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100 years ago in Spokane: Admission of forgery adds to body of evidence in strychnine death

H.M. Delaney, held in connection with the strychnine poisoning of Rosa Kepmf, admitted he forged a letter from her shortly after her death. (Spokesman-Review archives)
H.M. Delaney, held in connection with the strychnine poisoning of Rosa Kepmf, admitted he forged a letter from her shortly after her death. (Spokesman-Review archives)

H.M. Delaney, held in questioning for the strychnine death of Rosa Kempf, made a damaging admission: He forged a letter from her after her death.

He had already told two false stories about the letter, in which she supposedly begged him to marry her. First, he said that she sent it to him. Second, he said he forged it, but he did so in Idaho, before her death, as a way of convincing authorities there to release him from flu quarantine.

Now, after police questioning, he admitted he wrote it at the Plastino Hotel, the day after her funeral.

He refused to explain why her wrote it and why he lied about it. “I don’t know,” was his only reply.

This cast new suspicion on Delaney, a would-be suitor of Kempf. Commissioner of Public Safety John H. Tilsley said Delaney had also made contradictory statements about why he came to Spokane, how much money he had and “other vital facts in the case.”

“There is no question that Delaney knows many things he has not yet told us,” Tilsley said.

From the crime beat: A drunken Christmas joyride north of Hillyard resulted in fines for three juveniles and liquor charges for two adults.

Police said they came across a car by the side of the road. Eight people were in the car. Two girls were screaming and said they were being attacked by the men.

Three were charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

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