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Former wife links Bolin, '86 deaths

Published Oct. 12, 2005

Cheryl Haffner, the ex-wife of convicted killer Oscar Ray Bolin Jr., joined the long list of people to testify against Bolin in his Pasco County murder trial Friday morning.

Haffner's testimony was unique among the witnesses, however. It was read to jurors in the form of a deposition, which she made Sept. 1.

Assistant State Attorney Michael Halkitis read the portions where he questioned Haffner, and Public Defender Douglas Loeffler, Bolin's attorney, read the cross-examination.

Haffner, who lives in Indiana, was unable to travel to Florida for the trial for medical reasons.

The two recitations made for a marked mix of styles _ Halkitis was fast and furious, whereas Loeffler was more moderate and methodical.

Bolin is on trial in the 1986 slaying of Teri Lynn Matthews, a 26-year-old Land O'Lakes woman.

Last year, Bolin was found guilty of murdering Natalie Blanche Holley and Stephanie Collins in Hillsborough County.

Haffner's testimony mainly dealt with how what she saw related to those two killings.

For example, on Jan. 24, 1986, she said she and Bolin took a ride for a cup of coffee at a Burger King restaurant on Fowler Avenue in Tampa. Bolin parked the car so it directly faced a Church's restaurant across the street.

"He said he was scoping the place out," she said.

Natalie Holley was a manager at that Church's in January 1986.

On Dec. 5, 1986, the day that Stephanie Collins' body was found, Haffner was in the hospital when Bolin visited her and brought her Social Security check. They were watching television when news of the discovery was reported.

Bolin reacted strangely, she said. "He said, "That's her! That's her!'


The only testimony she gave about the current case was that Bolin once pointed out a spot on Coon Hide Road in Gowers Corner. "He said that's where the Matthews girl was," Haffner said.

Prosecutors rested their case Friday afternoon. Bolin's defense attorneys called no witnesses and rested their case.

Circuit Court Judge Stanley R. Mills decided to release the jury until 9:30 a.m. Monday. Both sides will give their closing arguments then.