Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Fog 28° Fog
News >  Spokane

100 years ago in Spokane: Murder suspects, the McDonald siblings, pose outside courthouse

Murder suspects Fay McDonald Wilkinson, Jewell Marie McDonald and Ted McDonald, smile outside the Spokane County Courthouse, accompanied by a female bailiff, L. Schussler. The picture appeared on the front page of the Spokane Daily Chronicle on Dec. 10, 1919. (Spokesman-Review archives)
Murder suspects Fay McDonald Wilkinson, Jewell Marie McDonald and Ted McDonald, smile outside the Spokane County Courthouse, accompanied by a female bailiff, L. Schussler. The picture appeared on the front page of the Spokane Daily Chronicle on Dec. 10, 1919. (Spokesman-Review archives)

Spokane Daily Chronicle readers got their first glimpses of the infamous McDonald siblings, as photographers snapped their photos outside the Superior Court.

The front page photo showed Fay McDonald Wilkinson, Jewell Marie McDonald and Ted McDonald, smiling outside the courthouse, accompanied by a female bailiff.

They were attending a preliminary hearing, in which the prosecutor disclosed that he was charging each of them as principals in the murder of W.H. McNutt, a Spokane real estate and mining man. McNutt disappeared following a business dispute with the sisters. His body was later found in a shallow grave near Newport. Another sibling, Will McDonald, was still at large, but he was also charged with murder.

The prosecutor said it made no difference who struck the fatal blow. “They are all guilty,” said the prosecutor. “It’s common law and common sense. I charge them all with being principals.”

The Chronicle reported that Fay and Ted “seemed very sure of themselves and gazed about with an air that seemed even a bit defiant.” However, they lost their air of confidence as the hearing proceeded. Jewell was described as “pale, drawn, nervous and unstrung.”

This was just the opening skirmish in the case. The full trial was scheduled for January.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.