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Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in Spokane: A star witness said murder defendant’s lawyer told her ‘putting answers into witness’ mouth was what smart attorneys were for’

Nov. 25, 2022 Updated Fri., Nov. 25, 2022 at 5:35 p.m.

Spokesman-Review reporter Hannah Hinsdale vividly described the scene when Beatrice Sant, 22, took the stand as the star witness in the Maurice Codd subornation of perjury trial.

“She is a little woman, short and slight, and she tilted her face up and looked at the clerk and raised her hand,” wrote Hinsdale. “That face is almost flower-like in its girlishness, with faintly pink cheeks and her hair frizzing out over her ears in approved fluffy fashion like kitten fur. … She looked strangely pitiful and appealing. She has dimples and a little girl smile and she looked at once both the ingenue and leading lady.”

Her voice was “light and high,” and she caused a sensation when she quoted one of Codd’s attorneys as saying “that putting answers into a witness’ mouth was what smart attorneys were for.” She implicated Codd’s attorneys and others for paying her to lie in Codd’s defense during an earlier murder trial.

The SR made much of the fact that one of Codd’s attorneys also asked her if she needed anything, and she said she needed nightgowns. This prompted the S-R’s banner headline, “BEATRICE SANT TELLS OF NIGHTIES, MONEY GIVEN HER BY ATTORNEY EDGE.”

Hinsdale ended her feature with this passage: “Whatever the outcome of the trial, the picture she drew was pathetic of the little girl alone in a lodging house, sick with flu, and to hear her story one might realize what a forlorn place the wide world might be for a young woman, broke, as she said, and sick, too.”

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