Friday, August 10, 2012

Nora Hollemon

Lethal Game
The following is the story of the brutal murder of an old depu­ty sheriff, reminiscent of the types of killings that were commonplace in the Wild West days of the mid-1800s. History buffs of this time period will recall that it was not at all unusual for a killer to force his victim to dance while firing bullets in rapid succession at his victim’s feet, or to force the victim to play quick draw with an empty weapon, the result of the torturous ordeal almost always ending with the brutal, violent death of the victim who, by the way, was more often than not a lawman. Although such a thing is nearly unheard of nowadays it did, in fact, happen to a harmless old self-proclaimed deputy sheriff in Oregon in 1982 proving, once again, that history does have a way of repeating itself.
The story opens on Saturday morning, March 6, 1982 in Granite, Oregon, population 14. Located on an unpaved road 30 miles east of Portland, Granite was once a frontier gold mining com­munity whose dwindling population has nearly turned it into a ghost town. On this particular Saturday morning it was still very cold, the wrath of winter still present in every form and sense of the word. Granite was accessible only by four-wheel drive or snowmobile during this time of year, and was 10 miles from the nearest paved road. It is 14 miles to the nearest town, which is Sumpter, barely a dot on the map itself, and no one would brave the trip unless it was an absolute emergency. No one, that is, ex­cept for one man. His name — Edward A. “Bud” Morrow, now only a memory in the minds of those who knew and loved him because, on Saturday, March 6, 1982, he was brutally murdered, literally shot down in cold blood in his own home.
It wasn’t until Saturday afternoon that anyone knew Morrow had been killed. Slim Johnson, who owns a cabin approx­imately two miles from Morrow’s, prob­ably hadn’t a care in the world as he snow-mobiled towards Morrow’s rustic A-frame cabin. Even as he approached the front door, noticing several sets of footprints in the snow, Johnson had no reason to suspect that his longtime friend lay dead on the other side of the cabin door.
After knocking several times and get­ting no response, Johnson thought he’d look in on old Bud, now the acting town marshal, and resident of Granite since he was six. After all, he could be sick and laid up in bed. But when he entered the home, Johnson discovered otherwise.
Morrow was lying on his davenport, shirtless and rigid, dead of an app- parent gunshot wound to the chest.
There were no telephones for miles, and Morrow’s police radio was the only source of communication with the out­side world. When he’d determined that Morrow was dead, Johnson set about trying to figure out how to use the radio to call for help. After a few moments, he was able to reach the Grant County sher­iff’s office in Canyon City, and he told Sheriff David T. Haynes of his sad dis­covery. Haynes told him to stay put and not to touch anything, adding that it would take a while for help to arrive due to the distance and the fact that the roads were covered with snow. Johnson reluc­tantly agreed to wait.
When Haynes and a group of deputies arrived later, they were indeed shocked by the violent way Morrow had been killed, and were saddened because they had all known and loved Bud for years. With a look of sorrow in his eyes, Haynes asked Johnson how he found Morrow. Johnson replied that he had found him just as he lay there dead on the davenport.
“I reached with my hand and felt his neck,” said Johnson. “It was very cold and hard. That’s when I radioed you guys.” Meanwhile, Haynes and his men made a preliminary search of Mor­row’s cabin, being careful not to disturb anything until additional investigators arrived.
“There wasn’t a damn reason in the world for anybody to shoot him,” said Norm Wade, a mining official from nearby Sumpter who knew Morrow well. Wade said that Morrow was a life­time resident of Granite who started out 20 years before as a self-appointed pro­tector of property; that is, at least, when he wasn’t gold-mining. But even when he was mining he tried to look out for others, always lending a helping hand whenever possible.
“When Bud was around, people wouldn’t ever worry about their property because he knew where everything was around there. A few years back they de­cided to make him a special deputy so that he would have legal authority to chase people away that were up to no good. He never riled anybody up, and if some trouble-maker refused to leave, he would just radio for help.” Wade said that Morrow’s duties as a deputy in­volved mostly “claim jumpers and break-ins,” and he took a guy to the Baker jail on bad check charges once. Before he became a deputy, Morrow worked at a lumber mill in Baker, but had to give up the job when he injured his ankle in an accident and turned to pros­pecting for gold at a couple of small mines he had. He enjoyed talking to the tourists who visited Granite, telling them fascinating tales of his experiences dur­ing the old gold-mining days, and they enjoyed hearing the stories as much as he enjoyed telling them.
