Friday, February 27, 2009


Dateline: February 20, 2009


Warning! Potions of the following court records involving Hillsborough State Attorney Mark Ober’s most infamous client, serial killer and rapist, Oscar Ray Bolin, are graphic and disturbing, and should not be read by anyone who is easily horrified. Proceed at your own risk. If you are a friend, employee, or campaign contributor to Mark (and many people fall into all three categories), after reading this, you may never look at Mark the same way again.

First, I want to state unequivocally that I have no personal animosity toward Mark Ober, despite all the unethical actions he has directed toward me over the past thirty years or so, the use of suborned perjury, the withholding of evidence, the false statements he’s made, all pointing toward a level of personal animosity and vindictiveness that recalls the old Sicilian concept of vendetta. After I rejected all Mark’s offers of plea bargains and reduced sentences in exchange for my guilty plea to a murder I did not commit, Mark did his best to strap me into “Old Sparky,” the electric chair. When the judge and jury rejected his arguments, he took it personally. It’s okay, Mark—I forgave you a long time ago.

That doesn’t mean I can’t inform the public of certain acts of hypocrisy that Mark has committed since that time, especially concerning his vigorous defenses of Oscar Ray Bolin, perhaps the most notorious serial killer in Hillsborough County history.

Did you know that Mark accused me of “moral turpitude” before the Florida Parole Commission in 2002? That was in addition to his other false, misleading, and malicious statements meant only to keep me in prison for a crime I didn’t commit.

Do you have any idea what “moral turpitude” means? It really shocked me to read the transcript of the hearing, and to find out that I was guilty of moral turpitude, so I looked it up in “Black’s Law Dictionary:”

“Moral turpitude means, in general, shameful wickedness—so extreme a departure from ordinary standards of honest, good morals, justice or ethics as to be shocking to the moral sense of the community. It has also been defined as an act of baseness, vileness, or depravity in the private and social duties which one person owes to another or to society in general, contrary to the accepted and customary rule of right and duty between people.” (50 am.Jur. 2d Libel and Slander 165 at 454 (1995) ).

Pretty scary stuff, huh? It was in fact, a false accusation, and I won’t even bother going into the basis of all that now. Let’s get back to Mark’s favorite client, who made him famous, the infamous, Oscar Ray Bolin, Jr. There is too much material here to cover in one account, so I will start with Part I, then proceed from there.

For those who are anxiously awaiting more about “Millionaire Mark Ober and His Gifts and Campaign Contributions questions,” I’m still researching that subject, waiting for more outside information to come in. Be patient.

Oscar Ray Bolin drove a truck back and forth between Florida and Ohio for some time. He had a pretty good M.O., as serial killers and rapists go. While driving up Interstate 75, he’d pick an exit, get off at some random town, snatch up an unsuspecting victim, have his way with her, discard her, get back on the interstate, and be miles away before anyone even discovered the body. Lots of little roads, lanes and ditches out there in the woods on either side of the interstate. Look at a road atlas, trace I-75, and you’ll see how huge Oscar’s hunting ground was. No one will ever know how many victims he actually has out there.

Miraculously, one escaped from him in Ohio after he raped her, and before he could kill her, or the toll might have been much higher. He went to prison in Ohio, where he sat when his ex-wife spilled the beans about Oscar’s exploits in Hillsborough and Pasco Counties.

Three young women, Teri Lynn Matthews, 26 years old, Natalie Blanch Holley, 25 years old, and Stephanie Collins, 17 years old, fatally made the acquaintance of Oscar Ray Bolin over a short period in 1986.

While in the Hillsborough County Jail, Oscar tried to cheat the executioner by attempting suicide. He left a stamped envelope addressed to Captain Gary Terry in the cell, quoted as follows:

“P.S. these were the only five for the state of Fla. That I knowed anything about. If there’s Ever anything Else that you really want to know about then you’ll haft to ask [Coby—his ex-wife], Because she knew just about Every thing that I was Ever a part of. She help spend the money from most of all the armed Robbery’s, and she know about all 3 of these homicide which I’m charged with.”

