Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

June 12, 2006


Host: Michael Grant

Don Bolles


  • It's been 30 years since investigative reporter Don Bolles was murdered. Prosecutor George Weisz and Arizona Republic reporter Charles Kelly will discuss the case.
Guests:
  • Victor Mendez Mendez - director, Arizona Department of Transportation
  • George Weis - lead investigator


View Transcript
Cary Pfeffer:
Good evening, and thanks for joining us tonight on "Horizon." I'm Cary Pfeffer in tonight for Michael Grant. The presence of U.S. National Guard troops at the border may already be having an impact. U.S. and Mexico authorities say that the number of crossings by illegal immigrants is down 21\% from this time last year, and in Arizona, it is down 23\%. The numbers compared are for the first 10 days of June. The soldiers began arriving on June 3 as part of President Bush's plan to deal with illegal immigration. You may have noticed a few people getting to work a little early today, especially if they live in the southeast valley. Drivers were able to use a new 12-mile section of the Santan freeway that runs through Gilbert and Mesa. This is the longest freeway portion ever to open all at once. Victor Mendez Mendez is director of the Arizona department of transportation, and he's here to talk about that new stretch and what it means to drivers. And we will also talk about discussions to speed up the freeway construction.

Cary Pfeffer:
And as a matter of full disclosure, I want to tell you in my Monday through Friday life, I do some consulting and sometimes I consult with the Arizona department of transportation. Victor Mendez thanks very much for being here. Appreciate your taking some time on what is probably a pretty busy day for ADOT.

Victor Mendez Mendez:
Has been very busy, but I appreciate the invitation.

Cary Pfeffer:
Talk about this particular stretch. As we mentioned, it's a long stretch as far as one piece opening all at once, correct?

Victor Mendez Mendez:
Yes, absolutely correct. It's the longest stretch of freeway we have ever opened all at once, 12 miles. Last week we had a great event for the citizens out there. We had a big picnic on the freeway, and there were three firsts that we counted. The first major freeway that went into the Gilbert, the town of Gilbert, it was the first midweek event that we have ever had, and it also is the first night time event that we have had, so very successful, a lot of fun. There were about maybe up to 15,000 people out there just with their families and friends just strolling, running on the freeway, and having a good time.

Cary Pfeffer:
And people are excited about this because of the connection that it ends up making especially for people who live in that area.

Victor Mendez:
Is that correct. If you look at the map, you will find that these 12 miles actually connect, 25 miles from the Santan Freeway all the way from i-10 in chandler and connects at US 60. So, what that really means to the citizens, of course, is a shorter commute time, whether you are going to the job or going back home, we figured it will reduce your time by 15 minutes.

Cary Pfeffer:
What is the time line for this project because for the people who lived along that section of freeway, it probably feels like a very long time for those who, who Don't necessarily travel in that part of the area. It sounds like it's something that just popped up and just, in just, in just a short period of time.

Victor Mendez:
if you recall, back in 1985 we put a plan in place. A regional plan through the Maricopa association of government, and that plan has been in place for 20 years. The actual construction on the Santan freeway really has been probably about a 10-year endeavor whether you consider the planning and the actual design, and then the construction, and so we, basically, have finished 25 miles. We still have a connection out on U.S. 60 in Mesa that needs to be completed. That's already underway.

Cary Pfeffer:
What other -- for folks who live in that area, anything else that they should know about now that they have this new section of the freeway?

Victor Mendez:
There are a lot of benefits to the public. It will certainly reduce your commute time, which is a big benefit for a lot of people, but I think one thing as an ancillary benefit is that a lot of the local traffic on the local streets will now be using the freeway, so that means your congestion at the local level was less, and your local streets, actually, become safer because you have less cars on, on the local street system. In addition if you look at what, what it means to be, to the economy in the region, a great example, you have better access now to Williams getaway airport, and there's more interest with the city becoming more involved with Williams getaway, it becomes a major event out there for us to look at from an economic standpoint. And then you just look all along the entire corridor, that's new hospital built right next to the freeway for access to the hospital, access to the community colleges. We'll be much better in the long run.

Cary Pfeffer:
People are happy about that, but people who are sitting in traffic and other places are not always happy about the construction schedule, the progress that's made or the lack of progress, and so it sounds like there's this week, sort of a summit that business leaders are calling to try to address some of those issues.

Victor Mendez:
Yes, on Wednesday, it will be hosting a summit to look at acceleration options for the entire state, not just the regional issues here. We're going to be attending, and we'll be making a presentation, and as always, we're looking for a new opportunity, with new concepts and ideas to help improve our transporting system, so that will be a great opportunity for us to go on with them.

Cary Pfeffer:
For people who are frustrated, who do wait in lines and that sort of thing, I think that there's a feeling like, just build these freeways. Why aren't -- why Don't we see more of this construction that, that is evidenced by the Santan freeway? Why doesn't this happen, that sort of thing?

