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100 years ago in Montana: Defense continues to make case for insanity in Spokane woman’s murder trial

Testimony continued about the disturbed state of mind of Miss Edith Colby, on trial for murder in Thompson Falls, Mont., the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on Dec. 1, 1916. (Spokesman Daily Chronicle)
Testimony continued about the disturbed state of mind of Miss Edith Colby, on trial for murder in Thompson Falls, Mont., the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on Dec. 1, 1916. (Spokesman Daily Chronicle)

From our archive, 100 years ago

Testimony continued about the disturbed state of mind of Miss Edith Colby, on trial for murder in Thompson Falls, Montana.

Even her campaign for Spokane city commissioner was used as evidence of her insanity. One witness said she loudly and publicly stated that she was campaigning for a “joke” job, against the advice of family and friends.

Miss Colby’s romantic disappointments contributed to her unbalanced state of mind. One friend said that Miss Colby asked her for advice and assistance about her troubles with Dr. H.W. Hilscher, who had broken off their engagement.

“Coming home on the (streetcar) with me, she would talk in tones that could be heard a block, repeating intimate details of her life with Dr. Hilscher, telling the story over and over,” her friend said. “For six weeks she kept this up.”

The correspondent for the Spokane Daily Chronicle noted that Miss Colby “sat alone, weeping quietly all morning, greatly disturbed at the stories her own lawyers were bringing out.”

From the divorce beat: A postscript was added to another sensational murder case – the Herman Rossi murder case in Wallace.

A judge granted Rossi a divorce from Mabel A. Rossi, with the stipulation that she would leave the Northwest, never to return.

Herman Rossi shot and killed Clarence Dahlquist after Rossi returned home from a business trip and found that Mrs. Rossi had spent days on a drunken bender with Dahlquist.

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