discord?


HUFFMAN: Do you mind stating what the reasons were?

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

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

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

HUFFMAN: That didn’t cause any family strive?

KASER: No, I think it rather pleased him.

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

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

HUFFMAN: Normal?


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


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


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

KASER: Yes. Exaggerated I guess.

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

HUFFMAN: Did Ervin Kaser leave a will?

KASER: Not to my knowledge.

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

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

HUFFMAN: You never heard of anything like that?

KASER: No I haven’t.

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

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

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

KASER: Do I have to answer that question?

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

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

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


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

RHOTEN: That’s right.

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


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

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

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

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

HUFFMAN: Who holds the mortgage on that property?

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

HUFFMAN: And where do they live?

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

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

KASER: $5,000.

HUFFMAN: $5,000?


HUFFMAN: Is that the only mortgage against the property?

KASER: To my knowledge.

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

KASER: Five I believe.

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


HUFFMAN: Did you ask for any?

KASER: I didn’t ask.

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

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

HUFFMAN: Do you object Mr. Rhoten?

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

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


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

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

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

YOUNG: For a matter of complete information?


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

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

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

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

KASER Oveross?

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


HUFFMAN: Or at any other time?


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


HUFFMAN: Did you kill your husband?


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


HUFFMAN: Do you have any questions, Denver?

YOUNG: No, not right now.

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

[signed] Wayne G. Huffman Sgt

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

March 2, 1955

Mr. Norris Ames
Greener Apartments
Cathedral City, California

Dear Sir:

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

Very truly yours,

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

Thursday, March 3, 1955

Sheriff’s Deputy Amos O. Shaw:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

State Police Private Lloyd T. Riegel:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sheriff Denver Young:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oregon State Police Sergeant Wayne G. Huffman:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SUMMARY: In our opinion,

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

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

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


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

Blogically yours,

Not Innocent: The Investigation (part 7)

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

Monday, February 28, 1955

Sheriff’s Deputy Amos O. Shaw:

8:30 AM Sheriff Office plan activity for the day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1:00 PM Contact Ronald Heater. No information.

1:10 PM Lunch Silverton

2:00 PM State Patrol Office

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5:00 PM Contact State Patrol office.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Concludes activities of 2-28-55

State Police Private Lloyd T. Riegel:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not Considered Sufficient

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

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

Effects Returned

Cap Oveross and daughter Colleen

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

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

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

Testimony Given

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

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

Reports Not In

Cap Oveross and attorney

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, March 1, 1955

Sheriff’s Deputy Amos O. Shaw:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Total Mileage 7.0 Time 11 min. 30 secs.

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

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

State Police Private Lloyd T. Riegel:

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

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

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


Signed statements have been taken from the following people.

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

Leads Checked.

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blogically yours,

Not Innocent: The Investigation (part 6)

The Jaeske Suicide

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

Sheriff Denver Young, Tuesday, February 22, 1955:

9:00 A.M. Received information from John Zabinski that an ex-Silverton woman by the name of Jaeske, had committed suicide and had been investigated by the City. She may have known Kaser. Instructed Deputy Sheriff Zabinski to check for any possible connection with Kaser case.

Sheriff Denver Young, Thursday, February 24, 1955:

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

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

RE: Lanora Jaeschke

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

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

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

RE: Mrs. Lanora Jaeschke, suicide

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

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

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

Re: Lanora Jaeschke suicide

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Additional Information Re: Mr. Jaeschke and Casper Oveross

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

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

Mrs. Lund requests that her namne be kept confidential.

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

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

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

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

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

 Salem City Police Reports pertaining to Jaeske suicide:

DATE: 2-19-55  TIME: 12-15 AM
ADDRESS: 1735 Market St., Salem

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

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

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


RE: Missing man

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

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

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

W. Esplin


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

Blogically yours,Everett

Not Innocent: The Investigation (part 5)

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


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


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


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


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

GILHAM: About 6:30, I think.

YOUNG: And where were you going?

GILHAM: To band practise in Silverton.

YOUNG: And did you go directly to band practise?

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

YOUNG: Who is your girlfriend, Dan?

GILHAM: Colene Oveross.

YOUNG: Colene Oveross?


YOUNG: And she lived between your house and Silverton?


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

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

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

GILHAM: Colene was home.

YOUNG: Just Colene and yourself?


YOUNG: And did anyone else arrive shortly after that?

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

YOUNG: Her mother and daughter came right afterward?


YOUNG: How long did they stay?

GILHAM: About fifteen minutes.

YOUNG: And did they both leave together?

GILHAM: I can’t remember for sure now.

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


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

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

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

GILHAM: CAP Oveross.

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

GILHAM: Nickname.

YOUNG: What is his real name?

GILHAM: Casper.

YOUNG: Just call him Cap?


YOUNG:How long was Cap at the house?

GILHAM: About thirtyfive minutes or so.

YOUNG: What did he discuss while he was there?

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

YOUNG: Does he make quite regular calls?


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


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


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

GILHAM: Cap, did you say?

YOUNG: Yes. What time did he–

GILHAM: About 8:30.

YOUNG: And what did you do? After that?

GILHAM: We stayed there.

YOUNG: You did not go to band practise?

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

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

GILHAM: I left at 10:30.

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

GILHAM: Not that I can remember.

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

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

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

GILHAM: Yea, it honked it’s horn.

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

GILHAM: I think it was a Ford.

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

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

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


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

GILHAM: Going towards Silverton?

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

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

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

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

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


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

GILHAM: About ten or fifteen minutes later.

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

GILHAM: I went to bed.

YOUNG: Immediately?


YOUNG: And did you go right to sleep?


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

GILHAM: Well, I–

YOUNG: Were you awakened?


YOUNG: By whom?

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

YOUNG: And what is their names?

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

YOUNG: What is their address?

GILHAM: Rt. 5, Box 417, Salem.

YOUNG: That’s a Salem route?


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

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

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

GILHAM: It seems like she was in the hall.

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

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

YOUNG: You dressed?


YOUNG: And what did you wear outside?

GILHAM: My pajamas.

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

GILHAM: Front door.

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

GILHAM: Walked down the steps.

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


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


YOUNG: And did you go to the driveway?

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

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

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

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

GILHAM: There standing beside the car.

YOUNG: And who was that person?


YOUNG: You mean Casper Oveross?


YOUNG: What did he do?

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

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

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

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

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

YOUNG: And what else did he say?

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

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

GILHAM: I suppose, I don’t know.

YOUNG: Was there anything else said at that time?

GILHAM: Not that I can remember right now.

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

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

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

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

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

GILHAM: When I went back into the house?



YOUNG: Did you speak to them later that night?


YOUNG: Now what time was that?

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

YOUNG: And did you answer the phone?


YOUNG: Who was it on the phone?

GILHAM: Colene.

YOUNG: What did she want?

GILHAM: She wanted me to come down.

YOUNG: Did she say why?

GILHAM: She said that something had happened.

YOUNG: She didn’t say what?


YOUNG: I see, and did you go down?


YOUNG: You went down to the Oveross residence?

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

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

GILHAM: I didn’t see her.

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

GILHAM: Since I’ve been going with Colene.

YOUNG: How long has that been approximately?

GILHAM: Just two years I think.

YOUNG: Have you hunted with Cap?


YOUNG: Do you have a rifle yourself?


YOUNG: What kind is it?

GILHAM: Marlin 30-30.

YOUNG: And when did you hunt with Cap?

GILHAM: Last fall.

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

GILHAM: Lever action.

YOUNG: Rifle?


YOUNG: Do you know the caliber, Danny?

GILHAM: It was 30-30 or 32.

YOUNG: Your not sure which?

GILHAM: I’m no sure.

YOUNG: And, do you know the make?

GILHAM: I think it was a Winchester.

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

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

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


YOUNG: Where did you see him?

GILHAM: First? First you mean?

YOUNG: First time after the shooting took place and –

GILHAM: Out at Colene’s house.

YOUNG: What time of day was that?

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

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


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

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

YOUNG: Where did you see him then?

GILHAM: Up at his brothers.

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

GILHAM: I think that’s it yes.

YOUNG: You call him Hank?


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

GILHAM: He hadn’t. I don’t think. No.

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

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

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

GILHAM: No just Colene and I went in.

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

GILHAM: [blank]

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


YOUNG: Was he awake?


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

GILHAM: I didn’t see him get up, no.

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

GILHAM: Not at first.

YOUNG: Did Colene talk to him?


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

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

YOUNG: Then you did later talk to him?

GILHAM: A little, yes.

YOUNG: What did he want to see you about.

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

YOUNG: Did you discuss at all the shooting?


YOUNG: And Ervin Kaser?


YOUNG: And did he mention it in any way?

GILHAM: Not that I can remember.

YOUNG: Later that afternoon what did you do?

GILHAM: What do you mean?

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

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

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


YOUNG: And did you talk to Mr. Emmons.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


YOUNG: Later?


YOUNG: When was that?

GILHAM: Sunday.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

YOUNG: Who is Ethel?

GILHAM: That is Colene’s mother.

YOUNG: And the former Mrs. Oveross?


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

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

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

GILHAM: Well, later on, when Colene called.

YOUNG: And what did you tell him?

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

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

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

YOUNG: How does Colene feel?

GILHAM: About the same.

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

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

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

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

YOUNG: You never heard anything about that?

GILHAM: No, I never have.

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


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

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

YOUNG: Had you and Colene discussed it?

GILHAM: Yes, some.

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

GILHAM: With Colene?

YOUNG: Colene.

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

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

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

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

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

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

GILHAM: In the afternoon.

YOUNG: And who was that attorney?

GILHAM: Bruce Williams.

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

GILHAM: He just talked to us.

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

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

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

GILHAM: A short one, yes.

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

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

YOUNG: Was he nervous?

GILHAM: No he seemed to be real quiet.

YOUNG: Calm and talked quietly?


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


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


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

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

YOUNG: You knew Ervin Kaser, did you not?

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GILHAM: What, will you repeat that again please?

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

GILHAM: Downtown.

YOUNG: Whereabouts?

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

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

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

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

GILHAM: No, I don’t.

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

GILHAM: No, I don’t.

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

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

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

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

YOUNG: Did he ask where she was?

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

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

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

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

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

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

GILHAM: I think he did, yes.

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

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

YOUNG: You weren’t up to his car?


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

GILHAM: Just headlights.

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

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

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

GILHAM: I didn’t pay any attention.

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

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

YOUNG: Between your –

GILHAM: That night?


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

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


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

GILHAM: Since then?



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

GILHAM: I never knew of it if he did.

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


YOUNG: Or near by?


YOUNG: You’ve never heard him mention that?

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

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


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


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

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

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


YOUNG: Did he get a deer?


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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

YOUNG: Can you tell me about that?

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

YOUNG: Who told you about this incident, Danny?

GILHAM: Colene did.

YOUNG: Colene?


YOUNG: Did Cap know about it?

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

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

GILHAM: No, I don’t believe so.

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

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

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

GILHAM: [blank]

MOGAN: And admitted by your own free will?


MOGAN: Because you wanted to make a statement?

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

GILHAM: [blank]

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


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

GILHAM: As straight as I can tell it.

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


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

GILHAM: [blank]

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


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

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

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


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


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

GILHAM: Well, what did I –

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

GILHAM: Straight as I could.

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

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

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


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

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


Blogically yours,

Not Innocent: The Investigation (part 4)

Casper (Cap) Oveross

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

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

Thursday, February 24, 1955

Sheriff’s Deputy R. L. Walker:

Subject: GUNS

REBS SPORTING GOODS 4090 Portland Road [Salem]

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

SQUARE DEAL 263 Chemeketa [Salem]

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

Sheriff’s Deputy Amos O. Shaw:

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

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

#1- Gun was tagged by Sheriff Young rifle initialed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3:00PM: Contact Chief Main, Silverton

4:30PM: In service

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

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

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

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

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

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

11:00PM: At State Police office.

State Police Private Lloyd T. Riegel:

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

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

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

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

Sheriff Denver Young:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, February 25, 1955

Sheriff’s Deputy Amos O. Shaw:

8:00AM: On duty type up report

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

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

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

12:00PM: Lunch at Cherry’s at Salem

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

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

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

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

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

State Police Private Lloyd T. Riegel:

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

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

Sheriff Denver Young:

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

 11:40 A.M. Sheriffs Office

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5:40 Contacted Jerry Hoyt to determine if Ervin Kaser might have been in Town House in early evening of 2/17/55.

Saturday, February 26, 1955

Sheriff’s Deputy Amos O. Shaw:

10:05 AM Served Subpoena, for Grand Jury, as Witness on Daniel James Gilham.

At this time writer asked Mr. Gilham if he would accompany writer into the Sheriff Office for an interview. Danny said he was helping innoculate some cattle and asked if it would be all right to come in about 1:00 PM or 1:30 PM. The Sheriff was contacted and advised that this was satisfactory.

10:10 AM Was advised by radio to keep an eye on Danny Gilham in the vicinity, and check on any one he may desire to contact.

10:30 AM Observed Danny GILHAM’S vehicle leave the RICHES farm where he was working, the vehicle turned south and drove directly to Danny’s home.

11:05 AM Observed Danny Gilham’s vehicle leave home and head towards Silverton.

11:15 AM Observed Danny Gilham’s vehicle in Silverton, at this time he had Colleen Oveross with him. Subject headed towards Sublimity again.

11:28 AM Stop Danny Gilham and his girl friend at the Evergreen School, subject stated he would take his girl friend home and come right on into town with us.

11:35 AM Pull up in back of Danny’s car in Oveross drive way, Colleen was observed jumping out of his car and running in the house, Danny was called over to our vehicle and said he would go right in with us, while he was talking to us Colleen was observed talking on the phone. Said he was going to tell Colleen he was leaving and went in the house and closed the door.

11:50 AM Advised the Sheriff of situation, and Sheriff ordered GILHAM picked up at the house and brought in. We were advised to go in the house and get him, that the Sheriff was ready to file a charge of Accessory After the Fact and was going to contact the District Attorney right now.