Victor Mendez:
As you can imagine, building a freeway system is really a massive and complex undertaking. If you consider the proposition 400, our regional transporting plan that we crafted in the last couple of years, it was approved by the voters in November of 2004. It is a very massive program that is multi-modal in nature, so you are looking at construction of the light rail, implementation of more buses, more transit, and so you look at the overall component, very, very complex, and it's very difficult to actually get it Done overnight. It takes time. I know people get impatient, but if you look at the success that we have had with the current system, when you consider in 1985 we, we had not even connected i-17 through downtown phoenix, and when you compare what we have accomplished in the last 10 years, we made a lot of progress. Still not fast enough? I understand. But we're doing the best that we can to get all the freeways built quicker, and I know all of our other regional partners are looking for better ways to, to improve the system.

Cary Pfeffer:
Speaking of the progress that's been made, this marks 50 years of our national freeway system. Talk a bit about how ADOT will commemorate that.

Victor Mendez:
That is correct. In June of 1956, president Eisenhower implemented the interstate initiative, and he did that to benefit the economy and also to improve our military defense, so you consider what's occurred in the last 50 years with respect to the interstate system alone, we now have nation-wide, over 45,000 miles of interstate. In Arizona alone, we have over 1,500 miles of interstate systems, when you consider i-10 and i-17, so a lot of progress has been made. We'll continue to make progress improving i-10, i-17 up north, and if you look at what we did here recently in the west valley, working with Goodyear and three other towns, or cities out there, we're looking to accelerate improvements on i-10.

Cary Pfeffer:
For people interested in the latest updates on where the freeways are going and that sort of thing, I would imagine the website would be a good place?

Victor Mendez:
Yes, we have a website at www.azdot.gov.

Cary Pfeffer:
Appreciate the update.

Victor Mendez:
Thank you for inviting me.

Cary Pfeffer:
On a busy day for you.30 years ago tomorrow, Arizona republic investigative reporter, Don Bolles, died. He was killed as he was investigating corruption here in Arizona. In a few minutes, Michael Grant had an interview from earlier this month with the prosecutor and the reporter about the Bolles murder. First, Mike Sauceda gives us a look back at the killing.

Mike Sauceda:
June 2, 1976, Arizona republic investigative investigator, Don Bolles, went to get a story, but instead, he was blown up by six sticks of dynamite placed needs his Datsun. He died 11 days later as doctors struggled to save him by amputating three of his limbs. Rod Peterson was one of the first rosters on the scene. At 401 west Clarenden, a hotel where Bolles was going to meet his source. He was blown up in the parking lot whispering the name Adamson to rescuers after the explosion.

Rod Peterson:
Heard it on the radio, police radio. I was in the pressroom. Everybody is getting ready, you know, let's go and eat. Well, at 11:30, it goes off. They talk about an explosion up here at the Clarenden hotel, and the car, being in the media as long as I've been, I knew it was, you know, somebody's car. Got out, and it was Don Bolles. When I got here, the paramedics had just loaded him into an ambulance and taken him away, and, and there was pieces of the car everywhere. You just knew that, that he had had it. I mean, put a bomb under your front seat of your car, and you are in it. It's going to be rough, very rough.

Mike Sauceda:
On the day Bolles died, racing dog owner, John Harvey Adamson was arrested for the murder. Six months later, he entered a second degree murder plea agreement admitting planting a remote controlled bomb under Bolles car.

Rod Peterson:
What had happened was John Harvey Adamson had put the bomb under him, had, had talked him into coming up here about some other deal, I Don't remember what that was, but, and Adamson put the bomb under his seat when he got in and started his car, and Adamson was in this area, and he touched it off, and so was Jimmy, the plumber, Robison, too, and Neil Roberts flew him out to Lake Havasu City. It was a big mess from the start. It never did straighten out, and then when they brought in these reporters from around the country and editors, they never found anything that they could prove.

Mike Sauceda:
Adamson implicated Max Dunlap, a Phoenix contractor, and James Robeson, the plumber. They were convicted of killing Bolles allegedly because he had angered Kemper Marley, a rich rancher, whose Dunlap's friend. Marley was never charged.

Mike Sauceda:
In 1980 the convictions were overturned by the Arizona Supreme Court. In that year, Adamson was tried again on first degree murder after the 1977 plea bargain was withdrawn. He was found guilty and sentenced to death, but the death penalty was later overturned. In 1989, Robeson was charged with murder and Dunlap charged in 1990. Dunlap was convicted and sentenced to life in prison and is still there. Robeson was acquitted but plead guilty to a lesser charge and put in prison if five years. Neil Roberts was tied to the case but never charged, a local attorney.

Rod Peterson:
Neil Roberts flew John Harvey Adamson out of here after the explosion, so he knew it was coming down. He had to. But, they never charged him. They didn't do anything to keep him. He kept claiming he did things, but you have got to have proof. You just can't, you know, arrest somebody without some type of proof. And, of course, John Harvey was a likable sucker. Even if he did, he tried to burn the Estrada restaurant, screwed that up, he tried to blow up another building, screwed that up. He spent too much time on coke, but he was a nice guy when he was sober. During the preliminary hearing, I played Gin with him, a nice guy, but he just, you know, liked to blow people up.

