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Thursday, February 27, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: Defense attorney claims at-large McDonald sibling killed McNutt

The McDonald siblings’ murder trial was turned upside down when defense attorney Thomas Corkery declared that one of the McDonalds had in fact killed W.H. McNutt – but it was Will McDonald, still at large.

Corkery said Will had come upon McNutt cursing and kicking Marie McDonald in the Wolverine Apartments, according to the Spokane Daily Chronicle. Will McDonald intervened and McNutt drew a revolver on him, whereupon McDonald struck McNutt on the head with a hammer and killed him.

Will McDonald had been charged with the murder – along with his siblings – but he had disappeared after the body was found and authorities still had not found him.

Corkery, in his opening statement for the defense, said Will alone had committed the murder and that Will alone had buried the body of McNutt. Neither Fay nor Marie nor Ted had been involved.

One of the sisters urged Will to call the police, but Will talked them out of it. Corkery admitted that Marie, Fay and Ted McDonald had been “foolish” enough to follow Will’s suggestions.

Corkery told the jury Marie and McNutt had “become intimate.” But he said McNutt had “represented himself to be a single man” (he wasn’t) and had become abusive. She had fled from him at least once, and “sought protection in the offices of Rev. John G. Lake, a divine healer.” But McNutt sought her out and “effected a reconciliation,” at least for a while.

The fatal quarrel was apparently incited by Marie’s refusal to accept a third party bid to purchase the Wolverine. McNutt accused her of “knocking his deal.” Marie took the stand and testified McNutt fired his gun two or three times before Will “picked up a hammer and hit McNutt on the head.” She knew nothing more until she woke up on a couch. She had fainted.

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