What time did Wilhelm go to the 7-11 after leaving Miracle's house? Is this verifiable through a clerk that was working? I don't know what time Wilhelm stopped at the 7-11. The police should have followed that lead and documented the person working there and the time, but I haven't researched that info yet. It should be in the discovery documents as well. I am digging for a lot of info, and I will add that to my list and post it here when I find it. ~Thayer Botham
Were there any pictures that were taken by Ken Botham on his trip to Ouray? I know that the weather wasn't optimal for professional photography, but did he take any at all? It was too windy the Saturday, Aug 23 for the pictures that he wanted to take as they were long exposure shots and the moving bushes/trees would have blurred. It was overcast still, from the storms that had been in the area the night before. I don't think it was raining by the time he arrived at the photo site Saturday morning of August 23, 1975. He did go up to the mountain area - Imogene pass, but without actual photos it is impossible to prove he was there, unless someone happens to remember him in Imogene itself, but that was 30 years ago. ~Thayer Botham
anyone see him stop for gas or go to Duckett's Market Saturday
on his return trip to GJ? The Duckett's market
clerk and the clerk at the Montrose gas station would
have been checked by the police as well-same story as
for me actually getting my hands on the documents
It is important to note that the facts, names and places mentioned in the Brief that I have posted are all documented with witness numbers to delineate the actual record that the officer took while tracking that particular fact. I just copied the brief and posted it as it actually is. Those numbers you see in parenthesis are those document numbers and correlate to the actual interview or lead that was followed by the police. As you might have noticed, the evidence section is just a condensed version of the evidentiary sections from the Appellant Brief. ~Thayer Botham
It says that he paid for everything by check on his trip. Has it been confirmed that this is true? Yes the checks are confirmed, same way. All the info stated is in the discoveries. ~Thayer Botham
Who is Patsy Murphy and why was her testimony excluded from the trial? Patsy Murphy is either the sister or the sister-in-law to Linda Miracle. In both the newspaper articles and the court documents that I have (I don't have every article nor every court document) she is printed in both as being both sister and sister in law, so I don't know which she is yet. But I am reasonably sure that she is sister-in-law, that would make her Dewey Miracle, Jr's (Linda's Husband) sister. Patsy Murphy's testimony was disallowed by the judge; his reason was that her testimony was hearsay. It was considered hearsay because Patsy was going to testify about what Linda said about the phone call Linda received, supposedly from Haley about him coming over that night around 11 pm and Patsy's testimony was about what Linda said, and not directly from something that Patsy said. When you testify about what someone else says, that is hearsay. ~Thayer Botham
Who is Dwain Jackson and why was his testimony included in the trial? Dwaine Jackson was either a friend or acquaintance of Ken Botham's before the murders. Dwaine and Ken sang together in a singing group/club known as "Barbershop Quartet." The discussion concerning the case was one where Dwaine and Ken talked about the dangers of the river, about how a murder victim could be thrown into the river and be caught by the currents, and involved how a so-called "perfect murder" could take place.
Dwaine Jackson's testimony was for the same hearsay reason, this time it wasn't hearsay, so it was allowed. On the other hand, Jackson's testimony is as close to the line as you get to character defamation/prejudicing the jury. Usually character inferences are not tolerated in court because it opens up the possibility for mistrial and or appeal. Prosecution used it like the June 15th strangulation incident - to help prove the prosecution's assertions that Ken's character was such that would allow him to murder these people. It could not be ruled as hearsay, as it was a direct conversation between Jackson and Botham. I have not asked my father about this conversation, so I don't know his side, if it is the same, or different. Many things were taken out of context with regard to his actions or words, so this may be also, but I just don't know. ~Thayer Botham
Why did Milo Vig, an investigator, testify, along with the Crawfords, as to the "strangulation" (I'm presuming here that this is the strangulation incident that occurred several weeks before Miracle's death in which your dad was seen carrying her) of Linda Miracle?
strangulation incident of June 15th was introduced in an
attempt to show that Ken Botham disliked people,
specifically Linda Miracle.
It is an example of the length that the prosecution went in order to prove their version of the case. (Normally in a court trial, that is exactly what each side tries to do, prove their side enough for the jury to believe them) In introducing the June 15th incident, the prosecutor (Farina) only spoke of those things that would agree with the point that they were intending to make, like any good attorney.