Mike Sauceda:
All those tied to the case, expect for Adamson, has since died. Peterson says that he would have cleared up a case right from the start.

Rod Peterson:
What I probably thought, maybe what they should have Done since john Harvey Adamson was on cocaine and booze, they should have all gone up to the Ivanhoe up on central avenue, should have taken Neil robs, he's the one that had him flown out of the state after the explosion, John Harvey, Max Dunlap, Marley, and Jimmy, the plumber, Robeson. They should have taken them all up there to the Ivanhoe, fed them booze and cocaine, who wanted it, and sooner or later, they would have talked.

Michael Grant:
Here to talk about the Don Bolles murder case is George Weis, the lead investigator in the second round of prosecutions, and also joining me is Charles Kelly, a colleague of Bolles at the Arizona republic. It's good to see both you guys. We are taking a stroll down memory lane. I was on duty that afternoon doing radio news, and it was obvious that it was a more eventful afternoon of, one of the more eventful radio afternoons of my career. George, you have got the next day's newspaper up there. Why don't you hold that up?

George Weis:
This was the next day, the headline the next day talking about the murder and a picture, of course, a photograph of the vehicle with the investigators starting to take their measurements.

Michael Grant:
And Don survived, if memory serve, I want to say 11 days after the bombing?

George Weis:
It was excruciating. Don was known to be tenacious, and never give up attitude, tremendous determination. Here he was, he was bombed in his car as he was pulling out. He was thrown half out of the car. He already had a leg that was almost all gone. He was able to still say some words as the fire was coming up, and then to live for 11 days. His one leg was amputated, then an arm, and then another leg.

Michael Grant:
Yeah.

George Weis:
And even during that time, one time coming back and trying to answer questions using his fingers as the homicide deaf, sellers, asked him questions. It was a crucial waiting way for someone who was a father and husband.

Michael Grant:
Don had been reporting for a long time, but ironically enough, he really spent more time at his state capitol assignment at that stage than an investigative assignment.

Charles Kelly:
He was covering the legislature at the time, but as many people have pointed out, it was kind of hard to keep Don away from investigative work, and he continued to follow up leads, particularly in regard to the racing industry in the state and emprise corporation during that period of time so he hadn't completely abandoned it but he had a different assignment at the time.

Michael Grant:
A dogged reporter.

Charles Kelly:
Very dogged and meticulous and just really wouldn't quit.

Michael Grant:
What do we know about what really happened? George?

George Weis:
Well, I think what we did in two different sets of cases, there was a prosecution that occurred within the year of the bombing, and then a renewed prosecution that occurred about, oh, about 17 years later or so, and we, basically, filed the evidence. There's a number of theories out there on what happens here and what happened there and, and there's a mystique about it, kind of a horrific mystique that tears at your guts and, and touches your heart, but basically, we followed the lead, and John Adamson, who was kind of a local con man, burglar shoplifter said that he was hired by Max Dunlap, who was a developer in town, to kill, basically, three people. And actually, there were three at the time, and it was supposed to be Bruce Babbitt, the then attorney general, and an employee for Kemper Marley, who loaned the largest liquor wholesale in the state, and that he was told he needed to do Don Bolles first, and it dealt with the stories that Don had Done, and which had caused Kemper Marley, who's like a father figure to Max Dunlap and who max owed some million dollars in loans, caused him to get off the racing commission.

Michael Grant:
It also mention, obviously, at that point in time, of inprize, which was the dog racing connection, also mentions of, of organized crime. Any of those ever tied in?

George Weis:
Well, we followed every lead we could. The defense attorneys came up with things that -- we followed those leads. There were some, some organized crime related connections, some of these people, like Jim Robeson, who was the person Adamson says flipped the switch on the remote controlled bomb that went off. He was tied very closely to Chicago organizes crime figures. Kemper Marley reportedly ran the wire service for the organized crime way back when, according to the F.B.I. reports from that time, so there was an in and out of people related to that, but it wasn't, I think, looked at as an organized crime bombing but rather more possibly a revenge or something else that may be Don had been looking at.

Michael Grant:
Chuck, there was also, I think, at one point in time, there was a thought there was some state -- some land fraud activity somehow tied in as a possible, possible motive.

Charles Kelly:
Well, land fraud was at the center of the, of the tip, probably a false tip that Adamson was passing along to Bolles, or said he was going to pass to Bolles the day of the bombing. That, that land fraud involving high state officials and, and all of this tied into much of the stuff that Don had done in the past. Of course, Arizona was having land fraud at the time. But as the story went forward and as the prosecution figured out, I don't think it figured into the prosecution very much.

Michael Grant:
It was a much smaller community back, back then. The bizarre killing had occurred, which was very high profile. Chuck, 14, 15 months before the Bolles bombing?

