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100 years ago in Spokane: Instead of convicting Frank Brinton’s accused killer, jurors acquitted him and shook his hand. But Maurice Codd’s trouble was far from over.

 (S-R archives)

The jury in the Maurice P. Codd murder case delivered a surprise verdict: not guilty.

In fact, the jury deliberated little more than an hour. On the first ballot, the vote was 11 jurors for acquittal. On the second, the verdict was unanimous.

People in the jammed gallery “surged forward” to shake hands with Codd.

Questioned afterward, the jurors said they viewed the entire affair as a fight, “in which Brinton instead of Codd happened to be killed.” One juror said that they could not accept all of the testimony of the state’s witnesses – including that of the police officer on the scene.

“There were some peculiar things about the testimony of the police officer,” one juror said.

Several said that they thought the women who witnessed the event from other floors were more believable than the witnesses for the state. The defense witnesses “told the straightest story about it.”

Codd said he still felt “pretty shaky,” but vindicated. He vowed to live a life “beyond reproach” for the rest of his days.

“I am going to live a life that will support the great confidence that the jury showed in me when they returned a verdict of not guilty last night,” he told a Spokane Daily Chronicle reporter. “I a sorry for what happened to Brinton, but I have nothing for which to be sorry in my trial. I am very sorry for what occurred in the Granite Building.”

Codd said he wasn’t certain whether he would return to Northwestern University to pursue his medical degree.

The prosecutor could barely hide his disappointment. He clearly believed he had presented a strong case against Codd.

“If the jury did not see fit to convict Codd on the evidence, it is not the fault of the prosecuting attorney’s office,” the prosecutor said.

Yet the Codd affair was not over. Within months, 13 people involved with Codd’s defense, including Codd and his attorneys, would be charged with subornation of perjury. Another sensational trial would take place later in 1922.

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