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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

100 years ago in Spokane: A witness introduced a twist in the Goldie Flaugher killing case

 (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

A statement by Esther Richardson, a friend of Goldie Flaugher, strengthened the assertion by John Hardiman that Flaugher’s death was an accident.

Hardiman, 22, was in jail on suspicion of first-degree murder in the death of Flaugher, 19, described as his sweetheart. He contended that he was struggling with her for the gun when it went off and killed her.

Now, Richardson came forth with a story that supported Hardiman’s version of events. She said she was walking with Flaugher six weeks earlier when “she told me that if she had a gun, she would shoot herself.”

“I asked her why, and she told me she had nothing to live for,” Richardson said. “She told me it would be all over pretty soon.”

The Spokane Daily Chronicle reported that this “fits in exactly with the statement of young Hardiman that the girl had been urging him for some time to bring her a gun.”

He said he resisted her entreaties, but yielded on the fateful night. Hardiman said that while they were talking, she grabbed the gun from his pocket and that he struggled to get it away from her.

Hardiman pleaded not guilty at his arraignment.

Meanwhile, another twist was added to the story. It turned out that Hardiman was still technically a married man while he was courting Flaugher. He and his wife had been granted a divorce in January, but nobody had ever filed the final decree.

This was a mere formality, but the Chronicle noted that “the accusation that he killed his sweetheart, although a married man, has been one of the most severe accusations against the youth.”

From the Halloween beat: Spokane police warned that no “rough stuff” would be tolerated on Halloween.

In previous years, Spokane had seen plenty of mayhem, vandalism and property destruction on Halloween. This year, police said they planned to call in every officer, doubling the number of men on duty.