You might wonder why a hotshot defense attorney like Mark Ober would take on the case of a sick puppy like Oscar Ray Bolin, especially after reading that letter and viewing the evidence against him. “Publicity hound.” Does that make sense? Mark wanted all those prospective paying criminal clients to see his name and photo in the Tampa Tribune and St. Pete Times every day for the weeks, months, and years all his death penalty trials and appeals would dominate the media. You can’t buy such publicity:

“Fred, who do you think I ought to hire to defend me on this cocaine case? “
“Well, that guy, Mark Ober, used to be a prosecutor. He can cut any kind of deal you want. And since he’s defending that notorious serial killer and rapist, Oscar Ray Bolin, you know he has the moral code of an alley cat. That’s your man. Give him a call.”

And they did—enough to make Mark a millionaire before he decided to run against the tainted Harry Lee Coe in 2000, who supposedly blew his brains out before the election, paving the way for Mark to become a public servant. (You’ll have to read my book about the Mafia in Tampa to learn about an alternate theory of Hanging Harry’s death.)

This, in brief, is what the Florida Supreme Court had to say about one of Bolin’s victims:

“Stephanie Collins was last seen on November 5, 1986, in the passenger’s seat of a white van. On December 5, 1986, her body was discovered alongside a road in Hillsborough County. An autopsy revealed that Collins sustained a number of stab wounds and several potentially fatal blows to the head.”

The investigation into Collins’ murder proved unavailing until July, 1990, when Danny Coby telephoned Crime Stoppers in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, with information about the murder. Danny Coby obtained the information from his wife, Cheryl Coby, who had acquired the information during her prior marriage to Bolin. After Mr. Coby’s call, Mrs. Coby told investigators that on November 5, 1986, Bolin, her husband at the time, picked her up from a restaurant, and took her back to their travel trailer. Coby stated that while they were driving, Bolin made several attempts to explain the presence of a dead body in their trailer. Bolin finally told Coby that he had killed a girl by hitting her over the head and stabbing her. Coby further explained that upon their arrival at the trailer, she saw Bolin load what appeared to be the body wrapped in a quilt into his truck. He and Coby then drove to a spot where Bolin dumped the body. Coby later identified that spot to police. When she returned to the trailer, Coby observed that everything inside, including a knife beside the kitchen sink appeared wet. Coby also noticed several blood stains in the trailer.

After Coby’s disclosure, Bolin was extradited to Hillsborough County to await trial for the murder of Stephanie Collins. On June 22, 1991, Bolin attempted suicide.

Despite Mark Ober’s most valiant efforts, his favorite serial killer was convicted of three murders and was sentenced to three death penalties. How could there be any doubt as to his guilt? But thanks to some legal technicalities, Bolin’s murder cases were overturned, he was retried, and sentenced to death again.

Teri Lynn Matthews’ poor mother stated to the newspaper, “How do you get three murder convictions and not be guilty of something? This is a sham of justice. And it’s draining the life out of all of us.”

Had Mark Ober had his way, and the jury believed him, Oscar Ray Bolin would have been found not guilty of all those murders, and could be walking the streets today. Of course, considering what a homicidal maniac he is, odds are that he would have been caught for more murders later, anyway. Somehow, though, the fact that Mark tried so hard to free Bolin scares the crap out of me. I wonder what depths of moral turpitude poor Mark reached when he signed on to that case?

More on that later.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


Dateline: Wednesday, February 4, 2009


What do you give the state attorney who has everything? If you’ve been racking your brain what to get Mark Ober (state attorney of Hillsborough County) for his birthday on May 18th (he’ll be 58), let me make a few suggestions, based on Mark’s quarterly gift disclosures to the Commission on Ethics, along with some other public records we’ll get to later.