Charles Kelly:
February of 1975, I believe, ed lazar was an accountant for Ned Warren, who is known as the land fraud king of Arizona, and one morning, actually, within sight of the Ivanhoe bar, which was the gathering place for a lot of the people involved in the Bolles killing, ed lazar was shot to death in an underground level of the garage there. As it turned out years and years later hit men were brought in from Chicago.

Michael Grant:
All right. Dunlap and Robeson -- well, Adamson cuts a deal.

George Weis:
Correct.

Michael Grant:
Dunlap and Robeson are convicted. The convictions are overturned. Why were they overturned?

George Weis:
Well, the legal thing -- some appeal came up, and basically they were overturned because the defense did not have the opportunity to question John Adamson, the lead witness, about his income tax, and it was felt that, therefore, they did not have -- they were not able to fully examine, cross examine him as to his varsity on other things.

George Weis:
Yes.

Michael Grant:
A lot of people were surprised.

George Weis:
Yes.

Michael Grant:
As for that reason.

George Weis:
That's correct. So he was sent back and charges were dismissed, and then John Adamson refused to testify a second time because he wanted the college education for his kid --

Michael Grant:
Basically he wanted to renegotiate his plea agreement, didn't he?

George Weis:
Correct.

Michael Grant:
And Bob Corbin said no, we're not going to go there.

Michael Grant:
Correct, by this time, Bob Corbin is attorney general.

George Weis:
Yeah. And bob did a phenomenal job, and later on in the mid 1980's, actually, he and I were talking, and there was new evidence that was coming up, and he wanted to go ahead and review the entire case, follow up on the new evidence that we were proceeding, including some secret payments between Max Dunlap and Jim Robison, and said, let's go forced, but let's find out what the truth s there is no sacred cow. Look up every evidence, follow everything you can, and we started this from scratch, but utilizing the great work that the previous investigators and prosecutors had worked on who dedicated themselves to this case.

Michael Grant:
And chuck, in the meantime, there was the old expression that you never wanted to kill a cop. Well, you never want to kill a reporter, either, because the investigative reporters' editors' group comes here to phoenix and spends, what, seven or eight months poking around.

Charles Kelly:
Several months, that's correct, and they brought in quite a number of reporters from across the country, very fine reporters.

Michael Grant:
Ironically enough, though, they produced their product in the Arizona republic -- and the Arizona republic declines to run it.

Charles Kelly:
They did decline to run it. Part of that was really a problem of communication between the publisher at the time, napoleon, and some of the editors and reporters in the trenches. Actually, three reporters for the republic worked on the project. I wrote a couple of the stories there, one of which we were sued over, but prevailed, more or less. But, when it came to the crunch, the republic's lawyer had not reviewed the material even though the republic had been invited to review it, so we wound up with the lawyers for the I.R.E. who looked at it in depth, but without his attorney general lawyer there looking at it, she -- and by this time with lots of the reporters and editors out of town, it became a difficult task to, to vet the material to her satisfaction, and she decided not to run it. It was a shame because it was a wonderful effort on the part of the I.R.E.

Michael Grant:
Which led to sort of a bizarre episode in the local broadcast history. A local radio station reading the copy, because the Republic wasn't running it in the morning?

George Weis:
Right. There was scores of other newspapers from the Arizona Daily Star that came up, and yes, I think you were over there at KOI at the time. In fact, I was the one handing over the script.

Michael Grant:
That's right.

Michael Grant:
I was hoarse by the time that story ended.

George Weis:
But the key was not the stories, and chuck and I were both involved in that because of the reason to say to anyone, if you harm or kill a reporter, 40 more will come and take its place. This was an insurance policy for all reporters. It had never been Done before. They said you couldn't put these reporters -- but it did work as a project. It's never been duplicated since, but I think the message was there. We had a heinous crime occur that touched our hearts and our minds, and now we have to insure that we never forget, so hopefully it will never be repeated.

Michael Grant:
30 years ago tomorrow, time flies. Chuck Kelly, good seeing you again.

Charles Weis:
Thank you. Good to see you, mike.

Michael grant:
George Weis, same here.

George Weis:
Thanks for this, Michael.

Cary Pfeffer:
On Wednesday, the legislature has been looking at possible pay raises for Arizona's teachers, and Thursday, we'll learn about the summer institute on community at ASU. If you would like to see a transcript of tonight's show or get information about upcoming topics, please visit our website at azpbs.org, and once you get to our homepage, click on the word "horizon" for more details. Thanks very much for watching and tuning in tonight. I'm cary pfeffer sitting in for michael grant. We hope you enjoyed program. Have a great evening and we'll see you right back here tomorrow night.


