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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

100 years ago in Spokane: Drunken baker accused of killing woman in hotel room; Spokane Symphony earns praise

Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

A knife fight at the Touraine Hotel turned tragic when J.B. Henry, 27, a baker, fatally wounded Helen Williams, 24, a file clerk.

Henry, who was reported to be drunk at the time, claimed that he accidentally slashed her when he tried to make a slash at a second man, with whom he was fighting. Police were skeptical about Henry’s claims, since Helen Williams was badly slashed in the arm as well as in the throat.

Police said they were called to a fight between two men in Henry’s hotel room. They arrived to find Henry standing over Williams, attempting unsuccessfully to staunch the flow of blood from her neck.

“My God, do something to stop this!” shouted Henry when officers arrived.

Henry said Williams had come to his room early in the evening. He claimed a second man came into the room and the two men began fighting over her. But no trace of the man could be found.

Police believed that after the fight Henry turned on the woman “in a drunken fury.”

From the music beat: Eugene Bernstein, a “well-known New York pianist” who was spending the summer in Spokane, praised the fledgling Spokane Symphony orchestra, and said that conductor Leonardo Brill had “musical artistry” as well as the “practical ability” to make the orchestra a success.

“A musical organization puts a city on the map,” Bernstein said. “Business men should put their hands in their pockets to support the organization here and let the symphony orchestra make Spokane famous.”

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