Subject was again contacted in the house and asked if he was willing to accompany us to the office. He stated I will be in at 1:30PM that was when you told me to be there. I informed him I was ordered by the Sheriff to bring him in now. Colleen Oveross stepped between us and stated that we couldn’t take him as her attorney had advised her we couldn’t take him unless we had papers to do so. I stated I didn’t have any papers but was taking him any way, as papers weren’t necessary. The Gilham boy again said I am willing to go with you. And again Colleen broke in and grabbed him and said my Attorney will be here in just a few minutes and you are not going to take him. I said ALL RIGHT THEN IF WE HAVE TO WE’LL PLACE HIM UNDER ARREST, the Gilham boy said no I’ll go along with you and stepped forward past the girl. I took him by the elbow and got between him and the girl and stepped out on the porch with him where I released his arm. Prior to getting in the car he started for his car and I told him we would take ours to leave his there. Prior to getting in the car the boy again expressed willingness to go along as soon as the other officer moved over in the seat. As he was getting in the seat of vehicle the Oveross girl yelled from the door way, “You don’t have to leave this property, Danny.” Danny willingly got in the car and a short distance from the house he was advised he was not under arrest and was coming along of his own free will. Gilham again stated his willingness to accompany us, and that he understood he wasn’t under arrest.


State Police Private Lloyd T. Riegel:

At 10:05 AM 26 February 1955 Deputy Shaw accompanied by the writer served a subpoenia on DANIEL JAMES GILHAM and at this time asked him if he would return to Salem with Deputy Shaw and the writer for further questioning and verification of the statement previously given. GILHAM stated that he was assisting Mr. Richie at that time in a blood test of some cattle and would be in Salem at 1:00 PM date for further questioning by the Sheriff and Sgt Huffman. Sheriff Young was contacted by radio and stated to let the GHILHAM boy continue his work but to get into Salem as soon as possible.

At 10:10 AM 26 February 1955, Deputy Shaw and the writer were advised by Sheriff Young to keep a watch on the GILHAM boy to see where he went before he actually came to Salem. This was carried out. DANIEL JAMES GILHAM left the Richie place at 10:30 am and proceeded to his own home. At 11:05 AM GILHAM left his place and proceeded towards Silverton. This information was given to Sheriff Young by radio to which instructions were given by Sheriff Young that if the GILHAM boy stopped and picked up Colene Oveross to stop him and request that he come to the Sheriffs Office at that time. DANIEL GILHAM went to the Ethel Oveross residence and stayed about three minutes and left alone. GILHAM proceeded into Silverton and picked up COLENE OVEROSS at the Nu Method Cleaners and returned south towards the Ethel Oveross residence. This information was given to Sheriff Young by radio, to which instructions were given to stop the GILHAM boy and request that he come to the Sheriffs Office at that time. GILHAM was stopped and it was explained that we would like him to accompany the writer and Deptuy Shaw to the Sheriffs office at that time. GILHAM stated that he would go with us but that he would have to proceed to Ethel Oveross residence and let his girl out as she couldn’t drive. GILHAM proceeded to the Oveross residence, followed by the writer and Deputy Shaw. At the Oveross residence and while standing in the yard GILHAM again agreed to accompany the officers to Salem, and that he would tell his girl, COLENE OVEROSS, that he was going. He then changed his mind and stated that he wanted to wait thirty minutes and bring the girl along with him. He walked away and into the house. Deputy Shaw contacted Sheriff Young as to how far he was to go in getting GILHAM to come along. To this Sheriff Young stated to go inside and get the GILHAM boy and bring him to the Sheriffs Office, and that he was goint to contact District Attorney Brown and file a complaint for Accessory after the fact. The writer and Deputy Shaw went to the house and knocked on the front door. COLENE OVEROSS answered the door and the writer asked to speak to DANIEL GILHAM. GILHAM came to the door and again the writer asked him to come with him to the Sheriffs office. GILHAM started to walk to the door and COLENE OVEROSS stepped between the writer and GILHAM and stated that he did not have to go along as her Attorney had advised her this, and at the same time demanded to see the papers on which we were taking GILHAM with. The writer stated that if necessary a warrant could be obtained and GILHAM could be held. COLENE OVEROSS again spoke up and stated that we were not going to take DANIEL GILHAM as her attorney had stated that we could not take him and that Mr. Williams would be at her place in just a few minutes to stop this act. GILHAM stated that he was willing to go along, and again COLENE OVEROSS spoke up and stated that you are not taking GILHAM. Deputy Shaw then stepped inside the door close to GILHAM and COLENE OVEROSS and stated to the effect, “that if we have to we will place him under arrest.” GILHAM then stepped between the girl, COLENE OVEROSS, and Deputy Shaw and stated that he would go along. COLENE OVEROSS then took ahold of GILHAMS arm and held him back. GILHAM and Deputy Shaw came outside and to the vehicle. At the vehicle GILHAM was told that he was not under arrest and that we wanted him to go along under his own free will. GILHAM then stated that he was willing to go along and that he didn’t want to be placed under arrest. He was again advised that he was not under arrest and he stated that he realized this, and that he was willing to accompany Deputy Shaw and the writer to Salem, Oregon.

DANIEL JAMES GILHAM was taken to the Salem patrol office where he was talked to by Sheriff Denver Young and Sgt. Huffman.

On 26 February 1955 the writer and Deputy Shaw served subpeonas [EK_note: to testify at the Grand Jury on Monday] on James W. and Mrs Gilham, Robert Barnes, Betty Hollin, Edith Kaser, Marvin [EK_note: Melvin] Kaser and Daniel James Gilham. Daniel James Gilham was asked by the above officers to accompany them to the State Police Office for further questioning. Gilham further stated that he would be at the office at 1:00 PM date. This was approved by Sheriff Young with further instructions that the officers should watch every move made by Gilham until he arrived at the State Police office. Gilham’s movements were observed and reported to Sheriff Young until he picked up Coleene Oveross. At this time Sheriff Young advised that Gilham be stopped and requested to come to the office immediately. While picking up Daniel James Gilham some difficulty was encountered, not with Gilham but with his girl friend Coleene Oveross, however this was settled and Gilham accompanied the officers to Salem where he was questioned by Sgt. Huffman and Sheriff Young.

Sheriff Denver Young:

12:30 noon, State Police headquarters.

Interview with Daniel J. Gilham, he accompanied officers Shaw & Reigel in for interview. Tape recording made of this interview by Lt. Farley Mogan of the State Police.

[EK_note: The interview with Danny Gilham was not in the County Sheriff’s file, but was in the State Police file.  This post is already too long, so I’ll post the text of the interview next time.]

He states that after he talked to Casper Oveross in his driveway, he met Colleen Oveross at the Harvey Kaser residence. Then they left there and drove to the Henry Anundson residence on Abiqua Creek. Stayed there until dawn. Gilham and Anundson went to Henry Oveross residence, then back to Anundson res. for breakfast. After breakfast he and Henry Anundson went over to the Ed. Schubert residence.

Also that 2/25/55 he went to Salem and talked to Bruce Williams then to the Payless Drug store where he waited for Colleen and Beverly Morrell and all three of them went to Corvallis to the game. Returned home about 1:00 AM 2/26/55.

3:00 P.M. Dropped Danny off at the Oveross house.

3:08 P.M. Served subpoena [EK_note: to testify at the Grand Jury on Monday] on Harvey Kaser.

February 27, 1955 2:18 P.M. Info. from Chief Norfleet that Casper Oveross may have been with the owner of a tavern from Scio.

3:15 P.M. With Huffman left for Scio.

4:10 P.M. In Scio.  Contacted J. J. Janota owner of the West Side Cafe. States that Casper worked for him before Christmas on some carpenter work and fireplace. Hasn’t seen him for over a month.

4:20 P.M. Contacted Mr. Carball McDaniel, bartender. Knows Casper only slightly. Has not seen him for about two months.

4:30 P.M. Contacted John W. Gear & Rockey’s Tavern in Scio, no information.

End of day.

Sheriff’s Deputy John T. Zabinski:

RE: Lanora Jaeschke

State hospital reports that Lanora Jaeschke was committed to the hospital by a court order on 11-16-44.

Released to her husband George Jaeschke on 12-12-45. They then lived in Silverton, Oregon.

The Statesman, Saturday, Feb 26, 1955
Slaying Case Set for Grand Jury Monday
Casper Oveross, Silverton carpenter charged with first degree murder, will go before a Marion County Grand Jury Monday, District Attorney Kenneth Brown announced Friday in a surprise legal move. Previously, the next step in the case was to have been a preliminary hearing next Wednesday.

The calling of the grand jury for 9:30 a.m. Monday was made over strenuous objections by Oveross’ attorney, Bruce Williams, Salem.  It brought on a tense legal skirmish before Marion County District Judge Edward O. Stadter Jr. late Friday afternoon. Williams called the move “an attempt to deprive my client of the right of a preliminary hearing in the hope of gaining a grand jury indictment on the charge.”

Denies Charge

Brown denied Williams’ charge and said that he was only speeding justice.  Oveross, 44, is in Marion County jail charged with the rifle slaying of his one-time neighbor, Ervin O. Kaser, Silverton hop farmer, on Feb. 17.

Brown said Friday the state is ready to present its case to the grand jury and that he expects to call 15 or 16 witnesses, perhaps more, to testify on Monday.

Maintains Innocence

The 49-year old Kaser was shot to death in his car just after arriving at his home near Silverton a week ago Thursday night.  Oveross, who lives near the Kaser farm, was arrested and charged Tuesday.  He was arraigned in district court on the murder charge Wednesday.  Oveross, who has steadfastly maintained his innocence, is being held without bail.

Sheriff Denver Young and deputies reportedly were in the Silverton area Friday night to serve subpoenas on persons slated to testify before the grand jury.


Blogically yours,


Not Innocent: Property and Family Update

I’ll take a short break from writing about the murder investigation to update the layout of property in the area, and give a little sketch of family ‘background’ and the history of the property transfers.  A lot of this won’t be of much interest to folks other than close family members, but some of it will help a great deal in understanding what’s said in the police reports, about people interviewed, locations searched, etc.

In earlier posts, I included a map of the Evergreen District, showing where different people lived at the time of the murder and how the farms were laid out.  I’ve dug up a little further information, some provided by family members, some from the Marion County Recorder’s office.  Here is an updated version of the map:

Updated Evergreen map

Farms in the Evergreen district at the time of the murder.

The changes from the earlier map are the back section of Ethel Oveross’s property that had been sold to Wayne Moore (denoted by the bright yellow area labeled “EO to WM,” and the addition of a 20-acre farm owned by Gerald Hoyt.

At one time, the James Finlay family owned most of the property shown above as belonging to Harvey & Edith Kaser, Ethel Oveross, Wayne Moore, A. E. “Ted” Finlay, and possibly more (I haven’t tracked down the full history of all those plots of land).  The James Finlay family lived in a house probably on the Wayne Moore property shown above, although I’m not sure.

The Knight family had been in the Marion County area for a long time, too (there are many land transactions involving the Knights going back at least into the 1880s), but as of 1929 there was only one plot of land in this vicinity owned by a Knight, and that was the 20-acre parcel at the bottom of the map labeled “Gerald Hoyt”.  That parcel belonged to Fred D. Knight.

James & Sarah Finlay had several children. I’m not sure how many, but at least one boy (the father of A. E. “Ted” Finlay) and at least two girls Ella and Edith.  This is NOT the Edith that married Harvey Kaser, so don’t get confused!  This Edith Finlay married a Philippi man, and that’s where Edith Kaser’s Philippi cousins that are mentioned in the police reports tie in.  Ella Jane Finlay married Fred Knight (see, it’s starting to come together).  On a 1929 plat map of the area, the piece on the map labeled “Gerald Hoyt” is shown as owned by “F. (Fred) D. Knight.”  The pieces labeled “Harvey & Edith Kaser,” “Ethel Oveross,” and “EO to WM” are shown as owned by “E. J. Knight” (Ella Jane Knight, Fred Knight’s wife, they were married in 1895).  On that same map, it appears that the pieces labeled “Wayne & Erma Moore” and “A. E. Ted Finlay” were owned by “Edith Philippi,” the sister of Ella Finlay Knight. The piece marked as “Wenger” appears to have been broken up into three long and very narrow pieces owned by Wenger, Lefevre, and E. A. Finlay, which were later re-assembled by Wenger.  So apparently there was some significant shuffling of property ownership between 1929 and 1955.  Regardless, much of that area was then owned by those two sisters, Edith Philippi and Ella Knight.

Ella and Fred Knight started their married life on a homestead near the Winter Falls (part of what is now Silver Falls State Park), then probably around 1900 built the old farm house on the property shown above as “Harvey & Edith Kaser.”  As of the mid-1940s, it had no indoor toilet, and the only “running water” was a hand pump in the kitchen that brought water up from a hand-dug well under the house.  They had four children, two older boys both of whom died in their 20s, and then much later twin girls: Edith and Ethel, born in 1914.  Edith married Harvey Kaser January 7, 1936.  Ethel was already married to Casper Oveross at that time, as they’re both listed as witnesses (as “Ethel Oveross”) on the wedding license for Harvey and Edith.  Both couples lived in various places for a few years.  Harvey & Edith had a 20-acre farm that Harvey’s (and Ervin’s) father Fred D. Kaser had purchased for him in January 1934.  It was across the road and further west from the piece labeled as “Ervin Kaser farm” in the map above.

Ervin Kaser and Mary Huntley were married October 21, 1939 and lived in an old house on the “Ervin Kaser farm” on Evergreen Road.  In August 1944 they bought 5 acres on the Cascade Highway (labeled “Ervin & Mary Kaser” in the above map), and Ervin built a new house there.

My father Calvin (Harvey’s youngest brother) said that Harvey and Edith lived in Harvey’s place on Evergreen Road after they were married, and did some remodeling on the old farm house on that land soon after their marriage.  They had Ted Finlay (yes, A. E. “Ted” Finlay, Edith’s first cousin) come out and wire the house, and when they turned the lights on, Harvey said, “Hey, those lights are bright!” and then all the bulbs started popping. Turned out Ted had wired the lights to 220 volts rather than 110.  The timing that follows is uncertain.  At some point in the 1940s, they sold that place to Alfred and Marie Von Flue, who were renting the old Fred & Bertha Kaser (Harvey’s grandparents’) house on Hibbard Road, and the two couples just “swapped houses,” with Harvey and Edith moving their family into Fred & Bertha’s old house.  They lived there (renting) for a while, somewhere between 4 and 18 months.   In August 1946, Fred & Ella Knight ‘sold’ (for $10) a 2.63 acre piece to Ethel and Casper Oveross.  It was right on the Cascade Highway, in the northwestern corner of the piece labeled “Ethel Oveross” above, and at some point, either before or after this sale, Ethel and Casper moved into an old house on that parcel.  Edith’s and Ethel’s mother, Ella Knight, died around 1947, and Harvey and Edith moved in with her father Fred Knight in the old farm house on what’s labeled as “Harvey & Edith Kaser” in the map above.

