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Jim Kershner’s This day in history » On the Web: spokesman.com/topics/local-history

From our archives, 100 years ago

A jury found John McDowell guilty of murder for killing his wife in their cabin at Springston, near Harrison, Idaho.

The trial was the most sensational of the year, partly because of the love-triangle aspect. The evidence showed that McDowell wrote numerous letters to a younger girlfriend named Lulu in the weeks before the murder, promising her that they could soon be legally together.

McDowell claimed that his wife had been despondent for months and had committed suicide by drinking laudanum or morphine. A note was found in which she said she was tired of “living in this cold, sinful world.”

The jury, however, apparently believed that McDowell wrote the note himself and poisoned his wife.

“The verdict was received with deathlike silence by the 200 witnesses in the room,” reported the Chronicle. “McDowell never faltered when the fatal words were pronounced.”

The Chronicle said he would “either hang or spend the rest of his life in the penitentiary.”

Also on the date

(From the Associated Press)

1638: Swedish colonists settled in present-day Delaware. … 1867: Britain’s Parliament passed the British North America Act to create the Dominion of Canada. … 1943: World War II rationing of meat, fats and cheese began.

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