Murderpedia

 

 

Juan Ignacio Blanco  

 

  MALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

  FEMALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

 

 

 
 

Oscar Ray BOLIN Jr.

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Long-haul trucker - Rape
Number of victims: 3 +
Date of murders: January 25/November 5/December 5, 1986
Date of arrest: July 1990
Date of birth: January 22, 1962
Victims profile: Stephanie Anne Collins, 17 / Natalie "Blanche" Holley, 25 / Teri Lynn Matthews, 26
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife - Beating over the head
Location: Florida, USA
Status: Sentenced to death. Sentenced to life in prison
 
 
 
 
 
 
photo gallery
 
 
 
 
 

Supreme Court of Florida

 
opinion 78468 opinion 78905
 
opinion 80794 opinion 89385
 
opinion SC95774 opinion SC95775
 
opinion SC02-37 opinion SC08-1963
 
 
 
 
 
 

A former carnival worker, Bolin was found guilty of first-degree murder and false imprisonment in the November 1986 death of Stephanie Collins, 17. The high school senior's disappearance from a suburban shopping center sparked a massive monthlong search. He was sentenced to death almost eight years ago for the murders of Collins, Matthews y Natalie Blanche Holley, 25, de Tampa. He won new trials, however, when Court Supreme Florida said improper evidence had been introduced.

Bolin was retried in 1996 and sent to death row for murdering Matthews. In February, a jury of Hillsborough recomended Bolin get the death penalty for killing Holley. He is to be formally sentenced by a judge in May in the Holley and Collins cases. Prosecutors say Bolin secuestró a Collins after she stopped by the drugstore where she worked to see about picking up extra work over the holidays. She was on her way to chorus practice. Bolin took the teenager to his north Tampa travel trailer and bludgeoned and stabbed her to death, jurors were told.

A hair found on Collins was matched to Bolin, FBI analysts testified. Bolin's wife at the time of the murders, who now is dead, testified on videotape that he admitted killing Collins. Bolin's attorneys said their client merely helped conceal the crime of an unnamed person. Bolin did not take the stand. After the trial, his attorneys said they think numerous issues will provide a basis for an appeal. They argued during trial that they were hamstrung by a poor cross- examination of Bolin's ex-wife by his previous attorneys.

However completely unremarkable Bolin is as a serial killer, he became the focus of national media attention when he married Rosalie Martinez, a socially prominent Tampa woman. Rosalie left her attorney-husband and four young daughters, and married him.

"We were married Oct. 5, over the phone," said Rosie, 37, of her 1996 death row nuptials to Oscar Ray Bolin Jr. It wasn't exactly a traditional ceremony. "I was in my apartment in Gainesville, and he was in the county jail." As newlyweds they meet every Saturday in the cafeteria of the state prison in Starke, Fla., where they kiss, hug and hold hands. However, they have not consummated their union. "I... desire to be passionate with him," she said, "but we have to be strong." The very devoted and, in our opinion, somewhat gullible bride accepted Oscar's wedding proposal because she believes he is innocent. "I never wanted him to think that I would abandon him," she said. "He's given me a purpose. I'm on a crusade."

Shedding a different light on the case, on October 26, 1997, Mrs. Oscar Ray Bolin, Jr. wrote to the Archives: "My name has never been "Rosie" and I am not 'strangely idiotic' -- Oscar has one conviction -- and has not been tried on other two cases -- he is not a suspected serial killer -- he has been kicked out of the club! I want my husband's name taken off (The Serial Killer Hit List) -- Rosalie Bolin.

Cupcake, a visitor to the Archives had this to say about Rosalie Martinez:

During the trials in the early 90's I was training to be a victim advocate. I was privileged to sit with and "support" the parents of the 3 women Bolin murdered. I was present during the first trial AND the 1st retrial of Terry Lynn Matthews. I was present when Rosalie Martinez was evicted from the court room for "trying" to intimidate Bolin's half-brother while he was testifying. (it was quite heartening for the mother of Matthews I might add) I just finished reading her ridiculous letter to this site saying he was only tried for the one murder and was not a serial killer. In fact, I nearly fell off my chair. He has been tried AND convicted 6 (maybe 7 times for Christ's sake)

When I think of Rosalie Martinez Bolin I can't help but remember her truly outrageous statement of "I feel pretty" when 20/20 asked her what in the world could she possibly be thinking marrying this headcase. I wonder how pretty SHE would feel with a tire iron across her head. And lets not forget that the tire iron was only used because Bolin's stabbing and drowning didn't kill Matthews. How pretty she would be. On behalf of all of us women out here, I would like to make a collective sigh of relief that he is not on the streets. Perhaps THAT is why Martinez is hopping around making noise? She's safe. Sit down and shut up sweetheart. Your 15 minutes are over, and I will say an extra prayer tonight that your soon to be dearly departed will get a "date" soon.

UPDATE: October 25, 2001

For the seventh time in a row, Florida serial killer Oscar Ray Bolin has been found guilty of first-degree murder. Since 1986 he has been found three times guilty of killing Terry Lynn Matthews. He has also has stood trial for the 1986 murders of two Hillsborough County women, Natalie Blanche Holley and Stephanie Collins. Twice he has been convicted for each of those murders. Each time the victims' families, the prosecutors, the judges, thought they had moved closer to justice, the Florida Supreme Court found mistakes in the trials and overturned the convictions. During Bolin's eight-day trial, signs of just how much time has passed since the killings were everywhere. Time and again, witnesses were forced to answer questions apologetically by saying, simply, "I don't remember. It's been so long." Bolin was 24 when Matthews was murdered; now he's 39.

