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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
News >  Crime/Public Safety

100 years ago in Spokane: In murder case, Maurice P. Codd tries to prove self-defense

Maurice P. Codd told officers he intended to argue that Frank P. Brinton attacked him before he threw Brinton over the balcony of a building.  (S-R archives)
Maurice P. Codd told officers he intended to argue that Frank P. Brinton attacked him before he threw Brinton over the balcony of a building. (S-R archives)
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

Maurice P. Codd was on his back with a patrolman sitting on him when a detective walked up and asked, “What did you mean by throwing this man over the railing?”

Codd’s answer: “My defense will be he attacked me.”

This presaged Codd’s strategy at his murder trial. The defense was attempting to prove that Frank P. Brinton attacked Codd and that Brinton accidentally fell over the railing.

The prosecution alleged that Codd was the aggressor, and he picked up Brinton and tossed him.

The detective also testified that he asked Codd if he had been drinking, and Codd said, “Yes, I have had a few drinks.”

Another officer testified that Codd, while being booked at the police station, was asked why he threw Brinton over the railing.

“I didn’t throw him over, I pushed him over,” said Codd, in the officer’s telling.

The case so far appeared damaging to Codd. However, the defense had yet to present its case. Codd was a member of a prominent Spokane family and had been a student body leader at Gonzaga University. His attorneys were aggressively attempting to undermine the testimony of the police officers and other witnesses.

From the court beat: A different court case was also causing a sensation in Spokane.

The Rev. H.O. White, former pastor of the Laclede Baptist Church in Idaho, was suing a prominent Laclede lumberman for slander.

The lumberman had called the reverend “an immoral man and not fit to be pastor of the church.”

In the trial, the lumberman (confusingly, also named White) admitted saying those things, but his defense was that they were true.

The defense introduced love letters supposedly written by the pastor to a woman who was not his wife. The pastor was also accused of “spooning” with a certain woman.

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