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Wednesday, April 1, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: Man convicted of blackmailing mining tycoon August Paulsen

From our archives, 100 years ago

A jury quickly convicted J.O. Dahl, 23, of blackmailing mining tycoon August Paulsen.

Dahl told the court a wild story of being framed by a mysterious third party, but Dahl “failed to make a convincing case when exposed to a withering line of questioning” from the prosecutor.

The jury determined Dahl was the author of a letter threatening harm to Paulsen’s wife if Paulsen didn’t deliver a package containing $2,400. Dahl was arrested as he picked up a dummy package. Dahl was facing up to five years in jail.

From the murder beat: A shocking story unfolded in Walla Walla after Mary Hawn, 18, was found dead in a hotel room, along with the body of her stepgrandfather.

Hawn had been poisoned and the stepgrandfather had shot himself. It could have been a double-suicide, but the evidence pointed to a murder-suicide. The old man had written a suicide note, but the girl had not.

Her father told authorities he believed that the stepgrandfather administered the poison to the girl under some pretext and then “accomplished his purpose” with her. An autopsy indicated a “criminal assault” (sexual assault) had been made on her before her death.

Hawn’s father claimed that he experienced a strange premonition on the morning that his daughter died. He said he was walking down a Cle Elum street when he heard her voice clearly cry, “Oh, papa.” He turned around and nobody was there.

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