Our coronavirus coverage is free for the first 24 hours. Find the latest information at Please consider subscribing or donating.

  1. Archive

Jury recommends death for Bolin

The jury's recommendation Wednesday to sentence Oscar Ray Bolin Jr. to death took a little longer _ 2{ hours _ than its 90-minute decision Monday to convict him of first-degree murder.

When it did come, it came through loud and clear.

The vote was unanimous. All 12 jurors decided that the correct penalty for Bolin's killing of Land O'Lakes resident Teri Lynn Matthews should be death in the electric chair.

Kathleen Reeves, Matthews' mother, smiled as she left the courtroom.

"Now I know what "pumped up' feels like," she said. She was referring to testimony from Bolin's former boss, who said Bolin seemed "pumped" upon seeing a television news report about the discovery of Matthews' body in 1986.

Reeves is still ambivalent in her feelings. She said she didn't know whether the jury's verdict made her feel better about what happened to her daughter.

There were several nervous moments, she said. When the jury came back into the courtroom with a question, about an hour and a half into the deliberation, she worried it might signal a shift in opinion.

"I never know," she said. "There could always be one (juror) up there" who could change the others' minds.

So when the jury returned with a unanimous verdict, Reeves was heartened.

"Twelve makes me feel better than 11," she said.

Circuit Court Judge Stanley R. Mills must decide whether to act on the jury's recommendation.

He will receive further information from both state prosecutors and Bolin's public defenders before making a decision Oct. 30.

This is the third time a death sentence has been recommended for Bolin.

Juries in the Hillsborough County cases of Natalie Blanche Holley and Stephanie Collins also sent strong messages; the vote was 11-1 in the Holley case and 12-0 in the Collins case.

Bolin was convicted and sentenced to death in those murders last year.

He will remain in custody at the Central Pasco Detention Center in Land O'Lakes until the sentencing.