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

100 years ago in the Inland Northwest: Idaho took an eye-for-an-eye approach in sentencing the two poolhall murder suspects

 (S-R archives)
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

Noah Arnold, alias Robert Ford, received the ultimate sentence, death by hanging, for murdering a Hope, Idaho, billiards proprietor.

“The lives of those criminals who hold life cheaply are likewise held cheaply by the state,” Judge W.F. McNaughton said.

An accomplice, Mike Donnelly, was sentenced to life imprisonment because the judge said “you have gone as far as you could without taking a human life and so the court will go as far as it can without taking your life.”

Both men were the objects of a massive manhunt throughout North Idaho and northeast Washington. Ford was caught first. Sandpoint authorities staged a mock lynching of Ford in order to get him to provide information about Donnelly’s hiding place. Both Donnelly and Ford were reported to be Black.

After receiving his death sentence, Ford’s only remark was that he “didn’t give a damn.”

From the Hillyard beat: Civic turmoil continued in Hillyard when the city council ousted the two-person police force.

“We can get by all right without a police force by assigning to the street superintendent some of the work formerly looked after by the police department,” a councilman said. “The hours of the street foreman can be changed so the city will be looked after at all times.”

This bizarre situation was the culmination of a lengthy feud between the new mayor, Pat Brown, and the city council. Brown had tried to replace the police chief and other officers, but the council refused to confirm them. The result was that the Hillyard had two competing police chiefs.

This latest development was the council’s attempt at a compromise.

“By getting rid of the present police force, the friends of Mayor Brown should be satisfied,” a councilman said. “That has been the bone of contention from the time Mayor Brown took his seat in June.”

He added that people who wanted their property guarded could call on the merchant’s police in Spokane, “which will be glad to detail an officer for Hillyard.”