New York Yankees patriarch, George Steinbrenner, really likes Mark Ober. How much does he like him? Enough to keep Mark in free tickets to baseball and football events for at least three games in 2008. “The Boss” Steinbrenner gave Mark two tickets to the Yankees/Orioles game last July 30th ($100). That was a Wednesday and Thursday. No mention is made of what Mark was otherwise doing in the Big Apple.

On Saturday, August 23, 2008, “The Man” treated Mark to the Tampa Bay Bucs/Jacksonville Jaguars game, two tickets valued at $914.00 (nice seats). I hope Mark and his friend enjoyed the game.

Earlier in the season, Mark’s friend, Doug Cone, of Ocala, gave Mark four $100 tickets to watch the Yankees and the Houston Astros on March 7th, then Big George stepped up to the plate and gave Mark two $100 tickets to watch the Yankees play the Tampa Bay Rays on March 21st, followed by the Yankees/Pittsburgh game on March 27th, only one ticket this time, for $75. Two of those games were on Fridays, and one on Thursday. I suppose Mark deserves some time off during the week for a ballgame every now and then. His felony bureau chiefs can hold down the fort.

Dick Crippen of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (pre-name change) only gave Mark tickets once, on July 12, 2007, but they were nice ones, four tickets, $280, to watch Tampa Bay play the Yankees.

Going back over Mark’s quarterly disclosure forms, good old Doug Cone gave Mark four cheap tickets (at $25 per) to see New York play Minnesota on March 7, 2006.

Seems like the only thing Mark likes better than free tickets is cash. Doug Cone shared his wealth with Mark Ober on December 13, 2007, writing him a check for $500 from “Cone Distributing, Inc.,” of Ocala, the maximum campaign contribution allowed by law, and the same day, December 13th, writing him an extra $500 from the account of the “Douglas P. Cone Revocable Trust,” also at the same 500 NW 27th Avenue address in Ocala.

Be careful, Doug, about those $500 contributions! We have some pretty strict campaign finance laws in Florida, especially for exceeding limits, having other people contribute money for you in their names, bundling, and other sneaky tricks used to help out the candidates.

Before I go any further, I want to say that I have the utmost respect for Mr. Steinbrenner and the NY Yankees. As a child the highlight of my spring was when our father would take my two brothers and me to Al Lopez Field to watch the Yankees play the Reds, the spring training game of the season. And I understand that “The Boss” is not only the consummate sportsman, but also a business genius, so I’m sure he has reasons to shower tickets and cash on Mark Ober, as he’s been doing for years.

Most recently, George Steinbrenner, III, gave Mark five hundred bucks on November 21, 2007, to keep the family tradition alive, followed up by two more nice checks the same day, $400 from “Kinsman Properties Corp.,” same address (P.O. Box 25077, Tampa, 33623) and $500 from “Kinsman Companies Partnership” at 1 Steinbrenner Drive in Tampa. Son-in-law, Steve Swindal, gave Mark a nice chunk of change for Mark’s 2004 election campaign, but since he got kicked out of the family, his contributions dried up.

I’m reading these numbers from the Florida Department of State Division of Elections, Campaign Finance Data Base for the 2008 General Election, State Attorney’s race, Hillsborough County. The illustrious Mark Ober, on the particular printout, had 492 contributions for $138,517.80 (come on, people, make your checks out to round numbers) a total of 186 of those contributions were for the maximum, $500, or $93,000, the bulk of the money.

This list makes very interesting reading. You’d be amazed at how many “PA’s,” lawyers, gave money to Mark (DUH!), and how many “PA’s,” (lawyers) did not list the “PA” by their names, like Wayne Chalu, one of Mark’s trusted employees, and my former P.D.’s office appellate lawyer, who listed his home address in St. Pete, along with his wife, Cynthia, $500 each. Perhaps someone could figure out how to make it a payroll deduction. Wayne and Cynthia gave Mark the grand on November 21, 2007, and December 17, 2007, respectively, dates that reoccur often on the list.