Some witnesses have died, including Bolin's ex-wife, Cheryl Jo Coby. Another witness, Robert Kahles, committed suicide in 1991. He owned the tow-truck company that Bolin worked for in 1986. Ultimately, it was his decision to allow Bolin to take a wrecker to Pasco County on the day Matthews was abducted and murdered. Before putting a gun to his head, Kahles called his wife and said, "I shouldn't have had that boy working for us."

 
 

A convicted murderer's reversal of fortune

2 november 2001

(Court TV) — Oscar Ray Bolin has been convicted of killing three young Florida women and sentenced to death — twice.

But Bolin could prove to be the first prisoner to have a proverbial "nine lives." The defendant, tried separately for each killing, successfully appealed the guilty verdicts for each of the three murder trials. And three retrials also led the Florida Supreme Court to reverse those convictions.

Though a total of 72 jurors had found Bolin guilty in the past, the convicted killer was granted new trials in all three cases.

The first of the three trials was held in a New Port Richey, Fla., courtroom for victim Teri Lynn Matthews.

THE CRIME

On the morning of Dec. 5, 1986, the clothed body of 26-year-old Matthews was discovered wrapped in a sheet near railroad tracks in a rural area of Pasco County.

She had been stabbed in the neck and chest, and beaten repeatedly over the head. Despite the fact that it had not rained for several days, the victim and her clothing were reportedly wet. An autopsy later revealed the presence of semen in her vaginal area, although there was no specific evidence that Matthews had been sexually abused.

Authorities soon learned that the victim, who was employed by a bank, had worked until approximately 11:00 p.m. the previous evening in Tampa. After work, as she often did, Matthews had gone to visit her boyfriend, Gary McClelland. The couple went out to dinner and returned to the home McClelland shared with his parents.

Ultimately, at about 2:00 a.m., Matthews left Tampa and headed back to Pasco County, approximately 30 miles away, where she lived with her mother and stepfather. Usually, at that time of the morning, the drive would take 30 to 40 minutes.

Normally, Matthews would call her boyfriend when she got home to let him know that she had arrived safely. But this time, there was no call. McClelland finally phoned Matthews' mother, who informed him that Teri had never returned.

McClelland got into his own car and started the drive to Pasco County, looking for traces of Matthews or her red Honda along the way.

For most of his journey, McClelland saw no sign of Teri Lynn Matthews. But as he passed a post office in Land O'Lakes, Florida, McClelland noticed what appeared to be Teri's Honda in the parking lot. As McClelland approached the unattended automobile — its parking lights still on — he noticed pieces of mail strewn on the ground in the car's immediate vicinity. They were addressed to Matthews and her parents.

Sometime later, police were able to identify a woman they believed to be Matthews from a frame of videotape stamped 2:48 a.m. from a security camera at the Land O'Lakes post office. Matthews and her parents maintained a post office box at the Land O'Lakes facility, and the young woman often stopped by on her way home from work to pick up the family's mail.

But what had happened to Matthews between her arrival at the post office and the discovery of her body the next morning? For years, police were baffled. DNA testing on three semen stains found on the victim's slacks had eliminated McClelland, Matthews' boyfriend, as a suspect, and authorities had no other leads.

Then, in 1990, investigators got a break. A former Florida woman living in Ohio, who identified herself as Cheryl Coby, confided to her spouse that her former husband, Oscar Ray Bolin, had once confessed to her that he had killed Matthews. Coby's second husband contacted authorities, who went to Ohio to interview Bolin's ex-wife.

That interview led police to the most important witness in the case. According to Coby, Oscar Ray Bolin told her that his young half-brother, Phillip, helped him get rid of Matthews' body after the killing. When he was questioned by authorities, Phillip Bolin, who was 13 in 1986, confirmed Coby's story. That led to the arrest of Oscar Ray Bolin — who, at the time he was charged with the Matthews murder, was in an Ohio prison serving a 25- to 75-year sentence for kidnapping and raping a 20-year-old waitress.

THE PREVIOUS TRIALS

The Matthews case is just the beginning of Bolin's story. The investigation that resulted in Bolin's indictment for Matthews' killing also led to murder charges in two other 1986 deaths, both in Florida's Hillsborough County.

On Jan. 25, 1986, 25-year-old Blanche Holley was discovered dead in an orange grove. On Nov. 5, 1986, 17-year-old Stephanie Collins disappeared after being seen last in a drugstore parking lot. Her remains were eventually discovered near a rural road one month later — coincidentally, the same day that Teri Lynn Matthews' body was found in neighboring Pasco County.

Bolin was charged in 1990 with all three murders and underwent three trials, one for each victim. In each case, he was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to death for each of the three convictions.

In 1995, however, the Florida Supreme Court reversed all three convictions and ordered new trials. According to the high court, the prosecution and trial judge erred in allowing jurors to hear Cheryl Bolin Coby's testimony, which was protected by Florida's spousal privilege rules.

Even though the Bolins were now divorced, the justices found that the privilege still held, meaning conversations between a husband and wife are confidential.

Bolin was tried three more times. Each time he was convicted. Each time he was sentenced to death.

And each of Bolin's convictions was reversed by the Florida Supreme Court.

The high court again chided prosecutors for using Coby's testimony. This time, the state had argued that a prison suicide attempt by Bolin — in which he had reportedly written a suicide note instructing authorities to talk to Cheryl Coby — amounted to evidence that the defendant was waiving his right to spousal privilege.

But the justices rejected that argument — and also found fault with a trial judge's decision to limit the scope of defense voir dire regarding publicity about Bolin and his past legal problems.

At age 39, Bolin faced his seventh murder trial.

MOST RECENT TRIAL

The mothers of all three of his alleged murder victims have sat together through each of his previous six trials and were together in court for the seventh.

Bolin has at least one staunch supporter of his own, however — his current wife, Rosalie. An investigator formerly married to a defense attorney, the former Rosalie Martinez first met the defendant in 1995 when she worked on his case before his second round of trials.