The problem is, that the real circumstances of that June 15th strangulation incident did not help show that Ken Botham was violent to Linda, as once she screamed and several neighbors went to look out their windows, Ken was the one who ran over and picked Linda up off of her front lawn, carried her over to his house, and called the ambulance in an effort to help (actually yelling to my mom, Pat Botham to call).
The only testimony heard in court was that Ken was seen bending over Linda, carried her over, and then the ambulance came. Farina then made a huge deal about the fact that Ken could have been the one to actually strangle her, then he faked the rest about trying to help. Just as well, Ken could have come across the street and helped after the scream, but there was no way to tell he wasn't there before she screamed, inferring that he was there because no one saw him.
As to who did the testifying, Vig and Crawford, they were the ones the prosecution chose to use for this incident. Mrs. Crawford had a good view of the street and saw it and it was Vig who investigated it, among others.
One more thing about the June 15th incident. Testimony about another crime isn't allowed, with the exception of using that testimony to show ill will between the perp and the victim. The catch is, that the court MUST show clearly, beyond doubt that the defendant was in fact the perpetrator to the victim in that crime to be able to use that testimony. In the trial of my father, this was never done, but the testimony about the strangulation attempt was allowed, regardless. ~Thayer Botham
If there were multiple people that knew that Ken Botham had helped Linda after the incident, why weren't any allowed to testify? I don't think it was as much as not being allowed, just that the defense team didn't do a very good job. They could have called witnesses to show help, prior to and after the murders, but didn't. It might be important to note, that Officer Haley, Linda's boyfriend, visited Linda Miracle in the hospital after this incident (Robert Silva, another officer, accompanied Haley to the hospital, but not in to visit with Linda) and then went looking for Norman Wilhelm, another of Linda's boyfriends, and the next day when Haley finds Wilhelm, threatens him that if he (Wilhelm) had been involved in this incident, that he would be thrown in jail. It was stated that Linda never revealed who her attacker was, either because she didn't see him, or wasn't telling. ~Thayer Botham
My law professor mentioned last week in class how hard it is to get a ruling thrown out and get a new trial. Did the second trial go pretty much the same as the first? What are your thoughts on the second trial? Yes, the second trial was a close replica of the first. This brings to point several observations, from our viewpoint. The same prosecutorial and defensive staff worked the second trial as in the first trial. The venue, or location, was different as the second was in Jefferson County, in Golden Colorado. The Judge was different as well, Judge Winston Wolvington. The testimonies were virtually the same, the witnesses were virtually the same, but Ken Botham did not personally testify in the second trial upon advice by his attorney's, which turned out to be a mistake. The evidence was almost the same, with several differences in the way it was presented. The arguments were virtually the same on both sides as well, with the prosecution clearly outgunning the weaker defense staff. The jury was made of different individuals, of course. It might be said that since the very same people (DA & PD), trying the same crime, with the same stories, theories, or scenarios that were presented in the first trial could have predictably produced the same outcome. But what about the differences in the location, judge and jury? The location only made a difference in who the Judge was, as the media coverage still was immense all over Colorado as evidenced by the numerous articles from every major newspaper in the state of Colorado. That leaves the jury. I think, that if you study the 2nd trial's court transcripts, you will begin to see a pattern. A similar pattern much like the first trial in the ways the Judge allowed and disallowed testimony, evidence, or information to flow to the jury. The jury had much the same, albeit less media coercion, but did learn and hear of the same parts out of the whole of the complex evidentiary story behind this crime. After a Supreme Court reversal of a 1st degree murder case, it is my opinion that any judge/court would know that there is virtually no way it would be reversed again to go into the courtroom a third time, giving that court/Judge freedom to rule as he sees fit; not necessarily as he should, especially if he can be influenced one way or another. ~Thayer Botham
Did your father tell you he was innocent? Yes, my father has adamantly maintained his innocence in every way. He openly admits everything including those things that were wrong for him to do, such as the affair while he was married, hiding the gun, buying guns that were stolen. But he could say anything. He could tell, especially me, anything as I was his son. He could have been saying what he wanted me to believe, or such that he wanted me to have a better picture of him as a father. I think that he opted to not do that because he knew someday, eventually, I would see through that and then whatever relationship trust that we did have, would probably be lost. ~Thayer Botham
Since Patsy Murphy was not allowed to testify in the second trial, was it ever introduced that Linda was expecting two men to come over that night? I don't think that it was ever introduced as that was the content of Patsy's testimony.