When additional investigators ar­rived, including Rocky Mink, the only technician in the Oregon State Police crime lab in Ontario, it didn’t take long for them to conclude that Morrow’s cabin had been ransacked by a person or persons unknown looking for anything of value. Or perhaps that’s what the per­petrator wanted the cops to think, hoping they would concentrate on burglary and robbery as the motive in Morrow’s death. At this point in the investigation, however, the cops weren’t ready to be­gin theorizing on motives, even though they had some ideas about Morrow’s death based on what they had learned from the Granite locals. The cops we­ren’t going to release any particulars, though, until they knew all there was to know.
The cops noted that the smell of gun­powder was still present inside the cabin, although it was becoming faint. But the smell was still strong enough to prompt the lawmen to speculate that more than one shot had been fired. Speculation quickly turned to certainty when Rocky Mink discovered a .45-caliber slug lodged in one of the walls of the cabin. At this point, however, the cops weren’t certain if that was the same bullet that killed Morrow. They reasoned that it could be, had it passed cleanly through Morrow’s body before lodging itself in the wall. But there were other possibili­ties that had to be explored before jump­ing to any conclusions. Among those was the possibility that some gunplay may have occurred in Morrow’s cabin be­fore he was fatally shot, a theory that quickly gained some ground when the cops found a color photograph of Mor­row with a bullet hole through it.
Had the photo been accidentally shot, perhaps by Morrow himself, the cops wondered. Or had Morrow’s killers shot it while the old deputy looked on, know­ing that a similar bullet would soon be ripping through his own flesh and bone instead of just Kodak paper? If the latter were the case, the cops reasoned that Morrow’s killer(s) had to be cruel, calcu­lating and cold-blooded, the kind who en­joyed tormenting victims before sending their souls into eternity.
After an exhaustive examination of the inside of Morrow’s cabin, investigators discovered another bullet hole in the wall near the ceiling. After careful examina­tion, it was determined that the bullet had not lodged in the wall, but instead had passed through the wall to the outside. After data had been recorded and studied, it was determined that the bullet hole had been made by a .308-caliber slug fired from a high-powered rifle. Believing that the .308-caliber slug was the one that had killed Morrow, Oregon State Police crime lab technician Rocky Mink first traced the trajectory of the bullet with string. After determining the most likely trajectory, Mink returned to Ontario to pick up some additional equipment, in­cluding a laser device.
In the meantime, while detectives gathered additional evidence at the cabin site, James Howbert, a pathologist from Bend, was brought in to conduct the auto­psy on Bud Morrow’s body. According to Howbert, at the conclusion of the auto­psy, the bullet that killed Morrow entered his body underneath his left arm, pene­trated and passed through both lungs, ex­ited through the right side of his chest, and passed completely through his right arm before hitting the cabin’s wall and passing through to the outside. “The wounds were consistent with those caused by a high-powered rifle,” How­bert told the cops.
Meanwhile, Rocky Mink returned to the cabin with his laser equipment. After setting up the device, he directed the laser beam through the bullet hole in the cabin wall in an attempt to determine the bul­let’s exact trajectory. After Mink had correctly traced the path of the lethal bul­let, an extensive search involving many men was made of the area where it should have landed. But after cutting down more than 50 trees in their attempt to find the killer bullet, the sleuths gave up and returned to the sheriff’s office empty-handed.
The next day, however, the cops re­vealed to the media new important evi­dence pertinent to the solving of the case that they earlier had not revealed out of fear of giving the suspects time to fabri­cate an alibi. Details of the evidence was released to the press in two parts, all of which gave an interesting new turn to one of the most notable murder cases in the history of the state.
First, detectives revealed that they had found several sets of footprints in the snow, several of which originated from the house across the road from Morrow’s cabin. Two women lived there, a mother and her daughter. Morrow’s nearest neighbors. Adeline Hollemon, 64, and her daughter Nora, 40, had lived there for years, the cops learned, and were known to have been involved in several heated disputes or arguments with Mor­row in the past, disputes which could, perhaps, be better described as hillbilly feuds. But were the feuds serious enough to cause these two women to want Mor­row dead?