New Freeway


  • The Southeast valley picked up another 12 mile stretch of freeway this morning, when the newest leg of the Santan Freeway opened. Arizona Department of Transportation Director Victor Mendez joins us to talk about the difference this stretch of road will make, plus he will discuss an upcoming summit, organized to try to speed up highway construction in the Valley.
Guests:
  • Victor Mendez Mendez - director, Arizona Department of Transportation
  • George Weis - lead investigator


View Transcript
Cary Pfeffer:
Good evening, and thanks for joining us tonight on "Horizon." I'm Cary Pfeffer in tonight for Michael Grant. The presence of U.S. National Guard troops at the border may already be having an impact. U.S. and Mexico authorities say that the number of crossings by illegal immigrants is down 21\% from this time last year, and in Arizona, it is down 23\%. The numbers compared are for the first 10 days of June. The soldiers began arriving on June 3 as part of President Bush's plan to deal with illegal immigration. You may have noticed a few people getting to work a little early today, especially if they live in the southeast valley. Drivers were able to use a new 12-mile section of the Santan freeway that runs through Gilbert and Mesa. This is the longest freeway portion ever to open all at once. Victor Mendez Mendez is director of the Arizona department of transportation, and he's here to talk about that new stretch and what it means to drivers. And we will also talk about discussions to speed up the freeway construction.

Cary Pfeffer:
And as a matter of full disclosure, I want to tell you in my Monday through Friday life, I do some consulting and sometimes I consult with the Arizona department of transportation. Victor Mendez thanks very much for being here. Appreciate your taking some time on what is probably a pretty busy day for ADOT.

Victor Mendez Mendez:
Has been very busy, but I appreciate the invitation.

Cary Pfeffer:
Talk about this particular stretch. As we mentioned, it's a long stretch as far as one piece opening all at once, correct?

Victor Mendez Mendez:
Yes, absolutely correct. It's the longest stretch of freeway we have ever opened all at once, 12 miles. Last week we had a great event for the citizens out there. We had a big picnic on the freeway, and there were three firsts that we counted. The first major freeway that went into the Gilbert, the town of Gilbert, it was the first midweek event that we have ever had, and it also is the first night time event that we have had, so very successful, a lot of fun. There were about maybe up to 15,000 people out there just with their families and friends just strolling, running on the freeway, and having a good time.

Cary Pfeffer:
And people are excited about this because of the connection that it ends up making especially for people who live in that area.

Victor Mendez:
Is that correct. If you look at the map, you will find that these 12 miles actually connect, 25 miles from the Santan Freeway all the way from i-10 in chandler and connects at US 60. So, what that really means to the citizens, of course, is a shorter commute time, whether you are going to the job or going back home, we figured it will reduce your time by 15 minutes.

Cary Pfeffer:
What is the time line for this project because for the people who lived along that section of freeway, it probably feels like a very long time for those who, who Don't necessarily travel in that part of the area. It sounds like it's something that just popped up and just, in just, in just a short period of time.

Victor Mendez:
if you recall, back in 1985 we put a plan in place. A regional plan through the Maricopa association of government, and that plan has been in place for 20 years. The actual construction on the Santan freeway really has been probably about a 10-year endeavor whether you consider the planning and the actual design, and then the construction, and so we, basically, have finished 25 miles. We still have a connection out on U.S. 60 in Mesa that needs to be completed. That's already underway.

Cary Pfeffer:
What other -- for folks who live in that area, anything else that they should know about now that they have this new section of the freeway?

Victor Mendez:
There are a lot of benefits to the public. It will certainly reduce your commute time, which is a big benefit for a lot of people, but I think one thing as an ancillary benefit is that a lot of the local traffic on the local streets will now be using the freeway, so that means your congestion at the local level was less, and your local streets, actually, become safer because you have less cars on, on the local street system. In addition if you look at what, what it means to be, to the economy in the region, a great example, you have better access now to Williams getaway airport, and there's more interest with the city becoming more involved with Williams getaway, it becomes a major event out there for us to look at from an economic standpoint. And then you just look all along the entire corridor, that's new hospital built right next to the freeway for access to the hospital, access to the community colleges. We'll be much better in the long run.

Cary Pfeffer:
People are happy about that, but people who are sitting in traffic and other places are not always happy about the construction schedule, the progress that's made or the lack of progress, and so it sounds like there's this week, sort of a summit that business leaders are calling to try to address some of those issues.

Victor Mendez:
Yes, on Wednesday, it will be hosting a summit to look at acceleration options for the entire state, not just the regional issues here. We're going to be attending, and we'll be making a presentation, and as always, we're looking for a new opportunity, with new concepts and ideas to help improve our transporting system, so that will be a great opportunity for us to go on with them.

Cary Pfeffer:
For people who are frustrated, who do wait in lines and that sort of thing, I think that there's a feeling like, just build these freeways. Why aren't -- why Don't we see more of this construction that, that is evidenced by the Santan freeway? Why doesn't this happen, that sort of thing?

