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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: Man convicted of killing common-law wife hanged at Fort George Wright

Edward Mayberry, who was convicted in federal court of murdering his common law wife, was hanged at Fort George Wright, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on April 19, 1917. (Spokesman-Review archives)
Edward Mayberry, who was convicted in federal court of murdering his common law wife, was hanged at Fort George Wright, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on April 19, 1917. (Spokesman-Review archives)

Edward Mayberry became the first person in decades to be hanged in Spokane.

“He went to his death without flinching, even when he felt the noose tightening under his left ear,” the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported. “At no stage of the execution did he lose his nerve, and in a short speech from the scaffold, just before the trap was sprung, he took occasion to thank the federal officials who were conducting the hanging.”

Mayberry had been convicted in federal court of murdering his common-law wife, Alice Vivian. The state of Washington had already abolished capital punishment, but since the murder occurred on reservation land, Mayberry was convicted in federal court.

The hanging took place on the grounds of Fort George Wright, and the public was not invited to witness it. However, about 30 or so federal officials, guards and physicians were on hand – as well as, apparently, a few reporters.

“Three deputy marshals pulled three ropes, one of which released the trap which dropped the condemned man four and half feet to his death,” reported the Chronicle. “He was killed almost instantly. Five minutes later, the physicians pronounced him dead, and in another five minutes, his body was cut down.”

During his last days, “he did not say he was guilty, neither did he deny his guilt.” Earlier, he had claimed the shooting was accidental.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1897: The first Boston Marathon was held; winner John J. McDermott ran the course in two hours, 55 minutes and 10 seconds.

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