Harvey’s and Calvin’s brother Melvin Kaser came back from World War II (he fought in Europe), and he and his wife Cloreta bought their property (shown above) in November 1946.  Melvin took over running their father Fred Kaser’s hop yard because Fred was physically unable to do it.  In March 1948 my parents, Calvin & Wilma Kaser moved to Tillamook (on the Oregon coast) where they’d bought a dairy farm.  Calvin’s older brother Orval had done the same thing not too long before.

After Harvey and Edith moved in with her father, Harvey put in a septic tank, built a water holding tank, ran a water line from a spring up by the barn down to the holding tank, closed in the wood shed on the back of the house and put in a toilet, so the house then had running water and an indoor toilet.  They lived there with their three boys (at that time) Fred, Ray and Jeff for a year or longer.  They decided to build a new house right in front of the old house, but Harvey said something like, “I’m not going to live in that old house very long, and I’m not building a new house without owning the property!” In December 1948, the 28 acre parcel labeled “Harvey & Edith Kaser” was deeded to Harvey and Edith, and an additional 24.84 acres surrounding Casper and Ethel Oveross’ 2.63 acre home was deeded to Casper and Ethel, bringing their total property to 27.47 acres (the two pieces shown above as “Ethel Oveross” and “EO to WM”).  Each couple filed a “quit claim” on each others’ property to relinquish any rights to it.  At the same time (December 1948), the 20-acre piece (labeled “Gerald Hoyt” above) south of Finlay Road was also transferred to Ethel and Casper Oveross (for $1).

Harvey and Edith started building a new house immediately in front of the old farm house in the spring/summer of 1949.  Their son Ray remembers walking out of the front of the old house, down a couple of steps, across a plank and into the back door of the new house, so they were very close together.  Edith’s father Fred Knight died about a week before they moved into the new house, just before Thanksgiving 1949.  For a few years, the two families lived next door to each other, and were very close with constant traffic between the two houses.  Casper Oveross, who was a carpenter, started building a new house on their property, too, probably in 1950.  Miles Ottoway, who had built the new house for Harvey and Edith, came back in the spring or summer of 1950 and tore the old farm house down just to salvage the lumber.  The kids of the two families, Colleen and Karen Oveross and Fred, Ray, and Jeff Kaser, ran back and forth, playing together and socializing.  Colleen and Fred were about the same age, both born around 1936, Ray was a couple of years younger, Karen was born around 1942, and Jeff in 1945.

My sister was born in Tillamook in 1950, then my parents, Calvin & Wilma Kaser, moved the family back to Silverton after the dairy went belly-up in early 1952.  I was born in Silverton later that year.

Life went on, but by 1954, Casper’s and Ethel’s marriage was falling apart.  Casper filed for divorce, claiming that Ethel was running around with other men, and one in particular.  Evidence and testimony shows that Ethel was runing around with Ervin Kaser before the divorce, but the marriage was probably “fatally wounded” before then.  Several people that I’ve talked to, that were around then, have said that Cap had a drinking problem (which would seem evident by the amount of time he spent in local taverns), and that Ethel had to work to provide enough money for herself and the kids.  Most of that is hearsay, though, and the only thing we know for sure is that Ethel and Ervin were seeing each other before the divorce was final, certainly by the spring of 1954.

Cap filed for divorce from Ethel August 20, 1954, and moved out of the house the next day.

Edith Kaser had given birth to her’s and Harvey’s fourth son earlier in August 1954, and he was to be the last of us “Kaser first cousins.”  He and I spent many Sunday afternoons together building forts in the hayloft of their barn (that had been built by his grandfather Fred Knight).  I’d go home with my nostrils almost black from all the dust I had inhaled.

Ervin’s and Harvey’s father (my grandfather, Fred D. Kaser) died in August 1953.  Their brother Melvin had given up on running the hop yard on his mother Sarah’s farm.  When the crops were harvested that summer, Ervin took them down to the farmer’s co-op and deposited them in his account, rather than their mother Sarah’s. Harvey found out about it, and the two of them got into an argument and had a falling-out over it, but the money got moved back into their mother’s account.

At the end of June 1954 (two months before the Oveross divorce), Ethel and Cap sold the back end of their ‘L’-shaped property to Wayne Moore, leaving just 8 acres on the front for Ethel Oveross.  The sale price in the deed was $10, but it was probably sold on contract before that date for a much larger sum of money.

On September 30, 1954, for $10, Ethel sold all rights in the 20-acre farm south of Finlay Road to Casper, undoubtedly part of the divorce settlement.  On October 5, 1954, for $10 Casper Oveross sold all rights to the 8-acre home place to Ethel Oveross.

On November 15, 1954, for $2,000 Casper sold the 20-acre farm south of Finlay Road to Gerald W. (Jerry) and Lillian F. Hoyt.  Jerry Hoyt was a bartender at the Town House tavern in Silverton, and also ran a small grocery store on the south side of East Main Street where now there’s a park.  He testified that Casper came into the Town House at about 12:45 A.M. the night of the murder, left about 1:20 A.M., and had not been at the tavern during the time of the shooting.

Ervin was shot the night of February 17, 1955.

In October 1955, Ethel bought a place in Stayton and moved there.


Next: back to the investigation.

Blogically yours,


Not Innocent: The Investigation (part 3)

Casper Oveross was arraigned Wednesday morning.  The police often note in their reports that they received signed statements from various witnesses. Occasionally one of the officers will copy the statement into their report, but otherwise the statements were not in the police files.  My guess is that the statements were handed over to the District Attorney, and were in the D.A.’s case file, which I’ve not found, and it may no longer exist.  But I don’t know.

Wednesday, February 23, 1955

Sheriff’s Deputy Amos O. Shaw:

10:30AM: On duty.

10:45AM: Conference in Sheriff Office regarding contacts for the day.

11:20AM: Contact Elmer Floyd McMullen 41 yrs., regarding his having played shuffle board and drinking at Town House in Silverton.

12:10PM: Lunch at the Court House

12:45PM: Pick up tools at State Highway Maintanance for search for slugs at Oveross

1:15PM: Talk with Mrs. E. Oveross and gain permission to search area for slugs from guns found in area. Search area in and around house after permission granted by Mrs. Oveross.

3:35PM: Leave Oveross home

3:50PM: Contact Barnes residence, and make an appointment for tomorrow night at 8:00PM.

4:05PM: Contact Edith Kaser, wife of Harvey and receive signed statement.

5:15PM: Contact Ekman Funeral Parlor to pick up hat of Ervin Kaser.

5:30PM: Pick up Casper Oveross vehicle and return it to storage in Salem.

6:10PM: Put 1950 Ford, 1A118, at 123 So. 23rd. And lock garage.

6:45PM: Office and off duty to type up reports.

State Police Private Lloyd T. Riegel:

On 23 February 1955, Deputy Shaw and the writer were instructed by Sheriff Young and Sergeant Huffman to proceed to the Oveross residence and attempt to located bullets fired from the Casper Oveross gun while target practicing at the rear of the Oveross place. Tools were obtained from the State Highway offices and a thorough check was made in effort to determine from what position the shots could have been fired and into what area the shots at the targets would have been placed. This was very hard to determine as there appeared to be no definite spot for the shooting and no definite place for the placing of the targets. Several boards were found scattered throughout the field in which there is evidence that shots had been fired into the boards and on through. There were no actual bullets found and it is very doubtful if bullets could be found in this area due to the conditions.

At this time Deputy Shaw and the writer were contacted by Sheriff Young and Sergeant Huffman. The writer assisted Sergeant Huffman in a search of the Ethel Oveross residence. In the kitchen, behind the kitchen door, there were two definite marks on the wall which indicated that two guns had been leaned against the wall for some period of time. Ehtel Oveross stated that this was the spot where Casper Oveross had always placed his guns. With a tape measure and allowing for a normal lean of a gun, one mark measured thirty-eight and a quarter inches, a second was measured forty-nine and a half inches. It was quite definite on the walls where the end of the barrel and sight had marked the painted wall. Ethel Oveross stated that she did not know when Casper had taken the guns from the house, but that they had set there for quite some time before their divorce. A thorough search was made of the Oveross residence without any evidence of a gun being present.

Deputy Shaw and the writer then contacted Edith Kaser, the wife of Harvey Kaser. Edith Kaser stated that on the evening of 17 February 1955 at approximately 7:30 P.M. she had left home for Silverton, Oregon, to attend a Knights of Pythias lodge meeting. She further stated that she had left the lodge at approximately 10:55 P.M., 17 February 1955 and proceeded to her home on the Stayton-Silverton area. She stated as she approached the Ervin Kaser place she had noticed Ervin Kaser’s car setting in the driveway just south of the house and that the headlights and the dome light of the vehicle were on. She further stated that as she remembered there was no light inside the house and that she had wondered why the vehicle was setting with the lights on. She stated that it was possible, and that she had thought, that maybe Mr. Kaser had decided to leave and had forgotten something and had turned around to go back into the house and had left the vehicle setting with the lights on. She further stated that it was her impression that the vehicle was running, however, she could not definitely state that as she could see no exhaust smoke or could hear the engine as she passed. She further stated that about the middle of September 1954 that Oveross had come to their house one evning at approximately 11:00 P.M. and he had talked with her husband for some time then he got quite loud. She stated at that time she had got up and came to the front door with her husband and she heard Oveross state, “I’ll kill him, I’ll kill him, I don’t care if he is your brother.” She stated that she had threatened to call the State Police or the Sheriff and with this Casper Oveross had left. She further stated that evening Casper had been drinking and appeared to be somewhat quarrelsome.

The writer then contacted the Ekman Funeral Home in Silverton and picked up the hat worn by Ervin Kaser on the evening of the shooting. This request was made by Doctor Harris of the Crime Lab. The Ervin Kaser hat was sent to the crime lab at the request of Doctor Harris for further study at the laboratory.

The Casper Oveross vehicle, a 1950 Ford, Oregon 1A-118 was picked up by the writer, brought to Salem and stored at 123 South 23rd Street and locked up. The garage is in the possession of Sheriff Denvery Young. Denver Young presently holds the keys to the garage and to the vehicle.

Sheriff Denver Young:

10:30 A.M. Made check list with Sgt. Huffman. Ordered Oveross car brought in and parked at 195 S. 23rd St.

Removed Hunting license #297104 from Oveross property and placed in envelope.

1:15 Pick up Huffman

2:45 P.M Contacted Ethel Oveross at home, obtained permission to look over house. Measured marks in the house where she stated that Cap’s guns usually stood. One mark 38 1/4” from floor and one 49 1/2”.

3:40 P.M. Contact Jerry Hoyt bartender at Town House. Res at 119 Fiske St. Silverton. He has known Casper Oveross about 25 years. Recently purchased 20 acres from him. Thursday evening was not a busy night. He remembers when Rodney Oster and his wife came in about 10:30 and left about 12:30 midnight.

States that about 12:45 A.M. Feb 18, 1955 Casper Oveross came into the Town House and stayed until about 1:20 A.M. Then left. He noticed the time because the Silverton officers had been in earlier looking for Casper and had talked to him about Casper and Ervin Kaser. States that Casper drank one 7-up hiball and then went back to the restaurant counter and had a cup of coffee. Jerry talked to the Osters about the shooting just before they left the tavern.

5:00 P.M. Contacted Rodney Oster at Macks Place and took statement.

State Police Sergeant Wayne G. Huffman:

February 23, 1955, 4:58 P.M. Sheriff Denver Young and writer contacted Rodney R. Oster, 115 N. James Street, Silverton, bartender in Shorty’s Tavern, Silverton. He stated that he has known Casper Oveross all his life. On Thursday night, February 17, 1955, his wife, Margaret Oster, was bowling. He stated that he went to Mt. Angel and watched TV program, Dragnet, on TV at the Mt. Angel Hotel lobby and bar. He stated just a few minutes before the program was to end at 9:30 he left and drove to Silverton. He was rather in a hurry as he thought he would be late so he drove rather fast. He stated that he thought he arrived at Shorty’s Tavern around 9:35 P.M. He stated that on arrival at Shorty’s Tavern he saw Casper Oveross at the bar. Casper was not drinking and he talked with him for about ten or fifteen minutes. He stated Casper’s conversation was mostly about his family troubles and had made some statements “My wife is supposed to be at a lodge, but I suppose they are together.” He stated that he knew what Casper meant, that he meant Ervin Kaser but he did not mention his name. He also stated that Casper said, “I don’t think I will do anything about it as it isn’t worth it.” Oster stated that Casper had mentioned having a friend in the pen who is doing 99 years for killing his wife and boyfriend and that he knew when he was talking that he was thinking the same thing. He stated that Casper had talked to him before about his family troubles, he also used to talk to him about his financial affairs. He stated that he was at Shorty’s when his wife was through bowling and she came to the door and motioned to him and he left and when he left Casper was still there. He stated that he drove to the Town-House Tavern, he thought he got there about 10:30 P.M. and he and his wife stayed there for the next two hours. He thought possibly that they may have left there between 12:30 and 1:00 A.M. On February 18, 1955. He stated while they were there, he and his wife had some drinks and they played the bowling machine and Casper Oveross did not come into the bar while they were in there. Also he never saw him again that night. He stated that he was still there when the city police came in and motioned to Gerald Hoyt to come over to where they were standing at the front doorway of the bar room. He stated that Jerry told him the police had told him that Ervin Kaser had been shot. We both mentioned that we wondered where Cap Oveross was when we heard this. Oster stated after they left Town-House Tavern and went home they did not know exactly what time they arrived home.

Bud” at Marion County Sheriff’s Office: (apparently contacted Sears and Montgomery Wards for list of guns recently sold)

Sears Roebuck 30-30 rifles at $69.00 1946 to 1955, Silverton Area

Gus Herr Rt. 3 30-30 Winchester G-9412C

J. Beskeny Star Rt. 30-30 Winchester D-23762

N. S. Johansen 30-30 Winchester 1404372

Lester Fowler 30-30 Marlin E-37359

W. Shackelford 807 Bartlet 30-30 Winchester 1869114

Eldon Alt Rt. 3, Box 139 30-30 Winchester 1807469

Percy Dunn Rt. 2 30-30 Winchester 1876444

Vernon Mattox 936 S. Water 30-30 Winchester 2051738

Montgomery Wards.

Fred Allunbaugh 316 N. Church 30-30 Winchester No Number

Thomas Brown 30-30 Marlin G-7928

R. A. Sims 1528 Salem Rd. 30-30 Marlin H-13585

Sears Roebuck have charge account with Kasper Oveross, over a number of years, no recent purchase of gun on record. But they only have 1952 forward on books, are writing letter to main office, Seattle Washington, as he has done a lot of catalogue buying and could purchase gun through catalogue and they would not have record in main office, Salem, Ore. They will call this office if they receive any word from Main Office.

