Arrow-right Camera

Spokane

100 years ago in Colville: Jury acquits woman who shot and killed father and son while holding her baby

Tue., Nov. 14, 2017

A Colville jury took only 20 minutes to acquit Margaret Hanshaw, 17, who was accused of shooting two neighbors to death — all while holding her baby in her arms, The Spokesman-Review reported on Nov. 14, 1917. (Spokesman-Review archives)
A Colville jury took only 20 minutes to acquit Margaret Hanshaw, 17, who was accused of shooting two neighbors to death — all while holding her baby in her arms, The Spokesman-Review reported on Nov. 14, 1917. (Spokesman-Review archives)

A Colville jury took only 20 minutes to acquit Margaret Hanshaw, 17, who was accused of shooting two neighbors to death – all while holding her baby in her arms.

She fired the fatal shots after the two neighbors – a father and son – had broken into the Hanshaw home near Arden and threatened the Hanshaws because of a previous, unspecified dispute.

During the altercation, her husband dropped the gun on the floor and she picked it up.

“Shoot, kid, shoot,” her husband told her.

So she did. During the trial, she demonstrated to the jury how she “handled the gun by holding the child in her arms and pumping the gun with both hands.”

She also told the court that she “did not intend to kill them, but only to hit them in the legs.” After the shooting, the Hanshaws called the sheriff and the doctor.

The public in the Colville area received the verdict with little surprise.

Opinion had apparently turned against the victims for a few reasons. For one thing, they entered the Hanshaw house by breaking down the door with clubs. For another, they were said to be “strongly pro-German,” the father had expressed “violent opposition to the government in the war” and the son had not registered for the draft.