The couple were married by telephone in 1996, while Bolin was on Death Row. Now considered an integral part of his defense team, Rosalie Bolin professes to believe that her husband is completely innocent of the murders with which he's been accused.

THE EVIDENCE

The Post Office

Like Matthews, Bolin and his then-wife, Cheryl, maintained a post office box at the Land O'Lakes post office facility. The Bolins' box was no more than a couple of feet away from the one belonging to the victim and her family.

Cheryl Bolin, who was at that time a patient in Tampa General Hospital, had asked her husband to stop by the post office and pick up a Social Security check she was expecting to receive.

In fact, Bolin had visited his wife the day before, December 4, and she had chided him for not bringing the check in question. When the defendant visited his wife later the following day, he had the check.

The Sheet

When the body of Teri Lynn Matthews was first examined, authorities quickly saw that the young woman was wrapped in a single bedsheet. That sheet was later identified as one taken from St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa.

At the time of the murder, the defendant's wife was a patient at Tampa General Hospital — but, in the past, she had also been a patient at St. Joseph's. And, as Cheryl Bolin later told authorities, she often took home various items with her after a hospital stay, including latex gloves and hospital blankets.

The Tracks

The sandy rural area in which Teri Lynn Matthews' body was discovered was criss-crossed with vehicle tire tracks. Most of them were obviously old — but one set of tracks, according to crime scene technicians, appeared to be fresh. Those tracks suggested that a large vehicle had pulled into the area from an adjacent road, then backed out again and driven away.

The most striking feature of the tracks was that they seemed to be made by a large dual-wheel vehicle, such as an automobile wrecker, which has two wheels in the front but four wheels in the back. A tire expert later determined that at least one of the treads had been made by a Cooper-brand tire.

In December 1986, Bolin was working as a trainee for a wrecker company in Tampa. Normally, Bolin went out on assignments with an experienced driver — but when a call came in on the day of the murder regarding a stranded car in Pasco County, the defendant begged for a chance to take a wrecker out by himself.

Robert Kahles, the owner of the company, didn't think he was ready, but Rosemary Kahles, Robert's wife and co-owner of the firm, convinced her husband to give Bolin a chance. The defendant left for Pasco County on his first solo run.

The plan was for Bolin to return that afternoon, as soon as his run was finished. The Kahles heard from him once that afternoon, when he called to get clearance to accept a personal check from the person whose car was being towed. But after that — nothing. Finally the coupled closed their business for the day and headed home.

Sometime that night Rosemary Kahles was awakened by a CB radio next to her bed. It was Bolin — but there was so much static that it was hard to understand what the defendant was saying. Rosemary Kahles told Bolin to go to a pay phone and call her back, but he never did.

The next morning, the Kahles opened up their business as usual, but there was still no sign of Bolin or the wrecker. Finally, sometime midmorning, the defendant and vehicle showed up. Bolin's excuse for being so tardy was that he had gotten lost. Rosemary Kahles later testified that he appeared to be dirty and disheveled, and was wearing the same clothes as the previous day.

Later that afternoon, according to Rosemary Kahles, she and some of her employees were watching television when a news report came on saying that Matthews' body had been discovered. Rosemary Kahles says she noticed that the report seemed to excite Bolin — he became, in her words, "pumped up."

Robert Kahles won't be able to testify for prosecutors — he committed suicide in 1991. According to his wife, his suicide was in part the result of guilt for what he believed was his own connection with Matthews' murder. "I shouldn't have had that boy working for us," Robert Kahles reportedly told his wife over the phone before putting a gun to his head.

The DNA Evidence

Three semen stains found on Matthews' pants revealed the presence of type A blood. Bolin is blood type AB, but prosecution experts say that deterioration before the sample could be collected may have caused some of the blood's make-up to disintegrate, leaving identifiable A blood cells, but no trace of B cells. The blood testing alone can't prove that Bolin was the source of the semen, but it can't exclude him as a possible source.

More complex testing of the semen stains resulted in the identification of five bands of DNA information. Comparing those bands with the six DNA bands distilled from Bolin's blood produced what prosecutors call a "match" — the five bands from the semen stain appear to be the same as five of Bolin's six bands. That, according to a prosecution statistician, means that there is only a one in two thousand chance that the found DNA belonged to someone other than the defendant.

The Witnesses

Aside from the science evidence, the ex-wife of Bolin's first cousin says that Bolin confessed the murder to her. Michele Steen claims that while the two were drinking one day she playfully asked him out of the blue if he had ever killed anyone. Steen says that Bolin turned serious, then described in some detail the 1986 Matthews murder.

But by far the best prosecution witness against Bolin is the defendant's own half-brother, Phillip. According to Phillip Bolin, who was then 13, his brother woke him from a sound sleep early in the morning of December 5 and told him to get up because he needed help.

Without questioning him, Phillip did so — but when he left the trailer in which he was sleeping and went outside, he was greeted with a shocking scene.

At first, according to Phillip Bolin, he heard a strange moaning sound. Then he saw what he soon realized was a person wrapped in a sheet lying on the ground — a person who was obviously still alive, making gurgling noises.

According to Phillip Bolin, Oscar Ray heard the gurgling noises, too. The defendant then took a piece of wood with a metal end — a tool known by large vehicle drivers as a "tire buddy" (used to help them check tire pressure) — and raised it up over his head. Phillip Bolin says he knew what was going to happen, so he turned away, but still heard the unmistakable sound of the weapon repeatedly striking the head of the person under the sheet. Soon, the gurgling noise stopped.

Phillip Bolin says his brother ordered him to get a garden hose and turn it on, an order which Phillip insists he refused. So, according to Phillip, Oscar Ray turned on the hose, then attempted to shove the other end into Matthews' mouth, in an apparent attempt to drown her.

