One of the most chronicled events in JayRob’s early years came about during the first production of its third season, 1958-59.
JayRob’s opening show, ‘Champagne Complex,’ was scheduled to run for eight weeks, from September 6th through October 25th, in their new home, the Memorial Auditorium Little Theatre. The show featured Eddie Gish, Del Yocum and Ogden Miles. Miles, a popular local television announcer, had previously appeared in ‘Janus,’ the final production of JayRob’s first season.
Bill Glackin of the Sacramento Bee wrote a glowing critique, in which he indicated: “Ogden Miles, in the most difficult role, makes the fiancé just what he should be—stuffy. … His work excels anything I have seen him do previously.”
Following the fourth Saturday performance, Ogden disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Without knowing the whereabouts of Miles, JayRob undertook immediate auditions and rehearsals to replace him in the show. A local newspaper covered the event with the following story:
JayRob Seeks Another Actor
JayRob Productions, its officials shocked by the disappearance of Ogden Miles, a star in “Champagne Complex,” last night went into special auditions and rehearsals to find a replacement for the comedy role.
Justus Wyman, who, with his son, Robert, operates JayRob said, “The play will go on. We will name a replacement tomorrow.”
The play opened September 6 in Memorial Auditorium Little Theater and is expected to end its Saturdays-only run October 25. Wyman would not say who was being considered for Miles’ role.
“I am deeply shocked at Miles’ disappearance.” Wyman said, “and I sincerely hope he is found safe. We must, however, insure continued production of ‘Champagne Complex,’ and we are beginning our search for a replacement immediately.”
Roy Victor Olson, an unemployed cook and fledgling poet, with a record for armed robbery and auto theft, became the leading suspect after a bloody butcher knife and chef’s clothing were found in a field across from his North Sacramento home. Miles’ car was found abandoned on a Sacramento street with blood stains splattered on the floorboard and seats.
JayRob was able to replace Miles in his role, and continued the uninterrupted performance schedule the following Saturday with Gordon Deppe in the Miles role. On that same Saturday, Miles’ body was found in a stubble field in the Sacramento area, murdered with multiple wounds by a kitchen knife.
After Sacramento police put out a five-state bulletin for Olson, Seattle Washington authorities added Olson as a suspect in a similar slashing murder in Seattle, noting his fingerprints matched those found at the scene of the murder of a 32 year old restaurant worker, John Weiler.
Informed that several items had been stolen from Weiler, the Sacramento police searched Olson’s home. They found a ballpoint pen imprinted with the name H G O Weiler. The Seattle authorities reported that Weiler’s father’s name is Harold Girard Oakes Weiler who then resided in Las Vegas, Nev.
Olson was eventually apprehended and admitted the killings. After his arrest for the two murders, he wrote in his jail cell in Milwaukee:
“I feel no remorse for either of my crimes. They have never haunted my mind. I’ve never seen a vision of my victims asleep or awake and after those deaths I have lived as normal as ever, not thinking of them at all.”
Olson was convicted of second degree murder by a Sacramento Jury and sentenced to a five-years-to-life term in the Vacaville Correctional Center. In late 1959, the State of California sent Olson to Seattle, where he was tried and convicted of second degree murder in the case of John Weiler, and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Superior Court Judge Henry Clay Agnew and deputy prosecutors agreed to recommend a 75-year minimum term. Judge Agnew told Olson he is “very fortunate to escape the death penalty. In my opinion you are guilty of very cold blooded, premeditated murder.”
Olson was paroled in the late 1990s and died in 2001, apparently in San Diego, California.
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Much of the material for this memoir came from on-line news items in the Modesto Bee and the Oakland Tribune, as well as unidentified news clippings in the JayRob scrapbooks.