There are so many fascinating facts on this one database that I’m going to take a timeout, do some more research, and come back to this subject again. Some of these entries have a strong odor about them, like that rotten thing in Denmark, and bears more scrutiny. So far, I’ve counted at least 115 lawyers or law firms confirmed on the list, and there are some interesting correlations.

If you’d like to check out the list yourself, type in then 2008 General Election, Candidate Ober, Mark. If you come up with any interesting observations, I’d like to hear them.

Back to Mark’s gifts—Paul Teasch, CEO of the St. Pete Times, gave Mark two tickets to the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey game ($150) on December 2, 2005, but nothing since then. Wassamatta, Mark, don’t like hockey?

Fishing equipment is also a good choice. Glenn Chaney of Brandon gave Mark a nice Shimano Stradic 4000 FH fishing reel ($140) in July, 2005. That was awhile back, so he could probably use a new one. Don’t forget some of that fancy new microfiber fishing line; all they had was cheap monofilament when I was out there last in the 1970’s. Sandra Spoto bought Mark a nice “Bait Stik” Sabiki Rod and Shimano Reel – 4000 FA ($120) a few months before Glenn gave him the reel, so that’s probably taken some wear, too.

Mark loves tenderloin steaks! Connie Freeman gave him a box of Williams and Sonoma Perini Ranch Tenderloins ($429) on December 2, 2004; nice post-election Christmas present, Connie, but why haven’t you given him any more in the past four years?

Dennis Lopez got on his good side with some “Arturo Fuente Hemingway Cigars” ($218.95)—watch out for lung cancer—which Mark only smokes when he has something to celebrate, like giving somebody the death penalty.

George and the Yankees kept Mark in Bucs tickets—versus Houston ($457—09/01/05) Bucs vs. Denver Broncos ($457—10/03/04), then Mark hit the jackpot with two really nice Christmas presents in 2004—a “Joe DiMaggio Autographed Baseball” ($855.44)—just think, Mark, the hand that held that ball was married to Marilyn Monroe, and a “NY Yankees Watch!” ($150). Now I’m becoming envious. I had a baseball autographed by Mickey Mantle once, but it got lost in an orange grove. Oh, well.

Mark likes wild game! Ernie Center gave him three tickets to the Brandon Rotary Club Wild Game Cookout, $225. And the felony bureau chiefs gave him a $200 gift certificate to the Sports Authority.

I saw in the “Tampa Tribune,” what’s left of it, that the Sports Authority had a big sale on Rawlings baseball gloves—$6.74 - $224.99. That might be a nice gift for Mark. He can catch a foul ball, get someone to sign it.

Those felony bureau chiefs also bought Mark two pairs of nice dress shoes ($145 and $285). Maybe some silk socks would be a nice touch.

Whoa! Look out! Robert P. Polli gave Mark a Ruger Super Black Hawk .44 magnum pistol ($305). Robert lives in a P.O.Box in Kilauea, Hawaii. Be careful—that thing might go off. How about a nice leather holster for Mark’s gun, or a box of bullets? Maybe some human silhouette targets to take out to the pistol range. Burglars stay away—Mark’s packing big heat. Wasn’t that the same caliber “Dirty Harry” used to blow away the scumbags in Frisco in the ‘70’s?

That’s enough for now. I’m not going to discuss the Mont Blanc pen Ed and Donna Schmoll ($175) got him, or the bottle of champagne Frances Toledo gave him. I’d hate to see Mark drunk and firing that pistol some night! Someone might call the cops on him. I hope you have some good ideas of what to get old Mark for his birthday now. Me, I’m not sending him anything. He’s still fuming over that Christmas card I sent him in 1980—“Merry Christmas from Raiford, wish you were here.” And a Happy Valentines Day to you, too.