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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

A coroner’s jury ruled that Robert Miller, the young “Negro chauffeur” found dead in his room above a garage, did not die of a gunshot wound as first suspected.

He was killed by strychnine poisoning. This did not resolve the mystery of his murder. The jury only could say the strychnine was administered by “a person or persons unknown.”

Miller was said to have been in cheerful spirits the day of his death, which he spent at Natatorium Park with his sweetheart Daisy Campbell and her family.

However, testimony was introduced about another woman, Bertha Cotton, who had written him several letters. In one of them, Cotton said, “There is a great battle to be fought and I am going to win, or die in the attempt. That woman is not going to have you. She is not worthy of you.”

In another she said, “Have you forgotten how I sat up and waited for you Christmas night, and how we loved each other? I was almost sure that nothing but death could separate us.”

However, in another passage, Cotton said, “Robert, it would be impossible for me to do you any injustice – I love you too much for that.”

Daisy Campbell testified that Miller once told her that Bertha Cotton tried to poison him a year before at Hayden Lake. Cotton stoutly denied any such incident.