Oregon Statesman, Thursday, February 24, 1955
Oveross Hearing Ordered

Oveross being arraigned

Marion County District Court in Salem was a busy place Wednesday morning as Caspar Oveross, 44, of Silverton, was arraigned on a charge of first degree murder. The camera peeks into the courtroom over the shoulders of crowd and officers and shows District Judge Edward O. Stadter Jr. in background conducting arraignment. Facing him at attorneys’ table (with backs to the door) are Oveross (at left) and George Jones of Salem, who with Attorney Bruce Williams is defending Oveross. (Statesman photo)

Casper A. Oveross, arraigned Wednesday on a charge of slaying his ex-neighbor, Ervin Kaser, was granted a March 2 preliminary hearing in Marion County District Court.

Calm after his arrest and at his morning arraignment, Oveross later displayed the same unruffled composure in his Marion County jail cell where he is being held without bail.

Oveross, 44, was arrested late Tuesday in Silverton.  He is being held on a criminal information charging first-degree murder.

Kaser, 49, was killed Thursday night at his Evergreen district home near Silverton.  Four rifle bullets were fired by an assailant who sped away in an auto.

Answers Questions Calmly

Clad in blue jeans and a red-black plaid shirt, Oveross calmly answered questions put to him Wednesday morning by District Judge Edward O. Stadter Jr.  He appeared with Salem attorneys Bruce Williams and George Jones.

In Marion County probate court Wednesday, Kaser’s widow, Mary Louisa Kaser, was appointed adminstratrix of Kaser’s estate. Probate valuation was $10,000 in real property and $1,000 in personal property.

In Oveross’ native Silverton, several views of his alleged part in the slaying seem to have emerged Wednesday. Some adopt the attitude that sheriff’s office, will have to prove his case before they’ll believe it.

Oveross emerges from courtroom.

Oveross is emerging from the courtroom into circle of reporters, photographers and onlookers. Man facing camera at extreme right is Marion County Sheriff Denver Young. Photographer at left is Thomas G. Wright Jr. of The Statesman.

Rapitidy of Fire Cited

Others Wednesday expressed the view that, if Oveross fired the fatal shots, he did it to scare Kaser.  They cite the rapidity of the final three of four shots as proof that the rifleman had no intent to hit anyone.

Only sign of emotion shown during the brief court proceedings was at the end.  As Oveross left the courtroom, he recieved a warm hug and kiss from his sister, Mrs. Edward Schubert of Silverton Route 2.

Lasts Only Few Minutes

After juggling a few dates the hearing was set for next Wednesday at 10 a.m. in district court.  The entire proceedings required only several minutes.  The small spectators’ section of the courtroom was crowded with Oveross’ relatives, law officers, reporters and the public.

Casper Oveross emerges from court

Casper (Cap) Oveross, 43, calls cheerful greeting to friends as he leaves District Judge Edward A. Stadter’s court room Wednesday where he was arraigned on a first degree murder charge for the slaying of Ervin O. Kaser, 49-year-old Silverton farmer. Oveross is a former neighbor of the victim. Behind Oveross at right side of photo is Sheriff Denver Young. Unidentified woman is in left background. Oveross was remanded to jail without bail pending his preliminary hearing at 10 a.m., March 2. (Capital Journal photo)

Attorney Williams appeared satisfied with the early date set for the preliminary hearing. He had earlier declared there is no evidence against Oveross.

Meanwhile, the county sheriff’s office and state police continued their investigation. Police said three rifles “which Oveross has access to” were sent to the state police crime laboratory for checking and that bullets found at the murder scene have been compared with bullets taken from a target range on Oveross’ Abiqua farm.

Work Delayed

Sheriff Denver Young said much of his laboratory work — notably on the victim’s and Oveross’ impounded cars and on the guns — has been delayed because the crime laboratory experts have been called to testify at Burns in the Clinton Anderson murder trial.

At next week’s preliminary hearing the state will be required to present sufficient evidence linking Oveross to the crime.  The judge will either bind Oveross over to the grand jury for possible indictment or dismiss the case.

Oregon Statesman, Thursday, February 24, 1955
Ervin Kaser, Mrs. Oveross Accused in Divorce Actions

In seeking the conviction of Casper A. Oveross as slayer of his former Silverton neighbor Ervin O. Kaser, Marion County authorities are apparently taking into account an accusation by Oveross that Kaser was responsible for breaking up his marriage.

County circuit court records of the Casper Oveross’ divorce complaint and of a divorce action filed by Mrs. Kaser both refer to their spouses as associating with other persons of the opposite sex.

On Aug. 6 Mary Kaser, wife of the Silverton hop farmer Oveross is accused of ambushing, filed suit for divorce.  She charged, among other allegations, that “The defendant does associate with and keep company with another woman or other women from time to time.”  She does not list names.

Scandal Claimed

On Aug. 20 Casper Oveross, Silverton carpenter, suing his wife Ethel for divorce, alleged “That for the period of several years, the defendant has associated herself with other men, and particularly one other man to such an extent that such association has become public scandal and gossip in the community in which the plaintiff and defendant live.”  Neither does he list names.

Forty-nine year-old Kaser’s death last Thursday leaves the Kaser divorce mute. Trial had been set for March 17.

Granted Divorce

The accused Oveross on Oct. 8 was granted his divorce, a 20-acre farm and the newer of the two family cars.  Mrs. Oveross won the family homestead of eight acres, on which sets the house they lived in and an unfinished dwelling.  Under terms of the divorce decree, Oveross and his ex-wife are prohibited from marrying within the next six months.

The defendants of both divorce actions — the deceased Kaser and Oveross’ former wife — entered general denials of the allegations listed in the two complaints.

Casper Oveross did not appear personally for the final divorce hearing before Circuit Judge Joseph B. Felton, but was represented by Attorney Thomas B. Bagriel.  Mrs. Oveross appeared in the company of her attorney, Ervin W. Potter.

Married in 1935

The Oveross couple were married Dec. 5, 1935 in Vancouver, Wash., and lived during their marriage in Silverton’s Evergreen district, about a half mile east of the Kaser residence.

[EK_note: it was very common at that time for couples to drive to Vancouver, Washington, about an hour’s drive north, just across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon, because there was no waiting period in Washington, you could get married the same day.]

Ervin and Mary Kaser were married Oct. 21, 1939 in Salem.

[Recounting of the murder deleted]

Mrs. Oveross gained custody of the couple’s two daughters in the divorce.  She and an older daughter [EK_note: Colleen] were in the courtroom at Oveross’ arraignment Wednesday.

A life-long resident of the Silverton community Oveross is generally well-liked by his townsmen and neighbors.  He and his family had lived for 20 years in the Evergreen community about a quarter-mile from the killing.

Blogically yours,

Not Innocent: The Investigation (part 2)

The next day of the investigation, Tuesday, February 22, culminates in the arrest of Casper Oveross on the charge of First Degree Murder.  Here follows the day’s police reports, and a Wednesday morning newspaper article about the arrest.

Tuesday, February 22, 1955

Sheriff’s Deputy Amos O. Shaw:

8:00AM: On duty

8:45AM: At State Police office for Officer Riegel

9:05AM: Leave State police for Silverton

9:35AM: Obtained statement from Waldo Rue, see statement signed.

10:05AM: Statement signed, received from Mr. Riches.

11:40AM: Contact by District Attorney K. Brown, and Merle Grace Chief from Mnt. Angel.

12:05PM: Contact Chief of Police Buck Main Silverton.

12:35PM: Contact Chick Carter at home. Information received that he was talking to a service station attendant in Salem, and he may have information.

1:10PM: Contact Shorty’s Tavern, Shorty says that Casper was in Tavern at about 3:00 until about 6:00PM 2-17-55, and went to Town House and got a sandwich for Shorty. After bringing the supper, he said he was going to go home to eat. Returned about 7:00PM and Casper and Shorty played shuffle board until about 9:00PM or so. Possible witness Darlene Carter works Steelhammer Drug store, also Jimmy McEwen, works up Abequa in mill. Doesn’t think that Casper left until about 10:00PM or so.

1:25PM: Contact Darlene Carter, went to Shorty’s Tavern about 10:50PM 2-17-55 and never saw Casper Oveross at any time.

1:50PM: Contact S&M Trucking Company reg. Ray Ruscher, played shuffleboard, not at office.

2:10PM: Contact Mrs. Lois Ruscher at Mount Angel, on night of 17th. Of Feb. Lois was playing shuffleboard with husband, and the Carter girl and her friend. Fir.?. got done bowling around 10:00 of 10:15PM and went over to Shorty’s Tavern and played shuffleboard. Rodney Oster was at the Tavern and left almost immediately. Ray Ruscher went over to the tavern around 8:30PM. People in at Shorty’s Tavern when Mrs. Rusher got there as follows, 1-Gene Moore (married) Dolores Robbins, Charley Ertelt (Mount Angel farmer). Harold Flecht (has linoleum store in Woodburn.)

2:30PM: Contact Charley Ertelt, Mount Angel, only in Shorty Tavern about one half hour uncertain as to time. Doesn’t know Casper Oveross.

3:00PM: Contact Lt. Mogan State Police in Silverton.

3:30PM: Contact Sheriff Young and Sargeant Huffman, ordered to collect bullets from Oveross farm, and watch for Danny Gilham.

4:30PM: Requested to make time run from Ervin Kaser residence to Gilham residence. Mileage on speedometer 18938.0 Time of departure 4:40.0PM Time of Arrival at the Gilham home, 4:45 and 45 seconds. (Lost approximately 12 seconds due to traffic.) Mileage at Gilham residence 18943.3 TOTAL MILEAGE 5.3

Second speed check, at Gilham residence Speedometer 18943.3 Time of departure 4:51 and no seconds. Speedometer at Ervin Kaser residence 18948.6 Time of arrival 4:57 no seconds. Second speed check was with speedometer at approximately 60 miles per hour.

8:05PM: Place Casper Oveross under arrest, charge Murder on authority of Warrant, Casper was over at neighbors house, 1st. House north of Henry Oveross home which is 514 S Water. Present was Henry Oveross and others. Casper Arnold Oveross.

8:40PM: At state Police Patrol office with Oveross. He states he was at nieces home, Bob Moon’s residence when picked up, house number 512 S Water.

Description: Casper Arnold Oveross, 514 So. Water St. Silverton Oregon. Arrested 512 So. Water St. 44 yrs., 5’10”, 180 pounds, Brown hair, Blue eyes. Carpenter by trade. Born in Silverton 1911, Carpenter by trade. Complainant on warrant Denver Young Sheriff, charged with 1st. Degree Murder. District Court Warrant signed E Stadter. Dated 2-22-55. (Officer Riegel assisting.)

10:00PM: Take prisoner Casper Oveross into County Jail and book in.

10:50PM: Silverton. Attempt to gain permission to search the Henry Oveross home for rifle used in commission of felony.

11:15PM: Stand by while Officer Riegel talks to Mr. & Mrs. Henry Oveross

12:20AM: Contact Henry Oveross regarding activity and vehicle.

1:05AM: Impounded 1950 Ford Coach, Oregon 1A118 Property of Casper Oveross, vehicle was towed from 514 S Water, Silverton, to Moll’s Plymouth and Chrysler Garage North Water St. Silverton. Towing done by Mr. Moll.

1:20AM: Return to Salem.

State Police Private Lloyd T. Riegel:

On the morning of 22 February 1955 Deputy Shaw and the writer contacted Waldo Rue. Mr. Rue stated that he had attended a grange meeting in Silverton on the evening of 17 February 1955 and that he had left the grange meeting at approximately 10:45 P.M., and that he had driven staright home. Stated that he arrived at home at approximately 10:53 P.M. As he drove by the Ervin Kaser residence he did not notice any vehicle in the driveway or vehicles parked along the road between Silverton and the Ervin Kaser residence or between the Ervin Kaser residence and his residence, which is approximately two miles south on the Silverton-Sublimity highway.

The officers then contacted Robert Riches who had also attended the same grange meeting in Silverton. Mr. Riches stated that he had left Silverton between 11 and 11:05 P.M. 17 February 1955. He stated that it is possible that he could have met cars along the Silverton-Sublimity highway. At the Ervin Kaser residence he stated that he saw a vehicle parked in the driveway and the thing that he noticed most about this vehicle was that the headlights were on and the dome light was on. He further noticed that there were no lights in the house and there were no other vehicles parked near the Ervin Kaser residence. Mr. Riches stated that his residence is approximately three miles south and a little east of the Ervin Kaser residence.

Deputy Shaw and the writer then returned to Silverton and made a re-check at Shorty’s Tavern, relative to the activity of Casper Oveross on the evning of 17 February 1955. Shorty stated that Casper Oveross came to the tavern at approximately 3:00 P.M. in the afternoon and that about 6:30 P.M. that he had sent Casper Oveross to the Town House in Silverton, Oregon, to purchase a sandwich and Casper had returned to the tavern at approximately 7:00 P.M. Shorty further stated that at that time he talked Casper Oveross into playing three games of shuffleboard. While playing the three games of shuffleboard Shorty stated that he became quite concerned about his beer business and that he was sure that bowling tournament was to be held that evening in the adjoining building and that he went to the door several times and looked as to why no customers were coming in his place and then he remembered that this was the evening for the women bowling tournament and that there would probably be no men or very few in his tavern. Shorty further stated that a Jimmy McQuen and a girl known only as the Carter girl had come into his place and had played shuffleboard with Casper Oveross. Shorty stated that to the best of his knowledge Casper Oveross had not left his tavern until approximately 10:00 P.M. and that while at the tavern he had talked with a Rodney Oster and his wife and that he thought possibly Rodney Oster and his wife and Casper had also played shuffleboard. Shorty also stated that he was quite sure that Casper had not left the tavern between 7 and 10:00 P.M. He further stated that a Chareles Ertitle of Silverton and a Ray Ruscher had also been in the tavern at the same time Casper Oveross was there and that they had also played shuffleboard with Casper Oveross.

Charles Ertitle was contacted in Mt. Angel and he stated that he had been in the tavern, definite time unknown, and he had stayed there only a few minutes and left. Further he stated that he did not know Casper Oveross and that he could have been in the tavern and he would have not known.

Jimmy McQuen and the Carter girl, who is a clerk at the Steelhammer Drug Store, were also contacted and they stated they had come in the tavern after 10:00 P.M. and that they had not seen Casper Oveross, however, they did know him and were quite sure that if he had been in the tavern they would have noticed him.

