Local Murders Stay Local

Prof. Warren Larude from the Reynolds School of Journalism talks about one of the biggest murder cases he ever covered.

"50 years of doing the work of journalism, here and around Reno I've been in other places, there have been major major murder cases...Sonja McCaskie which was unbelievable."

It happened back in April of 1963. Former Olympic skier Sonja McCaskie found dismembered and beheaded in her Yori Avenue home in Reno.
While more than 40-people were questioned. Police had no suspects. Reno police chief Elmer Briscoe even admitted he didn't know if they'd find the person responsible.

The area remained paralyzed for about week until investigators caught up with Thomas Lee Bean, an 18-year old Wooster High School student. Within three months, Bean was found guilty and sentenced to death. The jury was seated in two and a half days.

Guy Rocha from Nevada Archives and Records has been researching murder cases not only in Washoe County by statewide as well looking at the similiarities and differences between Mack and these other trials.

"Pre trial publicity it was there."

Rocha points to other murder cases that received national and international attention.

Ross Brymer charged with the fatal shooting of former boxer and Argentinian Oscar Bonavena at Joe Conforte's Mustang Ranch in 1976.

4 years later. This woman, Priscilla Ford. She drove her car down the sidewalks of Virginia Street on Thanksgiving Day killing six and injuring two dozen others. In both cases the trials stayed here in Washoe County.

Rocha says Washoe County hasn't been lacking in sensational murders....But prominent murder suspects...
That's another story.

" The difference is who the defendant is. And if you look at all the homicide cases in Nevada that I've been able to look at through the course of its history, this may be the highest profile murder defendant in Nevada history."