Prosecutors say that Phillip Bolin's description of the body he saw matches the appearance of Matthews' body when it was discovered, down to the fact that the victim was fully dressed but wasn't wearing any shoes. And the story of Oscar Ray Bolin's attempt to drown Matthews could explain why the victim's body was wet when it was located some hours later.

Phillip Bolin says that his brother ordered him to come with him to help dump the body. Again, Phillip refused. He did, however, help his brother load the body onto the back of Oscar Ray's vehicle, a wrecker with dual wheels.

Phillip Bolin says he was so afraid of what his brother might do that he didn't tell anyone else about what happened that night, with one exception. The next day at school, he confided in his best friend, Danny Ferns. Later that day, after school was out, Ferns accompanied Phillip back home and, according to Ferns, he saw traces of blood on the grass at the Bolin home.

Shortly after, Phillip Bolin moved with his parents from Florida to Kentucky; he and Danny Ferns soon lost touch. Danny Ferns never told anyone else about what he knew and neither did Phillip Bolin. It was not until 1990, after Cheryl Bolin Coby told detectives that her husband had informed her of his brother's participation, that Phillip Bolin was questioned by authorities and told them his version of what happened that night.

THE PROSECUTION'S CASE

Prosecutors believe that Oscar Ray Bolin's murder of Teri Lynn Matthews was an opportunity killing — that the 26-year-old victim simply happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, and the defendant took advantage of that fact.

Attempting to knit the threads of evidence into a whole, the state of Florida has come up with the following possible scenario: At some point after completing his wrecker run on December 4 and 5, Bolin went to the Land O'Lakes post office to pick up his wife's Social Security check. While there, he saw Matthews, whom he accosted when she returned to her car.

Prosecutors believe Bolin forced Matthews to go back with him to the camper trailer he was living in near his parents' home, where, after raping the victim and allowing her to get dressed, he stabbed her in the throat and neck. Bolin thought she was dead, and went to get his brother to help him dispose of Matthews' body — only to be surprised that she was still alive, necessitating the blows to her head and the hose in her mouth. Then, after Phillip helped him load Matthews' sheet-covered body onto the back of the wrecker, Bolin drove to a remote site a little over a mile away, pulled into the vacant lot, dumped the body off the back of the truck, then backed out and drove away.

According to prosecutors, he nearly got away with it.

THE DEFENSE'S CASE

Defense attorneys acknowledge that at first glance there may appear to be quite a bit of evidence against Bolin. But much of that evidence is circumstantial or unreliable, note Bolin's lawyers.

While prosecutors make much of the fact that Bolin gave his wife her Social Security check on December 5, 1986 — a check which would have been delivered to the couple's postal box at the Land O'Lakes post office — defense attorneys counter that there is no proof that Bolin was ever at the facility at the same time as Matthews. The post office security videotape — which shows Matthews entering the facility at 2:48 am — has no corresponding image of Bolin.

Bolin's attorneys concede that Cheryl Bolin was once a patient at St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa and that she acknowledged taking several items from the hospital with her when she checked out, including latex gloves and a hospital blanket.

Prosecutors argue that this is how the defendant had access to the sheet in which Matthews' body was found. But Bolin's attorneys point out that the defendant's ex-wife — who is now deceased — never included a sheet in the list of items she admitted to taking from St. Joseph's.

Then there is the issue of the tire tracks found at the scene where the body was dumped. A defense expert claims that what the prosecution identified as dual-wheel tracks are in fact not the tracks of a dual-wheel vehicle at all. The defense contends that even if the tracks were made by a dual-wheel vehicle, it doesn't prove the vehicle was a wrecker. Many other vehicles have a dual-wheel design, note Bolin's supporters, including moving vans, delivery trucks and even some pick-up trucks. A large vehicle like a wrecker would also likely have broken tree branches or damaged other brush in the area in which Matthews' body was dumped, Bolin's attorneys argue, yet no such damage to any vegetation in the area was noted by crime scene investigators.

A prosecution expert says that at least one of the fresh treads at the crime scene appears to have been left by a Cooper-brand tire. Rosemary and Robert Kahles regularly purchased Cooper tires for their service vehicles. There are, however, no records to prove that the specific wrecker used by Bolin was equipped with Coopers in December 1986. By 1990, when authorities first began to investigate Bolin's connection with this case, the wrecker in question had been badly damaged in a fire and its tires had been destroyed and discarded.

Bolin's attorneys say the semen found on Matthews' slacks was from someone with type A blood, while Bolin has type AB. The defense refutes the prosecution's argument that B blood cells in the sample could have deteriorated, leaving just the A cells, and argues that it is much more likely that the semen was simply deposited by someone with type A blood.

In addition, the defense contends that the accounts of Cheryl Bolin Coby and Michele Steen are hearsay, and Phillip Bolin is not credible since he has changed his account of what happened on December 5, 1986 at least four times.

When detectives first questioned Phillip Bolin in 1990, he told them his tale of seeing his brother with Matthews' body. He stuck with that story when he testified in the first Bolin/Matthews trial. But by the second Bolin/Matthews trial, Phillip had changed his story. He signed an affidavit in which he claimed he had been coerced into fabricating his original story, disavowing that account.

When he took the stand in the second Bolin/Matthews trial, Phillip Bolin repeated his recantation. But under what some have called a masterful examination by prosecutor Mike Halkitis, Phillip changed his story again — in effect, recanting his recantation. He then told the court that he had been hounded by his parents and Bolin's wife Rosalie into disavowing his original testimony in order to help his brother's case.

Then, at a later time, Phillip Bolin appeared to change his account once again. In a recorded telephone conversation with Rosalie Bolin, he rejected again his original story, saying once more than he had been coerced into it.