Ray Ruscher was also contacted and he stated that he had stayed at the bowling alley, watching his wife bowl, until approximately 8:30 P.M. and that he had gone in to Shorty’s tavern and had a few beers. Stated that he was quite sure that Casper was in the tavern when he arrived at 8:30, but he did not know how long he had been there previous to that. Stated that he had talked to Casper only a minute and that he was not sure as to whether Casper had played shuffleboard or not, as he had not played shuffleboard with him.

At this time the writer and Deputy Sheriff Shaw were contacted by Sergeant Huffman and Sheriff Denver Young and Lieutenant Mogan. Deputy Shaw and the writer were sent to the vicinity of the Oveross residence on the Silverton-Sublimity Road and were advised to watch for Danny Gilham, and if he came to the Oveross residence to detain him and advise Sheriff Young and Sergeant Huffman. It was also requested by Sheriff Young that the writer and Deputy Shaw make a time run between the Ervin Kaser residence and the Danny Gilham residence. Two time runs were made. The time to drive between the Ervin Kaser residence and the Danny Gilham residence was five minutes and forty-five seconds, the mileage was five and three tenths miles. The second time run was made holding the speedometer as near as possible to sixty miles per hour. On this time run it took exactly six minutes, the mileage again checked at five and three tenths miles.

At 8:05 P.M. this date Deputy Shaw and the writer were advised that Denver Young presently held a warrant charging Murder in the First Degree for Casper Oveross and that Deputy Shaw and the writer were to pick Casper Oveross up, and proceed to the Salem patrol office and contact Sheriff Young and Sergeant Huffman. This was done at 8:05. Casper Oveross was picked up at 512 South Water Street, Silverton, Oregon, at the residence of his cousin and Mr. Noon.

At 10:50 P.M. the writer contacted Henry Oveross at 514 South Water Street and asked Mr. Henry Oveross’ permission to search his residence. His permission was granted. The writer searched the residence in the presence of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Oveross. A search of all bedrooms, clothes closets, pantries, living room, dining room, study, kitchen, wood shed, fruit room, garage and back porch of the house was made for any evidence of a rifle owned by Casper Oveross. There was no evidence of a rifle or any type of gun found at the Henry Oveross residence.

The Oveross Ford, a 1950 Ford, Oregon 1A-118, was impounded by Deputy Shaw and towed to the Moll Chrysler-Plymouth garage in Silverton, Oregon, where it was held for evidence per request of Sheriff Young.

Sheriff Denver Young:

9:00 A.M. Received information from John Zabinski that an ex-Silverton woman by the name of Jaeske, had committed suicide and had been investigated by the City. She may have known Kaser. Instructed Deputy Sheriff Zabinski to check for any possible connection with Kaser case.

11:40 A.M. Ted Riches farm.

Contact Daniel James Gilham. States he is 19 years old and lives with his parents at Rt. 5, Box 417, Salem. 6-1, 180 to 185, brown hair and blue eyes. Gilham states that on night of February 17, 1955 he went to the Oveross home about 7:00 P.M. The only one home at the time of his arrival was Colleen, her mother came in a short time later with Karen. Mrs. Oveross left a few minutes later, in her car. At approximately 7:55 P.M. Casper Oveross arrived at the house and stayed until about 8:30. Gilham stated that he had planned on going to band practice that evening but decided that it was late anyway so he stayed at the house, with Colleen. They stayed there alone until about 10:30, then he left in his car and started home. He arrived home about 10:45 P.M. He stated that he went hunting with Bill Specht and Casper Oveross last year near Black Butte. He stated that he had a 30-30 Marlin rifle with him and was quite sure that Casper had a 30-30 carbine. States that he has been to Caspers cabin several times since the divorce and remembers seeing the shotgun standing in the corner and is quite sure that the rifle was there at that time. Gilham stated that on the afternoon of Feb. 18, he and Colleen were outside of her house when her cousin came and told them that Casper was at Henry Oveross residence. He took Colleen in and she and Casper Talked. He claims that he did not hear their conversation. Did not hear the gun mentioned at that time.

On Sunday, 20th he took Mrs. Ethel Oveross, Colleen and Karen in to see Cap.

Gilham also stated that on the 18th, he and Colleen went in to see Ralph Emmons who Colleen works for. Colleen stayed and worked and he and Casper went over and talked to Bruce Williams, on the recommendation of Emmons. He stated that he had not employed Mr. Williams to represent him in any way and he would be willing to answer any questions that he could in order to clear up the matter of Kasers death.

At this time Gilham stated (voluntarily) that there was something that he had forgotten to mention. That right after he went hom eand went to sleep, his folks called him and woke him up, and said that someone wanted to see him outside. He went outside in his night clothes and stayed on the porch. A car that he thought was Cap Oveross’s was parked in the driveway. The driver of the car came towards him and he stepped down to the gravel driveway and stood on the bottom step. He further stated that quote, “When I first went out Cap said Ervin’s got three slugs in him,” unquote. He said that Cap was very quiet about it and did not appear to have been drinking. He further stated that the person talking had on a cap such as Cap wore and he was sure that it was Casper Oveross. He also stated that when he was backing out of the driveway (Oveross) a car passed going north. (This was at 10:30 P.M.). The driver of the car honked the horn and he believed the driver of the car to be Casper. He later stated that he was not sure that the driver was Casper but the car looked like Caspers. He stated that he guessed any one passing by at that time would have honked.

1:30 P.M. Contact Mrs. Jennie Gilham. Took signed statement.

At 7:30 P.M. on February 22nd 1955 the writer secured a complaint against the above subject [EK_NOTE: Casper Oveross] from District Attorney Kenneth A. Brown. A warrant was secured from District Judge E.O. Stadter. Information was given to Deputy Sheriff Amos O. Shaw and State Officer Reigel who affected the arrest of Oveross in Silverton Oregon at 8:05 P.M.

Shaw and Reigel were instructed to bring Oveross to the State Police headquarters for interrogation. Due to reporters hanging around the front office they were instructed to bring prisoner through the back door so as to avoid any unnecessary publicity.

Both the writer and Lt. Mogan attempted to interrogate Oveross, however he refused to answer any questions even to giving his name and physical description. Lt. Mogan tried several times to question without success and asked him specifically if he would deny shooting Ervin Kaser. He received no answer.

At 9:40 P.M. Shaw and Reigel were instructed to take Oveross to the County Jail and the writer accompanied them in my car. Oveross was booked in the Marion County Jail at 10:00 P.M. Feb 22, 1955.

The writer then personally called Mr. Bruce Williams and told him that the prisoner had been booked and that eh would be welcome to come down and talk to him.

No further attempts were made to talk to the prisoner.

 State Police Sergeant Wayne G. Huffman:

On February 22, 1955, 11:30 A.M. Contacted and questioned Daniel James Gilham, 19 years, Rt. 5, Box 417, Salem. He stated on Thursday, February 17, 1955 he had gone to the Oveross residence and seen Colene Oveross. He arrived there around 7:00 P.M. he stated that at that time he was on his way to Silverton for band practice with the Old Timer’s Band. Band practice was around 8:00 P.M. he stated on his arrival that Mrs. Oveross, mother of Colene, had gone over to the neighbors to pick up her younger daughter, Karen and that she came back shortly after he arrived. He stated Mrs. Ethel Oveross about 7:30 left in her own car alone, where she was going he did not know. He stated Karen, the younger daughter had also left to go with the neighbors to a skating party in Salem. He stated he stayed there with Colene and that about 7:50 or 8:00 P.M. Casper Oveross came to the residence and that they had talked and that he had decided not to go on to band practice but to stay there at the Oveross residence, as he was late and did not want to get into band practice late. He stated that Casper Oveross left there about 8:30 P.M. and he did not know where he had gone. He stated that he stayed at the Oveross residence with Colene and he had left about 10:30 P.M. and the mother, Mrs. Ethel Oveross, had not returned when he left. He stated that as he backed out of the Oveross driveway towards the main highway a car came by going north towards Silverton and coming from the south towards Stayton. As this car came by it tooted its horn as if in recognition of his car. He stated that he looked and that it was a dark colored, which he thought to be black, Ford sedan, same model as Casper Oveross’. He though, but was not sure, that it was Casper in the car. He stated he backed out onto the highway and drove home going south towards Stayton and that he had arrived home about 10:45 P.M. and went in the house and went to bed.

He stated last fall during deer hunting season, he had gone with Casper Oveross deer hunting in the Ochoco mountains. They hunted near Black Butte somewhere near Prineville. He stated another fellow by the name of Bill Speck was with us. He stated he has a 30-30 Marlin carbine rifle and Casper has a lever action 30-30 or 32 rifle which he thinks is a Winchester. He stated he has seen this gun at Casper’s place in Silverton since they have been deer hunting last fall, but the exact date he does not know. He is almost sure he has seen the gun in the Holland Cabins since deer hunting season, but he would hate to say anything that might hurt Colene Oveross as he has been going with her for the past two years.

On Friday, February 19, 1955, he stated that Hank Oveross and his daughter came out to Colene Oveross’ place while he was there and said that Casper was at his cabin and would like to see them. He stated that Colene, Mrs. Ethel Oveross and Karen Oveross and he went to Silverton and visited with Casper Oveross. He stated Colene and Mrs. Ethel Oveross talked to Casper Oveross in a different room and he did not talk to him very much. He stated the last time he had seen Casper Oveross was at his cabin and this was on Sunday, February 20, 1955. He stated that he believed Mrs. Oveross was trying to prove Casper Oveross innocent now. He also stated on Friday, February 18, 1955 Colene Oveross and her father Casper Oveross rode into Salem with him and she talked to her boss, Ralph Emmons, concerning Casper Oveross and the shooting. He stated that Ralph Emmons suggested that they talk to Bruce Williams. He stated they all three, Casper, Colene and himself went over and talked to Bruce Williams that same day in his office. He stated he heard some of the conversation. Casper Oveross had denied shooting Ervin Kaser.

Sheriff Young and the writer questioned Danield James Gilham later that same day and under continued questioning he would add a little bit more than what he had previously told us. On further questioning of Daniel James Gilham he made the following statement: he stated that he had not told us everything and he wished to add something more.

Daniel Gilham stated that after he had arrived home on the night of February 17, 1955, he had gone to bed and gone to sleep. He stated the next thing he remembered his mother awakened him and told him there was someone in the driveway that wanted to talk to him. He stated he went out the front steps and down to the driveway in his pajamas and he observed Casper Oveross’ car parked in his driveway. Casper was standing by the car and as he went down the steps to the driveway Casper Oveross walked over to him. He stated Casper said to him, “Ervin had three slugs in him, I want you to be my witness. I was with you last night.” He stated Casper turned then and mumbled something else and walked to his car, got in and drove away. He stated he went back up into his bedroom and went to bed but he could not sleep thinking about what Casper told him. He thought in his own mind but was not sure what Casper had shot Ervin Kaser. He stated about 3:00 A.M. In the morning the telephone rang and his mother called him, said someone wanted to talk to him. It was Colene Oveross and she told him over the phone to come over something had happened and she wanted him right away. He stated he dressed and went over to her residence where he learned Ervin Kaser had been killed. Daniel James Gilham of his own free will was brought to the Oregon State Police District Headquarters, Salem, Oregon, by Sheriff Young and writer for further questioning.

Conatcted Mrs. Jenny Gilham, Rt. 5, Box 417, Salem, mother of Daniel James Gilham, who stated that on Thursday, February 17, 1955, her son, Daniel, came home about 10:30 P.M. and went right to his bedroom. She stated that she and Mr. Gilham were already in bed. She stated a short time later she heard another car come in the driveway and right after that someone started calling, “Danny.” She stated she got up and went to Danny’s room and knocked several times then went in and awakened him, and told him that someone wanted to see him downstairs. She stated he went down and out the front door and she looked out the bedroom window and saw a person whom she believed to be Casper Oveross sitting outside in his car. She said the dome light inside the car was on also the headlights. She stated about that time Danny came out the front door and stopped near the bottom step near the driveway. As Danny walked toward the driveway the man got out of the car and came back to meet him. She stated this man seemed to be very nervous and used his hands a lot. She stated he came up close to Danny and spoke something and then stared back towards his car and seemed to be talking as he went. She stated the man got into his car and drove away and Danny came back into the house and went to bed. She stated while Danny was dressing to go down and talk to this man who was parked in the driveway, Mr. Gilham asked me what time it was, and I looked at the clock and it was 11:15 P.M. She stated that they keep this clock in the bedroom 15 minutes fast and that would make it right at 11:00. She stated about 3:00 A.M. February 18, 1955, someone called on the telphone for Danny and that they talked and Danny came to the bedroom and told them that it was Colene that had called and she had stated that something had happened and she wanted him to come right now. She stated that before Danny left the house Mr. Gilham asked him “what Cap wanted” and Dan stated that Cap stated that he did not get the job and that he might to to Gold Beach. She stated that Danny left and they did not see them again until the next evening. She stated that the reason that they thought the man in the car was Casper Oveross was because last fall when Cap and Danny went hunting together Cap came late at night and called for Danny the same way as this person did on the night of February 17.

Wednesday, February 23, 1955 Oregon StatesmanNeighbor Charged With Murder of Silverton Man
Casper Oveross Jailed
By THOMAS G. WRIGHT JR. and BRUCE KIPP, Staff Writers, The Statesman

SILVERTON — Calm, gum-chewing Casper (Cap) A. Oveross native resident of the Silverton area, was arrested Tuesday night on a charge of first degree murder in the starlight slaying of his onetime neighbor Ervin Kaser last Thursday night.

Oveross, 44, who had blamed Kaser for breaking up his marriage was under suspicion from the moment of the shooting at Kaser’s Evergreen District home.

Cap Oveross arrested

SILVERTON–Casper A. (Cap) Oveross, 44-year-old Silverton carpenter, enters Marion County Courthouse Tuesday night in the custody of police officers after his arrest on a charge of first degree murder in the slaying of his one-time neighbor Ervin Kaser last Thursday night. Behind Oveross (left to right) are Deputy Sheriff Amos Shaw and State Policemen Lloyd T. Riegel, who made the arrest, and Marion County Sheriff Denver Young. (Statesman Photo)

Kaser’s slayer had apparently followed him the 2 1/2 miles home from SIlverton, pulled his car to the shoulder of the road fifty yards away and fired four shots into the victim’s car.  One of the closely grouped shots struck Kaser in the back, killing him instantly.