If so, what had been the causes or reasons behind the serious altercations between Morrow and the two women? The cops knew these questions, and many others, would have to be answered if they were to crack the case. And the cops also knew that, in a community like Granite, everyone knows each other and knows each other well, and they reasoned that all it would take was one person who was willing to talk about the situation “up on the hill” to point them in the right direction. But the cops soon found more than one person who was willing to talk, which was certainly more than they had counted on and brings us to the second press release outlining evi­dence so far obtained.
The Grant County Sheriff’s Depart­ment revealed to reporters that they had ferreted out several witnesses who told them the killing of Deputy Sheriff (and self-proclaimed mayor of Granite) Bud Morrow was discussed in a Sumpter, Oregon saloon three days before the 53-year-old lawman was shot to death. One of the witnesses told the cops that he was in the cafe portion of a tavern the night of March 3, 1982 when he purportedly heard Nora Hollemon, a former reg­istered nurse but at that time Morrow’s neighbor, make remarks that were de­rogatory in content about Morrow as well as foretelling his death.
Nora Hollemon appeared to be drunk that night, the witness said, and she allegedly called Morrow a ‘low-down son of a bitch’ and a ‘drunken bum.’” She also stated, according to the witness, that she and her mother had been feuding with Morrow for at least the last eight years. The witness, however, did not know what the feuding had been about.
Nora said Bud was going to be dead by Monday, the witness told the cops, emphasizing that Nora Hollemon made the remark about Morrow to no one in particular as she appeared to be in a drunken stupor. The witness also told the cops that a man was now living with the two women, a 6 feet 4 inch, very large, muscular man with a pock-marked face who appeared to be romantically involved with Nora. The cops learned from the witness that the man, Pasquale “Pat” Joseph D’Onofrio, 34, had been in the area only a short while and was reportedly from somewhere on the east coast. When the cops asked the witness how he knew that D’Onofrio was romantically involved with Nora Hollemon, the witness cited the fact that D’Onofrio was living with Nora and her mother, and he had been seen kissing Nora inside the tavern. Likewise, Nora had been seen putting her hand on
D’Onofrio’s knee on several occasions. After hearing these details, it didn’t take long for the detectives inves­tigating the case to decide they wanted to learn more about this mystery man D’Onofrio, and just what his connection with the two Hollemon women was.
It didn’t take long for the cops to learn that D’Onofrio was a native of Derby, Connecticut, and that he had recently resided in West Palm Beach, Florida, where he used the alias Pasquale Russo. When they checked his background a little further, Oregon State Police and Grant County sheriff’s deputies said that they learned D’Onofrio was being sought by Connecticut police and was shot by officers there nearly a year be­fore during a high-speed chase on a state highway.
According to a source in Connecticut D’Onofrio, on March 21, 1981, allegedly picked up a hitchhiker in a stolen car and subsequently led police on a chase heading the wrong way on U.S. 8 in southwestern Connecticut and escaped after being shot. According to the source, D’Onofrio was wanted on charges of first-and second-degree lar­ceny, three counts of first-degree reck­less endangerment, first-degree attemp­ted assault and failure to appear in court. Convictions on all of those charges could carry penalties of more than 50 years in prison.
As evidence in the case mounted, a Granite local came forward and told the cops he heard D’Onofrio bragging that he was “a bone-crusher from the Mafia,” in Granite to carry out a contract on some­one. Additionally, the cops learned, on the evening of March 4th the older Holle­mon woman, Adeline, accompanied her daughter Nora and D’Onofrio to the tavern where she also was heard speaking bitterly of Bud Morrow. “Adeline said Bud was illiterate and didn’t deserve to be sheriff,” a witness told the cops. “Nora was agreeing with her.” After what he’d heard from the locals in Gra­nite and nearby Sumpter, not to mention the outstanding warrants on D’Onofrio in Connecticut, Grant County’s chief depu­ty sheriff, Dave Fredenburgh, was sent by Sheriff Haynes to the Hollemon house to make the arrest.