An article about the first day of the retrial mentions slides of the murder site being shown. Was a murder site ever determined or was this a typo? Those pictures are of the place where the bodies were found when they were discovered, in all their gory detail. There was never any statements made as to the actual site that the murders might have occurred. It seems that no one really knows except the murderer(s). ~Thayer Botham
Is there a possibility of you asking your father about his conversation with Dwain Jackson? Oh yes, I will definitely do so, and post his answer here as soon as he writes in response. ~Thayer Botham
Do you know if Cora Heiner is still alive? I have no idea if she is still alive, but if she were, she would be around 110 years old. She was 82 in 1976. ~Thayer Botham
What do you make of the testimony that the cuts of the
wire used on the bodies matched your father's wire
cutters? The facts: One
pair of wire cutters found in the glove compartment Ken
Botham's Toyota truck, no argument as to who owns them.
Four pieces of wire, one from each body, each different
lengths, making eight total ends. The DA said two ends
definitely matched, a third closely matched, in the
first trial. In the second trial, the experts weren't so
sure. The different lengths of wire found on the
victim's bodies might suggest that they were cut
at the scene as needed instead of beforehand. Also
the type of knots that were made to tie the weights to
the bodies are different than ANY knot found on ANY
piece of tied up string, wire, rope, etc. that was
gathered from the Botham household, car, shed, or work
areas. That is a small detail, but would lead one
to believe that if the perp was careful enough to think
about changing even the knot type from what he always
normally tied, then that perp would have been almost
superhumanly perfect. It doesn't seem possible
that anyone could cover the bases that well and lends
just another little bit of doubt towards Ken Botham.
The evidence that comes the closest to indicating Ken Botham is the wire and wire cutter evidence, but it isn't beyond reasonable doubt, and it does not even come close to proving who used the wire, wire cutters, when, and for what purpose.
By far, my father's version of the wire/wire cutters makes the most sense. He says that the wire was in his shed. (It was used, among other things that wire might be used for, to tie up sunflower plants to the fence in our back yard-I remember doing this as a little boy with my mom.) There was a roll of it, and various lengths laying about as any shed might have. Speculating here, but if the perp took one of those lengths, then that would account for the two matching ends, or a length was cut off the roll by a pair of wire cutters laying nearby. That would mean that Ken would had to have taken the wire cutters from the shed and put them in the truck (they were found in the truck) at some point between the murders and the vehicle searches by the police, which were done months after the murders, and isn't illogical to have happened. The rest of the ends had to have been cut at the scene by another tool. In the second trial, a second pair of wire cutters came up, owned by Linda Miracle, or at least found in her car, I think. Why was this never stated before? They were not, as far as I know, tested, or at least tested by the defense experts, and the prosecution experts weren't offering much information. For Ken to have committed these crimes, he would have had to have used several different pair of wire cutters, again, unlikely.
The wire cutters were in the truck for the purpose of cutting porcupine quills; to remove them from Florence, the St. Bernard, because she loved to go into the mountains, loved to chase porcupines, and more than once, would end up with quills stuck in her face. Ken used the cutters to cut the quills in two, breaking the seal of the quill making them more pliable, and pulling them through the other side or just plain pulling them out. Hence the blood on them as well, as well as the bloody rag under the seat of the truck, but the rag didn't seem to be a big issue, so it may not be documented clearly. ~Thayer Botham
Do you know which four witness' testimony that established animosity between your father and mother and your father and Linda Miracle the Supreme Court ruled was not allowable from the first trial? Dr. Doell, and Officer Tom Montgomery was used as evidence of the Botham's hostility towards his wife, Patricia Botham. Jeanette Crawford, Ned Crawford, who were neighbors, and Officer Milo Vig was used as evidence to establish animosity between the Botham and Linda Miracle. ~Thayer Botham (the following is an excerpt from the Colorado Supreme Court's Response to the appeal)
Dr. Doell was the Botham's family physician from 1970 through the summer of 1975. Doell was allowed to testify that he observed bruises on Patricia Botham on six to eight occasions during the time that he served as the family physician. He also testified that he advised her to "get out of her situation" and obtain a divorce.
