July 6th, 1961

B&

The charges against Belva Griffis have been dismissed.  Belva has been held at the local jail without bail on charges that she murdered her husband Clarence Griffis, he goes by Jack, and was the owner of B&J (Belva and Jack) Market on  E. 6th St, between Center and Lake St. The store was also their home.

On the night of March 3 Belva stated that Jack had left their residence and entered the store for a new jar of mustard.  Belva had heard raised voices, one of them Jacks telling her to run for help.  She ran to a neighbors house and they returned to find Jack on the floor with a .22 caliber wound to the neck, it was fatal.

The murder was investigated, probably poorly, and William Beemer, the Justice of the Peace, had her arrested for the killing.  Bill Raggio, the DA on the case had her held without bail, against the protests of Douglas Busey her attorney. The police stated that her story didn’t mesh with the investigation.  A man named Allen Bethrum was a witness to the crime, the facts of his involvment were recanted later.

A short time later Busey and Raggio, both received postcards from an anonymous source that the writer was Jack’s actually killer, the author stated that he had argued with Jack, as he needed money for liquor and gambling.  He stated that Jack had left for a moment, probably to warn Belva and then returned.  The author of the notes stated that he was drunk and had fired two shots at Jack.  Busey asked for her to be released on bail after these confessions had been entered into evidence.  Belva remained in jail.

She was finally released when three young men, Jeffery Connell 17, Richard Worrell 17, and Chester Blum 17, were arrested for the robbery and death of Jack Griffis.  Connell, the shooter was from Mill Valley, the other two local Reno Boys.  All three were convicted of the crime, Chester finally getting a parole from his 10 years to life sentence.

Although freed of the crime Belva was never quite fully vindicated, she soon lost the store after facing liquor violations and had to sue the people who bought her store, for non-payment to her.  She lost.  I could find no further info on what became of the 51 year old Belva Griffis.

As for the boys involved I don’t know much more on them, except for Chester Blum, I knew him many years later, ignorant of his crime.  He was a friend of a friend and seemed to be a nice guy, unless he was pissed, and then he was a person to avoid.  He was a bartender and bodyguard at Mustang Bridge Ranch, even while on Parole.

The last I heard about him was that he was incarcerated in the Federal Penetentiary Leavenworth, after an armed bank robbery.  He was armed with a sawed off shoutgun.

 

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