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Monday, February 24, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

100 years ago in Spokane: Former deputy arrested on murder charge moments after jury acquits him in another murder case

Charles A. Palmer was declared not guilty of murder. However, right after he thanked the jury foreman for a “true verdict,” Palmer was re-arrested for another murder.

This trial had been only for the murder of George Verbeck, but Palmer had also shot Nels Verbeck, George’s father, and Nels had died of his wounds weeks later. This re-arrest was for the murder of Nels, so it appeared that Palmer would be standing trial again.

The jury apparently accepted Palmer’s contention that he shot in self-defense after he was confronted by several drunken antagonists outside a Milan poolroom, near Deer Park. On the first ballot, seven jurors voted for acquittal. On a second ballot, only two jurors held out for conviction, and they favored a second-degree verdict. They apparently changed their minds on subsequent ballots.

The prosecutor expressed disappointment in the jury’s verdict and said there was a tendency among the jurors to “shirk responsibility.” He said his office still considered Palmer a murderer, and an arraignment on the second charge would take place within a few days.

Palmer, who was “much excited“ after the verdict, started to talk to reporters, but his attorney told him to “keep his mouth shut” or he would withdraw from the case.

From the insanity beat: Two “criminally insane” inmates were at large in the region. The two men escaped from Medical Lake’s Eastern Washington Hospital for the Insane (as Eastern State Hospital was then called).

One of the men was being held for first-degree murder and the other for highway robbery. No details on the escape were announced, but residents were asked to be on the lookout for the escapees.

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