1921: Cold-blooded Metolius murder details made public
100 YEARS AGO
September 15, 1921
Sheriff H.C. Topping and Deputy H.M. Franklin, acting on advice from Sheriff Roberts from Deschutes County, arrested Abe Evans at Metolius Sunday afternoon at half past one o'clock and probably prevented another Brumfield hunt in this section, and a real one this time. With the arrival here last Sunday evening of Sheriff Levi Chrisman of The Dalles the story of one of the most cold-blooded and revolting murders in the history of Central Oregon was made public. Piece by piece the threads were woven together until evidence was accumulated Sunday evening which, unless Evans shows an alibi of a startling nature, will surely send men to the gallows.
As the story progresses, it is being established that Jim Doran and Bill Duscharme, employed by the Brooks-Scanlon Company as loggers at one of their camps near Bend, had left the logging camp and drawn their pay at the office in Bend Saturday morning. It is presumed that these two, with Evans, started shortly after noon for the Willamette Valley, the two loggers on their way to McMinnville, near where Doran owns an eighty-acre farm, on which they had planned to spend the winter.
It appears that Evans had entered into an agreement with them to take them to Portland in his auto, a Dodge. They drove through Madras, arriving at The Dalles about eight o'clock that evening. Doran had two checks which he cashed there, amounting to approximately $175. Evans borrowed $3.00 from him, to ascertain, it is thought, for sure that Doran had cashed the checks. About this time Evans proposed that they go with him to a friend of his, three miles out of town, to take dinner. Doran and Duscharme both demurred, it having been agreed on the way from Bend that they were to spend the night in The Dalles. But Evans persisted that it was necessary anyway for him to see his friend. He explained that the location of his friend's home was directly on a road to Portland, and that they would then proceed on in that night. So, they decided to go on. Evans drove from The Dalles out the Chenowith Road toward Mt. Hood, a very isolated and sparsely settled section, entirely a strange territory to both his companions. After proceeding out to the point which Duscharme estimates was a little more than three miles from The Dalles, Evans stopped the car and requested Doran and Duscharme to accompany him.
They went into a gully about two hundred feet from the car. The sheriff believes that this was the place where Evans planned to murder both of his companions and after robbing their bodies leave them. It is an ideal sport for such a crime. But Evans discovered that his auto key was not in his pocket, and not remembering whether he had left it in his car or not, told that his key was lost and that they had better go back to the car. On the way back up to the road he professed to have discovered that he was not at the right place, saying that the trail to his friend's house was a similar place only a short distance farther up the road. Doran and Duscharme feeling that things were not exactly right at this time, Doran drew Duscharme back a little and said, "Bill, I'm afraid we're in for it, I don't like the looks of this." Duscharme, however, did not feel any alarm and reassured his friend. They got in the car again and proceeded only a short distance up the road when Evans again stopped. "I recognize that big fir tree," he said. "My friend lives right down there a little ways," indicating the direction with his hand.
Doran and Duscharme got out, Doran stepping to the rear of the car and the latter toward the front. Evans stepped out on the running board. He shot Doran, and Doran threw up his hands and fell as Evans shot Duscharme. Duscharme was shot high in the left shoulder, the force of the bullet knocking him down. He rolled away from the car and under a wire fence and crawled on his hands and knees into the brush. Getting to his feet he ran into the brush for a few paces and stopped. He said he heard several more shots and someone running through the brush towards him. He turned and ran from the place, not stopping until he had reached a farmhouse, more than a mile from the scene of the crime.
By the time he reached the house he was so excited that his story of the crime was more or less unintelligible. The people at the house gave him first aid, as he was suffering considerable from loss of blood. It was necessary for them to go a mile and a half to the nearest telephone, from where they phoned to Sheriff Chrisman at The Dalles.
