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Tuesday, October 27, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: Man confesses to murder near railroad yard

UPDATED: Fri., Sept. 18, 2020

 (S-R archives)
(S-R archives)
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

Love, hatred and a longtime feud all played parts in a murder in a Spokane railroad yard.

Z. Cheida, 50, was dead and Joe Masato, 30, was in jail for the shooting. Both were described as Italian railroad laborers.

Masato told his story from his jail cell in broken English.

“A long time ago, Cheida lost some money,” said Masato. “He said I took it. He fought me and knocked me down. Tomorrow I was to marry Emma in Hillyard. Cheida went to Emma’s father and said I was a crook. That made me mad and I went to see him this morning to ask why he told lies about me. He waved a shovel at me and I shot him.”

A witness to the shooting said that Masato walked up to Cheida and after a short argument knocked him down with a club. Then Masato jumped on him, pulled his gun and shot him through the head. Then he pressed the gun to the man’s stomach and shot him again.

The witness, a Northern Pacific engineer, and some other employees chased Masato and caught him a mile away. The engineer told him, “You killed that man.”

Masato replied that he was glad he did it – Cheida was a bad man who should be killed.

Masato later made a similar statement to police. Cheida was a “bad fella,” but he, Masato, was a good man.

Cheida’s foreman at the roundhouse said that Cheida had worked there for 10 years and was a “quiet fellow who had given no trouble.”

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