Armed with search and arrest war­rants, not to mention his own weapon and several armed deputies. Fredenburgh went up the hill to the Hollemon house, across the street from Morrow’s cabin. Once there, the deputies surrounded the house, their weapons drawn, and Fredenburgh identified himself while ordering D’Onofrio out of the house. A few moments later, D’Onofrio appeared at the front door of the cabin with his hands raised, obviously just aroused from sleep.
After D’Onofrio had been taken into custody and handcuffed, Deputy Fredenburgh served the search warrants on the Hollemon women. Following a lengthy, thorough search of the inside of the Hollemon house, sheriff’s deputies found at least a dozen guns inside, most of them underneath Adeline Hollemon’s bed and most of them loaded. The cops also ferreted out a motorcyclist’s black jacket which belonged to D’Onofrio and had holes in the lining where three hand­cuff keys were found; a Western-style shirt; blue jeans with light amounts of spattered blood on the left leg; gloves, which showed no evidence of blood; boots, and a wallet with $125 inside.
Additionally, the cops found a .45- caliber revolver at an undisclosed loca­tion, believed to be the one that fired the slug which was found lodged in the wall of Morrow’s cabin. Still more searching uncovered two vials of gold nuggets (be­lieved taken from Morrow’s cabin when it was ransacked the day he was killed) and a sheriff’s badge (was it Morrow’s?), all of which were found beneath frozen foods in the freezer at the Hollemon home. The evidence was tagged and sent to the state police crime labs for analysis and, in the meantime, D’Onofrio was held without bail in the Grant County Jail in Canyon City.
Following tests at the state police crime labs, it was determined that sever­al of the firearms found at the Hollemon house had recently been fired, including the .45-caliber handgun as well as the .308-caliber high-powered rifle, the sus­pected murder weapon. However, no fingerprints were found on the suspect .308 rifle.
The next day, sheriffs deputies re­turned to the Hollemon home where they arrested Adeline and Nora Hollemon. The women, along with D’Onofrio, were charged with murder, aggravated murder, conspiracy and robbery. The suspects were expected to be transferred to the Baker County Jail in Baker, and later to the Union County Jail in La Grande, according to Foster Glass, Grant County district attorney.
In the meantime, the investigation into the killing of Deputy Sheriff Bud Morrow continued by the sheriff’s de­partments of Grant and Baker Counties and the Oregon State Police. A deputy in Canyon City said that it was not clear if Morrow had been conducting an inves­tigation that might have led to his killing. In any case, police said, the speculation about D’Onofrio being a hit man for the Mafia fizzled out due to a lack of sub­stantiating evidence, not to mention the unlikelihood of such a preposterous pos­sibility. Even though the cops learned that Morrow had expressed fear that someone might try to kill him, they de­cided that it was more likely an angry local might want him dead than the Mafia.
A source close to the investigation confirmed that, before his death, Mor­row had mentioned to several people that he was having problems with other area residents and feared that someone would try to kill him. The source reported that residents of Granite and Sumpter said a great deal of bitterness had mushroomed between Morrow and the Hollemon women, purportedly stemming from the several occasions when Morrow repri­manded the woman for threatening area residents, as well as visitors.
According to the source, who wished to remain unidentified, Morrow alleged­ly was held at gunpoint and forced to demonstrate “fast draws” with his un­loaded Western-style handgun before his tormentors shot him to death.
As the investigation into the murder of Bud Morrow continued, a picture depict­ing the Hollemon women as hostile and unfriendly began to develop. One Sumpter resident told investigators that the Hollemon women occasionally “ran off” summer visitors to Granite who came to see the frontier cemetery near their home. And on one occasion, police were told, a U.S. Forest Service em­ployee stopped by their place to ask direc­tions and “they threatened to shoot him if he didn’t get off their property.”
On another occasion, the cops learned, a man from Sumpter hired an attorney to send the Hollemon women a letter requesting that they return several items they had allegedly taken from a cabin in Granite. As a result, the two women came to Sumpter on two occa­sions with a .30-30 caliber rifle, alleged­ly looking for the man. “I’ll tell you, I’ve run a lot of miles trying to stay out of their way,” the man said, wishing to remain unidentified.