Currently, Phillip Bolin is once again claiming that he saw Oscar Ray Bolin with Matthews' body on Dec. 5, 1986. He is again blaming his previous recantations on family pressure. But, as the defense points out, Phillip Bolin has clearly lied at some point, and shouldn't be trusted now by the jury.

 
 

Moms Steel Each Other Through Trials

October 04, 2005

TAMPA - The three mothers try to stay in touch through telephone calls every few months.

Occasionally, they grab lunch together when they're in the same part of town.

Often, however, it's just two of them for lunch. It's rare that all three show up at the same place at the same time.

Except for court.

The three never miss court.

"Nothing about the case subsides with us," said Kathleen "Kay" Reeves. "It's as though it is imprinted on your mind, like a child's mind at birth."

Reeves, 67, Natalie Holley, 80, and Donna Witmer, 56, have lost daughters to violent deaths.

The suspect in all three deaths is the same man: Oscar Ray Bolin.

In July 1991, Bolin was convicted in the death of Holley's daughter. Three months later, he was convicted in the slaying of Witmer's daughter. In 1992, he was convicted in the killing of Reeves' daughter.

The three mothers sat through the three trials, then through three sentencing hearings where Bolin received the death penalty.

In 1994, they comforted each other when all three convictions were overturned.

They sat through three more trials, then three more reversals on appeal.

In 2001, Bolin was again convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of Reeves' daughter. Last year, the Florida Supreme Court unanimously upheld that conviction and sentence.

The three were overjoyed.

Today, lawyers will select a new jury as prosecutors try, once again, to convict Bolin in the death of Holley's daughter. Immediately after that trial, another trial will begin, seeking to convict Bolin in the death of Witmer's daughter.

Reeves, fulfilling a pledge she made years ago, will sit next to Holley and Witmer throughout both trials -- and throughout any future hearings, should they be necessary.

"You just fortify yourself with the fact that this is another nail in the coffin," she said. "His coffin."

The mothers will lean on each other, Reeves said, until Bolin is executed.

In January 1986, Natalie "Blanche" Holley, 25, was abducted after she left the north Tampa Church's Chicken where she worked. Her stabbed body was found the next day in a Lutz orange grove.

Ten months later, Witmer's daughter disappeared from a shopping center parking lot in Carrollwood. The body of Stephanie Anne Collins, 17, was found on Dec. 5, 1986, with blunt injuries to her head.

On the same day authorities found Collins' body, they recovered the body of Reeves' daughter, Teri Lynn Matthews, beside railroad tracks in Pasco County.

The previous night, Matthews, 26, was abducted from the Land O' Lakes post office. She had been beaten, raped and stabbed, authorities said.

The three mothers would wait four years for an arrest.

The case broke when Bolin's wife came forward, saying she was with him when he dumped Collins' body.

At the time of Bolin's arrest, he was serving a 75-year prison sentence in Ohio for the abduction and rape of a truck-stop waitress.

After Bolin's murder convictions, the Florida Supreme Court granted new trials citing improper testimony from his wife, too much pretrial publicity and jury selection issues.

In his most recent appeal, for his Pasco County conviction in Matthews' death, the high court unanimously rejected defense arguments that some jurors were improperly excused from duty.

Although this week's retrials will take place in Hillsborough County, the prosecutor, Michael Halkitis, is an assistant state attorney from Pasco County. Local prosecutors recused themselves because Hillsborough County State Attorney Mark Ober has previously represented Bolin.

Over the years, as newspapers and television news stations have reported on Bolin's many trials and appeals, he also has made headlines for an unusual relationship.

In 1996, via a telephone ceremony, Oscar Ray Bolin married Rosalie Martinez.

Martinez, now Rosalie Bolin, worked for the Hillsborough County Public Defender's Office as a death penalty mitigation expert.

Long before the marriage, rumors of the romance abounded in courthouse and jail circles.

The public defender's office removed Rosalie Bolin from Oscar Ray Bolin's case because she was spending too much time on it, at the expense of other cases. She also was banned from the Hillsborough County Jail after detention deputies saw her caressing Bolin's neck and Bolin was found with a love note from her, prosecutors have said.

Now, Rosalie Bolin works as a private investigator, specializing in death penalty mitigation.

Through her husband's lawyer, she declined to comment until after the trial.

In previous interviews, she has said she will not give up fighting for her husband.

As prosecutors and defense attorneys have prepared for trial, Natalie Holley has braced herself for another stress-filled week.

"There's no way I can prepare for it," she said on Thursday. "I just have to grit my teeth and keep a straight face."

She said she always worries at the beginning of a trial, but she recently spoke to Witmer and Reeves on the phone. They talked about the pending trial, the past appeals, their other children.

"They are providing strength for me," Holley said. "I didn't know either of them at my daughter's trial, the first one. That's where we met, and we've been together ever since."

 
 

BOLIN, Oscar Ray, Jr. (W/M)

DC #519220

DOB: 01/22/62

Sixth Judicial Circuit, Pasco County, Case 91-521
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Stanley Mills
Resentencing Judge: The Honorable William R. Webb
Trial Attorneys: Douglas J. Loeffler & David Siar – Assistant Public Defenders
Attorney, Direct Appeal: Douglas S. Connor – Assistant Public Defender
Attorneys, Retrial: Paul Firmani & Dean N. Livermore – Assistant Public Defenders
Attorney, Direct Appeal Resentencing: Douglas S. Connor – Assistant Public Defender
Attorneys, Second Retrial: Samuel Williams & John Swisher – Registry
Attorney, Collateral Appeals: Andrea Norgard – Registry

Date of Offense: 12/05/86

Date of Sentence: 10/30/92

Date of Resentencing: 10/09/96

Date of Second Resentencing: 12/28/01

Circumstances of Offense: 

Teri Lynn Mathews was last seen alive on 12/05/86.  She was believed to have been abducted in the vicinity of the Land O’ Lakes Post Office, where she had a post office box.  Her car was found in the parking lot of the post office, with the engine running and the driver’s door open.  Her mail was found scattered on the ground.  Her body was found raped, stabbed and bludgeoned to death.