Oveross was arrested at the home of his niece, Mrs. Robert Moon of 510 S. Water St., Silverton, at 8:05 Tuesday night by Deputy Sheriff Amos Shaw and State Patrolman Lloyd T. Riegel, both of Salem.  Arresting officers said Oveross refused to accept his copy of the Marion County District Court warrant citing him for first degree murder.

Five Days’ Sleuthing

The arrest followed nearly five days of intensive sleuthing by sheriff’s deputies and state plicemen, led by Marion County Sheriff Denver Young and State Police Sergeant Wayne Huffman. Young said he credited Huffman, Shaw, Riegel and Patrolman Robert Dunne particularly with gathering information leading to the arrest.

Salem Attorney Bruce Williams, Oveross’ lawyer, stated there was no evidence against his client and said he will demand the earliest possible preliminary or, failing that, a writ of habeas  corpus to free Oveross from custody.

Williams also claimed that his client was questioned by the sheriff’s office for more than 10 hours Friday morning when he became the sheriff’s first suspect.

Oveross, born near Rocky Four Corners on Abiqua Creek north of here. He was living at 716 N. Second St., Silverton and has resided in the Silverton area all his life. He graduated from Silverton High School as did his wife, Ethel, from whom he was divorced last fall.  They had lived for 20 years in the Evergreen community, about a quarter mile from the scene of the killing.

Counter Suit

The Oveross divorce proceedings were started in Marion County Circuit Court by Oveross, but Mrs. Oveross, a twin sister of Mrs. Harvey Kaser, whoe husband is a brother of the slain man, filed a counter suit and was awarded custody of the couple’s two daughters.

Police indicated that Oveross blamed Ervin Kaser, himself separated from his wife, for the split up of his family. Mrs. Oveross had reportedly seen Kaser a few hours before the slaying.

Investigating officers said Oveross’ time for the night of the slaying had been accounted for, including an early evening visit with his daughter at his former home while his former wife was away.

They said three rifles “which Oveross has access to” were being checked by the Oregon State Police crime laboratory.  The bullet found in Kaser’s body and another one found in the car have been compared with bullets taken from a target range on Oveross’ Abiqua farm, police indicated.

Police were continuing the investigation early today.

Oveross, a 5 foot 9, 155-pound carpenter and part-time farmer, was clad in blue jeans and plaid wool shirt when he was taken into custody. Konwn as an avid hunter, Oveross is considered a crackshot.

Oveross is generally well-liked by his townsmen and neighbors and exhibited no traits that drew attention to him.

A 1950 black Ford coach, registered to Oveross, was impounded by police Tuesday night and stored in a Silverton garage.

Waited for Attorney

From the time of his arrest until the arrival of his attorney, Oveross declined to answer all questions by police, saying only, “I’m waiting for my attorney.”  He told Statesman reporters only his age, his birthdate and birthplace during the period between his arrest and his booking into the Marion County jail at exactly 10 p.m.  He was assigned to cell-block A, cell 4 in the jail by Deputy Thomas W. Brown.

Oveross will be arraigned in Edward A. Stadter Jr. District Court at 10 a.m. today on the murder charge.

Blogically yours,

Not Innocent: The Investigation (part 1)

Part 1 and part 2 of “Not Innocent: The Murder” covers the events of the night of February 17th and the following day, Friday, February 18th.  We pick up the story of the investigation the next day.  While the police have a firm suspect (Caspar Oveross), there are a number of other possible suspects including Danny Gilham (boyfriend of Ethel Oveross’ daughter Colleen), Harvey Kaser (Ervin’s brother, who had fought with Ervin), as well as men who may have had business dealings with Ervin and men who’s wives (according to rumor) may have been approached by Ervin.  The police have to try to determine the motive for the murder and hunt for witnesses and physical evidence–primarily the rifle used in the murder.  Based upon the bullets, they know it was a 30-caliber rifle, which was a common hunting rifle and owned by many men in the area.  They have to search ditches, creeks, and ponds, in case the weapon was thrown away as the killer fled the scene, and they also have to perform ballistic checks on all of the 30-caliber rifles they can locate in the area, in case the killer kept the rifle.  They know that Danny Gilham has a 30-caliber rifle, and are trying to secure it from his parents while he’s not at home.  However, their prime suspect is Casper Oveross, as the Silverton Police were aware before the murder of his marital problems and his placing the blame on Ervin Kaser, and Casper’s alibi of being in two Silverton taverns at the time of the murder has been denied by everyone in those taverns.

NOTE: As I’ve mentioned before, the police reports and newspaper articles are rife with misspellings.  In just this post, you will see Ervin spelled as Irvin and Erwin, Handy’s Hardware as Hanby’s, Colleen as Colene, etc.  I’ve tried to leave most of those as they were, although occasionally my fingers overruled me.

Saturday, February 19, 1955

Sheriff’s Deputy Amos O. Shaw:

9:00 AM: On duty

9:30 AM: Discuss case with Sheriff and get assignments.

10:45 AM: Leave office

11:50 AM: Check Gilham residence, boy at home, no effort made to contact father for gun.

12:10 PM: Philippi Motors Stayton, regarding Ethel Oveross. Hasn’t worked since night of incident.

12:25 PM: Contact Sublimity Cafe. No information available.

12:40 PM: Check at Oveross ex-wife’s house, Ethel Oveross, contact daughter Colleen says mother in Salem, and won’t be back until 3:30 PM

12:50 PM: Beverly Town said to Sheperd, stated he owns agun, and that Clyde Steigler may know all about the gun.

1:25 PM: Check on vehicle in Abiqua River no reference to this case.

2:00 PM: Contact Clyde Stiager at creek, known Oveross (Casper) for years, no information of value.

2:50 PM: Contact Mrs. Helen Timmons, at Town House in Silveron, whom stated she saw Oveross (Casper) leaving the tavern (Town House) at 1:05 AM 2-18-55.

3:20 PM: Check Schaar place, nobody home. Regarding information on Irvin Kaser supposed to have tried to take her by force.

3:45 PM: At John Seims place, contaced Doc. Simmons, Seims, and Chick Carter. Carter gave information that Charley Hopkins overheard Oveross state he had laid out in Kaser’s field all on night with his 30-30 and was going to kill Irvin Kaser. Supposedly made threats several times.

4:20 PM: Leave for Silverton

4:50 PM: Check Gilham place, boy still home.

5:10 PM: Check Oveross residence, yard full of cars

5:25 PM: Contact Silverton Police department, and Sheriff D. Young.

7:45 PM: Contact Chick Carter and Charley Hopkins and Otto Hanson. Latter part of September, Charley Hopkins saw Casper Oveross on street of Silverton. Casper told that he had laid a trap and had laid out in a field most of one night with some other fellow. After making some excuse to family about going to Klamath Falls. He said he saw Irvin cross the field and they stayed and watched all night. Casper spoke well of his wife, that she is a good woman, and blamed Irvin for trouble. Stated I’ve got a gun and was going to kill him and I think I should. Also mentioned friend of his in Pennitentiary for a similar deal, but he didn’t think it was worth it. Charley Hopkins tried to talk him out of it.

Sheriff Denver Young:

With Sgt. Hazelton, checked out one James Bonner near Silver Creek road. Eliminated as suspect, at 11:30 A.M.

Arranged for 2:30 appointment with Mrs. Mary Kaser at the office of Rhoten & Rhoten Attorneys. Mrs. Mary Kaser, wife of the deceased has been living at 2054 N. Capitol St. Has one daughter Phyllis Boyce, of 4810 Reimann road. She states that she was familiar with her husbands affair with Ethel Oveross. Was told about it for the first time last fourth of July when Casper came to her home and told her that Ervin was out with Ethel. She later confronted Ervin with it but he denied it. No further information was gained at this time and interview was terminated.

Sunday, February 20, 1955

Capital Journal, Monday, February 21, 1955
Find No New Clues to Solve Mystery of Kaser Murder

Pond Dragging For Rifle Used Proved Futile

SILVERTON–Funeral services were to be held for Ervin O. Kaser at 2 p.m. Monday as police continued their search for the person who shot him from ambush as he drove into the driveway of his home near here Thursday night.

Sheriff’s officers and state police who had dragged two ponds near the death scene over the week end were continuing their hunt for the killer Monday.

Widow moves into murder victim's home

Moving van which has just been unloaded by Virgil Boyd, son-in-law of widow Mary Kaser.

The dragging of the ponds which proved futile were in search of a .30 caliber rifle which was believed to have been used by the killer.

Kaser, a prominent hop grower in the district, was shot as he arrived home in his car. Four bullets went into the car, one piercing his body.

Mary Kaser and daughter Phyllis Boyd

SILVERTON–Mrs. Mary Louisa Kaser, estranged wife of Ervin O. Kaser, 49, who was slain by an unknown rifleman Thursday night at his home three miles south of Silverton, took possession of his home Sunday, as his sole heir. Mrs. Kaser is shown here with her daughter, Phyllis Boyd.

Neighbors who heard the four shots also heard a car which had stopped across the road being put into gear and drive away.

The killer is believed to have taken back roads to get into Silverton.

Mrs. Mary Kaser, who had separated from the murdered man and had filed suit for divorce, moved back into the family home Sunday. She had been living in Salem for the past few months.

Sheriff Denver Young had returned to Salem briefly at noon and reported that the officers working on the Kaser case are still without a definite clue. Two state police officers, two deputy sheriffs and the sheriff himself are working on the case.

Sheriff Young is in charge of the manhunt and directed activities over the week-end.

No crime in recent years has stirred the community as has the Kaser slaying, and the officers are sifting all information as well as rumors that come to hand.

Sheriff’s Deputy Amos O. Shaw:

9:30 AM: On duty

10:00 AM: With Sheriff at office discuss case

10:45 AM: Leave State Police Hdqs. With State Police Officer Riegel

11:15 AM: At pond by Kaser residence and drag pond for discarded rifle. Also assisted by Lloyd Riegel, State Officer Espley.

12:50 PM: Contact Mr. and Mrs. Alvin Hollin, whom report they went to bed about 10:30 PM night of murder, had been in bed for few minutes and wife heard two shots and heard dog barking. Shortly after heard 2 cars go by. Could have heard a car if it had turned east on Count Rd 735, or known as Golf Course Rd. Cars went on south toward Stayton. Mrs. Hollin got impression that dog was barking because one car stopped on hill by Oveross home.

1:30 PM: Contact Gilham residence no one homesteaded

2:45 PM: Contact Mr. Ervin Peer, whom stated he had gone to visit Mr. Kaser (victim) approximately one month ago. Irvin Kaser told Mr. Peer that he come home one evening and found a car sitting in his driveway. Irvin Kaser started to turn in and fellow backed car out and Irvin followed car clear to Sublimity and lost him there. Mr. Peer property joins property of victim on north.

3:30 PM: Sheriff advised that Mrs. Oveross is a relation of Roy Philippi, whom is a close friend of Casper Oveross.

4:20 PM: Off duty.


The Oregon Statesman–Monday, February 21, 1955
SILVERTON–Dragging operations failed Sunday to turn up the weapon which was used for the starlight slaying of Erwin Kaser at his home 2 1/2 miles south of here Thursday night. Dragging the irrigation pond on the Harvey Kaser place, half-mile from the murder scene, were (left to right) State Policemen Lloyd Riegel and Albert N. Espey, and Deputy Sheriff Amos Shaw, all of Salem. Police theorized the assassin may have tossed the gun into the pond as he fled from the scene.

State Police Private Lloyd T. Riegel:

On 20 February 1955 this officer accompanied by Deputy Sheriff Shaw and Al Espey, Oregon State Police, with the Oregon State Police boat and equipment drug a pond at the intersection of the Stayton-Silverton road and the golf course road [EK_NOTE: Now Finley Road, this was the pond on Harvey Kaser’s land]. This pond is directly below the Harvey Kaser residence. There was no success in locating the weapon supposedly used in the referred to homicide.

At 12:50 this date a Mr. and Mrs. Alvie Hollin who live at the intersection of the above mentioned road were contaced relative to any information of vehicles passing their place on the evening of 17 February 1955 after the hourse of 10:45 P.M. Mrs. Hollin stated that they had finished listening to television at approximately 10:30 P.M. and that they were proceeding to bed when she had heard two shots and momentarily afterwards two cars had passed going south on the Silverton-Stayton highway. It was Mrs. Hollin impression that the last vehicle had paused momentarily on the hill just north of their place, which would be almost directly in front of the Ethel Oveross residence. Mrs. Hollin further stated that she could not describe these vehicles as she had not actually seen them, but she was quite sure that neither vehicle had slowed down in the vicinity of the pond that was being drug or that neither vehicle had turned up the golf course road, which is directly in front of her road.

A continued check was made along the Silverton-Stayton highway leading from Silverton on south to the Hollin home. There was no information of value picked up by the door to door check. The bridges leading across Drift Creek in the vicinity of the Hollin home also on the Lardon Road were checked by the writer and Deputy Shaw for possibilities on the weapon being thrown from the bridge or from the road into Drift Creek. There was no evidence obtained relative to any rifle having been thrown in this creek.

Monday, February 21, 1955

Ervin's funeral

SILVERTON–An overflow crowd Monday afternoon attended the funeral service for Ervin O. Kaser, 49, in the Memorial Chapel, Ekman Funeral Home in Silverton. Photo shows casket being removed from the funeral home to hearse.

Sheriff’s Deputy Amos O. Shaw:

8:00 AM: On duty

8:30 am: Conference with Sheriff

9:30 AM: Meet with State Police Sergeant Wayne Huffman and Lloyd Riegel and Sheriff Denver Young. Plan days activities and checks.

10:50 AM: Gas car 1 for use

11:10 AM: Pick up Lloyd Riegel and rifle at State Police Office and take rifle to Sheriff office.

11:40 AM: At Philippi Motors in Stayton regarding Mrs. Oveross, and Roy Philippi. Roy doesn’t know much about case. Never saw Casper Oveross rifle, however thinks he has one. He received a phone call from Edith Kaser that Irvin Kaser had been shot, and the police are holding Casper. Stated that the family had gotten together about midnight and had talked the situation over, and wanted him to come over to Edith place and get in on the talk. Roy stated he did not go. Roy stated he had got a call last night from Ethel and she was returning to work tomorrow after the funeral.

1:05 PM: Contacted Mr. & Mrs. Julius Gehring, Rt 3 Box 98 Silverton. House sits on north side of hill and borders gravel road turning west towards Salem. Knows nothing referred to boys.

1:20 PM: Contacted Julius and Jerome Gehring regarding information. See signed statement.

1:50 PM: Contact Ann Kinsey, reports coming home from hospital in Silverton at 11:15 PM 2-17-55. Got home at 11:30 PM. Saw nothing of value.