Norm Wade, the mining official from Sumpter who had earlier talked to police, informed them that the two Hollemon women had lived in Granite for more than a decade. “Years ago, Ade­line was a hell of a nice woman,” he said. “Nora Hollemon had once been a registered nurse in Ontario and Baker and, according to some people, she was an excellent one.” Wade also told the cops that D’Onofrio arrived in Granite about a week or two before Morrow was murdered, and was caring for horses and a home which belonged to a long distance truck driver.
“He talked a lot, bragged,” Wade said. “He said stuff about how he liked to fight. At one point, he said he worked for the Mafia. Just the sort of stuff you listen to and ignore.” Wade, who had known Morrow well, then reminisced with sad­ness about Bud, who was already missed by most folks in the area.
“He was enough of a friend to every­ body in this county that everybody’s still in shock. He was irreplaceable,” said Wade. “The first time I ever saw Bud, he was wearing a .357 Magnum, and he had it in a toy holster with a ruby on it, and he had a toy badge. He was asleep with his feet propped up on a table.” Wade also told the investigators that in spite of the rough atmosphere and rugged image of Granite and nearby Sumpter, the murder of Bud Morrow greatly disturbed most of the residents of the area.
“This county was never that vio­lent,” said Wade. “There was a lot of nose-bustin’ and butt-kickin’, but there wasn’t much murder here. They had a couple of murders, way back before 1900 and those are the ones I am aware of besides, of course, the killing of old Bud.”
In the meantime, as investigators attempted to produce additional evidence and testimony, Morrow was buried in the pioneer cemetery behind his cabin where he had spent most of his 53 years. As last rites were being held for Morrow, a Grant County grand jury was handing down indictments against the three murder sus­pects in Canyon City, the county seat nearly 60 miles from Granite.
D’Onofrio immediately signed a state­ment of indigency and attorney Don Cro­nin was appointed to represent him. Dis­trict Attorney Glass said that Adeline and Nora Hollemon were in the process of signing the necessary affidavits also, so that they too could receive court- appointed attorneys to represent them. The three suspects were arraigned before Circuit Judge Thomas Mosgrove.
In the meantime, the matter concern­ing D’Onofrio and Connecticut authorities was clarified when Oregon author­ities were informed that D’Onofrio was mistakenly released from the state jail in New Haven in June 1981 after he posted $300 bond for a variety of misdemeanor charges leveled against him. As it turned out, felony charges were pending against him as a result of the high speed chase in which he was shot by police. “He will not be extradited until the matter here is settled,” said Grant County Justice Court Judge Jean Zeiler. “The warrant in Con­necticut was for several charges but none that would equal this.” D’Onofrio was held on a $250,000 bond for the murder, burglary and conspiracy charges in Oregon, plus $60,000 bail on fugitive war­rants from Connecticut. The Hollemon women were being held on $250,000 bail each.
Nora Hollemon was the first defendant to go on trial for the murder of Bud Mor­row. Jury selection began on August 6, 1982, and defense lawyers Wes Johnson mitt Craig Emerson mentioned the John Hinckley Jr. trial several times in their questioning of potential jurors, asking the panel members if they approved or disapproved of the verdict and of psychiatrists, a strong indication they would he employing a mental disease or detect defense. Selection went slowly, but by August 11th all jurors had been selected and were ready to visit the scene of the murder in Granite.
The visit to Morrow’s cabin didn’t take long and, after viewing the inside of the cabin and the surrounding areas, the jurors were taken hack to the courtroom of Circuit Judge Thomas Mosgrove, where they heard opening statements from both defense and prosecution, in which neither the defense nor the pro­secution accused Hollemon of firing the fatal shot that killed Edward “Bud” Morrow. Instead, both sides quoted Nora Hollemon as saying that the fatal shot was fired by Pasquale D’Onofrio, and District Attorney Glass told the jury that Hollemon loaned the gun to D’Onofrio, thus making her an acces­sory to the murder. Defense attorney Emerson told the jury that both Holle­mon women were intimidated out of fear of D’Onofrio.