The sheriff and deputy McClasky and Vernon Chrisman, son of the sheriff, went immediately to the scene of the crime. It was two hours after daylight with probably fifty people of the neighborhood searching, before the body of Doran, about three hundred yards from the scene of the crime, was found in a dense clump of underbrush. During all of this time, Duscharme was so excited and under such mental stress that Sheriff Chrisman was unable to get any information from him that would lead to the identification of the murderer.
About nine o'clock Sunday morning, Duscharme seemed to rally and remembered that Doran had several times called the man by the name of Abe. For the first time he also told the Wasco sheriff that they had come from Bend. With the few clues Chrisman called up Sheriff Roberts of Deschutes County. Roberts had been watching Evans for some time past and soon as he was informed that the man drove a Dodge car and answered to the name of Abe, he immediately suspicioned Evans. He sent Deputy Nixon to the Evans home to make inquiries.
Mrs. Evans told Nixon Evans had spent the night at home and had left the house a short time before, after eating breakfast with her. Leaving two deputies to watch the Evans residence, Sheriff Roberts and deputy Nixon made further examination about town, but no one had seen Evans that morning. In the meantime, Roberts called up Sheriff Topping at Madras, giving him a good description of Evans with the license number of his car and instructing his arrest.
In the meantime, Mrs. Evans called up attorney Statler of Bend. She told the attorney that she feared Evans had got into trouble and asked him to look into the matter. She was weeping as she talked to Statler on the phone.
Topping informed several Madras people to keep their eye out for the Dodge car carrying the license number which had been furnished him by Sheriff Roberts. As he and deputy Franklin were getting their guns preparatory to driving to Trout Creek to guard the road, a local garage man saw the car go through and phoned to the sheriff's office. They immediately took the trail behind him and caught up with the Dodge just south of Madras. Owing to the crushed rock on the road they were unable to pass him. Evans was driving better than thirty miles per hour. The fugitive took the crushed rock road through Metolius, giving the officers a chance to take the street passing the Metolius Bank which they did at top speed, gaining the highway in the southern edge of Metolius ahead of him.
It is the opinion of the local officers that Evans realized that he was in a tight place for he stopped in front of the Metolius Hotel. With his engine running he remained in his seat. Topping and Franklin, on foot approached is car. Topping advanced on him from one side while Franklin, taking the other side got there first and drawing his gun compelled Evans to elevate his hands. The alleged murderer offered no sign of resistance.
A search of the car showed no weapons. They immediately returned with him to Madras, lodging him in the county jail and notifying both Sheriff Chrisman and Roberts. Accompanied by deputy Nixon and Henry Sawyer of the Bend Bulletin, Roberts drove at once to Madras, identifying Evans. Sheriff Chrisman left The Dalles immediately for Madras, accompanied by deputies McClasky and Elton and his son, Vernon, arriving here about nine thirty. In a hurried search during the afternoon the Jefferson and Deschutes County officers had been unable to locate but a small amount of money on Evans.
Upon the arrival of Chrisman, Evans was given a close search. In the toe of his left shoe was found fifty dollars in currency. Sewed tightly in the cuffs of his pants was located about a hundred more. It is said that this tallies approximately with the amount Doran realized from the two checks which he cashed at The Dalles. Put through a stiff examination by the three sheriffs, Evans would admit nothing. His only remarks were, "I don't know anything about it," and "Is this a jury court?"
The Wasco sheriff left early Monday morning with their prisoner. He will probably appear before the Wasco County Grand Jury which sits next Monday.
Sheriff Chrisman states that the crime was one of the most revolting that has come under his observation during the time which he has been an officer of the law. Doran was shot five times and his body dragged into the brush. It is presumed that the murderer thought he had also mortally wounded Duscharme and that he would die in the mountains.
Evans has been under the surveillance of the Deschutes County officers for some time. He is said to be a man of ungovernable temper with pronounced criminal tendencies. He has several times been suspected of attempting robberies and had been implicated in crimes in Deschutes County at various times.
Sheriff Chrisman was greatly pleased to have secured his man so quickly and warmly commended the Jefferson County officers for their speedy apprehension of Evans.
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