The defendant objected to Doell's testimony as hearsay. The trial court ruled that Doell could not testify that Patricia Botham had told him that her husband inflicted the bruises, but that it was appropriate for him to testify as to his own observations.
Officer Montgomery testified that in June or July of 1975, he went to the Botham residence and spoke with the defendant's wife. Without testifying as to anything Patricia Botham said, Montgomery testified that he subsequently removed a quantity of handguns from the house. He testified that the following week Patricia Botham contacted him and he returned the guns.
The defendant also objected to Montgomery's testimony as hearsay. In keeping with its ruling on Doell's testimony, the trial court held that Montgomery could testify to his own observations.
Moreover, Montgomery's testimony that he removed a number of handguns from the Botham residence is irrelevant to establish evidence of ill will on the part of the defendant towards his wife.
Do you or your brother remember anything about that morning/day? Like waking up and wondering where your mother was? Do you recall your father coming home later in the day? I remember bits and pieces, like snapshots. Thad doesn't remember much at all, he was only 3 years old. I don't remember anything about Saturday, about being alone in the house with dad coming home later in the day. Nothing. I do remember making cookies with my mom one evening, eating the dough and the baked, warm cookies, sitting on the counter, making a mess. I had no idea when that was, until one day my father and I got on the subject of memories and I told him about that memory. He said that was probably the night she was murdered as we had made cookies that night; it was part of her stomach contents and Rev. Holler's testimony when he came over to pick up the tape player or whatever it was; and testified that we had baked cookies. That memory now means a bit more. I have other memories, but they are indeed like pictures, just bits, a glimpse of something that I don't know what or when they were. ~Thayer Botham
Also, what was the temperament of the dog? Was she protective at all? I know St. Bernards are quite gentle dogs (from what I've heard, anyways), but would she have gone after someone if they were threatening anyone in the family? I would venture to guess that her protectiveness would be dependent on what stage of her life/your lives she came along at. Did she stay outside, or was she an indoor dog? Did you guys have a fenced in yard? Florence, as I remember, was a gentle giant. She was always kind, tolerating of us climbing on her and such. I don't remember her ever barking, not that she didn't, of course. One of those snapshot memories was that I remember that she used to turn on the water faucet on the back of the house, to get a drink, turning it with her mouth. Years later, when I told my grandfather that, he told me that that answered an intriguing question, as the police had found the water on that day and didn't know how it had been turned on. St. Bernards are known for their caring, intelligence and rescue efforts. It would make sense that she would be protective, but maybe not on the sort of a Doberman. My grandfather Botham says that Florence would probably have wagged her tail at a stranger, as she was that friendly. ~Thayer Botham
was the opinion held by your grandparents on your
mothers side? My maternal grandparents are
wonderful people. When I was 12, my brother and I moved
to live with them. The comment that was made by my maternal grandfather
before the victims were found was
made solely by feeling, intuition and under spiritual
consideration. He, or they, just felt it, as many
parents can understand, if they have lost a child.
What my maternal grandparents, Elmer and Marie Jantz, know of this entire case is completely contained in one notebook-"the yellow book". It is a simple spiral notepad with the newspaper articles in it from August 23, 1975 through November 18, 1976. Note that those dates include the murders, the pretrial coverage, but stop short of the first trial. The majority of the articles from that date period on my site, are from that book. All they know is from only those articles, from that date period. They rarely talk to anyone about it. We as a family have never discussed it due to their seemingly painful unwillingness to talk about it. They feel Ken Botham is guilty and they mourn over it all, as can be understood. It saddens me to see that all they know is such a small portion of the whole, and a biased portion at that. ~Thayer Botham
searched the August, September and part of October news
articles of 1975 for any statement or interview given by
Ken Botham. Other than the brief comment made after his
wife was found, there was nothing. In fact, the entire Botham
family was strangely quiet. The Botham family was
not altogether silent, but did as a course of ethics as
both sides in any trial should, not speak of the events
within the trial. To do so is unfair, publicizing,
and baiting the hungry media for coercive content, etc.
will see that almost without fail, the prosecutorial
staff reported, massaged and used the media to make
their case publicly, as well as in the courtroom, which
ethically is wrong. We always have tried to do the right
thing as a common thread throughout our family. At
times, like all human beings, each of us in our family
fails. But are those daily failings (not murderous acts,
but things like having a tough time in marriage-who
hasn't had that, or speeding, or complaining about our
hardships, etc.) that are common to all mankind worthy
of a conviction? In some circumstances, it seems to be
There were a few comments by Ken Botham as in the articles mentioned, and there are the comments by his boss at work that Ken was upset over all this, the comments about crime statistics, and the comments about his children. But more importantly, instead of the media, Ken Botham worked with and was completely open to, law enforcement authorities and investigators. Time after time, they could openly search his house, car, belongings, and conduct interrogations. His vehicle alone was searched more than several times, I think it was five, before his arrest on November 8, 1975, and of course, after the arrest.
