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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

100 years ago today: Forgery trial starts with deadly testimony

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

The Jay Hough forgery trial got off to a sensational start.

Hough testified that his business partner, John B. Milholland, made the following threat: “You yellow cur, I’ll slit your throat from ear to ear and spill your blood all over your home so when your wife and boy come home from Portland, they’ll find you dead.”

With that threat, Milholland forced Hough to sign a series of fake bonds.

As it turned out, the only blood spilled was Milholland’s, who killed himself when police arrived at his Spokane home to arrest him for this vast financial fraud scheme.

Right before Milholland’s suicide, Hough had confessed to investigators about his part of the scheme.

Hough’s defense attempted to show that Milholland was “dictatorial” and a “bully” and that Hough was coerced into the scheme. Investors were bilked of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

From the robbery beat: Yeggmen made off with a big haul when they broke open the safe of the Agram Bar. They stole hundreds of dollars in cash, war bonds and other valuables.

The safecrackers entered through a ventilating shaft and lowered themselves down to the main floor with a rope. The safe was broken open with a heavy hammer and “picks.”

It was the 15th safe robbery in Spokane in the last three months, and was by far the biggest haul.

Detectives were looking for clues.