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Jim Kershner’s This day in history

Tue., Sept. 14, 2010

From our archives, 75 years ago

Local prosecutors announced they had solved the murder of Spokane druggist Harry J. Phillips, who had been shot outside the Manito Pharmacy at 30th Avenue and Grand Boulevard on July 30, 1935.

There was no need to make an arrest, however, because the wanted man was already roosting in the state prison at Walla Walla on burglary charges.

The 30-year-old ex-con had been caught in Boise with two typewriters stolen from Spangle High School the day after the shooting. He pleaded guilty and was sent to jail.

In fact, his eagerness to plead guilty made prosecutors suspicious that he might be ducking a more serious charge.

Prosecutors said they were then able to build a murder case against the man.

He had been paroled in June from Folsom Prison in California, where he had served a burglary rap. Prosecutors said he stole a car in Everett, drove it to Spokane, rented a room and then attempted to stick up the Manito Pharmacy.

Phillips resisted and the robber shot him.

Authorities had recently cleared an earlier suspect, another ex-con, when they discovered he was on a ship in the Panama Canal at the time of the murder.

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