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Jim Kershner’s This day in history » On the Web:

From our archives, 100 years ago

A juror in a Superior Court case in Spokane failed to show up for deliberations – because he had committed suicide the night before.

His wife said he had complained that night of a headache. He said he was worried that his headache would cause him to “make mistakes” in coming to a verdict. He did not, he said, want to wrong an innocent man.

“The wife applied home remedies to relieve him,” said The Spokesman- Review. “She said that he took his rifle to bed with him that night, but she did not think much of this, as he was a Kentuckian and had often slept with his favorite rifle.”

She was awakened that morning by the sound of a gunshot. Her husband was slumped in a chair, with a bullet wound to his head.

The jury had been out for two days without coming to a decision in a personal injury case. When the juror failed to show up, the judge issued a contempt citation against him, but withdrew it when he learned that the juror “had answered at another and higher bar of justice.”

A new trial was ordered.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1860: South Carolina became the first state to secede from the Union. … 1963: The Berlin Wall was opened for the first time to West Berliners, who were allowed one-day holiday visits.