Oscar Ray Bolin Jr.

I have talked often this month about how I am going through my list to compose my blogs. I started doing it because I found so many cases that I really should blog about but when the day came I just was not in the mood for "that story" or whatever the case was.  I am not going to lie and say I have done everyone of them, as I have skipped some for no other reason than the same old stand by... I just simply was not feeling it.  I have also said in the past that cases of serial killers are not high on my list of favorites.  This would be why there are yet cases about Gacy, Gein, Berkowitz or even Ted Bundy.  Maybe one day!

So, when I got to the next name on my list I was less than thrilled to start the research. My list simply said "Oscar Bolin-serial-Fla."  I was thinking "Great, another serial killer case" but I told myself to get it done, continue watching my televisions shows while I did, do a few after that and then sit here and put them all together as I have been doing lately.  It did not take long for me to discover that this was not your average serial killer case.  It comes with the traditional drama involved in those, but it also comes with some serious legal drama (which I admit that I love), and a side of twisted and weird to go with it.

In 1990 an anonymous call was made to a tip line indicating that Florida officials should look into convicted Ohio rapist Oscar Ray Bolin for a few murders.  It was learned that the caller was married to Bolin's ex-wife and they too lived in Ohio.  Authorities went to talk to Cheryl Coby to hear what she had to say.  By the time they were done with their investigation they had arrested Bolin for three murder that happened in and around the Tampa area in 1986.  Soon police departments across the country were looking into their cases too.

Let's start however with the crime that had Oscar Bolin serving a 25-75 year term for the kidnapping and rape of a woman.  The woman worked at a truck stop (a lot of reports say she was a waitress while others say a cashier) and was in training.  She had stayed late into the night.  When it was time for her to leave she got into her car and noticed a man standing in front of her vehicle.  He gave her the creeps but she waved him off while attempting to make sure her car doors were locked too.  She was not fast enough.  Soon the man was at her window with a gun pointed at her.  He pushed her over and drove to another side of the lot where they went into a semi truck that contained two other men. Soon the truck took off while the man who had brought her there repeatedly raped her. The other men laughed and commented as the truck moved on but neither did anything to stop what was happening.  Finally, after driving into Pennsylvania the truck pulled off to the side of the road and the man who had taken her told her to get out and run.  She reported the assault but there were not enough details until one of the men who had been in the cab of the truck came forward and led them to Oscar Bolin.  My research indicates that it seems he pleaded guilty for the crime and was sentenced to prison. There were not a lot of details and most newspapers would not report the victims name. Since there was apparently no trial that also makes the details more scarce.  I state that it appears he pleaded guilty because for the rest of his life, or at least at the end, Bolin would claim that it was his guilty plea in this case that allowed people to believe he was guilty of the crimes he would later be accused of.  

Florida police did some investigating and between the information provided by Bolin's ex wife, Cheryl, his half brother, Philip and even a cousin they were able to connect Bolin to at least three murders in Florida and even one in Texas.  For her part Cheryl would claim that Bolin had confessed to her, during their marriage, to the murders of Natalie Holley, Stephanie Collins and Terry Lynn Matthews.  She would state that she was with Bolin when he had dumped Collins' body.  Philip Bolin would testify that he witnessed Oscar murder the badly injured Matthews.  His cousin Douglas Tedrow would confess that in 1987 he had been with Bolin when he (or they) kidnapped, raped and strangled a woman.  

Florida would take the lead on this.  In August of 1990 Bolin was indicted for the murders of Holley and Collins.  In February of 1991 an indictment for Matthews murder followed. By 1993 Oscar Bolin had been convicted in all three murders and sentenced to death.  He would also receive a fifteen year prison sentence from charges relating to the fact that he had planned an escape with the help of his girlfriend.  Although the escape was unsuccessful the plan had been to take relatives of the local sheriff hostage along the way.  The soon to be ex-girlfriend testified against him.

The victims families thought it was all over except for the long wait to the execution chamber.  Then in 1995 the Florida Supreme Court reversed all three of the convictions. They were reversed on a few issues but the most important one, at least to the court, was that Cheryl Coby had testified and according to Florida law without Oscar's permission to do so she violated the spousal privilege rules.

