Ever since its premiere back in 1992, NBC’s ‘Dateline’ has been exploring true-crime cases and real-life mysteries to get to the heart of what precisely transpired and why in each matter. There’s no denying that this news magazine is a staple of the genre with its comprehensive archive of in-depth investigative journalism, so of course, it delves into everything from murders to missing individuals. Thus, its season 27 episode 36, titled ‘The Overlook,’ profiling the homicide of Mollie Olgin, is no different. And if you’re curious to know the details of the same, we’ve got you covered.
How Did Mollie Olgin Die?
At the age of 19, Mollie Judith Olgin was a first-year college student with dreams of becoming a psychologist one day when that opportunity, and all other possibilities, were snatched away from her in the blink of an eye. She was an intelligent, funny, and kind-hearted individual who brought joy to everyone around her, and it appeared as if she had just started to live her life without any outside or self-imposed constraints. Mollie didn’t seem to have any enemies either, which is why her tragic homicide on June 23, 2012, shocked her family and the entire nation to its core.
On that fateful day, birdwatchers at the Violet Andrews Park in Portland, Texas, were the ones to call 911 after discovering two women lying unconscious in knee-high grass just below a viewing deck. When first responders arrived, they not only identified them as Mollie and her 18-year-old girlfriend Mary Kristene “Kris” Chapa, but they also ascertained that the former had unfortunately already passed away. It subsequently came to light that the females had been sexually assaulted and shot in the head (execution-style) around midnight the previous evening, which led to Mollie dying at the scene.
Who Killed Mollie Olgin?
Mollie Olgin’s girlfriend, Mary Kristene “Kris” Chapa, who fortunately survived after being rushed to the hospital in a critical condition, played a crucial role in the investigations that followed. While recovering, she helped the authorities create a sketch of the offender and revealed that he drove a grey “police looking car,” held a silver gun, and smelled like cigarettes. She further stated that he called them “number one” and “number two” during their assault and recalled the other events of that night to the best of her abilities to help. Yet, even with that, a breakthrough only came about two years later.
The detectives initially suspected Dylan Wade Spellman, who was placed in the park by several eyewitnesses around the time of the offense and was allegedly temporarily living down the road from there, but there was no proof against him. Hence, the note anonymously sent to Kris’ father in 2014, including a lot of unreleased information about the murder, turned into the critical piece of evidence that ultimately led officials to David Strickland. The letter accused another man in Utah, yet he had an alibi, and he had allegedly even been robbed that year by David, a former friend.
When looked into, investigators found two guns, ammunition, a silencer, gloves, handcuffs, bolt cutters, knives, and several similar items in David’s vehicle, along with a draft of the note sent to Kris’ father on his computer. As if that wasn’t incriminating enough, his cell phone record verified that he was near the Chapa family home when the letter was hand-delivered. A forensic test also confirmed that one of his weapons matched the bullet casings recovered from the crime scene. Therefore, on June 20, 2014, he was arrested and charged with capital murder and counts of assault.
There were suspicions that this was a hate crime due to Mollie and Kris’ sexuality, but it was eventually deemed a random act of violence because nothing backed the theory. David maintained his innocence throughout the legal proceedings, yet on September 28, 2016, a jury found him guilty of capital murder and aggravated sexual assault, leading to a sentence of life in prison.
About two years later, though, advanced technology yielded new DNA evidence allegedly linking Dylan Spellman to the offense again through a pubic hair strand on Kris, but nothing ever became of it. David did appeal on the basis of these DNA reports, but it was denied in 2020, meaning that he remains convicted and incarcerated for the murder of Mollie Olgin.
Read More: Where is Kristene “Kris” Chapa Now?