Pausing and Remembering a Bad Time in Arizona Journalism History


Well-known member
Pausing and Remembering a Bad Time in Arizona Journalism History

Photo by Bette Sharpe

Glendale Daily Planet Publisher Ed Sharpe pauses and contemplates the passing of Arizona Republic reporter Don Bolles, who was attacked by a car bomb in the hotel’s parking lot 32 years ago this month (1976) and later died of his injuries.

The Hotel Clarendon in midtown Phoenix, where the event took place, has an interesting historical display on Don Bolles and is well worth visiting. Sharpe was attending a meeting of Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), who along with other Valley journalism organizations, gathered to make a toast to UNITY 2008 Journalism conference happening in Chicago and paid tribute to Bolle's memory.

(This is just 2 items pictured to see the rest go to the hotel)


Don Bolles
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Don Bolles (July 28, 1928 - June 13, 1976) was an American investigative reporter whose murder in a bombing is linked to the Mafia.


1 Biography
2 Death
3 Newseum
4 Awards
5 External links

Bolles grew up in Teaneck, New Jersey, and pursued a newspaper career, in the footsteps of his father (chief of the Associated Press bureau in New Jersey) and grandfather. He graduated from Beloit College with a degree in government, where he was editor of the campus newspaper, and received a President's Award for personal achievement. After a stint in the U.S. Army in the Korean War assigned to an anti-aircraft unit, he joined the Associated Press as a sports editor and rewriter in New York, New Jersey and Kentucky.

In 1962, he was hired by the Arizona Republic newspaper, published at the time by Nina Mason Pulliam, where he quickly found a spot on the investigative beat and gained a reputation for dogged reporting of influence peddling, bribery, and land swindles. Former colleagues, though, say he seemed to grow disillusioned in late 1975 and early 1976, and that he had requested to be taken off the investigative beat, moving to coverage of Phoenix City Hall and then the state Legislature.

Two marriages produced seven children, four from the first and two from the second which included one daughter who was born deaf.

Bolles was the brother of Richard Nelson Bolles, author of the best-selling job-hunting book, What Color Is Your Parachute? He shares a grandfather, Stephen Bolles, with humanist theoretician Edmund Blair Bolles.

On June 2, 1976, Bolles left behind a short note in his office typewriter explaining he would meet with an informant, then go to a luncheon meeting, and be back about 1:30 p.m. He was responsible for covering a routine hearing at the State Capitol, and planned to attend a movie with second wife Rosalie Kasse that night in celebration of their eighth wedding anniversary. The source promised information on a land deal involving top state politicians and possibly the mob. A wait of several minutes in the lobby of the Hotel Clarendon (now known as the Clarendon Hotel) was concluded with a call for Bolles himself to the front desk, where the conversation lasted no more than two minutes. Bolles then exited the hotel, his car in the adjacent parking lot just south of the hotel on Fourth Avenue.

Apparently, Bolles started the car, even moving a few feet, before a remote detonated bomb consisting of six sticks of dynamite taped to the underside of the car beneath the driver's seat was detonated, the impact shattering his lower body, opening the driver's door, and leaving him mortally wounded while half outside the vehicle. Both legs and one arm were amputated over a ten day stay in St. Joseph's Hospital, the eleventh day was the reporter's last. However, his last words after being found in the parking lot the day of the bombing were: "They finally got me. The Mafia. Emprise. Find John (Harvey Adamson)."

The exact motive for the crime remains a mystery, but many speculate the Mafia holds responsibility, as a large concentration of Bolles' work involved organized crime, even going as far as to run a story naming over 200 known mafia members operating in the state of Arizona. Some suspected that Kemper Marley, a man who made millions in the liquor distribution business in Arizona, was behind the Bolles murder, but Phoenix police could find no evidence linking him with the crime, and he continued conducting business in Arizona until meeting his own death, cancer-related, on June 25, 1990 in La Jolla, California.

The incident sparked an investigation in the months that followed, known as the Arizona Project, with Bob Greene assuming the head and drawing nearly 40 reporters and editors from 23 newspapers including The Milwaukee Journal and Newsday.

John Harvey Adamson pleaded guilty in 1977 to second-degree murder for building and planting the bomb that killed Bolles. Adamson accused Phoenix contractor Max Dunlap, an associate of Kemper Marley, of ordering the hit, and Chandler plumber James Robison of triggering the bomb. Adamson testified against Dunlap and Robison, who were convicted of first-degree murder in the same year, but whose convictions were overturned in 1978. When Adamson refused to testify again, Adamson was charged and convicted of first-degree murder in 1980 and sentenced to death, which was overturned by the Arizona Supreme Court. In 1989, Robison was re-charged, and re-tried and acquitted in 1993, but pleaded guilty to a charge of soliciting an act of criminal violence against Adamson. In 1990, Dunlap was re-charged when Adamson agreed to testify again, and was found guilty of first-degree murder.

The new $400 million Newseum will feature Bolles' 1976 Datsun 210, which had sat 28 years in a Phoenix Police impound lot, as the centerpiece of a gallery devoted solely to the slain journalist.

Conscience-in-Media Award, from the American Society of Journalists and Authors
Arizona Press Club Newsman of the Year in 1974.

External links
The Don Bolles Case 25 Years On
Bolles: Cautious man, dedicated journalist - Arizona Republic profile
Special Report: Don Bolles
The Arizona Project
The Death in Arizona of the Kemper Marley Machine - "Kemper Marley, a wealthy Phoenix rancher and liquor wholesaler, was Dunlap's mentor and was rumored for years to have been the person who actually ordered the hit on Don Bolles". [1]