When I first came across this ruling I was taken aback.  I admit I have always been wishy washy when it comes to spousal privilege.  It is my personal opinion that if they cannot make a spouse testify against another than a parent should not be forced to testify against their child.  Then again despite not having a law this is likely why Cindy Anthony was not charged with perjury in the case against her daughter, Casey, another Florida case. Prosecutors knew Cindy lied, everyone did but she was put in a horrible position. As a mother, despite the fact that it may have been her testimony that helped a jury decide her clearly guilty daughter was not so, I understood.  But spousal privilege is different and in this case Cheryl and Oscar were no longer together.  It took a little digging to understand that the law, at least in Florida required that Oscar give them his permission to allow her to talk about "privileged" conversations.  For me I think that goes way too far, but then again I do not make the laws in Florida.

So prosecutors were back at square one but they were not backing down.  They tried him for all three murders again separately and again three separate juries convicted him and sentenced to death.  But, here came the Florida Supreme Court again overruling them all again.  AND, it had to do with that spousal privilege again.  Prosecutors argued that in 1991 Bolin had attempted suicide while in prison and that he had left a note that specifically said for authorities to go talk to Cheryl Coby, his ex wife.  Prosecutors would try to tell the Supreme Court there was his permission.  They disagreed.  

So once again the prosecutors had to start over.  Now, up until now I have not given any specifics in the crimes, nor the trials.  To be honest the realm of things that happened in this case there really is scant details of the murders of Natalie Holley and Stephanie Collins.  There is more about the Terry Lynn Matthews case and I will address those in just a bit.  But now we're going into three more trials.  However, I should point out that in the end it would be said many times that each of these cases were reversed "at least twice" and that ten juries in ten trials had would eventually find Oscar Bolin guilty of all three of these murders.  This indicates that one of these cases was possibly reversed a third time but I have no details to give on that.  Finally in 2001 he was tried again for the Matthews murder..... verdict... guilty... sentence... death.  Then in 2005 he was tried first for the Holley murder to which once again he was found guilty.  This time however the jury gave him a life sentence.  Just after he was tried in the Collins case and the jury gave him a death sentence again after finding him guilty.  It appears that there was the four year break between the first trial and the others in this round to assure that the conviction and sentence stuck this time so when the appeals court affirmed the conviction and sentence prosecutors felt safe in trying the other two.

Again, I have few details on the murders of Natalie Holley and Stephanie Collins.  I can tell you that twenty-five year old Natalie was kidnapped after completing her shift at a restaurant on January 25, 1986.  Her body was found beaten and stabbed the following day in an orange grove.  Seventeen year old Stephanie Collins was kidnapped from a strip mall on November 5, 1986 after she had gone to check her schedule at her work.  A massive search was conducted but her body was not found until December 4th  on the side of a rural road.  She had also been beaten and stabbed.

In a strange twist of fate on that same December day in the county just next door the body of twenty-six year old Terry Lynn Matthews would be found.  She had disappeared after stopping at the post office on the way back to her parents' home where she lived after visiting with her boyfriend and his family.  She was seen on camera going into the post office where the family had a box but there is nothing showing anything after that. Concerned because she had not called to let him know she had gotten home and her mother confirmed to him she had not gotten there, Terry's boyfriend left and traveled the route she would have taken.  He found her vehicle outside the post office and mail addressed to her family strewn all over.  

Terry's body would be found the next morning fully clothed, wrapped in a sheet.  Her head and face had been beaten, much like the other two women but her body appeared to be really wet despite there not being any rain in the area.  Her body had been left near some railroad tracks and there appeared to be fresh tire tracks in the area, along with ones not so fresh.  There became a dispute as to whether those fresh tracks were from a dual wheeled vehicle or not.  The prosecution said they were, the defense said they were not, but then they conceded that even if they were dual wheeled tracks that was not proof that they came from the vehicle Bolin was reportedly driving that day, a wrecker from the company he was working for at the time.

It seems as sometimes happens I got a little ahead of myself.  I want to go back and talk about the other two cases really quick and what evidence I heard they had against Bolin because I found much more information on Terry Lynn Matthew's case than the others. Lets just get those out of the way.  As far as the Natalie Holley case I found there was a witness who stated seeing a car in which appeared to be Bolin's in the area.  Then there was the testimony of Cheryl Coby, whether the courts allowed it or not, in which she stated Bolin had confessed to her.  Coby had died prior to the third sets of trials although it was said there was a videotape of her testimony.  I cannot say if it was used.  As far as the Stephanie Collins case there was said to be a hair on her body that matched Bolin. His defense in the last round would state that the technique used to determine this was found to be flawed but I found no sure evidence of this.  And again they had Coby's testimony that not only had he confessed to her but she had been present when her body was dumped at the side of the rural road.  Now, I am going to be honest and say I hope there was more information than what I could find on these two cases and it just got lost in between all of the other things involved in the Bolin cases.  It seems rather flimsy at best. Of course it was a time in which predated DNA testing so forensics were limited when the cases began.  This does not mean that I do not believe that Bolin was a murderer or that he was even innocent of anything.  I am just stating that I would like more evidence.  In the same respect keep in mind that the last jury in the Holley case, while finding him guilty did not issue the death penalty.  Whether that was because they were against the death penalty personally, the defense convinced them his life was worth sparing or they did not have a clear enough picture of the crime to feel comfortable issuing a a death sentence I cannot say.