Victor Mendez:
As you can imagine, building a freeway system is really a massive and complex undertaking. If you consider the proposition 400, our regional transporting plan that we crafted in the last couple of years, it was approved by the voters in November of 2004. It is a very massive program that is multi-modal in nature, so you are looking at construction of the light rail, implementation of more buses, more transit, and so you look at the overall component, very, very complex, and it's very difficult to actually get it Done overnight. It takes time. I know people get impatient, but if you look at the success that we have had with the current system, when you consider in 1985 we, we had not even connected i-17 through downtown phoenix, and when you compare what we have accomplished in the last 10 years, we made a lot of progress. Still not fast enough? I understand. But we're doing the best that we can to get all the freeways built quicker, and I know all of our other regional partners are looking for better ways to, to improve the system.

Cary Pfeffer:
Speaking of the progress that's been made, this marks 50 years of our national freeway system. Talk a bit about how ADOT will commemorate that.

Victor Mendez:
That is correct. In June of 1956, president Eisenhower implemented the interstate initiative, and he did that to benefit the economy and also to improve our military defense, so you consider what's occurred in the last 50 years with respect to the interstate system alone, we now have nation-wide, over 45,000 miles of interstate. In Arizona alone, we have over 1,500 miles of interstate systems, when you consider i-10 and i-17, so a lot of progress has been made. We'll continue to make progress improving i-10, i-17 up north, and if you look at what we did here recently in the west valley, working with Goodyear and three other towns, or cities out there, we're looking to accelerate improvements on i-10.

Cary Pfeffer:
For people interested in the latest updates on where the freeways are going and that sort of thing, I would imagine the website would be a good place?

Victor Mendez:
Yes, we have a website at www.azdot.gov.

Cary Pfeffer:
Appreciate the update.

Victor Mendez:
Thank you for inviting me.

Cary Pfeffer:
On a busy day for you.30 years ago tomorrow, Arizona republic investigative reporter, Don Bolles, died. He was killed as he was investigating corruption here in Arizona. In a few minutes, Michael Grant had an interview from earlier this month with the prosecutor and the reporter about the Bolles murder. First, Mike Sauceda gives us a look back at the killing.

Mike Sauceda:
June 2, 1976, Arizona republic investigative investigator, Don Bolles, went to get a story, but instead, he was blown up by six sticks of dynamite placed needs his Datsun. He died 11 days later as doctors struggled to save him by amputating three of his limbs. Rod Peterson was one of the first rosters on the scene. At 401 west Clarenden, a hotel where Bolles was going to meet his source. He was blown up in the parking lot whispering the name Adamson to rescuers after the explosion.

Rod Peterson:
Heard it on the radio, police radio. I was in the pressroom. Everybody is getting ready, you know, let's go and eat. Well, at 11:30, it goes off. They talk about an explosion up here at the Clarenden hotel, and the car, being in the media as long as I've been, I knew it was, you know, somebody's car. Got out, and it was Don Bolles. When I got here, the paramedics had just loaded him into an ambulance and taken him away, and, and there was pieces of the car everywhere. You just knew that, that he had had it. I mean, put a bomb under your front seat of your car, and you are in it. It's going to be rough, very rough.

Mike Sauceda:
On the day Bolles died, racing dog owner, John Harvey Adamson was arrested for the murder. Six months later, he entered a second degree murder plea agreement admitting planting a remote controlled bomb under Bolles car.

Rod Peterson:
What had happened was John Harvey Adamson had put the bomb under him, had, had talked him into coming up here about some other deal, I Don't remember what that was, but, and Adamson put the bomb under his seat when he got in and started his car, and Adamson was in this area, and he touched it off, and so was Jimmy, the plumber, Robison, too, and Neil Roberts flew him out to Lake Havasu City. It was a big mess from the start. It never did straighten out, and then when they brought in these reporters from around the country and editors, they never found anything that they could prove.

Mike Sauceda:
Adamson implicated Max Dunlap, a Phoenix contractor, and James Robeson, the plumber. They were convicted of killing Bolles allegedly because he had angered Kemper Marley, a rich rancher, whose Dunlap's friend. Marley was never charged.

Mike Sauceda:
In 1980 the convictions were overturned by the Arizona Supreme Court. In that year, Adamson was tried again on first degree murder after the 1977 plea bargain was withdrawn. He was found guilty and sentenced to death, but the death penalty was later overturned. In 1989, Robeson was charged with murder and Dunlap charged in 1990. Dunlap was convicted and sentenced to life in prison and is still there. Robeson was acquitted but plead guilty to a lesser charge and put in prison if five years. Neil Roberts was tied to the case but never charged, a local attorney.

Rod Peterson:
Neil Roberts flew John Harvey Adamson out of here after the explosion, so he knew it was coming down. He had to. But, they never charged him. They didn't do anything to keep him. He kept claiming he did things, but you have got to have proof. You just can't, you know, arrest somebody without some type of proof. And, of course, John Harvey was a likable sucker. Even if he did, he tried to burn the Estrada restaurant, screwed that up, he tried to blow up another building, screwed that up. He spent too much time on coke, but he was a nice guy when he was sober. During the preliminary hearing, I played Gin with him, a nice guy, but he just, you know, liked to blow people up.

