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Thursday, February 27, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: Attorney says it’s no wonder ‘hopping mad’ W.H. McNutt wound up dead

UPDATED: Mon., Jan. 20, 2020

Attorney Thomas Corkery gave a spirited defense of the McDonald siblings in the W.H. McNutt murder trial, turning the spotlight away from the sisters and squarely on the victim. (Spokane Chronicle archive)
Attorney Thomas Corkery gave a spirited defense of the McDonald siblings in the W.H. McNutt murder trial, turning the spotlight away from the sisters and squarely on the victim. (Spokane Chronicle archive)

Attorney Thomas Corkery gave a spirited defense of the McDonald siblings in the W.H. McNutt murder trial, turning the spotlight away from the sisters and squarely on the victim.

In his summation, Corkery said that McNutt ran into the Wolverine apartments “hopping mad,” a man with a “chip on his shoulder.” He said there was scant evidence that the McDonalds had premeditated violence, and on the contrary, the quarrel was brought on entirely by McNutt’s belligerent attitude and his sudden attack on Marie McDonald.

He said McNutt had lied to Marie about being single, and that she had “become infatuated with him.”

“Oh, McNutt, I say to you, peace be with your ashes,” said Corkery. “Peace be with your ashes, but justice to the living. There are some things must be said in justice to the living. … The wonder is not that McNutt was killed that night, June 23, 1919, but that with his carousing and drinking around late at night, it was a wonder that he had not met death before that.”

Prosecutor Lindsley, in his closing argument, said McNutt’s death was a “fiendish murder” and that all of the McDonalds were equally guilty of conspiring to kill McNutt.

He said the body was bound and gagged and that all of the McDonalds deliberately robbed the dead man. He was found in a shallow grave stripped of cash, diamonds and a check.

The defense contended that the murder and disposal of the body was solely the work of Will McDonald, the only sibling still at large.

The trial was expected to go to the jury soon.

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