And Now You Know: The Murder of Dolly Goldfine

Published 11:32 am Monday, March 16, 2020

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By Mike Louviere

About 10:30 p.m. Monday June30, 1969, as Dolly Goldfine, 64, was locking the door closing her business, the Orange News Stand, located on the corner of Fifth and Front Streets in Orange, she was approached by two men who forced her into her car.

What followed would be the most senseless and one of the most brutal murders in the history of Orange.

Her screams were heard by a man and his son who were leaving a downtown movie theater. The man called the police, but all he could give them was a description of the car, a 1959 Ford.

About midnight, Chief Deputy A. O. Folsom of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office saw a car matching the one seen leaving Orange and stopped it at the intersection of Tulane Road and Highway 62. Folsom found that the car was registered to Dolly Goldfine. He questioned the two men, they admitted forcing Goldfine into her car.  In searching the men, Folsom found $77 in small bills. In further questioning, they told Folsom they had “dumped” her on nearby Bland Road.

Folsom called for assistance and organized a search party to look for Goldfine.

She was found about 1:30 a.m., lying in a ditch, alongside Bland Road. Her body was covered with stab wounds. The left side of her skull was so damaged that her left eye dangled from its socket. She had been sexually assaulted and had wounds related to the sexual assault.

A bloody knife and tire tool were found lying next to her body as was her billfold and poll tax receipt.

  1. R. Hallman, 20, and Robert William Leger, 22, both of Orange were arrested and taken to the Orange County jail.

Goldfine was taken to Orange Memorial Hospital for initial treatment. She was transferred to St. Elizabeth Hospital in Beaumont for extensive brain and stomach surgery.

She had been stabbed in the chest one time and three times in the stomach, she had suffered a fractured skull and other head wounds, there were cuts and bruises on her neck and shoulders, wounds that appeared to be from the knife and tire tool.

A few days after the surgeries she was transferred to a Dallas nursing home where she died on August 29,1969.

Orange County District Attorney Louis Dugas, Jr. filed charges against Hallman and Leger for kidnapping and robbery by assault on August 24.

On October 9, 1969 he filed charges for murder.

The two men pled guilty to all charges and waived their right to trial by jury.

Hallman filed a writ of habeas corpus claiming he was denied right to counsel because of the ineffective assistance of his court appointed attorney.

District Judge Joe Fisher denied his writ saying that his attorney did “an excellent job of defending Hallman by the simple fact that he got the state to agree to not seek the death penalty.”

Hallman further contended that he was denied a fair trial because there was “sufficient evidence to establish that he was legally insane at the time of the event and he was given no sanity hearing.”

Judge Fisher stated that Hallman was examined by two state psychiatrists who stated he was sane at the time of the event and was competent to stand trial.

On January 14, 1970, the two men were given life sentences.

Leger was paroled after serving only 18 years.

The July 6, 2007 edition of the Orange Leader published an interview with a man who remembered the night Goldfine was kidnapped very well. He had lived on Bland Road and had helped search for her.

Cleo Coulter had moved from Orange to Louisiana. He read an article in the Sulphur Southwest Daily News which pulled those events from his memory to the current day.

Coulter read that Robert Wayne Leger had been arrested by the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Department. Leger, now aged 60 years old, had been charged with three counts of sexual battery against a 13-year-old boy. Leger was being held in the parish jail under a $60,000 bond.

It was shocking to Coulter to find the man he thought was still in prison in Texas had been paroled and had been living near him.

“I hope the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff piles everything on this man they can,” said Coulter.

The article in the Leader stated nothing about the status of Hallman had been available at press time.

“And now you know.”