Mike Sauceda:
All those tied to the case, expect for Adamson, has since died. Peterson says that he would have cleared up a case right from the start.

Rod Peterson:
What I probably thought, maybe what they should have Done since john Harvey Adamson was on cocaine and booze, they should have all gone up to the Ivanhoe up on central avenue, should have taken Neil robs, he's the one that had him flown out of the state after the explosion, John Harvey, Max Dunlap, Marley, and Jimmy, the plumber, Robeson. They should have taken them all up there to the Ivanhoe, fed them booze and cocaine, who wanted it, and sooner or later, they would have talked.

Michael Grant:
Here to talk about the Don Bolles murder case is George Weis, the lead investigator in the second round of prosecutions, and also joining me is Charles Kelly, a colleague of Bolles at the Arizona republic. It's good to see both you guys. We are taking a stroll down memory lane. I was on duty that afternoon doing radio news, and it was obvious that it was a more eventful afternoon of, one of the more eventful radio afternoons of my career. George, you have got the next day's newspaper up there. Why don't you hold that up?

George Weis:
This was the next day, the headline the next day talking about the murder and a picture, of course, a photograph of the vehicle with the investigators starting to take their measurements.

Michael Grant:
And Don survived, if memory serve, I want to say 11 days after the bombing?

George Weis:
It was excruciating. Don was known to be tenacious, and never give up attitude, tremendous determination. Here he was, he was bombed in his car as he was pulling out. He was thrown half out of the car. He already had a leg that was almost all gone. He was able to still say some words as the fire was coming up, and then to live for 11 days. His one leg was amputated, then an arm, and then another leg.

Michael Grant:
Yeah.

George Weis:
And even during that time, one time coming back and trying to answer questions using his fingers as the homicide deaf, sellers, asked him questions. It was a crucial waiting way for someone who was a father and husband.

Michael Grant:
Don had been reporting for a long time, but ironically enough, he really spent more time at his state capitol assignment at that stage than an investigative assignment.

Charles Kelly:
He was covering the legislature at the time, but as many people have pointed out, it was kind of hard to keep Don away from investigative work, and he continued to follow up leads, particularly in regard to the racing industry in the state and emprise corporation during that period of time so he hadn't completely abandoned it but he had a different assignment at the time.

Michael Grant:
A dogged reporter.

Charles Kelly:
Very dogged and meticulous and just really wouldn't quit.

Michael Grant:
What do we know about what really happened? George?

George Weis:
Well, I think what we did in two different sets of cases, there was a prosecution that occurred within the year of the bombing, and then a renewed prosecution that occurred about, oh, about 17 years later or so, and we, basically, filed the evidence. There's a number of theories out there on what happens here and what happened there and, and there's a mystique about it, kind of a horrific mystique that tears at your guts and, and touches your heart, but basically, we followed the lead, and John Adamson, who was kind of a local con man, burglar shoplifter said that he was hired by Max Dunlap, who was a developer in town, to kill, basically, three people. And actually, there were three at the time, and it was supposed to be Bruce Babbitt, the then attorney general, and an employee for Kemper Marley, who loaned the largest liquor wholesale in the state, and that he was told he needed to do Don Bolles first, and it dealt with the stories that Don had Done, and which had caused Kemper Marley, who's like a father figure to Max Dunlap and who max owed some million dollars in loans, caused him to get off the racing commission.

Michael Grant:
It also mention, obviously, at that point in time, of inprize, which was the dog racing connection, also mentions of, of organized crime. Any of those ever tied in?

George Weis:
Well, we followed every lead we could. The defense attorneys came up with things that -- we followed those leads. There were some, some organized crime related connections, some of these people, like Jim Robeson, who was the person Adamson says flipped the switch on the remote controlled bomb that went off. He was tied very closely to Chicago organizes crime figures. Kemper Marley reportedly ran the wire service for the organized crime way back when, according to the F.B.I. reports from that time, so there was an in and out of people related to that, but it wasn't, I think, looked at as an organized crime bombing but rather more possibly a revenge or something else that may be Don had been looking at.

Michael Grant:
Chuck, there was also, I think, at one point in time, there was a thought there was some state -- some land fraud activity somehow tied in as a possible, possible motive.

Charles Kelly:
Well, land fraud was at the center of the, of the tip, probably a false tip that Adamson was passing along to Bolles, or said he was going to pass to Bolles the day of the bombing. That, that land fraud involving high state officials and, and all of this tied into much of the stuff that Don had done in the past. Of course, Arizona was having land fraud at the time. But as the story went forward and as the prosecution figured out, I don't think it figured into the prosecution very much.

Michael Grant:
It was a much smaller community back, back then. The bizarre killing had occurred, which was very high profile. Chuck, 14, 15 months before the Bolles bombing?

Charles Kelly:
February of 1975, I believe, ed lazar was an accountant for Ned Warren, who is known as the land fraud king of Arizona, and one morning, actually, within sight of the Ivanhoe bar, which was the gathering place for a lot of the people involved in the Bolles killing, ed lazar was shot to death in an underground level of the garage there. As it turned out years and years later hit men were brought in from Chicago.

