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100 years ago in Spokane: Girlfriend defends convicted murderer; police suggest she may face ‘unlawful cohabitation’ charge

Convicted murderer Robert A. Hood and his live-in girlfriend, Vivian “Alaska Vivian” Tozier, issued separate statements denying that Hood was guilty of murdering Margaret Braun, The Spokesman-Review reported on Jan. 27, 1917. (SR)
Convicted murderer Robert A. Hood and his live-in girlfriend, Vivian “Alaska Vivian” Tozier, issued separate statements denying that Hood was guilty of murdering Margaret Braun, The Spokesman-Review reported on Jan. 27, 1917. (SR)

Convicted murderer Robert A. Hood and his live-in girlfriend, Vivian “Alaska Vivian” Tozier, issued separate statements forcefully denying that Hood was guilty of murdering Margaret Braun.

“I never knew anything about the details of the murder of that woman until I heard Scotty (Weston) tell about it on the stand,” said Hood, from jail. “… He said that I was with him when the murder was committed, but that was part of the story framed up by the police.”

Hood was convicted largely on Weston’s testimony. Meanwhile, Tozier was just as adamant about Hood’s innocence.

“Hood could not have committed that murder and I know it,” said Tozier. “That is why I am going to stand by him and why I am going to try to get his freedom for him when he is sent to the penitentiary.”

She said she had a pretty good idea why Weston would make up a false story, because the police tried to get her to do the same.

“They do not call it third-degree methods, but they would just argue and talk and tell me Hood was guilty and that it would be best for me to tell all about it,” she said. “I would just tell Captain Miles that the poor fool could not have committed the murder, and I know he could not.”

She also wanted to dispel a few misconceptions.

“Now, I am not standing here defending Hood because I love him,” she said. “As a matter of fact, I do not care for Hood, but I know he did not commit this crime.”

Also, she refuted the idea that she had been a prostitute, which “the police and prosecutor tried to make believe I am.”

She was, in fact, the wife of an attorney in Dawson, Alaska. He would not grant her a divorce, so she came to Spokane and began living with Hood and working at a barber shop.

“I have earned an honest living all my life,” she said.

However, the police were not finished with her. They planned to charge her with “unlawful cohabitation.”

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