June 28

This Day in History

Crime

Jun 28, 1975:

A teenage girl's boyfriend murders her parents

Police are called to the home of Jim and Naomi Olive in Terra Linda, California, after Jim Olive's business partner reports that the couple has not been seen in a week. The house in disarray, officers found no sign of either the Olives or their adopted teenage daughter Marlene. However, Marlene turned up at the police station later that day and began telling a bizarre series of stories explaining her parent's disappearance.

Marlene first claimed that her parents had gone to Lake Tahoe for a vacation but had not returned. As the interrogation extended into the second day, she told detectives that Jim had killed Naomi and then fled. But, when pressed on this story, she contradicted herself and claimed that her mother was the killer. In an entirely new tale, she then told the police that both of her parents were killed and taken away by a group of Hell's Angels.

The detectives waited patiently until Marlene finally led them to a fire pit outside the town where the burned remains of her parents were located. With a little investigation, the detectives found out about Chuck Riley, Marlene's boyfriend. At his home was an unopened letter from Marlene that read, "I have no guilty feelings at all about my folks. NONE. NEITHER SHOULD YOU. Relax."

From Riley, police learned that Marlene and Naomi had a rocky relationship, mostly because Naomi was schizophrenic and paranoid. Apparently, she repeatedly told her daughter that she would grow up to be a whore just like her real mother. Angry and insecure, Marlene began biting off chunks of her own arm.

Marlene met Chuck Riley in 1974, and the two began a contractual relationship: Marlene provided sex for Riley in return for drugs. In March 1975, the two went on a $6,000 shoplifting spree and Naomi threatened to send Marlene to juvenile hall.

On June 21, Marlene arranged to go shopping with her father while Riley sneaked into the house and attacked Naomi with a claw hammer. Failing to kill her, he then stabbed her in the chest with a kitchen knife. By the time Jim and Marlene returned home, Riley was still in the middle of the attack. When Jim attempted to intervene, Riley shot and killed him.

Because she was a teenager at the time of the murders, Marlene Olive served only four years before being released from prison in 1979. Riley was given a death sentence that was later commuted to life imprisonment.

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