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100 years ago in Spokane: ‘Bluebeard’ pleads guilt to first degree murder

His attorney said that all the confessed murderer wanted or expected was to escape the gallows. (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)
His attorney said that all the confessed murderer wanted or expected was to escape the gallows. (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)

James P. “Bluebeard” Watson, aka Huirt, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in a Los Angeles courtroom, after admitting that he killed Nina Lee Deloney of Eureka, Montana.

Watson sat with bowed head and whispered the word “guilty” to the judge, as part of a plea deal. His attorney said that all he wanted or expected was to escape the gallows.

However, the deal was dependent on his cooperation in the cases of another half-dozen of his wives, who had also mysteriously gone missing. He had confessed to several of those murders, including for the killing of two Spokane women.

His guilty plea came during a grand jury indictment hearing, so some uncertainty still existed about whether the plea deal was final. The Los Angeles prosecutor had never come right out and endorsed the plan.

“There is a possibility that plea and sentence may follow immediately,” said attorneys.

From the baseball beat: Sen. Miles Poindexter of Spokane took time off from his presidential campaign to throw out the first pitch at the opening game of the 1920 Pacific International League season at Natatorium Park.

Spokane Mayor Charles Fleming acted as catcher, but “failed to catch it.”

Poindexter’s campaign had recently been in a slump, but he later told a crowd of Spokane auto dealers that he “would not be surprised if I am nominated for the presidency at the Republican convention.” But if not, he would “not be downcast.”

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