Michael Grant:
All right. Dunlap and Robeson -- well, Adamson cuts a deal.

George Weis:
Correct.

Michael Grant:
Dunlap and Robeson are convicted. The convictions are overturned. Why were they overturned?

George Weis:
Well, the legal thing -- some appeal came up, and basically they were overturned because the defense did not have the opportunity to question John Adamson, the lead witness, about his income tax, and it was felt that, therefore, they did not have -- they were not able to fully examine, cross examine him as to his varsity on other things.

George Weis:
Yes.

Michael Grant:
A lot of people were surprised.

George Weis:
Yes.

Michael Grant:
As for that reason.

George Weis:
That's correct. So he was sent back and charges were dismissed, and then John Adamson refused to testify a second time because he wanted the college education for his kid --

Michael Grant:
Basically he wanted to renegotiate his plea agreement, didn't he?

George Weis:
Correct.

Michael Grant:
And Bob Corbin said no, we're not going to go there.

Michael Grant:
Correct, by this time, Bob Corbin is attorney general.

George Weis:
Yeah. And bob did a phenomenal job, and later on in the mid 1980's, actually, he and I were talking, and there was new evidence that was coming up, and he wanted to go ahead and review the entire case, follow up on the new evidence that we were proceeding, including some secret payments between Max Dunlap and Jim Robison, and said, let's go forced, but let's find out what the truth s there is no sacred cow. Look up every evidence, follow everything you can, and we started this from scratch, but utilizing the great work that the previous investigators and prosecutors had worked on who dedicated themselves to this case.

Michael Grant:
And chuck, in the meantime, there was the old expression that you never wanted to kill a cop. Well, you never want to kill a reporter, either, because the investigative reporters' editors' group comes here to phoenix and spends, what, seven or eight months poking around.

Charles Kelly:
Several months, that's correct, and they brought in quite a number of reporters from across the country, very fine reporters.

Michael Grant:
Ironically enough, though, they produced their product in the Arizona republic -- and the Arizona republic declines to run it.

Charles Kelly:
They did decline to run it. Part of that was really a problem of communication between the publisher at the time, napoleon, and some of the editors and reporters in the trenches. Actually, three reporters for the republic worked on the project. I wrote a couple of the stories there, one of which we were sued over, but prevailed, more or less. But, when it came to the crunch, the republic's lawyer had not reviewed the material even though the republic had been invited to review it, so we wound up with the lawyers for the I.R.E. who looked at it in depth, but without his attorney general lawyer there looking at it, she -- and by this time with lots of the reporters and editors out of town, it became a difficult task to, to vet the material to her satisfaction, and she decided not to run it. It was a shame because it was a wonderful effort on the part of the I.R.E.

Michael Grant:
Which led to sort of a bizarre episode in the local broadcast history. A local radio station reading the copy, because the Republic wasn't running it in the morning?

George Weis:
Right. There was scores of other newspapers from the Arizona Daily Star that came up, and yes, I think you were over there at KOI at the time. In fact, I was the one handing over the script.

Michael Grant:
That's right.

Michael Grant:
I was hoarse by the time that story ended.

George Weis:
But the key was not the stories, and chuck and I were both involved in that because of the reason to say to anyone, if you harm or kill a reporter, 40 more will come and take its place. This was an insurance policy for all reporters. It had never been Done before. They said you couldn't put these reporters -- but it did work as a project. It's never been duplicated since, but I think the message was there. We had a heinous crime occur that touched our hearts and our minds, and now we have to insure that we never forget, so hopefully it will never be repeated.

Michael Grant:
30 years ago tomorrow, time flies. Chuck Kelly, good seeing you again.

Charles Weis:
Thank you. Good to see you, mike.

Michael grant:
George Weis, same here.

George Weis:
Thanks for this, Michael.

Cary Pfeffer:
On Wednesday, the legislature has been looking at possible pay raises for Arizona's teachers, and Thursday, we'll learn about the summer institute on community at ASU. If you would like to see a transcript of tonight's show or get information about upcoming topics, please visit our website at azpbs.org, and once you get to our homepage, click on the word "horizon" for more details. Thanks very much for watching and tuning in tonight. I'm cary pfeffer sitting in for michael grant. We hope you enjoyed program. Have a great evening and we'll see you right back here tomorrow night.



What's on?

Content Partner:

  About KAET Contact Support Legal Follow Us  
  About Eight
Mission/Impact
History
Site Map
Pressroom
Contact Us
Sign up for e-news
Pledge to Eight
Donate Monthly
Volunteer
Other ways to support
FCC Public Files
Privacy Policy
Facebook
Twitter
YouTube
Google+
Pinterest
 

Need help accessing? Contact disabilityaccess@asu.edu

Eight is a member-supported service of Arizona State University    Copyright Arizona Board of Regents