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Saturday, August 24, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

100 years ago in Spokane: Soldier recently home from World War I to speak at NAACP event; prosecution develops motive in landlady murder case

Lt. Charles S. Parker returned back home after 10 months in France.

Parker, who lived at 1208 E. Wellesley, was one of four black soldiers in Spokane who fought in World War I.

He “saw much active fighting and, when the armistice was signed, advanced into Germany with the army of occupation,” the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported.

Parker was honored at the African Methodist Episcopal church at Fifth and Pine hours after he arrived home.

He also was scheduled to appear at an NAACP program on June 9 at Lewis and Clark High School. James Weldon Johnson, the national secretary of the organization, was scheduled to be the main speaker.

From the crime beat: It became clear why prosecutors had determined to keep Bessie Langer in jail after she shot Henry E. Haley despite witness statements that appeared to back up her claim of self-defense.

Langer, formerly known as Babe Gillis, was the landlady of the Thorslund hotel, 226 W. Riverside Ave, a property where she grew up and where her father once ran a saloon.

She claimed that she shot Haley after he repeatedly threatened her and was about to attack her with a club.

Prosecutors, however, had developed a different motive. They believed that Langer and Haley were in a relationship.

“The fact that Mrs. Langer’s husband who has been in the service was about to return to his home, and Mrs. Langer and Haley were together might have necessitated her getting rid of him,” a deputy prosecutor told the Spokane Daily Chronicle.

Haley died at Sacred Heart Hospital and Langer was facing a charge of first-degree murder.

Jim Kershner is on sabbatical.

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