The investigation into Mathew’s murder uncovered no significant leads until the summer of 1990, when Danny Coby contacted Crime Stoppers in Fort Wayne, Indiana with information about the murder.  Danny Coby was married to Cheryl Coby, the former wife of the defendant, Oscar Ray Bolin.  Following the call made by her current husband, Cheryl Coby gave investigators a statement regarding the murder of Mathews, after which Bolin was indicted for her murder.

Additional Information:

Bolin was also convicted and sentenced to death for a second murder in Hillsborough County on 07/31/91 (Circuit Court Case #90-11832).  Upon Direct Appeal, his conviction and sentence were reversed, and a retrial was ordered.  Bolin was again sentenced to death on 06/04/99.  On appeal, his conviction and sentence were reversed for the second time.  In 2005 he was convicted of Second-Degree Murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Bolin was convicted and sentenced to death for a third murder in Hillsborough County on 10/11/91 (Circuit Court Case #90-11833).  Upon Direct Appeal, his conviction and sentence were reversed, and a retrial was ordered.  Bolin was again sentenced to death on 06/04/99.  On appeal, his conviction and sentence were reversed for the second time and the case is now pending a retrial.

Trial Summary:

02/19/91          Defendant indicted on:

                       Count I: First-Degree Murder

10/12/92          The jury found the defendant guilty of First-Degree Murder.

10/14/92          Upon advisory sentencing, the jury, by a 12 to 0 majority, voted for the death penalty.

10/30/92          The defendant was sentenced as followed:

                       Count I: First-Degree Murder – Death

08/21/96          At retrial, the jury found the defendant guilty of First-Degree Murder.

08/23/96          Upon advisory sentencing, the jury, by a 12 to 0 majority, voted for the death penalty.

10/09/96          The defendant was resentenced as followed:

                       Count I: First-Degree Murder – Death

10/24/01          The jury found the defendant guilty as charged and Bolin waived a jury advisory sentencing recommendation.

12/28/01          The defendant was resentenced as followed:

                               Count I: First-Degree Murder – Death

Factors Contributing to the Delay in the Imposition of the Sentence:

Twice the Florida Supreme Court has reversed Bolin’s death sentence, stemming from Circuit Court Case #91-521.  Bolin was resentenced to death for a third on 12/28/01.

Case Information:

Oscar Ray Bolin was sentenced to death on 10/30/92, after which he filed a Direct Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court on 11/19/92.  In that appeal, Bolin argued that his spousal privilege had been violated with the admission of evidence concerning privileged communications between him and his former wife, Cheryl Coby. 

The trial court contended that the privilege had been waived by the taking of a discovery deposition of Cheryl Coby.  Bolin agued that the trial court erred in failing to recognize that he had not waived this privilege, and as such, the information given at Coby’s deposition was erroneously admitted as evidence at trial. 

The Florida Supreme Court agreed.  Another issue on appeal concerned a letter that Bolin wrote to an investigating detective prior to attempting suicide in 1991. 

The State argued that Bolin voluntarily waived his spousal privilege in that letter, but the issue was not raised during trial because the court had already deemed that Bolin waived his privilege in the discovery deposition.  As such, there was insufficient evidence in the record for the Supreme Court to make a ruling as to the veracity of the voluntary waiver alleged by the State. 

The Supreme Court cautioned the trial court to closely examine the circumstances surrounding the sending of the letter and whether its contents constituted a voluntary consent to privileged information disclosed by Cheryl Coby. 

The Florida Supreme Court reversed Bolin’s conviction and sentence, and ordered a new trial on 02/09/95.

Following a retrial, Bolin was resentenced to death on 10/09/96.  Bolin then filed a Direct Appeal of that decision in the Florida Supreme Court on 11/22/96.  In that appeal, he argued that the State Circuit Court erred in denying his motion for individual and sequestered voir dire of prospective jurors who were exposed to prejudicial pretrial publicity.  The Florida Supreme Court reversed Bolin’s convictions and sentence of death on 06/10/99, and ordered a new trial.

Following his second retrial on Circuit Court Case # 91-521, Bolin was resentenced to death on 12/28/01. 

Bolin filed a Direct Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court on 01/07/02.  In that appeal, he argued that the trial court wrongfully denied his voir dire cause challenges, that the trial court abused its discretion in replacing a juror with an alternate and that the trial court erred in accepting his waiver of the jury recommendation.  The Florida Supreme Court affirmed the conviction and sentence of death on 02/05/04.

Bolin filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court on 06/30/04 that was denied on 10/04/04.

Bolin filed a 3.851 Motion with the Circuit Court on 10/03/05 that is pending.

FloridaCapitalCases.state.fl.us

 
 

BOLIN, Oscar Ray, Jr. (W/M)

DC #519220

DOB: 01/22/62

Thirteenth Judicial Circuit, Hillsborough County, Case 90-11832
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable M. Wm. Graybill
Resentencing Judge: The Honorable J. Rogers Padgett
Trial Attorneys: Paul Firmani & Charles O’Connor – Assistant Public Defenders
Attorney, Direct Appeal: Douglas S. Connor – Assistant Public Defender
Attorneys, Retrial: Brian J. Donerly & Mark A. Ober – Private
Attorney, Direct Appeal Resentencing: Douglas S. Connor – Assistant Public Defender

Date of Offense: 01/25/86

Date of Sentence: 07/31/91

Date of Resentencing:  06/04/99

Circumstances of Offense:

On the morning of 01/25/86, a jogger found the body of Natalie Holley, manager of Church’s Fried Chicken, in the woods near his home.  Holley’s abandoned car was discovered approximately five miles away from where her body was found.

