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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

Tue., May 27, 2014

From our archives, 100 years ago

Sam Pelican, one of two Italians accused of murdering Ed Louie, a Colville Indian, confessed to the Curlew-area killing in federal court.

Pelican, however, said he killed Louie in self-defense. And he exonerated his co-defendant, Tony Ponterre.

Pelican testified that Louie was “always hanging around my house, causing me trouble.” One day Louie came and was drunk, and smashed his stove to pieces and threatened to kill Pelican with a knife.

“I hit him in the head with a stick of wood, just as he was getting onto his horse,” Pelican said. “Then he turns around to fight me and I hit him again, three or four, I don’t know how many times.”

He said Ponterre was not involved in the fight, but he later enlisted Ponterre to help him throw Louie’s body into the river.

A Ferry County deputy testified that Ponterre told him a somewhat different story. Ponterre told him that Pelican and Louie had gotten into a fight over Tenas Mary, Pelican’s wife. He said that Louie pulled a knife on Pelican and that he and Pelican overpowered him.

Then Pelican hit Louie repeatedly with a gate rail and then grabbed Louie’s head by the ears and beat it against the ground. Then he brought his wife out and said, “There’s your lover.”

Ponterre said he helped Pelican toss Louie, who was still breathing, into the creek. His body was found the next day.

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