PODCAST: A fresh look at the James Hoff killing in 1979

John Steven Olausen arrest photo, 1979.
John Steven Olausen arrest photo, 1979.

Reno was known as country’s gaming capital, but it was gradually becoming dwarfed by its southern Nevada counterpart, Las Vegas, as a gambling destination. Just about anyone could move to Reno and find work that pays enough to get by — as a dishwasher, a dealer, a car salesman, or a cab driver. It was this lure for fast, easy money that drew one young man to Reno in 1979.

Just out of high school, but without a diploma, John Steven Olausen struggled to learn. In fact, he had a learning disability, dyslexia, that hampered his ability to understand the basics. He was also easily influenced. His friends said he was a Boy Scout, willing to do anything for anyone at any time.

It was these traits that would land him on death row within a year of coming to Reno, Nevada in 1979. Solutions season two is taking a fresh look at the 1979 murder of Reno police officer James Hoff. Listen below.

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Bob Conrad
About Bob Conrad 1120 Articles
Bob Conrad is co-founder of ThisisReno. He manages ThisisReno and Conrad Communications, LLC, his marketing communications consulting company. He also works part time for the University of Nevada, Reno.

1 Comment

  1. I knew Steve as friend of my son. He traveled with us ,stayed at our home during high school. I believe he has been given an unfair sentence. I have followed his story since he left Chico.

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