The previous night, a deputy had run a check on one of two cars parked at the same corner where Holley’s abandoned car was found, and discovered that the car was registered to Oscar and Cheryl Bolin.

The investigation into Holley’s murder uncovered no significant leads until the summer of 1990, when Danny Coby contacted Crime Stoppers in Fort Wayne, Indiana, with information about the murder.  Danny Coby was married to Cheryl Coby, the former wife of the defendant, Oscar Ray Bolin.  Following the call made by her current husband, Cheryl Coby informed investigators that she was with Oscar Ray Bolin when he was casing the restaurant, but that they returned home, where she fell asleep.  Coby recalled to investigators that Bolin woke her up at approximately 2:00 a.m. to tell her that he had killed Holley.  She then accompanied him to clean Holley’s car and to dispose of other bloody evidence.

Additional Information:

Subsequent to the information provided by Cheryl Coby, Oscar Ray Bolin was extradited from Ohio, where he was being held on unrelated charges, to Hillsborough County to await his trial for the murder of Natalie Holley.

Bolin was also convicted and sentenced to death for a second murder in Hillsborough County on 10/11/91 (Circuit Court Case #90-11833).  Upon Direct Appeal, his conviction and sentence were reversed, and a retrial was ordered.  Bolin was again sentenced to death on 06/04/99.  On appeal, his conviction and sentence were reversed for the second time and the case is now pending a retrial.

Bolin was convicted and sentenced to death for a third murder in Pasco County on 10/30/92 (Circuit Court Case #91-521).  His conviction and sentence have been reversed twice and following his second retrial, Bolin was again sentenced to death on 12/28/01. 

Trial Summary:

08/01/90          Defendant indicted on:

                       Count I: First-Degree Murder

                       Count II: Armed Robbery

                       Count III: Kidnapping

07/11/91          The jury found the defendant guilty on all counts.

07/12/91          Upon advisory sentencing, the jury, by an 11 to 1 majority, voted for the death penalty.

07/31/91          The defendant was sentenced as followed:

                       Count I: First-Degree Murder – Death

                       Count II: Armed Robbery – 30 years

                       Count III: Kidnapping – Life Imprisonment

02/18/99          At retrial, the jury found the defendant guilty on all counts.

02/19/99          Upon advisory sentencing, the jury, by an 11 to 1 majority, voted for the death penalty.

06/04/99          The defendant was resentenced as followed:

                       Count I: First-Degree Murder – Death

                       Count II: Armed Robbery – 30 years

                       Count III: Kidnapping – Life Imprisonment

10/07/05          At retrial, the jury found the defendant guilty of Second-Degree Murder.

10/11/05          The defendant was sentenced to a term of life imprisonment.

Factors Contributing to the Delay in the Imposition of the Sentence:

Bolin’s death sentence, on Circuit Court Case #90-11832, has been reversed twice by the Florida Supreme Court.

Case Information:

Oscar Ray Bolin was sentenced to death on 07/31/91, after which he filed a Direct Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court on 08/19/91.  In that appeal, Bolin argued that his spousal privilege had been violated with the admission of evidence concerning privileged communications between him and his former wife, Cheryl Coby. 

The trial court contended that the privilege had been waived by the taking of a discovery deposition of Cheryl Coby.  Bolin agued that the trial court erred in failing to recognize that he had not waived this privilege, and as such, the information given at Coby’s deposition was erroneously admitted as evidence at trial. 

The Florida Supreme Court agreed.  Another issue on appeal concerned a letter that Bolin wrote to an investigating detective prior to attempting suicide in 1991. 

The State argued that Bolin voluntarily waived his spousal privilege in that letter, but the issue was not raised during trial because the court had already deemed that Bolin waived his privilege with the discovery deposition.  As such, there was insufficient evidence in the record for the Supreme Court to make a ruling as to the veracity of the voluntary waiver alleged by the State. 

The Supreme Court cautioned the trial court to closely examine the circumstances surrounding the sending of the letter and whether its contents constituted a voluntary consent to privileged information disclosed by Cheryl Coby.  The Florida Supreme Court reversed Bolin’s conviction and sentence, and ordered a new trial on 04/21/94.

Following a retrial, Bolin was resentenced to death on 06/04/99.  Bolin then filed a Direct Appeal of that decision in the Florida Supreme Court on 06/14/99.  In that appeal, he argued that the State Circuit Court erred in finding that he voluntarily waived his spousal privilege in a letter he wrote to an investigating detective prior to attempting suicide in 1991.  In finding that Bolin waived this privilege, the trial court allowed the videotaped testimony of Cheryl Coby, which divulged information normally protected by the spousal privilege, to be admitted into evidence. 

The Florida Supreme Court agreed with Bolin that the letter in question did not constitute a voluntary waiver of his spousal privilege.  As such, the Florida Supreme Court reversed Bolin’s conviction and sentence on 08/30/01, and ordered a new trial.

On 10/11/05, Bolin was resentenced to a term of life imprisonment.

FloridaCapitalCases.state.fl.us

 
 

BOLIN, Oscar Ray, Jr. (W/M)

DC #519220

DOB: 01/22/62

Thirteenth Judicial Circuit, Hillsborough County, 90-11833
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable M. Wm. Graybill
Resentencing Judge: The Honorable J. Rogers Padgett
Trial Attorneys: Paul Firmani & Charles O’Connor – Assistant Public Defenders 
Attorney, Direct Appeal: Douglas S. Connor – Assistant Public Defender
Attorneys, Retrial: Brian J. Donerly & Mark A. Ober – Private
Attorneys, Direct Appeal (RS): Andrea Norgard & Douglas S. Connor – Assistant Public Defenders

Date of Offense: 11/05/86

Date of Sentence: 10/11/91

Date of Resentencing:  06/04/99

Circumstances of Offense:

The body of Stephanie Collins was found off the side of the road in Hillsborough County on 12/05/86.  She had last been seen riding on the passenger’s side of a white van on 11/05/86.  Medical examiners concluded that Collins suffered numerous stab wounds and had endured several severe blows to the head.

