Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Notorious ’76 bombing figure dies

The Associated Press

John Harvey Adamson admitted placing the deadly dynamite under reporter Don Bolles’ car.

The Associated Press

PHOENIX – John Harvey Adamson, who served a 20-year prison sentence for the car-bomb slaying of a Phoenix newspaper reporter in 1976, has died. He was 58.

George Weisz, an adviser to Arizona Gov. Jane Hull, said yesterday that Adamson died Wednesday somewhere on the East Coast.

Weisz, who probed the Bolles murder as an investigator for the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, declined to say where Adamson died, out of concern for the safety of people close to Adamson.

He said Adamson possibly had liver disease, and an autopsy was being conducted.

In 1996, Adamson finished a 20-year, two-month prison sentence and was released into the U.S. Justice Department’s witness-protection program.

Arizona Republic investigative reporter Don Bolles’ car was blown apart by a remote-control bomb in the parking lot of a downtown Phoenix hotel on June 2, 1976. He died 11 days later.

Adamson later told police he had attached dynamite to Bolles’ car because he was hired to do so by Max Dunlap, a Phoenix contractor.

Adamson claimed Dunlap targeted Bolles because Dunlap’s mentor – wealthy rancher and liquor wholesaler Kemper Marley Sr. – had been the subject of negative news stories written by Bolles that hampered Marley’s effort to get and hold a seat on the Arizona Racing Commission.

Marley died in 1990 without being arrested or charged in the case.

Dunlap and James Robison, a Chandler plumber who Adamson said triggered the bomb, were convicted of the murder, but those convictions were overturned.

Adamson entered into a plea bargain, but Dunlap was again convicted of the murder in 1993. He’s in an Arizona state prison, serving a sentence of life without possibility of parole for 25 years.

Our Digital Archive

This blog page archives the entire digital archive of the Tucson Citizen from 1993 to 2009. It was gleaned from a database that was not intended to be displayed as a public web archive. Therefore, some of the text in some stories displays a little oddly. Also, this database did not contain any links to photos, so though the archive contains numerous captions for photos, there are no links to any of those photos.

There are more than 230,000 articles in this archive.

In TucsonCitizen.com Morgue, Part 1, we have preserved the Tucson Citizen newspaper's web archive from 2006 to 2009. To view those stories (all of which are duplicated here) go to Morgue Part 1

Search site | Terms of service