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100 years ago in Spokane: Judge finds Anna Corbin insane, orders her to be committed to asylum

A judge and medical commission ordered Anna Corbin committed to Eastern Washington State Hospital following an insurance fraud scheme on July 19, 1921.  (S-R archives)
A judge and medical commission ordered Anna Corbin committed to Eastern Washington State Hospital following an insurance fraud scheme on July 19, 1921. (S-R archives)
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

Anna Corbin, widow of Spokane tycoon D.C. Corbin, was found to be insane and was committed to Eastern Washington State Hospital at Medical Lake.

The verdict came during a sanity hearing presided over by a medical commission and a judge.

When the judge pronounced the verdict, Corbin pleaded her case.

“Yes, but Judge Oswald, I don’t see what you mean. I have been living at home and doing my housework, and this lady, Mrs. Carlson, has testified to my sanity,” said Corbin. “You can’t send me to Medical Lake, for I have a young nephew whom I am raising.”

“Mrs. Corbin, if my wife, mother, or sister were to be brought before me on a similar charge to yours, and with similar evidence as we have heard in your case, it would be my duty to render the very same verdict,” said the judge.

“Judge Oswald, you are an honorable man and I guess you are right,” she said.

One of the doctors on the medical commission declared that she had a form of “paramonic insanity,” which was a “very dangerous type.”

Corbin was facing a first-degree arson charge, in which she was accused of conspiring to burn down her own home for the insurance money.

The prosecutor indicated that the insanity verdict changed everything. He said the arson charge would probably be withdrawn and the trial canceled.

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