Don Bolles was mortally wounded when a dynamite bomb exploded under his car on June 2, 1976. He died 11 days later, after three of his limbs were amputated to stave off infection.
More than 45 years after Arizona Republic reporter Don Bolles was gravely injured by a dynamite bomb planted under his car, some still question why it happened.
The official narrative seemed flimsy on its face: Bolles wrote an article that cost a powerful man a seat on a racing commission. And that man ordered the hit.
That a reporter would be killed over an unpaid appointed position doesn’t seem to add up. And competing theories have filled the vacuum, posing questions and purporting to poke holes in that official theory.
But a fresh look at interviews and testimony — contained in clippings from The Republic both before and after the bombing — indicate that the man who lost his racing commission seat aimed to turn that regulatory position into one that gave him money and power.
Until Bolles took it away.
Bolles was mortally wounded when a dynamite bomb exploded under his car on June 2, 1976. He died 11 days later, after three of his limbs were amputated to stave off infection.
Police would accuse three men of conspiring to plan and execute the bombing. All three would be convicted. But two would be freed on appeal. On re-trial in the 1990s, a jury would convict one man and find the other not guilty.
The official narrative was that the Bolles bombing was ordered by Kemper Marley, a liquor executive who had been nominated for a post on the state racing commission. A March 1976 article by Bolles that detailed Marley’s past misdeeds embarrassed the governor and cost Marley the position.
As revenge, Marley ordered the killing of Bolles, according to the case presented at trial. Marley also wanted two other people killed: a public relations man and the sitting attorney general.
But competing theories have swirled around the case.