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Bolles’ killer dies in Tucson prison

Max Dunlap (Photo provided by the Dept.of Corrections)

Max Dunlap (Photo provided by the Dept.of Corrections)

The man convicted in the 1976 murder of Arizona Republic investigative reporter Don Bolles died in a Tucson prison medical unit on July 21, according to the Arizona Department of Corrections.

Max Dunlap, 80, was found unresponsive in the Rincon unit of the Arizona State Prison Complex and declared dead after efforts to resuscitate him failed, said Bill Lamoreaux, a DOC spokesman.

Dunlap was convicted of murder in 1994, almost 20 years after Bolles succumbed to terrible injuries he sustained when a bomb exploded under his car in downtown Phoenix.

Bolles was known as a relentless investigative journalist who was well-liked by fellow reporters and his editors, said Bill Shover, who worked as an executive for the newspaper at the time.

“He was a very deep investigative reporter who felt that everybody was guilty until proven innocent,” said Shover, who stayed in a Phoenix hospital with Bolles for nine days before Bolles died. “He really was a Sam Spade-type of reporter.”

Shover said it was believed by many that Dunlap orchestrated Bolles’ murder in hopes of erasing a debt he owed to Phoenix businessman and philanthropist Kemper Marley, but that version of events has never been proven.

The murder came as somewhat of a surprise, recalled Shover, noting that Bolles at the time had been reassigned to cover events at the Capitol.

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