Biggs was a thoughtful, well liked resident of the tiny Lincoln County
community of Eddyville. She ran the Little Elk Store for years,
extending credit to customers who were short of ready cash. Children
loved going shopping with their parents because they always knew Dorothy
Biggs would put a little surprise in the shopping bag -- a small toy or
a piece of candy.
49-year-old storekeeper was generous to a fault. When she wasn't busy
running the store, Biggs worked as a registered nurse at the New Lincoln
Hospital and Health Care Center in Toledo, 20 miles away. She gave
everything she could give to the community, people said after her
shocking murder Aug. 3, 1984. But she didn't have enough to give to her
On Aug. 4
-- one day after Lincoln County Sheriff's Deputies found Dorothy Bigg's
strangled and beaten body --deputies arrested her 17-year-old son David
Hebbert Hart at the Little Elk Store, in the same building which housed
the family's second-floor residence and the scene of the brutal murder.
Attorney Ulys Stapleton later said Dorothy Biggs was tortured before she
was killed by her son, kicked down the stairs of their upstairs home,
then beaten with fists and a baseball bat before being strangled.
Homicide investigators found blood on David Hart's clothes which matched
Dorothy Bigg's blood type as well as the baseball bat Hart used on his
before the murder, David Hart went fishing for blueback in the Yaquina
River, east of Toledo, with a friend, 17 year-old Laric Cook. Cook later
told a reporter for The Oregonian newspaper that Hart was "the normal
David telling jokes, happy as a clam." Cook said Hart did not discuss
his mother and nothing seemed to be bothering him.
who knew the two -- or at least, thought they knew them -- could not
believe David Hart could do such a thing. They remembered him as a
quiet, sometimes moody teenage boy who worked in the store with his
mother and carried customers' groceries to their cars.
were dark sides to the personalities of both Dorothy Biggs and David
Hart, much of which came out shortly after the murder and at Hart's
subsequent murder trial the following January.
residents of the tiny town -population 30 -- who were really familiar
with the mother-son relationship said Biggs and Hart squabbled
frequently, in private. They said he kept a lot of his bitterness
bottled up inside.
school teachers and administrators at the 225-student Eddyville School
said David Hart could have been a good student if only he had applied
himself. Others said Hart wanted desperately to be treated like an
adult, although he wasn't ready or willing to accept the responsibility
of being an adult.
of the reasons for his troublesome, anti-social behavior, Stapleton
would later say in court, was his mother. He introduced files from
Oregon's Childrens Services Division during the trial which indicated
Hart was physically and mentally abused as a young child by Dorothy
Biggs and his stepfather, Dwight Biggs, when the family lived in
Portland back in the 1970s.
Biggs was convicted in 1983 of fourth-degree assault after threatening
Hart with a knife. And during the trial in Lincoln County Circuit Court,
Hart's attorney, Thomas O. Branford, told jurors in his opening
statements that he would present evidence showing that Dorothy Biggs
offered Hart half the money from her insurance policy if he would burn
down a vacant house on her property. Hart was later convicted of arson.
Stapleton also offered evidence that Hart himself offered money to
strangers to kill his mother.
the six-day trial, family members testified that Dorothy Biggs, on the
day of her murder, told Hart, "We'd all be better off if you Were dead."
deliberating five hours, the jury returned a guilty verdict against
David Hart on Jan. 21, 1985. Hart sat impassively as the verdict was
read. He was subsequently sentenced to life by trial Judge A.R.