Then there was the case against him in the Matthews murder.  There was more compelling evidence there that I could find and much more for the defense to argue against. First, aside from Cheryl Coby's actual testimony she had directed authorities to Bolin's half brother, Phillip, who in 1986 had been thirteen years old and had a story to tell.  The defense would try to convince the juries that it was just that... a story.  In the beginning Phillip told authorities, as well as the jury in the first Matthews trial, that in the early morning of December 4, 1986 Oscar had come to his house and woke him up telling him he needed his help.  Phillip stated that when he went outside he first just saw that someone was wrapped in a sheet and he heard some moaning coming from beneath that sounds like a female.  He described seeing clothing but no shoes (this is how Terry Lynn was found). At this point, knowing the person that was wrapped up was alive Phillip watched as Oscar grabbed a tire iron and began beating the woman repeatedly.  Phillip said he turned his head at this point.  Then he stated that Oscar ordered him to get the water hose but he refused so Oscar had gotten it himself and after turning on the water attempted to put the hose in the woman's mouth (prosecutors say this explains why her body was wet). When he was done Oscar told Phillip to go with him to dispose of the body.  Phillip maintained he refused again but did help Oscar put the body in the back of the wrecker he was driving. He stated that he only told one person about this, a school friend named Danny Ferns who apparently also testified that Phillip told him the story the following day and that he had seen the spot in the Bolin yard where there was blood.  Soon after the family moved to Kentucky and Phillip said he never mentioned it again until authorities talked to him in 1990.

As I said this is the story he gave initially and at the first trial.  But, just before the second trial in 1996 Phillip signed an affidavit stating that he had been coerced into making that statement.  When the second trial commenced Phillip stuck with the recantation until the prosecutor got to him.  It was then that Phillip stated that he had signed the affidavit at the behest of his parents and Oscar's new wife, Rosalie (who you will hear a lot more about later) and that the original story he had told was the correct one.  It is said that in between the second and third trials Rosalie recorded a phone conversation with Phillip in which he went back to the affidavit story, but by the third trial he was back to the original story again.  Because of all of this the defense argued that Phillip was unreliable and untruthful.  I found an article in which it was commented that during the third trial Rosalie was removed from the courtroom during Phillips testimony because she was seen to be attempting to intimidate him while he was on the stand.  While I cannot confirm this, I can say that not only have I seen interviews with Rosalie as well as read everything I could about and even written by her and I can totally see this as being true.

Cheryl Coby, who had died before the third trial and who's videotaped testimony may or may not have been used, nevertheless had interesting insight that would be discussed and of course disputed in this case.  First, probably the most compelling was the fact that she and Oscar also had a box at the post office in which Terry Lynn had last been seen. For her part Cheryl was in the hospital at the time of Terry Lynn's death (I got the distinct impression she was in different hospital at several different times over the years) and had stated that Oscar had visited her on December 3rd and she had given him a hard time for not bringing her Social Security check with him and that he had not gone to the post office.  The following day when Oscar visited he did have the check which obviously indicated that he had been at the post office sometime in the last day.  The defense would argue that while cameras showed Terry Lynn entering they did not show Oscar going in.  Cheryl would also testify that in some of her many visits to the hospital it was not uncommon for her to take things home with her including gloves and blankets.  The sheet in which Terry Lynn's body was wrapped in had been found to have come from a hospital. Not the one Cheryl was in at the moment but one she had been in in the past.  The defense would argue that in her testimony (and I can only assume they meant the videotaped one that was shown after her death) she never mentioned taking a sheet. Since she was no longer alive the defense obviously could not ask her. Now would be a good time to point out that it appears that for each of these trial in which Oscar faced he was given a public defender to represent him and it appears that each time it was different attorney's.  In fact, when one of his trials was conducted in Hillsbourough County a prosecutor from neighboring Pasco County took the case because the current prosecutor had once defended Bolin in one of the cases.

