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Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in Spokane: Closing arguments in the Gracio murder trial led the suspect’s wife to faint

 (S-R archives)
(S-R archives)

The final day of the Louis Adams murder trial was filled with drama.

Mrs. Adams, sitting in the gallery, broke down, wept and fainted as the jury departed to deliberate. She was carried into the judge’s chambers where she recovered and was escorted home by relatives.

This came after Louis Adams (sometimes rendered as Adamo) spent the afternoon anxiously fidgeting through the closing arguments.

A Spokesman-Review reporter described him as “nervous and excited, with his bloodshot eyes wildly shifting from the attorneys to the jury and then turning backward to catch glances of members of his family.”

He was reacting to the vastly different versions of the case told by the opposing attorneys in closing arguments. The city’s Italian community crowded the courtroom.

The prosecutor said Adams shot Joe Gracio (sometimes rendered as Guracio) in cold blood and deserved a verdict of “guilty in the first degree with the penalty of hanging.” The prosecutor said Adams’ own testimony was “more damaging to himself than helpful.’

“His lapse of memory and responses of ‘I don’t remember’ was simply the refuge of a crook and a murderer who was willing to perjure himself while under oath,” the prosecutor said.

Adams, the prosecutor said, deserved to be “stretching a rope.”

Adams’ attorney T.J. Corkery spent three hours arguing for self-defense. He said Adams was merely attempting to defend himself during an altercation at a produce warehouse, and that his lapses of memory were because Gracio hit him with a hammer.

The case went to the jury at 9:05 p.m. and no verdict had yet been reached as of press time.

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