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Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in Spokane: Prohibition chief arrested for drunkenness said he was sampling moonshine as evidence

 (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives )
(Spokane Daily Chronicle archives )

S.S. Murphy, Spokane’s chief federal Prohibition officer, claimed innocence in his trial for public drunkenness.

He had been arrested hours after being laid off, along with hundreds of other agents, for lack of Treasury funds. The Spokane police officers who arrested him believed he was on a spree, and testified in court that he “gave every appearance of being drunk.”

Murphy, however, claimed he had merely been doing his job, layoff or no layoff. He said he had taken only three sips of moonshine, of a tablespoon each, as a way to obtain evidence against some moonshiners.

A doctor testified that Murphy might have been poisoned, based on a urinalysis, which is why he appeared so drunk.

The judge took the case under advisement.

From the marriage beat: John Cappeli, 28, eloped with Lucy Myers, a 17-year-old Lewis and Clark High School student – and then he was arrested for contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

The girl left school that day and went with Cappeli to Colville, where they obtained a marriage license. They were married in Chewelah by a justice of the peace.

On their way back to Spokane, however, her brother “tipped her off” that deputies were on the lookout for the couple. A deputy, accompanied by the girl’s mother, found the couple at Waitts Lake.

The bride was taken back home and the groom was in the Spokane County Jail.

From the robbery beat: An insurance company posted a $250 reward for information leading to the arrest of two men who robbed the Citizen’s State Bank in Priest River.

The two were still at large, although a possible sighting was reported near Harrington, Washington.

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