“He (D’Onofrio) told the women he was from the Mafia, that he came up to do a job, that Bud was in the way, that Bud has gotta go,” District Attorney Glass told the jury. Glass also told the jury they would hear testimony that Nora Hollemon’s relationship with D’Onofrio was not one of fear but that it was, in­stead, affectionate. “They were seen holding hands, laughing, smiling, hav­ing a good time. They practiced together with firearms before Morrow’s death, and testimony will be given by witnesses who allegedly heard conversation among the Hollemons and D’Onofrio that ‘Bud has to go’ ,”said Glass. While in jail, Glass told the jury, Ms. Holle­mon was heard to say, ” ‘I’m not sorry Bud’s dead. He deserved to die.’ “
Glass also said that Ms. Hollemon said she was not present when D’Onofrio allegedly shot Morrow but, he con­tinued, she described in great detail cer­tain events which led up to Morrow’s death in great detail. According to Glass, Nora Hollemon also told investigators that D’Onofrio fired a shot into the cabin wall to scare Morrow, then forced the victim to practice “quick draws” with his own unloaded revolver.
Did D’Onofrio actually pull the trig­ger when Morrow was shot? Or was he merely being used by the Hollemon women, simply their patsy so they could settle a long-time grudge against Mor­row? If D’Onofrio pulled the trigger, what was his motive? What did he have against Morrow, particularly since he’d been in Granite only a short time? These questions, and many others, were the kinds the nine woman, three man jury would have to contemplate during their deliberations, then decide if the Holle­mon defense was merely trying to shift the guilt to another person.
Defense attorney Emerson painted a different picture of his client for the jury. He said Nora Hollemon was terrified of D’Onofrio, a “self-described bone-crusher” who bragged to her of killing 30 persons and also threatened her and her mother. Emerson said that when the Hollemons were seen socializing in Sumpter with D’Onofrio prior to the slaying, “they had to appear to go along with D’Onofrio to protect their own lives.” Emerson also told the jury that Nora Hollemon had no one to turn to in her fear of D’Onofrio, and that she and her mother “fed on each other’s dis­trust” of other people to such a degree that they both suffered from a “shared paranoia condition” at the time D’Onof­rio came to Granite. Emerson said that psychiatrists would testify later in the trial that Nora Hollemon suffered from a “diagnosable mental illness,” but he de­clined to be more specific.
“He (D’Onofrio) is 6-feet-5, 280 pounds, and is a very intimidating per­son. He told the two women, ‘I’ve got a contract on you two.’”
During the course of the trial, witnes­ses who earlier had told the cops of the incriminating discussions they heard be­tween the Hollemon women and D’Onofrio at the tavern in Sumpter were repeated for the jury, as well as testi­mony from scientific witnesses such as Dr. James Howbert, who performed the autopsy on Morrow. In spite of defense protest, color photographs of the wounds Morrow sustained were admitted into evidence and shown to the jury, which brought gasps and looks of shock from several of the panel members. Morrow probably lived two or three minutes after he was shot, Howbert told the stunned jury.
After nearly three weeks of testimony in one of the most dramatic trials to come out of Oregon, Nora Hollemon was found guilty of felony murder, conspira­cy to commit felony murder, and first-degree burglary. She was found innocent on charges of aggravated murder, con­spiracy to commit aggravated murder, and first-degree robbery.
“Apparently the jury didn’t feel she pulled the trigger, but they felt she aided and abetted and assisted in Morrow’s murder,” said District Attorney Glass. “The jury apparently did not feel that Morrow was a full-time police officer (otherwise the jury would have found Hollemon guilty of aggravated murder as well). However, they found that she was guilty of aiding and abetting and assisting and being involved in felony murder.” Felony murder is charged when someone is murdered during the course of another felony, such as rob­bery and burglary. Mosgrove ordered a pre-sentence investigation, but set no date for sentencing.
At the request of Adeline Hollemon’s attorneys, Ralph Smith and Timothy T.A. Jensen, both of Baker, the woman’s trial date was postponed indefinitely due to the fact that they needed additional time to prepare a defense and purportedly because of their client’s mental state. They felt that she was not mentally cap­able of standing trial.
Meanwhile, D’Onofrio’s trial was moved to Burns, Oregon in Harney County, at the request of his attorney, Stephen Titkin, through a change of venue motion. D’Onofrio’s case was heard by Judge Mosgrove.
