“Van Skike Guilty of Manslaughter” was the massive headline in a Spokane Daily Chronicle late “extra” edition.
W. J. Van Skike remained stoic when the verdict was read, but the jammed courtroom erupted. The case had sparked widespread outrage, stoked by the fact that dozens of witnesses had seen Mrs. Kirkpatrick, a pedestrian, being dragged for 13 blocks along Sprague Avenue.
Other pedestrians and motorists screamed for Van Skike to stop – as did Mrs. Kirkpatrick, who was still alive – but Van Skike didn’t stop and appeared to take evasive maneuvers to escape his pursuers.
All but one of the 12 jurors voted for conviction on the first ballot. After four more hours, they reached a unanimous verdict. Van Skike insisted that he never struck the woman – or if he did, he didn’t realize it.
He was facing a jail sentence of up to 20 years.
From the crime beat: The newspaper also reported that Henry Lowery, a Black man accused of murder in Arkansas, was taken by a mob while in the custody of police and about to by lynched. Later, Lowery was burned to death by the mob. Investigations also later showed that Lowery had fired as an act of self defense in the incident for which he was accused of murder.
Also on this date
(From the Associated Press)
Jan. 26: NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others were killed when their helicopter plunged into a steep hillside in dense morning fog in Southern California. The former Lakers star was 41.
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