K. Marley; Rancher, Businessman

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Kemper Marley Sr., a wealthy Arizona rancher and liquor distributor whose name came up in connection with the 1976 bombing death of investigative reporter Don Bolles, has died.

Marley was 83 when he died Monday at a home in La Jolla. The cause of death was not revealed.

Marley, a millionaire, was named in the Bolles murder case by John Harvey Adamson, the only person whose conviction for Bolles' murder has been upheld. Adamson testified that he had been hired by Max Dunlap, a wealthy contractor reared by Marley, to kill Bolles for writing articles in the Arizona Republic that were damaging to Marley's business interests.

Bolles, an investigative reporter for the Republic, was killed by a remote-controlled dynamite bomb placed underneath his car.

Marley was never charged in the case, and last year, Arizona Atty. Gen. Bob Corbin said new leads indicated that Marley had no connection to the killing.

Two other men--Dunlap and James Robison--were also convicted of Bolles' slaying, but their convictions were overturned by the Arizona Supreme Court, and they were not retried.

Marley filed a civil suit against the Investigative Reporters and Editors Inc. team for libel because of a news article linking Marley with organized crime figures.

The group was formed after Bolles' death to continue the investigation he had begun. Members published their findings in several major newspapers.

A Phoenix jury awarded Marley $15,000 for emotional distress, but found that the article did not libel him or invade his privacy. The case was later dismissed with no money exchanged, after both sides agreed to forgo appeals.

Marley, scion of an Arizona pioneer family, developed a liquor distributorship, cattle and sheep ranches, and interests in cottonseed oil and produce. He was also a founder of the Farmers and Stockmen's Bank in Phoenix, and had holdings in Sonora, Mexico, and the Imperial Valley.

He was a former member of the Arizona Highway Commission and the Arizona Racing Commission.

Marley is survived by his wife, Ethel, one son and one daughter, two sisters and a stepbrother.

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