In his opening statements, Titkin said evidence would show only that D’Onof­rio was in the wrong place at the wrong time and was a victim of circumstances in the slaying of Morrow. Titkin told the jury that blood found on his client’s pants at the time he was arrested was from his own cut finger. Titkin said evidence would show that Morrow and all three defendants share the same blood type and that tests conducted by the state police crime labs failed to show otherwise.
Three young men who partied with Pasquale D’Onofrio in the tavern on March 3, 1982 were called to testify at the trial by the prosecutors, Assistant Attorney General Byron Chatfield of Salem and Grant County District Attor­ney Glass. The witnesses testified that D’Onofrio made threatening remarks against Morrow that night, and that the suspect was buying drinks for the house with money he had won from slot machines in Sparks, Nevada.
“I’ll get him — I’ll get Morrow,” one of the witnesses, Doug Jennings, quoted D’Onofrio as saying over their drinks. The reason the statements were made, according to the witness, was that Bud Morrow had reportedly defined D’Onofrio as a “big, dumb wop.”
“He bought drinks for everybody,” John Ragsdale testified, “and said she was wanted by the police. I forget which state.” After a few drinks in the tavern, the group went to Jennings’ house where they smoked a couple of joints, drank a few beers, then went back to the tavern, “Would you characterize those state­ments as almost passing comments?” de­fense attorney Titkin asked Jennings. “Yes,” Jennings replied. “Was that just talk?” Titkin asked. “Yes,” Ragsdale replied.
Tom DeMaris, Grant County sheriff’s deputy, and Barry Lawson, a state police investigator, both testified that Nora Hol­lemon stated during an interview that she helped plan Morrow’s slaying and that all three were involved. “She said all three of them were participating equally,” De­Maris said during questioning by Pro­secutor Chatfield.
“I asked Nora if all three were in­volved,” Lawson told the jury, “or if there was just one who wanted Bud dead. She said they talked freely, and they were all for killing Bud Morrow.”
When Nora Hollemon was interro­gated again, a tape recorder was used to record her statement. The tape was play­ed for the jury, in which she detailed the events that led to Morrow’s death. Law­son asked her what she thought after the shooting.
“It wasn’t so funny then,” Lawson said on the tape.
“It wasn’t funny to begin with,” she responded, on tape. “I thought that he (D’Onofrio) was just going to use his hands and slap him (Morrow) around a little.”
“Was there any question what you did was wrong?” Lawson asked.
“I knew it was against the law,” she said. “I knew if he (D’Onofrio) did what he said he was going to do, I was going to put out exactly what he said (report what had happened). I didn’t want no part of it.”
The same scientific evidence that was introduced in Nora Hollemon’s trial was admitted into evidence in D’Onofrio’s trial, along with the witnesses who over­heard the alleged plans to kill Morrow while the defendants were drinking at the tavern. However, in spite of their efforts, the state ultimately lost most of its case.
On January 27, 1983, Pasquale “Pat” D’Onofrio was found innocent of the murder charges against him, but was found guilty of two counts of first-degree burglary. D’Onofrio was sentenced to 10 to 30 years in prison under the state’s dangerous offender statute and, under the sentence imposed by Judge Mos­grove, he must serve a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of 30 years in the state penitentiary. Additionally, he will be extradited to Connecticut, where he will face the charges pending against him there for various offenses.
Nora Hollemon, the first of the three defendants to be tried and convicted, was sentenced to life imprisonment plus 20 years for her involvement in the kill­ing of Bud Morrow.
Adeline Hollemon, 65, has been sent to the Oregon State Hospital to undergo psychiatric evaluation, because psychiatrists Dr. Norman Janzer and Dr. Paul Metzger termed her paranoid, with a delusional system, shared paranoia and psychosis, and, because of mental de­fect, she was unable to assist and partici­pate in her own defense. It was later determined that Adeline Hollemon was psychologically able to assist in her own defense at trial. She was convicted of murder by a jury on October 22, 1986, but was acquitted several other charges including aggravated murder, felony murder, and conspiracy to commit murder. On December 29, 1986, she was sentenced to life in prison.
EDITOR’S NOTE:
Norm Wade, Slim Johnson, Doug Jennings, and John Ragsdale are not the real names of the persons so named in the foregoing story. Fictitious names have been used because there is no reason for public interest in the identities of these persons.

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