100 years ago in Spokane: The fallout from the Maurice Codd verdict peaked when an agonized juror wound up dead
The uproar over the Maurice P. Codd acquittal reached new heights after a shocking development.
One of the jurors in the Codd murder case died suddenly at home – and his son speculated that he poisoned himself because he was so upset.
Edwin T. Botts was not upset because he thought he issued the wrong verdict, said his son, but because of a note he received purporting to be from the Ku Klux Klan. The note warned that he would be “whitewashed” – whatever that meant – because of his not-guilty verdict.
“My father was a very honest man and he worried much after the trial,” his son said. “All the jurors received cards of warning.”
However, a doctor who had treated Botts said he probably did not die from poison, but from a “heart lesion.”
An autopsy was scheduled to answer that question.
It was unclear why the Ku Klux Klan would be interested in the case, since there were no racial issues brought up in the trial, and both suspect and victim were white. In fact, Spokane’s local Klan chapter denied sending cards having anything to do with the case.
Meanwhile, an unofficial citizen’s committee was wrapping up its investigation of possible perjury or witness tampering. The committee claimed it had uncovered new information about the testimony at the trial. It had not yet released its findings but planned to give them to a grand jury.