2:15 PM: Arnold Briggs residence contacted, supposedly heard car by bridge that crosses Drift Creek.

2:20 PM: Check Bridge across Drift Creek, water and area.

3:00 PM: Take signed statement from Betty Hollan, see statement.

3:35 PM: Take signed statement and receive a 30-30 caliber rifle, serial no. J4464, from James W Gilham. Rifle belongs to son Danny. See statement of Mr. Gilham, signed, and receipt for rifle.

4:45 PM: Contact Carl Hande Hardware Store, and check on books with rifle sales dating back to 1950 Jan 1st. No rifle sale recorded to Casper Oeross. Personal check made.

5:00 PM: Check gun stores. No information of value.

5:20 PM: Contact Olson Drug Store Silverton. Casper purchased a box of 30-30 150 grain shells, in 1953, uncertain about 1954.

6:00 PM: Contact Kellerhals hom eand get signed statement as to what he and wife can testify to.

7:30 PM: Contact Finlay home and get a signed statement.

9:10 PM: Contact Mary Kaser wife of deceased. And she says she has been instructed not to talk without her attorney.

9:20 PM: Contact Mr. Monroe E HANSON, whom stated as follows, on 2-17-55, at 10:25PM Mrs. Monroe E Hanson picked up her daughter at Toney Cafe in Silverton and at 10:35PM arrived home. Mr. and Mrs. Hanson heard shots and remarked some one was shooting at dogs. Never heard car. And never got up and looked out. Doesn’t know if Casper Oveross owns gun. And had been neighbors for several years. Mr. Hanson and son had left home at about 7:15PM 2-17-55 for Silverton, had got about half way to town, and Ervin Kaser passed them, and they followed his car and saw him park and go into the Safeway store in Silverton. They went on to the Town House, and was in the Cafe until about 8:25PM. And they left and walked around by Alf Nelson’s Office across from the theatre, saw Ervin Kaser’s car going north on Water St. Was quite sure it was Ervin driving however never got a direct look at his face. Noticed that the drivers hat was shaped like Ervin’s hat is worn.

9:45 PM: Talk to Dick Barnes and Robert Barnes at the Police Department in Silverton. Rt. 3 Box 96 Silverton.

Richard Barnes states that I don’t think that Casper would ever throw his gun away. He has a 30-30 caliber carbine. I have never seen this gun but I am sure as he has compared it with fathers gun. He knows our place and may have hidden it there. Or at Brooder house at Hank’s place, near North Howell. Up the road a ways some old people live, Casper worked for these people and may have left the gun there. The people are deaf. W.J. Haberley’s on south of us on same side of road.


Stated he went to a Grange meeting at 8:05PM 2-17-55, picked up mother and she went along. Left there at about 8:10PM (mothers). Car came out of Mrs. Oveross place, and was going about 40 MPH, north towards Silverton. At Ervin’s house he slowed down and leaned over in car to look at Ervin’s house. The Barnes car slowed up to almost 15 MPH behind him and went on passed at about even with the house. Barnes never saw no lights on in the house, and never saw Ervin’s car there. On way home Bob went by Kaser home, and saw people in the vicinity, police, etc.

Bob stated that Waldo Rue had told Bob that he had been at Coop. Meeting and come home and never saw any lights at Ervin Kaser home. And Robert Riches had remarked to Bob Barnes that he had come from the Coop. Meeting and noticed a car with lights on and thought it odd. Robert Riches lives at 1st. Gravel road left past Barnes home.

NOTE: Casper Oveross came over to the Barnes House the day after he had signed the divorce papers and remarked to the boys, “Today I am free, the divorce papers were signed. If I ever catch the son of a bitch under the roof of any house I build I’ll kill him.” Robert Barnes and wife heard this statement. Robert said you don’t want to talk like that. He said, “By God, Bob, I mean it.” Casper has remarked about hunting deer up by Roy Hogg’s place up by Eureka.

11:10PM: Off duty homesteaded

State Police Private Lloyd T. Riegel:

On 21 February 1955 Deputy Shaw and the writer contacted Roy Phillippi in Stayton, Oregon. It had been previously learned that Roy Phillippi was a cousin to Edith and Ethel. Edith Kaser is the wife of Harvey Kaser, Ethel is the wife of Casper Oveross. Mr. Phillippi stated that at approximately 6:00 A.M. On the morning of 18 February 1955 that he had received a phone call from Edith Kaser stating that Ervin Kaser had been shot and that the police were holding Casper Oveross as a suspect. She requested that Mr. Phillippi come to her home as the family was having more or less a get together and discussing the situation and that Ethel Oveross was taking this quite hard. Mr. Phillipppi stated that he gave this some consideration and had decided not to go to the Edith Kaser residence. He further stated that another cousin, a Mr. Finlay, who lived between the Oveross residence and the Ervin Kaser residence had been called to the Edith Kaser home to assist with Ethel Oveross. He further stated that Mr. Finlay had lived in this position for quite some time and that he was quite sure that he would be able to throw considerable light on the entire situation. Mr. Phillippi was questioned as to his knowledge of any weapon owned by Casper Oveross. He stated that he had known Casper for several years, that Casper had done considerable carpenter work for him but as to any weapon he might own or to where he might have borrowed some weapon would be unknown to Mr. Phillippi. Mr. Phillippi further stated that Casper Oveross had never talked of his family troubles, that he had heard a rumor that Ethel Oveross had been seen with Ervin Kaser, but his had never been verified by either Ethel or Casper Oveross. He stated that he felt that he was in Stayton and the trouble was in Silverton and even though they were relation that he had no business involving himself in the incident.

[EK_note: the Lardon Road mentioned below is now called Kaufman Road]

Deputy Shaw and the writer then returned to the last place along the Stayton-Sublimity highway that the two vehicles had been heard on the evening of 17 February 1955. From this point they started working their way south along the highway in effort to establish the route used by the suspected slayer of Ervin Kaser. A Julius and Jerome Gehring were contacted. The Gehring residence is approximately a thousand yards south of the Hollin residence. Julius and Jerome Gehring stated that they had returned home at approximately 10:00 P.M. on 17 February 1955 and that they were upstairs in their bedroom reading and writing letters. At just a few minutes before 11:00 they heard four shots that sounded very loud. There was one shot and a short pause then three shots in quick succession. Jerome stated to Julius, “Man, I wonder who’s firing.” Shortly after this they heard two cars. One car turned and went west on the Lardon Road. They are not sure as to where the second car went. In an interval of approximately fifteen minutes they heard another car come south on the road and turn onto the Lardon Road. This vehicle they were quite sure was that of Anna Kinsey, a student nurse at the Silverton hospital.

The before mentioned officers contacted Anna Kinsey who lives on the Lardon Road. She stated that she is a student nurse at the Silverton hospital and that she got off work at 11:00 P.M. 17 February 1955. She drove to Water Street in Silverton and left another student nurse out at her home. As she was going over the south hill in Silverton a police car came behind her blinking its red light and sounding a siren. She stated she pulled to the curb and the police car went on by. As she reached the Ervin Kaser home she observed the police car and other vehicles setting in the road. She stated she did not know what had happened but thought they were looking in Mr. Kaser’s car. As she proceeded on south to her home Anna Kinsey stated that she did not see any cars parked along the road, any tail lights or headlights of any cars ahead of her. She is not sure whether she met any vehicles proceeding north or not.

Information was then received that a Mr. Arnold Briggs had related to a neighbor that a vehicle had stopped on a bridge just south of his place some time near 11:00 on the evening of 17 February 1955. The writer and Deputy Shaw attempted to contact Mr. Briggs but was unable to do so. A search was made of the bridge and the area surrounding the bridge for the possible weapon. No evidence was found relative to this weapon or any evidence that a car had stopped near or at the bridge.

Mr. James W. Gilham was then contacted by the above mentioned officers and Mr. Gilham surrendered to these officers his son’s rifle, a Marlin 30-30 caliber serial J4465. At this time Mr. Gilham also gave the statement that his son, Daniel James Gilham, age 19, had returned home shortly before 11:00 the exact hour unknown. Mr. Gilham stated that he placed this time by the fact that his wife had got up at 11:00 and when she looked into the driveway she saw her son’s car, a 1950 Ford. Mr. Gilham stated that he had no knowledge of the shooting and that he had barely known Ervin Kaser and that he had met Mr. Oveross a few times. He also stated that he understood that the weapon that he was surrendering would be taken to the Oregon State Police crime lab where it would undergo ballistic tests and any other tests seen fit by the laboratory.

After taking a statement from Mr. Gilham, Deputy Shaw and the writer proceeded to Silverton where they made a re-check on the various hardware stores, Handie’s Hardware, Johnson’s Hardware, Coast to Coast Auto Supply, Marshall-Well’s Store and Western Auto Supply for any record of a weapon having been sold to Casper Oveross any time since 1946. Records were checked back as far as 1950 with no evidence of a weapon having been sold. It was then requested that the records prior to 1950 be located so as to be checked by these officers at a later date.

A check at the Olson Drug in Silverton revealed that Casper Oveross had purchased 30-30 shells at this store several times. Cap had always asked for and preferred the 150 grain shell. This is an uncommon shell for 30-30’s, as most 30-30’s are produced in a 170 or 180 grain shell.

Deputy Shaw and the writer then contacted Emanuel Kellerhalls Jr. and Connie Kellerhalls. The Kellerhall residence is directly across the road west of the Ervin Kaser residence. The front door of the Kellerhall residence is in direct line with the Ervin Kaser driveway. The bedroom of the Kellerhalls faces the highway which runs between Ervin Kaser’s and the Kellerhalls residence. Mr. Kellerhall stated that he had been away from home since the early morning of 17 February hauling logs in the Silverton area and that he had returned home at approximately 5:30 P.M. From 5:30 P.M. on throughout the evening there had been no incident that had attracted his attention to the Ervin Kaser residence. They further stated that they had had company which had left about 10:20 P.M. on 17 February 1955, that they had went to bed at approximately 10:30 P.M. Mr. Kellerhall stated that he had just dozed off and Connie, his wife, was still awake, however had her eyes closed attempting to go to sleep. At approximately 10:45 P.M. they heard a vehicle drive up and stated, “Well, there is Ervin Kaser,” however they were not sure this was Ervin’s car. Shortly after, they heard a second car stop and then they immediately heard what they termed as shots. The first shot woke up Mr. Kellerhall, also woke up his daughter Anna Kellerhall. Mrs. Kellerhall, “Why, they’re shooting at Ervin,” and they jumped out of bed and looked out the window. Mrs. Kellerhall stood at the bedroom window and saw three blasts from a rifle or what they thought to be a rifle. Mr. Kellerhall was of the opinion that the shots had come from the window of a vehicle. After the shots had been fired they did not hear any vehicle door slam, and it also gave them the opinion, further, that the shots had been fired from the inside of a vehicle. Immediately after the shots a vehicle pulled away. It was a dark colored sedan or coach. The night of February 17, 1955 was a clear, cold night and the Kellerhalls were able to get a good outline of the vehicle. They were of the opinion that the car was a Ford and it had pulled away from the scene quite rapidly.

Immediately after seeing the vehicle leave Mr. Kellerhall went to the phone and phoned the Ervin Kaser residence. They were unable to locate or raise anyone at the Ervin Kaser residence so they phoned Marvin [EK_note: Melvin] Kaser at his residence and informed them that they believed someone was shooting at Ervin Kaser. After this Marvin Kaser phoned them in a few minutes and came over to the scene. The Kellerhalls were quite positive of the time as while they were talking on the phone their clock chimes struck 11:00 and they are quite sure that their clock is accurate. They were first contacted by Mr. DePeel after the officers arrived at the scene.

The officer then contacted Mr. Edward Arthur Finlay [EK_note: went by ‘Ted Finlay’] who lives in the second house south of the Ervin Kaser residence. Mr. Finlay stated that he had been home all evening and he had just turned off the light in his bedroom to retire when he heard shots being fired and he looked out the window. At this time he looked at his alarm clock and it was 10:55 and he was quite sure that the alarm clock was fairly accurate. Immediately after the shots being fired he heard a car heading south on the main highway. The car appeared and sounded to be an older type vehicle as the motor was laboring quite hard, however the speed appeared to be approximately 35 to 45 miles an hour. The vehicle had two headlights and appeared to be quite wide apart. He could not see the rear of the vehicle as it passed. Shortly after a second vehicle came by, but Mr. Finlay was quite sure this vehicle was that of Edith Kaser as he recognized the rattle of the old pickup that she drives. Mr. Finlay stated that he stayed in bed until 2:30 A.M. When he was called by Edith Kaser to come and assist with Ethel Oveross as she was taking the shooting quite hard. Ethel indicated that it was her fault of the shooting and that she was quite sure that Casper Oveross had shot Mr. Kaser. Mr. Finlay further stated that Ethel Oveross had told him that she had been out with Ervin Kaser on the evening of 17 February 1955 and that they had met somewhere on Abiqua Road and then had driven the back roads around Mt. Angel. She had also stated that she arrived at home at approximately 10:30 P.M. Her route to the spot of meeting and to her home from the spot of meeting was not divulged to Mr. Finlay.

Sergeant Huffman, Deputy Shaw and the writer then attempted to contact Mary Kaser the wife of the deceased. Mary Kaser stated that she would not give any statement or desired not to talk about the incident unless her attorney, Mr. Ray Rotten, was present. Mr. Rotten had advised her not to make any statement to police or any other persons who might question her regarding the incident.

The officers then contacted Monroe E. Hanson, Rt. 3, Box 112, Silverton. Mr Hanson lives across the road from the Finlay residence and the second house south and on the west side of the road from Ervin Kaser’s residence. Mr. Hanson stated that at approximately 7:15 P.M. on the evening of 17 February 1955, he and his son had driven into Silverton. As they neared the Ervin Kaser residence they observed Mr. Kaser back out of his driveway and head towards Silverton. They stated that they followed him into Silverton and into the Safeway store where he had purchased some groceries. Mr. Kaser had left the Safeway store before Mr. Hanson had completed his purchase. At approximately 8:30 P.M. that evening Mr. Hanson stated that he and his son were walking north on Water Street in the vicinity of the Alph Nelson’s law offices. At that time they had observed Mr. Kaser’s car going north on Water Street. They were quite sure of Mr. Kaser’s vehicle, they were also quite sure that the gentleman driving the car was Mr. Kaser. They further stated that he was accompanied by a lady who they were not definitely sure but had the impression it was Ethel Oveross. They stated they last saw the vehicle in the vicinity of the Budget Market, which is north of the Alph Nelson law offices.

