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Bolin guilty in third killing

Published Oct. 12, 2005

On July 11, 1991, a Hillsborough County jury found Oscar Ray Bolin Jr. guilty of the murder of Natalie Blanche Holley.

On Oct. 10, 1991, a second jury decided that Bolin killed Stephanie Collins.

On Monday, a Pasco jury found him guilty of the fatal stabbing of Teri Lynn Matthews.

"It's a great relief," said Kathleen Reeves, Matthews' mother. "This is behind us now."

Reeves attended the weeklong trial with her husband, H. M. Reeves, and Natalie Holley and Donna Witmer, the mothers of Bolin's other two victims.

The verdict came back from the jury of nine women and three men in about an hour and a half: guilty of murder in the first degree. Bolin, who in his gray business suit and eyeglasses looked more like an attorney than a convicted murderer, barely reacted as the court clerk announced the decision.

Reeves immediately buried her face in her hands and began to cry.

She later said she did not know what to make of Bolin's attitude.

"I feel mixed emotions about Mr. Bolin," she said. "I keep looking at him and wondering how anyone could do this."

The trial has been trying for Reeves.

"It has been difficult to deal with it," she said. "Once again, it has opened the wounds."

Reeves also was at the Holley and Collins trials last year. The victims' mothers have supported each other since their daughters were killed in 1986.

The proceedings will continue this morning with the penalty phase. Jurors will hear testimony and evidence from prosecutors and Bolin's defenders as to what sort of punishment he should receive. The choices are life imprisonment with no possibility of parole for 25 years or death in the electric chair.

Bolin already has received two deaths sentences as a result of the 1991 verdicts.

Despite that, Reeves said Bolin still haunts her for what he did.

"I don't feel that it's the last time I'll see him," she said afterward. "I see his face before me all the time. I'll see it for the rest of my life."

And knowing, finally, that her daughter's murderer has been convicted does not make the memory of Teri Lynn Matthews any easier to bear, Reeves said.

"She's still a part of the family," she said. "We talk about her all the time.

"I've never said goodbye. I will never say goodbye."