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Tuesday, November 12, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: Extradition sought for sisters believed to be involved in death of W.H. McNutt

UPDATED: Mon., Oct. 14, 2019

The McDonald sisters maintained their innocence as prosecutors sought extradition from California to Spokane in the case of slain real estate man W.H. McNutt. (S-R archives)
The McDonald sisters maintained their innocence as prosecutors sought extradition from California to Spokane in the case of slain real estate man W.H. McNutt. (S-R archives)
Jim Kershner

An extradition hearing for the two McDonald sisters was scheduled the next day in Los Angeles, and papers filed with the court laid out the evidence against them in the murder of Spokane real estate man W.H. McNutt.

The papers alleged that McNutt and the McDonalds quarreled over business issues the day before his death; that the next day Jewell Marie McDonald attempted to cash a check, which had previously been in McNutt’s possession, in a Spokane department store; and that she and her sister Helen Fay McDonald Wilkinson left Spokane “in haste” and fled to Los Angeles under assumed names.

After a months-long search and an anonymous tip, McNutt’s body had been found near Newport, Washington, buried 4 feet deep. He had been bludgeoned and his mouth had been stuffed with towels. A bonfire had been built over the grave to hide it.

The sisters – and one of their brothers – were being held in Los Angeles, but they adamantly denied their guilt.

From the college beat: Washington Gov. Louis F. Hart said the state might have to borrow $1 million to meet expenses at the state’s colleges.

The reason? An “unprecedented and unexpected” postwar rush of students, along with an overall rise in operating expenses.

Gov. Hart, visiting in Spokane, said “nobody ever dreamed” that the state’s university budgets would be “knocked into a cocked hat almost on the opening day” of classes.

“But that is exactly what happened,” he said.

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