Continuing with the evidence in the Matthews case, there were more witnesses to testify and more evidence to present, and dispute.  An ex wife of one of Bolin's cousins (I'm not sure if it was Douglas Tedrow's ex wife) testified that one night after drinking alcohol with him Bolin had confessed to Terry Lynn's murder.  One of the most compelling witnesses however was Robert Kahles.  Both he and his wife apparently testified in at least one of the trials in Terry Lynn's case.  Robert Kahles would not live to see the two remaining trials in this case however because in 1991 he committed suicide and his wife believes a lot had to do with Oscar Bolin.  The Kahles owned a tow truck service and Bolin worked for them.  Until December 3rd however Bolin had never been on a run on his own due to his lack of experience.  On that day Bolin had asked to go on a solo run and against his better judgment his wife convinced him it was okay.  So Bolin left on the run and never came back that day.  They attempted to reach him to no avail.  He finally returned the wrecker late the following morning and according to the wife when he did come back he was dirty and disheveled and still wearing the clothes from the day before. When asked what happened Bolin would claim he had gotten lost.  By the time the trials, or at least the last one, happened the wrecker in which Bolin had possession of that day had long been damaged in a fire and destroyed.  The prosecution would argue that the tire tracks left at the scene where the body was discovered were not only dual wheeled but at least one of them could be identified as a Cooper brand tire.  Although it was not verifiable since again, the wrecker was gone, the Kahles testified that they quite often did invest in the Cooper brand tire.  

It would be said that Robert Kahles wife stated that he had talked to her on the phone just prior to committing suicide and had said "I shouldn't have had that boy working for us." Clearly Robert Kahles thought Oscar Bolin guilty and he held his own guilt in feeling he had given him the opportunity to commit the crime.

The last thing the prosecution really had on Bolin, or at least they thought they did in this case was semen that had been left on the body.  There were no definite signs of sexual assault but there had been semen.  The defense later disputed this evidence and truthfully I almost have to be on their side on this one.  In 1986 DNA was not even thought about yet.  The closest that an investigator could do in tying a perpetrator through semen was blood type.  The prosecution argued that although only Type A was found and Oscar was Type AB that the "B" had somehow disintegrated over the years.  Now, even I think this sounds ridiculous and the defense did also and said exactly that.  Later DNA testing was done on the sample but a full analysis could not be made.  If I understood the information correctly when it came to Bolin's sample they had six markers.  Five were only available to be had in the sample that had been taken from the body.  It was said those five did match five of the six in Bolin's sample but considering it was not a full analysis the probability was 1 in 2,000 that someone other than Bolin had committed the crime.  Now, that is not too bad, but when it comes to DNA, as well as considering a man's life is on the line I am not thrilled with the numbers.  Then again, what thrills me does not matter as I did not sit on the jury.

So this is what they had, or at least that I could determine.  So after what was said to be ten trials, with ten juries and ten guilty verdicts it was finally determined that the final verdicts and sentences (two death, one life) would stand and Oscar Bolin would go back to death row.  Surprisingly, considering that his final trials did not end until 2005, one of them being a death sentence Bolin was sent to the execution chamber rather quickly.  On January 7, 2016 the state of Florida executed Oscar Ray Bolin in the death of Terry Lynn Matthews.  The mothers of the three victims had attended all of the ten trials together throughout the years and kept in touch as much as possible often attempting to go to lunch from time to time.  They vowed to be together when Oscar Bolin took his last breath.  Sadly Natalie Holley's mother died in 2012 and could not be there but Stephanie Collins' mother attended along with Terry's mother.  For them it was closure despite Bolin proclaiming his innocence in the murders of their daughters right up to the end. 

I am happy for their families that Bolin was executed when he was because a week later the Florida Supreme Court ruled that parts of the death penalty in the state unconstitutional.  Several death penalty appeals were put on hold and while the state attempted to make a ruling to fix that in October 2016 the court again ruled parts unconstitutional.  Currently the state of Florida cannot seek the death penalty until that is resolved and it is very unlikely any more executions will take place until then.