Sergeant Huffman, Deputy Shaw and the writer then contacted Richard Barnes and Robert Barnes, Rt. 3, Box 96, Silverton. The Barnes boys stated that they had known Casper Oveross for several years and that they were quite sure that Casper had a 30-30 carbine as he had compared this gun with their fathers gun several times, however they had not actually seen the Oveross gun. Robert Barnes further stated that Casper Oveross had worked at their place building a silo and a shed. At the day that his divorce became final Casper Oveross came to their place and stated, “Today I am a free man as I have signed my divorce papers, but if I ever catch that son-of-a-bitch under a roof of any house that I built I’ll kill him.” Robert stated to him that, “You shouldn’t talk like that, Casper.” But Casper replied, “So help me God, Bob, I mean it.” Robert further stated that on the evening of 17 February 1955 he had left home at approximately 8:05 P.M., had driven by his mother’s place, picked up his mother and left there at approximately 8:10 P.M. his mother’s place being the first house south of the Oveross residence on the Silverton-Sublimity highway. [EK_note: no, that would be Harvey Kaser’s. Probably the second house south of the Oveross place.] As they neared the Oveross residence they saw Casper Oveross’ car back out onto the highway and proceed north towards Silverton. Robert Barnes stated that he followed the car up the highway north at approximately 40 miles per hour. As the car neared the Ervin Kaser residence the car slowed down to approximately 15 miles per hour and the driver leaned over to the opposite side of the seat and seemed quite interested in the Ervin Kaser residence. Robert Barnes stated that he was quite well acquainted with Casper Oveross and the vehicle that he drove and that he was sure that the occupant and driver of this car was Casper Oveross, and that the vehicle was Casper Oveross’ vehicle. Robert Barnes further stated that he attended a meeting in Silverton that evening and on his return home he noticed police and other people about the Ervin Kaser residence. He further stated Casper Oveross has not worked at his place since the completion of the silo, which was sometime in October of 1954. Richard Barnes had no information of value to add to his brother’s statement.

State Police Sergeant Wayne G. Huffman:

Pursuant to instructions from Captain R. G. Howard on February 21, 1955, the writer accompanied with Sheriff Denver Young contacted Colene Oveross, 19 years, daughter of Casper Oveross. She is presently employed by Ralph Emmons, Public Relations Office, Salem. She stated that her father on February 17, 1955 came to their house at above address where she is residing with her mother and younger sister, that he arrived there at 7:50 P.M. or thereabouts and remained at the house until approximately 8:35 P.M. and left without saying where he was going. She stated the only discussion they had was how the children were getting along and just other routine family talk. She stated her boyfriend, Danny Gilham, was there at the time. Also she stated that her mother, Ethel Oveross, had left the house about 7:30 P.M. to presumably go to a club meeting, but that she did not say where she was going when she left the house. She stated her younger sister, Karen Oveross, 9 years, had gone with the neighbor girls to a skating party in Salem, Oregon. She stated that she and Danny Gilham stayed home that evening and that he left the house for home at approximately 10:30 P.M. She stated that he had not been gone but a very short time before her mother arrived home and she was alone, but prior to her other returning home she had gone to bed. She stated that her sister, Karen, arrived home shortly after her mother came in, she thought approximately five minutes after her mother had arrived. She stated shortly after her mother had gone to bed, which was about fifteen minutes after she had come in the house, that the shots were heard, but she did not pay any particular attention to them, nor did she get up out of bed. Colene stated her father had a rifle but she did not know the make or description of the gun only that it was a rifle. She stated she did not pay too much attention to them only that at times they were in the way when they wanted to clean house. Sheriff Young and the writer did not question Colene Oveross any further as she was rather upset and she had a luncheon engagement.

Contacted Mrs. Erma Moore, Rt. 3, Box 111, Silverton, who is a neighbor to Mrs. Casper Oveross. She stated that she has known the Kaser family and Casper Oveross for the past seven years. She stated on the night February 17, 1955 that she and her husband and one of the daughters was home the entire evening. She stated one of her twin daughters and the older daughter had gone to Salem to a skating party and they had taken Karen Oveross, neighbor girl, with them. She stated the girls returned from the skating party at 10:35 P.M. as she looked at the clock as they came in the house. She stated that none of her family had heard any of the shots as there was probably noise in the house and the walls are pretty well sound proofed. She stated her neighbor across the road, Mrs. Hanson, had been to Silverton that evening to pick up her daughter, Deloris, who had also gone to Salem to the skating party. She stated the first she knew of the shooting was around 7:15 A.M. On February 18, 1955, when Mrs. Edith Kaser had telphoned her and told her that Ervin Kaser had been killed and to tell Wayne Moore, her husband, before he left. She stated Mr. Casper Oveross since the divorce comes to his home to visit Ethel Oveross his ex-wife quite often. She has seen him there numerous times. She also stated that on Thursday, February 17, 1955, that he was there around 11: A.M. In the morning, but she had never seen him there at any other time that particular day. She also stated that Casper Oveross has a 30-30 rifle, make she did not know but she does remember that when he bought it it caused quite an argument in his family as he had to pay $69 for it and his wife thought that was just too much. She thought that he had purchased this rifle about three or four years ago or possibly longer. She believed that was purchased at Hanby’s Hardware Store in Silverton. She stated Mrs. Ethel Oveross came over to her house the next day, February 18, 1955, and talked about it. Also she stopped at her house on the day of the funeral in the morning on her way back from the funeral parlor, at that time Ethel Oveross had told her that she thought Casper Oveross had killed Ervin Kaser, also that he had wanted his daughters to come into Silverton and visit him Sunday, which they did. She stated that Casper Oeross had not been doing any target practising on his place since August of 1954 or since the divorce.

Contacted Mrs. Ethel Oveross, Rt. 3, Box 110, Silverton, ex-wife of Casper Oveross who stated that on the evening of February 17, 1955, she was at the house at the above address and her daughter Colene and Danny Gilham were there and that her other daughter, Karen, had gone with the neighbors to a skating party in Salem. She stated she had a pre-arranged meeting with Ervin Kaser at 7:45 P.M. north of Silverton on a county road that crosses the Abiqua Creek. They were to meet at the bridge. She stated she left the house approximately 7:30 P.M. to keep this appointment, she left alone in her own car. She arrived at this meeting place and Ervin Kaser pulled up behind her there shortly after she arrived. She stated that Ervin was alone and that she got out of her car and into his car and they drove on towards Mt. Angel and parked on a side road and stayed there until the time they came back to her car. As they were coming up to where her car was parked, another old model car was proceeding them on the same road. She stated they passed her car and did not want to stop so they went on up the road and then turned around and came back after this other car had gone out of sight. She stated she got out of Ervin’s car and into her own then drove back down the road towards Silverton and through Silverton on James Street crossing on the lower bridge and then back down south of Silverton on the road towards her home. She stated she never went by Shorty’s Tavern and that Ervin Kaser did not follow her down James Street but she though he turned up 2nd Street. She stated she arrived home at approximately 10:30 P.M.

Ethel Oveross stated she has been going with Ervin Kaser for about two and a half years. She stated Casper Oveross knew about it almost right away and that he would accuse her of it, but every time that he accused her she would deny it. She stated it lead to fights but she does not remember at any time he threatened her or Kaser’s life. She stated her husband, Casper Oveross, moved out on August 21, 1954 and that was when sexual relations ceased with him. She stated he has been back to the house after the divorce several times but has never made any advance towards her. She stated Casper Oveross has a 30-30 rifle but she did not know too much about it other than he had bought it about five years ago or maybe longer. It was at the time when guns were hard to get and he had placed an order at several different places. She stated he goes hunting considerable and some of his hunting partners are Floyd Stagger who lives up on the Abiqua Creek and Danny Gilham has gone hunting with him.

She stated on her arrival home on the night of February 17 at 10:30 P.M. she had just gotten into bed when she heard the shot. She stated there were four of them. She stated she did not hear any cars go by the house after the shots. She further stated that her sisters pickup, her sister being Edith Kaser, came by after the shots and she recognized it from the noise it made. She stated sh never heard her dog bark when the shots were heard but she did hear the neighbors dogs barking. She stated that Danny Gilham was not home when she arrived home and she believed that he had gone to Silverton for band practice. A question and answer recording was taken from Mrs. Ethel Oveross at that time in the presence of Sheriff Young, Mrs. Ethel Oveross and the writer, this is of record at this office.

Contacted a Robert and Richard Barnes, R. 3, Box 96, Silverton, who are brothers and who live on the same road south of the Kaser residence. Robert Barnes stated that on Thursday evening, February 17, 1955 he left his house around 8:05 P.M. to go to a grange meeting. He stopped on the way and picked up his mother, Mrs. Barnes, approximately one half mile from the Oveross residence and this was around 8:10 P.M. He left her residence headed north and as he neared the Oveross residence a car pulled out ahead of him and as he caught up with it he could see that it was Casper Oveross’ car and that Casper was driving. He stated he followed this car at a speed of approximately 40 miles per hour north towards Salem [EK_note: Silverton]. As it neared Ervin Kaser’s place, Casper Oveross slowed down and very diligently looked over at the Kaser residence, continuing to do so as he drove down the road. He stated he slowed his speed down to about 15 miles per hour. He stated that Casper seemed quite interested in the Kaser house as he drove by. Also shortly after they had passed the Kaser residence, Robert Barnes stated that he passed Casper Oveross and definitely knows that it was he that was driving and that he was alone. He stated that he went on to the meeting and on returning that same evening passed Kaser’s residence he noticed police cars there and several people around. The first thought that entered his mind was that Casper had shot and killed Ervin Kaser. His reasons he stated for thinking this was that at one time on the day of the Oveross divorce, which was August 21, 1954, Casper had told him that, “If I ever caught that son-of-a-bitch Kaser under any roof that I built I would kill him.” Robert stated that he had told him not to talk like that as it would get him in trouble. He said that Casper said, “By God Bob I meant it.”

Richard Barnes stated that he had known Casper Oveross for years, he has worked for him and that he has a 30-30 carbine rifle. He did not know the make or where he purchased it. He stated that on Thursday, February 17, 1955, Casper came to his residence about 11:00 A.M. He thought possibly that Casper may have hid the rifle around his place as he is quite familiar with the buildings. He also stated one time his wife had picked up the telphone to use it when a ring was heard in her ear. He stated she listened and heard a voice, whom she thought to be Ethel Oveross’ and which stated “Wrong number,” she heard another voice whom she though was Ervin Kaser’s say “South of town” also this same voice whom she though was Ethel Oveross state “1:00,” she stated two receivers were hung up. This was all Richard Barnes could supply.

Sheriff Denver Young:

Writer with Sgt. Wayne Huffman contacted Mr. Ralph Emmons at his office in the Oregon Bldg. In an effort to obtain an interview with Colleen Oveross who is working for Mr. Emmons.

Miss Oveross agreed to answer some questions and was quite agreeable during the interview. She stated that she and Danny Gilham were home alone on the evening of 2/17/55 after her mother had left the house and that her father came to the house about 7:40 P.M. and stayed until approximately 8:20 P.M. She stated that Danny stayed at the house after her father left until about 10:30 P.M. and then left. She also stated that her father owned some guns but that she did not know enough about guns to say what kind they were. She only knew that he kept them standing in the kitchen usually and that when she cleaned house they were always in the way, and she would have to move them.

3:30 P.M. Contacted Mrs. Wayne Moore, Rt. 3 Box 111, who states that they have lived next door for 7 years. She was up until after 11:00 PM 2/17/55 but was looking at TV and did not hear shots. She was up because one of her twin girls was out with Karen Oveross and some other girls to a skating party in Salem. The girls arrived home about 10:37 P.M.

The first that she knew of the shooting was about 7:00 A.M 2/18/55 when Mrs. Harvey Kaser called her. About 11:00 A.M. She saw Casper Oveross on the back end of the Oveross place. Mrs. Moore stated that she had heard about Ethel since 1953, when Casper asked Ervine Kaser to keep his eye on Ethel and Alvin [EK_note: Alvis] Brunner. She thinks that Ethel Oveross is convinced that Casper killed Ervin. She states that Wayne Moore owns a 30-30 rifle which has been standing in the woodshed for some time. Any one who knew of its whereabouts would have had access to it. She stated that we would be welcome to take the gun for any tests that we would care to make. She could not remember of Casper doing any shooting around the place lately.

4:20 P.M. Contacted Ethel Oveross at the Harvey Kaser place. She repeated her story of meeting Ervin Kaser about two miles north of Silverton on the night of the shooting and getting into his car. They drove to a side road on the east side of Mt. Angel and parked until about 10:00 P.M. when they stared back towards her car. She stated that she had started going with Ervin about 2 1/2 years ago and has seen him about one or two times a week since then. Colleen is anxious to see a reconciliation. Casper has been back several times to try and take her out. Casper took his rifle with him when he moved out in August. She stated that Cap bought the gun after the war when they were still hard to get. Showed us picture of Cap and Floyd Staiger with large deer and two rifles leaning against it. She and Colleen and Karen and Daniel Gilham visited Cap 15 or 20 minutes on Sunday [EK_note: Feb 20]. She heard shots but did not get up. She made a remark to Colleen about them. She did not hear a car go by right after the shots, but did hear her sisters pickup go by a little later. Did not hear her dog bark. Thinks Danny may have gone to Silverton for band practice after he left the house. (Record made of this interrogation by Sgt. Huffman)

6:28 P.M. Contacted Charlotte Moore, Delores Hansen, Ila Moore who stated that they came back from Salem to Silverton about 10:25 and dropped Arles Steinberg off at her home and then came home. They saw no suspicious cars and no car in Ervin Kasers driveway on the way home.

Mr. Wayne Moore contacted, at his residence, he states that Casper Oveross did have a 30-30 rifle (carbine) about the first of last October. He thinks that the gun was purchased about 1st of October 1948.

Mr. Moore also states that an informant tells him that Casper always purchased 150 grain bullets. Casper has a reputation of being a good fast shot, and has hunted with Bill Specht and Danny Gilham. Moore states that Cap told Harvey Kaser that if he ever caught Ethel and Ervin together he would kill them. He also believed that Cap had caught Kaser hiding in the basement of the new house which he was building. (unconfirmed) Mr. Moore stated that his own rifle had stood in the woodshed back of his house for some time and he kept it there so it would be handy for shooting dogs that might get in the sheep. He turned the gun over to the writer and State Officer Huffman for ballistics check. It is a long octagon barreled Winchester rifle, serial number 118533. The writer removed one live cartridge from the chamber (corelokt). Shell sent to laborotory for examination.

Blogically yours,