Oldson Trial Day 7: Journals, Recordings Speak for Oldson

By: Megan Johnson Email
By: Megan Johnson Email

While the jury has not heard from John Oldson directly, they heard from him in other ways on Tuesday.

The prosecution played recordings of phone calls Oldson made in jail after he was arrested last year. Oldson told his wife he tried to get Cathy Beard to leave the Someplace Else Tavern with him the night of May 31, 1989. He says he sat in the passenger seat of his pickup, and tried to pull Beard in, but she refused, and they struggled. He says he let Beard go, and that he saw her near another pickup as he drove away alone.

The jury also saw portions of journal entries Oldson wrote back in 1989. Handwritten and not read aloud to the court, Oldson's diary pages were difficult to read.

But one says "My first priority is to get rid of something ASAP. That is if I can still find them. It's the only link left between me and ______," the name being whited out and withheld from the jury.

Another refers to a former Valley County Attorney and says "He will never find anything no matter how hard he looks because their [sic] is nothing to find."

The initials "C.B." could also be seen in a list of other names believed to be people Oldson had sexual encounters with.

The court also heard more about what could have caused Cathy Beard's death. A forensic pathologist told jurors that Beard's injuries are not consistent with being hit by a car. Dr. Matthias Okoye says when a person is struck by a vehicle there are fractures first to the legs where the car strikes, then to the torso when the body hits the windshield or top of the car, and finally skull fractures from the landing.

He says Beard's death was a homicide caused by repeated blows to the head and torso.

That testimony could make things difficult for the defense as they're still trying to enter diary pages mailed to Oldson's mother that could indicate someone else killed Beard with a vehicle.

Former Valley County Sheriff Gerald Woodgate was recalled to the stand Tuesday. The defense asked him about an armed robbery that happened in an Ord motel the same night Beard vanished.

Woodgate says two men were convicted for that, and questioned about Beard, but says they were not considered suspects in her disappearance.

Jurors also heard from a former Grand Island Independent reporter, Michael Hooper, who, along with the then editor of the Ord Quiz, interviewed Oldson in November of 1992. Hooper's transcript says when asked "What happened to Cathy Beard?" Oldson replied "I have no idea, I really honestly have no idea." Oldson told the reporters he thought police were targeting him and not looking into other suspects, but Hooper says Oldson boasted about being smarter than law enforcement as well.

The prosecution rested its case on Tuesday. The defense will begin calling witnesses Wednesday morning.


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