So, that is the legal saga of Oscar Ray Bolin.  But, I told you there was more to this case and that you would hear more about his current wife Rosalie.  So here we are to that point.  Rosalie Bolin was Rosalie Martinez when she met Oscar.  She was married to a criminal defense attorney, who apparently had his own issues, and had four daughters between the ages of six and fourteen.  Rosalie worked in the public defenders office as an investigator against death penalty cases when she met Oscar and became obsessed with him some say.  If her husband did not notice early on, her employers surely did when they realized that she was spending all her time, and their resources on this one case and attempting to prove his innocence.  It did not take long before it all came out in the open and Rosalie left her husband and some say her children.  Regardless if she "left" her children or not, her now ex husband was granted custody of them because most people believed Rosalie had lost her damn mind.  She was now openly professing her love to Oscar and advocating for his innocence.  She would lose her job at the public defenders office after apparently being removed from his case, but not staying away and later become co-owner of her own investigators business, still supposedly fighting for those on death row, or fighting against the death penalty.  

With her divorce final Rosalie decided that marrying her convicted murderer on national television would give him exposure so it could help her help him prove his innocence even better.  So in November of 1996 on an episode of Dateline and through a phone call Rosalie Martinez became Rosalie Bolin.

Now, if a woman wants to make choices that others think are crazy or horrible then that is her business, however, there is a point in which it can be taken too far.  Not to mention it was not just the fact she left her family and married a convict that makes Rosalie look like she as few cards short of a full deck.... no, she has done plenty of other things too. One of those things I already mentioned when it pertained to Phillip Bolin and his claims of being coerced by Rosalie and his parents to change his story.  And, while I have you here I found it interesting that neither of Oscar's parents were mentioned either in the trials or in the articles I read aside from this.  I find it interesting that Bolin had a wrecker outside their home and there is no mention of them hearing it or seeing it.  I guess one could say good for them staying out of the limelight in this huge case.  But, I do also find it suspicious, although there could be a simple explanation why it was they moved to Kentucky so soon after the murder of Terry Lynn.

Rosalie fought to the bitter end for her husband.  She financed some of his appeals and investigations; she stuck by his side.  At the time of his execution she would proclaim the state of Florida had executed "an innocent man on perjury, police misconduct, tainted FBI evidence, the confession of other perpetrators and prosecutorial misconduct."  The "confession of another perpetrator" bit came from a claim that Bolin stated in an interview the day before his execution.  In his interview Bolin stated that an inmate that was in the Ohio prison with him had confessed to him to killing Terry Lynn Matthews.  The inmate had committed suicide in 2014 so conveniently he could not be asked and everyone was to believe this story that in all of the information I read through the years on the case, this was never mentioned until the very end, yet if the man confessed to him it had to have been before he died in 2014, two years before Bolin.  Not to mention the fact that Bolin had not been in Ohio since at least 1991.  He would also state in that interview that he was not guilty of the three murders in Florida and that he believed there was tainted and planted evidence in those cases and they would have never tried to pin them on him had he not pleaded guilty in the Ohio case.

Yes... my head is spinning too and has been since I started the research on this case, several hours ago!!  But, back to Rosalie.  It seems that she has drifted back into the shadows since the love of her life was executed by the state of Florida which by the sounds of it is probably a good thing for her.  There were allegations going as far back as 2009 that her "investigation" company was doing what is called "double dipping."  The company was hired by private attorney's as well as counties to mitigate death penalty cases.  In other words it was their job to find the information that could be used to convince a jury that even if they thought someone guilty they did not deserve the death penalty.  There were allegations made that public records showed in which more than one county would be charged for the same period, with exact same amount of time.  Whether this was investigated is unclear.

Rosalie also had her own online battles. One came in the form of her own blog that appears she had not updated since 2014 but it was full of a bunch of rambling.  The other was an "attack" on another Florida death row inmate named Michael Lambrix. I am unsure what started the fight between the two but apparently from death row Lambrix has a blog in which he discusses Oscar and Rosalie and she has even created her own blog attacking him.  To add to that I found a subsequent blog from an independent reporter who claims to have looked into both stories and while not apparently taking up for Lambrix, provided information that the things he has said can be verified as true and yet the things Rosalie has claimed against him can be verified as being false.  Apparently Lambrix has a blog entitled Bolin the Butcher while she has responded with her own entitled Michael Lambrix is a Liar.  You can also find one entitled Rosalie Bolin is a liar that, as nerve wracking as it is, it is much better to understand and at least coherent. 

If I know anything after researching and posting about this case it is A) there are crazier people out there than me and B) I will never look at a serial killer case again and automatically think it is boring.  Right now I am beginning to crave "boring."

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