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La Cañada's Second Murder Case: Overell Murders

January 05, 2006|By Anita Susan Brenner

The large Mediterranean-style house still stands, high above Foothill Boulevard. The original owners were Walter and Beulah Overell.

In the 1930s and 1940s, Walter Overell was one of the wealthiest men in Flintridge. He made his first fortune in the furniture business. This was followed by other successful investments.

Walter doted on his wife, Beulah Jungquist Overell. Walter loved Beulah so much that liked to name things after her. Given the opportunity, he christened Beulah Drive. And when the Overells were finally blessed (or so they thought) with their only child, Walter named the baby girl Beulah Louise.

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Whenever I write a column on local history, I get phone calls. People call to add new facts, to share their recollections and to correct my assumptions. After I first wrote about the Overells, in July 2000, a lot of people called to talk about the Overells. Many people knew the them, followed the murder trial and attended the estate sale after the trial.

They say that Beulah Louise was spoiled. That she was the only child of wealthy parents.That whatever Beulah Louise wanted, Beulah Louise got.

At the age of 17, Beulah Louise Overell wanted a boyfriend. What she got was a 21-year-old World War II veteran named George "Bud" Gollum.

In the context of the post-war years, Bud Gollum was primo, a good catch, at least in the eyes of Beulah Louise. After the war, young veterans flocked back to local colleges. It was tough potatoes for the younger males, those too young to have served in the War. There was no way they could compete -- the young ladies were attracted to those devil-may-care war veterans. Ergo: many happy marriages and the baby boom.

Mr. and Mrs. Overell, however, did not approve of the relationship between Bud and their Louise.

Many facts about the Overell case are in dispute, but this much is certain: On March 15, 1947, 17-year-old Beulah Louise Overell and 21-year-old Bud Gollum watched from the shore as the Overell family yacht, a 47-foot cruiser named the Mary E., exploded in Newport Harbor.

The bodies of Walter and Beulah Overell were found on the boat. Walter was 63 years old. Beulah was 57.

Remnants of a bomb were found in the ruins of the Mary E. More than 30 sticks of dynamite had been wired to a clock attached to the Mary E.'s battery. The police searched Bud Gollum's car. Machine screws were found in the car. The machine screws matched the screws on a clock used to set off the bomb.

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