Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Night 81° Clear

100 years ago today: Sensational arguments in trial of federal agents

From the April 9, 1921 Spokane Daily Chronicle.  (S-R archives)
From the April 9, 1921 Spokane Daily Chronicle. (S-R archives)
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

Attorneys on both sides made sensational charges in the trial of W.C. Vest and John G. Montgomery, two federal Prohibition agents accused of manslaughter.

The defense attorney claimed the entire case was a frame-up “to appease the people of Ferry County.” Angry Ferry County citizens demanded a victim, he said, in the shooting of Ernest Emley, a popular local man. They chose Vest. In fact, the defense attorney contended that the prosecuting attorney, from Ferry County, was the “main actor in the frame-up.”

The prosecuting attorney refuted that claim, saying that if it had been a frame-up, he would have secured additional and better evidence.

Then the prosecutor made some allegations of his own. He claimed that Vest was drunk at the time of the shooting. He also said that if the jury found him not guilty, it would give federal agents permission to “shoot without warning” any time they pleased.

The case was now in the hands of the jury.

From the boxing beat: New Jersey, not Spokane, was declared the locale of the monumental Jack Dempsey-Georges Carpentier heavyweight title fight.

The promoter, Tex Rickard, announced that he planned to build a makeshift outdoor arena in either Atlantic City, Jersey City or Newark, costing $100,000.

Spokane had harbored fleeting hopes that the fight could be held at the Alan Racetrack in the Spokane Valley. Dempsey himself toured the racetrack while he was in Spokane performing his vaudeville act.

Rickard had already dashed those hopes a week before, when he said that he had not yet decided on a location, but that it would definitely not be Spokane.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox

Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.