Chauncey Bailey Project

Man convicted of killing Don Bolles dies in prison

Don Bolles, left, Max Dunlap (Arizona Republic)
Don Bolles, left, Max Dunlap (Arizona Republic)

Don Bolles, left, Max Dunlap (Arizona Republic)

The Arizona Republic

Max Dunlap, convicted of masterminding the car-bomb assassination of Arizona Republic reporter Don Bolles, died Tuesday at the Arizona State Prison Complex-Tucson, according to a Department of Corrections spokesperson.

Dunlap, 80, was convicted of murder and conspiracy to commit murder in 1993. He was serving a life sentence. Dunlap was unresponsive Tuesday morning in the Rincon medical unit in Tucson. Staff performed CPR before Dunlap was declared dead of what appears to be natural causes.

Arizona Republic report: Don Bolles, 1929-1976

Last May, Dunlap petitioned the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency for early release, cited his failing health. In his application, he mentioned that he suffered serious head injuries after being attacked by other prisoners and cannot walk. He also had diabetes and had been left incontinent from reactions to medication.

But as the hearing began, the board’s executive director, Duane Belcher, announced, “Although Mr. Dunlap has illnesses, he does not meet the standard of imminent danger of death” required to grant clemency on those grounds.

Dunlap’s longtime advocate, a retired tax attorney named David Frazer, implored the board to postpone its decision until an independent doctor could examine Dunlap to show that his health was far worse than Arizona Department of Corrections medical staff believes.

Belcher assured him that the board could reopen hearings should Frazer bring him new evidence of Dunlap’s condition.

Bolles, 47, died 11 days after a bomb was detonated beneath his car in the parking lot of a central Phoenix hotel.

Dunlap was convicted of first-degree murder for hiring two men to do the job at a misguided attempt to curry favor with liquor wholesaler and landowner named Kemper Marley. One of those two was acquitted at his second trial, casting doubt for many about whether Dunlap was truly guilty.

One response to “Man convicted of killing Don Bolles dies in prison”

  1. Sheldon L. McCormick says:

    The 1978 Special Circumstance Murder Statute, enacted by the Calfornia Legislature three years after the death penalty was reinstated in 1976, specifies that specific categories of murder (California State Penal Code Section 187), upon conviction, be punished by the death penalty or life imprisonment without parole. These include slaying law enforcement officer, firefighters, using explosives and destructive devices like a hand grenade, political officials, using torture, preventing or retaliating against witnesses for testifying in court and several other categories. The murder of journalists like Oakland reporter Chauncey Bailey and Arizona Republic newspaperman Don Bolles, must be added to that specific list. Journalists risk life and limb to provide vital information to readers , listeners and viewers. The news, good and bad, must be covered in order to benefit a free society. Violence aginst the news media is as much an attack on America’s liberty as the 911 assaults against the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. Violence against the news media, as seen one time too many in locales like Mexico and the Middle East, should never be tolerated in America. Those who do engage in such violent efforts against journalists must be punished with the most severe sentence the courts can administer under the law. The murder of news media practictioners is a grievious blow against freedom of speech and the press, one of the sacred tenants of the United States Constitution.

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