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Saturday, February 22, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: Murder victim McNutt’s affair with suspect revealed in court

Testimony came out that showed the victim and a suspect had once had a relationship “other than the business way,” The Spokesman-Review reported. (SR archives)
Testimony came out that showed the victim and a suspect had once had a relationship “other than the business way,” The Spokesman-Review reported. (SR archives)

Marie McDonald, murder suspect, and W.H. McNutt, murder victim, had been having an affair.

That was the most sensational revelation of the day in the McDonald siblings murder trial. Previously, the fact that they were business partners was well-known. But now testimony came out that showed they had once had a relationship “other than the business way,” The Spokesman-Review reported.

But the relationship clearly turned sour. One witness testified that Marie told her at one point that she wanted to leave McNutt and get a new start.

However, she apparently went back to McNutt, at least for a while.

Several witnesses testified that they heard quarreling in the Wolverine apartments between the two in the days before the murder. At one point, sister Fay McDonald Wilkerson said she would “fix” McNutt with a hammer if he hurt her sister.

Meanwhile, L. Estill, McNutt’s former business partner, took the stand and described what happened after McNutt disappeared. Estill said he went over to the Wolverine apartments the next day and asked Fay if she knew where McNutt was.

Fay answered with her own question: “Have you seen anything of Sis?”

When he said he hadn’t, Fay replied, “Well, they probably went fishing.”

New testimony also emerged about the grave site. A neighbor said he saw Will and Ted McDonald drive onto the site in a truck belonging to McNutt the day after McNutt disappeared. Later, he noticed a fire burning on the land. The body was later found in a shallow grave beneath the burned area.

Ted and Will McDonald were both suspects in the crime, but only Ted McDonald was in the courtroom. Will McDonald had disappeared and was still at large.

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