Remembering Don Bolles

Ran across this webpage on our PC. We went to school with the Bolles’ kids and remember his death. Just a reminder.


Nationally known as an investigative reporter, Don Bolles of the Arizona Republic was murdered in 1976 while pursuing a story. He was blown up in his car, after being lured to a meeting, and died 11 days later.

The incident galvanized reporters and editors around the country and resulted in the Arizona Project, a six-month investigation of crime and corruption in that state, resulting in 46 stories carried in newspapers around the country for 23 days. The series did not deal with the Bolles murder, but covered such subjects as organized crime, land fraud, drugs, political and governmental corruption and abuse of illegal immigrants.

Thirty six journalists from 23 media organizations, some working during their vacations, were part of the team that operated out of a makeshift newsroom in the Adams Hotel in Phoenix. Headed by Bob Greene, assistant managing editor of Newsday in Long Island, N.Y. , the effort was sponsored by the Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) organization with contributions from several newspapers, including Arizona’s largest dailies, the Arizona Daily Star and Arizona Republic/Gazette.

Some in the media questioned the project as an exercise in “pack journalism”. Greene countered that “this is not an act of vengenance. We did not come to find the killer of Bolles, and we expressly did not work on the Bolles murder. It was a reasoned response to the killing of a reporter by continuing his work.”

Members of the reporting team included Dick Cady and Myrta Pulliam of the Indianapolis Star, Tom Renner and Steve Wick of Newsday, Alex Drehsler and John Rawlinson of the Arizona Daily Star, Chuck Kelly and John Winters of the Arizona Republic, Dick Lyneis of the Riverside Press-Enterprese, Susan Irby of Virginia, Harry Jones of the Kansas City Star, Bill Hume of the Albuquerque Journal, Jerry Urhammer of the Eugene (Ore.) Register-Guard, Norm Udevitz of the Denver Post, Bill Montalbano of the Miami Herald, Mike Satchell of Parade Magazine, and Jack Driscoll of the Boston Globe, who also assisted in the editing phase headed by Tony Insolia, editor of Newsday.

Don Bolles Murder Case

    Don Bolles was an investigative reporter for the Arizona Republic. He knew just about everything their was to know about the mob in Phoenix. During his career as a reporter he crossed many corrupt officials and gangsters. The one that would end his life was Kemper Marley. Don Bolles reporting exposed Kemper Marley’s connection with the mob, forcing him to resign as a member of the State Board Racing Commission. As a result of this, Marley had Bolles killed. Here is an excerpt from C.D. Stelzer’s Urban Guerilla Journal which was very thorough about the entire affair. You can look at the whole article on Don Bolles through his website below.

“Beginning in 1946, Licavoli, the Arizona mob boss, operated an illegal gambling wire service with Kemper Marley Sr., the wealthiest liquor distributor in the state. Later, Marley’s United Liquor Co. supplied Emprise dog tracks with 10 percent of their alcoholic beverages. During the 1974 Arizona gubernatorial race, Marley was the biggest contributor to Gov. Raul Castro’s campaign. After the election, the Castro administration appointed Marley to the state racing commission, but he was forced to resign because of adverse publicity from stories written by Bolles.  The Phoenix police theorized that Marley wanting revenge enlisted the help of local contractor Max Dunlap. Dunlap then allegedly hired Adamson to carry out the bombing. Adamson claimed that plumber James Robison assisted him.”

Stelzer, C.D. Phoenix Rising:Twenty one years after a car bomb killed journalist Don Bolles, doubts remain as to who was responsible for the murder. From the Urban Guerilla Journal. Originally Published in the Riverfront Times. June 11,1997, St. Louis, Missouri. Online. Accessed 1/01/00.


From News in the Future:  Author Jack Driscoll

From C.D. Stelzer’s Urban Guerilla Journal.










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