Jay Bauer was the locker room attendant of the Kentucky Colonels professional basketball team in Louisville. At least that was his title in 1975, and at the age of 23 he had been involved with the Colonels for all nine of their American Basketball Association seasons. He started as a ball boy during that first year in 1967.

No one enjoyed his job as much as Bauer. As a part time bartender around Louisville, including the Toy Tiger on Bardstown Road, he had a built-in audience to listen to his stories of knowing some of the biggest basketball stars in the world that came to town to play the Colonels. He turned those relationships into a sideline “You-trade-em, we-drive-em” business.

When professional players were traded, they didn’t have time to drive . . . they flew. The young Bauer would take care of the cars. He even said it would take 10 full-time employees to keep up with all of the trades. Further revealing his popularity, the young man represented the team as a pallbearer when former Colonel Windell Ladner died in a New York plane crash.

Jay Bauer’s life was good.

But when the team’s owner, John Y. and Ellie Brown sold the Colonels and the ABA folded, it took lots of people and businesses with it, and Bauer was one of them in the cruelest of ways.

It was 2:37 a.m., Saturday morning, December 10, 1983. A phone call to Louisville police claiming intruders with intent to commit a robbery had apparently broken into a house on Fordyce Lane in eastern Louisville. The caller told police a glass had been knocked out of the back door in order to gain entry. The caller went on to say both of his parents were dead.

That caller was 29-year-old Albert Joseph “Jay” Bauer, Jr.

Police arrived at a horrific scene, finding Albert Bauer and wife Mabel dead. Mrs. Bauer was lying in the kitchen repeatedly stabbed in the neck and throat. Albert’s body was in the front hall. He had been strangled.

From the beginning police were suspicious of Bauer’s story. Evidence of a burglary didn’t support his story. The jogging suit he was wearing was soaked in blood, and the cuts on his hands, he said, were from fighting off the intruders.

The broken glass and blood spatters didn’t fit either. Besides, Bauer said he had been at Rick’s, a local bar, where friends told police, he was wearing a two-piece suit, white shirt and suede shoes.

A search of the house that early morning found Quaaludes, a prescription sedative that belonged to the younger Bauer, who had moved back home with his parents six months earlier.

Late that Saturday afternoon Bauer was arrested. The charge: possession of Quaaludes. Police requested a high bond for their double homicide suspect, but, as sometimes happens in the judicial system, laws and technicalities override common sense.

Jefferson County District Judge John K. Carter set Bauer’s bond at $1,000 cash. He said in an interview that a higher bond would have been appropriate “only if Bauer had been charged with the crime for which it was requested.”

Jay Bauer had only been charged with possession. Five and a half hours later he was free. Family attorney Mike Green had paid the $1,000 and with his assistance had checked Bauer into a room at the downtown Galt House for the night.

As unimaginable as this story became in such a short time span, it was about to take its final twist.

It was a rainy, misty night in Louisville, and Jay Bauer made sure the door to his 20th floor Galt House hotel room was securely locked. After moving a small foot-stool close to the window, he made his final decision in life, jumping through the center portion of the room’s large plate-glass window that faced toward west Louisville.

Sometime around 4:30 a.m. Monday morning a leak from the rain had been reported by a night security guard on the roof and ceiling of the Archibald Cochran Ballroom, one of the hotel’s premier rooms that hosted many of the city’s Christmas holiday events. When the guard directed his flashlight toward the ceiling he spotted much more than water coming through the roof.

A few minutes later hotel general manager Tom O’Hearn’s phone rang at his home telling him what looked like a human body protruding from the roof and ceiling of the third-floor ballroom.

Firefighters helped remove Bauer’s body from the ceiling, and then O’Hearn and several employees made their way to the 20th floor. They forced their way into the room, and years later O’Hearn recalled the strange feeling he had upon entering the room.

“There wasn’t a note,” he said. “It was just eerie going in there and seeing the stool next to the window and all of the broken glass. There was also a candy wrapper lying on the floor.”

For some, Bauer’s death and the murders didn’t make sense, but for others it did. According to them, when the Colonels departed Louisville a few years before, gone was the one real positive element he had in his life. Afterwards began a downward spiral that ended on that December morning in 1983.

There wasn’t any burglary. There was no coming home and finding his parents dead. There was no fighting off intruders. Any fighting that happened early that morning came from Jay’s mother, Mabel, resulting in cuts on both of his hands.

Everything was there but the motive. That, however, would soon become evident.

Jay’s parents had become concerned with their sons lifestyle and drug use, and after talking to his friends, on that fateful night it was speculated they informed him he was being cut-off financially. Thus the motive.

On Jan. 25, 1984, 46 days after the double homicide, an inquest was held and first degree manslaughter was the charge against Bauer. His death was ruled a suicide.

Jefferson County Coroner Richard Greathouse, the same Richard Greathouse who had been the first Colonels team doctor back in 1967, made the announcement of all the findings.

“It was believed Jay came home, had a violent confrontation with his parents, blew his cool and totally wiped them out,” Greathouse said.

It was pointed out that, “Under Kentucky law, a person cannot be convicted of murder if he acts under the influence of extreme emotional disturbance.”

Call it what you will, manslaughter or anything else, the fact was and still is, unfortunately Jay Bauer murdered his parents.

There’s no excuse, get up, get out and get going! Gary P. West can be reached at westgarypdeb@gmail.com.

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