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100 years ago in Spokane: It was a guilty verdict for the city’s ‘dope king,’ despite his attorney’s ‘revenge’ argument

 (S-R archives)

A federal jury took only 20 minutes to find Napoleon Hendershott, Spokane’s “Dope King,” guilty on several narcotics counts.

This, despite his attempt to cast himself as a victim of a conspiracy by the city’s dope “sniffers.” Hendershott’s attorney claimed that four cocaine addicts testified against him in revenge for Hendershott’s undercover cooperation with federal agents.

“At the request of the officers of the law, Hendershott helped to bring these Apaches to justice – no, not to justice, for they should be in jail for their lives,” said Hendershott’s attorney in closing arguments. “But, aiding the officers, he had no idea of the hell pack that he had turned loose upon himself.”

The term “Apache” was a French slang word popular in the 1920s, meaning a member of the criminal underworld.

The prosecutor scoffed at Hendershott’s claims of being a victim. In his closing argument, he called Hendershott, “the chief of the Apaches, who played the traitor to his band, that he himself might be more free to carry on his cursed work.”

He also scoffed at the defense attorney’s plea for sympathy.

“If you have sympathy, extend it to the generations growing up here in this region, who may, through operations of men like Hendershott, become drug victims,” said the prosecutor.

The judge sentenced Hendershott to seven years at McNeil Island.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1880: Thomas Edison received a patent for his electric incandescent lamp.

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