The investigation into Collins’ murder uncovered no significant leads until the summer of 1990, when Danny Coby contacted Crime Stoppers in Fort Wayne, Indiana with information about the murder.  Danny Coby was married to Cheryl Coby, the former wife of the defendant, Oscar Ray Bolin. 

Following the call made by her current husband, Cheryl Coby informed investigators that on 11/05/86 Bolin picked her up from a restaurant and, on the drive home he tried to explain why there was a dead body in their trailer.  At which point, Bolin confessed to killing the woman by stabbing her and beating her over the head. 

Cheryl Coby accompanied Bolin when he dumped the body, and was later able to direct authorities to that location.  After dumping the body and returning to the trailer, Cheryl Coby noticed that everything appeared to be wet and there were several bloodstains.

Additional Information:

Subsequent to the information provided by Cheryl Coby, Oscar Ray Bolin was extradited from Ohio, where he was being held on unrelated charges, to Hillsborough County to await his trial for the murder of Stephanie Collins.

Bolin was also convicted and sentenced to death for a second murder in Hillsborough County on 07/31/91 (Circuit Court Case #90-11832).  Upon Direct Appeal, his convictions and sentence were reversed, and a retrial was ordered.  Bolin was again sentenced to death on 06/04/99.  On appeal, his convictions and sentence were reversed for the second time.  In 2005 he was convicted of Second-Degree Murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Bolin was convicted and sentenced to death for a third murder in Pasco County on 10/30/92 (Circuit Court Case #91-521).  His convictions and sentence have been reversed twice and following his second retrial, Bolin was again sentenced to death on 12/28/01. 

Trial Summary:

08/01/90           Defendant indicted on:

                        Count I: First-Degree Murder

                        Count II: Attempted Robbery

                        Count III: Kidnapping

10/11/91          The jury found the defendant guilty of the First-Degree Murder charge and the lesser offense of False Imprisonment.  He was acquitted of the Attempted Robbery charge.

10/11/91          Upon advisory sentencing, the jury, by a 12 to 0 majority, voted for the death penalty.

10/11/91           The defendant was sentenced as followed:

                        Count I: First-Degree Murder – Death

                        Count III: False Imprisonment – 5 years

04/08/99          At retrial, in order to prevent a violation of the double jeopardy protection, Bolin was only tried for First-Degree Murder and False Imprisonment.  The jury found the defendant guilty on both counts.

04/08/99           Upon advisory sentencing, the jury, by a 12 to 0 majority, voted for the death penalty.

06/04/99           The defendant was resentenced as followed:

                        Count I: First-Degree Murder – Death

                        Count II: False Imprisonment – 5 years

Factors Contributing to the Delay in the Imposition of the Sentence:

Bolin’s death sentence, on Circuit Court Case #90-11833, has been reversed twice by the Florida Supreme Court and is currently pending a second retrial.

Case Information:

Oscar Ray Bolin was sentenced to death on 10/11/91, after which he filed a Direct Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court on 11/08/91.  In that appeal, Bolin argued that his spousal privilege had been violated with the admission of evidence concerning privileged communications between him and his former wife, Cheryl Coby. 

The trial court contended that the privilege had been waived by the taking of a discovery deposition of Cheryl Coby.  Bolin agued that the trial court erred in failing to recognize that he had not waived this privilege, and as such, the information given at Coby’s deposition was erroneously admitted as evidence at trial. 

The Florida Supreme Court agreed.  Another issue on appeal concerned a letter that Bolin wrote to an investigating detective prior to attempting suicide in 1991.  The State argued that Bolin voluntarily waived his spousal privilege in that letter, but the issue was not raised during trial because the court had already deemed that Bolin waived his privilege in the discovery deposition.  As such, there was insufficient evidence in the record for the Supreme Court to make a ruling as to the veracity of the voluntary waiver alleged by the State. 

The Supreme Court cautioned the trial court to closely examine the circumstances surrounding the sending of the letter and whether its contents constituted a voluntary consent to privileged information disclosed by Cheryl Coby. 

The Florida Supreme Court granted Bolin’s motion for rehearing, and issued a revised opinion on 02/09/95, reversing the convictions and sentence of death.

Following a retrial, Bolin was resentenced to death on 06/04/99.  Bolin then filed a Direct Appeal of that decision in the Florida Supreme Court on 06/14/99.  In that appeal, he argued that the State Circuit Court erred in finding that he voluntarily waived his spousal privilege in a letter he wrote to an investigating detective prior to attempting suicide in 1991. 

In finding that Bolin waived this privilege, the trial court allowed the videotaped testimony of Cheryl Coby, which divulged information normally protected by the spousal privilege, to be admitted into evidence. 

The Florida Supreme Court agreed with Bolin that the letter in question did not constitute a voluntary waiver of his spousal privilege.  As such, the Florida Supreme Court reversed Bolin’s convictions and sentence on 07/13/01, and ordered a new trial.

At present, Bolin is awaiting retrial on Circuit Court Case #90-11833.

FloridaCapitalCases.state.fl.us

 
 

SEX: M RACE: W TYPE: N MOTIVE: Sex.

VENUE: USA nationwide

MO: Long-haul trucker; rape-slayer of women.

DISPOSITION: Condemned in three Fla. cases, 1991-92; indicted on one count in Tex. (trial unllkely)

 

 

 
 
 
 
home last updates contact