Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Night 32° Partly Cloudy
News >  Spokane

100 years ago in Spokane: Defense attorneys argue newspaper bias in Van Skike manslaughter trial

Defense attorneys for W.J. Van Skike argued that reporters covering his manslaughter trial had acted improperly and confirmed his manslaughter conviction in February 1921.
Defense attorneys for W.J. Van Skike argued that reporters covering his manslaughter trial had acted improperly and confirmed his manslaughter conviction in February 1921.
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

Attorneys for W.J. Van Skike used a modern-sounding strategy for contesting his conviction for manslaughter.

They blamed the media.

The attorneys claimed, in an affidavit, “that the verdict of guilty was brought about by a newspaper campaign against careless auto drivers and by the actions of reporters who attended the trial.” In particular, they charged that reporters sat at the prosecutor’s table and held improper conversations with both judge and jury during the trial.

All three reporters named in the affidavit denied talking to judge or jury or otherwise behaving improperly. One Chronicle reporter admitted that he sat at one of end of the prosecutor’s table, but it was only because it was the only seat vacant in the jam-packed courtroom.

Van Skike was convicted of running down a widow with his car and dragging her 13 blocks while she screamed for him to stop.

From the labor beat: Members of the Cooks and Waiters Union of Spokane were attempting to find out what happened to all of the cash in the treasury, about $1,300.

One ominous clue: The business agent of the union “has not been seen since last Thursday.”

The hunt was on for R.A. Cullen, who had earlier expressed his intention to retire.

Meanwhile, union members were clinging to the hope that Cullen had simply put the money in a safe deposit box and that the matter would soon be cleared up.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1910: The Boy Scouts of America was incorporated.

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 to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.