As far as my paternal grandparents, Ken's parents, they were mostly silent (they did have an interview during the second trial period) as well because of two reasons that I know of thus far. One, they could see how the DA was gloating, and hyping the media, inflaming the town in order for the public to convict him long before the jury did; and chose to not do so-the ethics thing again. Secondly, my grandparents were sure all along that this would all blow over, the unthinkable couldn't happen as it was so obviously insane, in error, so not possible that the trial verdict would go against them as the evidence and facts were so seemingly erroneous. Remember that this is how they felt, what it seemed to them and others at the time. Think of it on the flip side. What if no media coverage had been present? How would the trial have then gone? In my opinion, it very likely would not have had the same outcome. ~Thayer Botham
Do you know why the judge gave custody of you boys to the Bothams over the Jantz's? I may not know all the reasons, or even if there are more, but later in life I was told that it was because we (Thad and I) were already settled and living in Grand Junction, already living with my paternal grandparents for some time by the end of the custody issue and had established a family relationship, and that we (or really I, because Thad would have not been in school yet) were already involved in school. ~Thayer Botham
did you go to live with the Jantz's at age 12? The
Jantzes had seen us over the years, visited us, taken us
on lengthy summer trips and wanted us to come to live
with them. When we were old enough to decide, they asked
my grandparents and us if we wanted to move. I don't
know about Thad, but I felt that it might be easier to
live with them solely for the reason that I was a 12
year old boy (with all the typical 12 year old boy
tendencies) and Grandpa Botham was strict with me.
thought I could get away from that strictness and that that would be
better. But what does a 12 year old
know and understand? My father gave me some advice that
I will always remember. He said, "You can't run away from your problems, you will just get new
ones." The Jantzes were altogether different in
style and character. True, they were not strict,
discipline wise, but there were other undesirable things
that came along in the normal growing up process.
There are two kinds of love in those circumstances, between parents (or guardians) and kids. The love with a strict discipline, and the free love-do what you want but we still love you kind of love. Going from one extreme to the other was the hardest part. To me, kids develop better with a set of guidelines that they know they have to follow, even when they don't like it. Then as they get older, the reasons for those guidelines become evident and give the growing person a basis on which to structure their life. The free kind of love has a much weaker basis on which to structure a life with. I think that kids, and young people in general need, actually like and respect structure. But, as with all things, there has to be a balance. Any thing, idea, or whatever, is no longer good in extremes or excess, be it one way or the other.
Now, both my brother and I, have the most excellent of relationships with both sets of our grandparents. Both are wonderful, each different, and both have greatly contributed to our lives. I feel that I am twice blessed, having had two families from which to draw experience and knowledge to structure my own life. ~Thayer Botham
Do you know why the Jantzes believe your father did the crime? They thought and think that my father is guilty for much the same reasons as most of the general public who lived through those events during that time, primarily based on two factors. 1) All, or most, of what they know about the case is from newspaper articles from that time, which do not paint an accurate picture by any means. You can read them for yourself and see the holes therein. And 2) the incredible emotional feelings generated from the circumstances can have the effect of hindering logical thinking and common sense. Women and children were involved. For the Jantzes, it was even closer to the core, as it was their own daughter. ~Thayer Botham
What was the reason Truman Haley was asked to resign? I am not sure why Haley was asked to resign, but I think it was because of the case and his close involvement, the allegations, and because he was a suspect for the first few months. ~Thayer Botham
As far as the gun, and bullets...wouldn't the CBI still have the evidence in storage, or do they dispose of it after a period of years? If something does happen to this case and it is investigated, then those bullet fragments may indeed be able to be studied. I don't know if there is enough left of those pieces. I don't know how long evidence is kept. ~Thayer Botham
See page two.
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