Thursday, May 26, 2016

On This Date in Minnesota History: May 26

May 26, 1921 – Two developments today caused police to believe they were nearly positive of the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Mrs. Kate Mahoney, missing Seattle woman. Mrs. C. A. Green, who lives on a houseboat at Lake Union near Seattle, reported to police today that yesterday she found the lid of a trunk to which locks of white hair were clinging. It was floating in the lake.

A. F. Morris, a salesman, reported to police that he had overheard a conversation in a Seattle hotel room in which two women and at least one man took part. They were plotting to end Mrs. Mahoney’s life.

Mrs. Mahoney was believed to have disappeared in St. Paul, Minn., while on her honeymoon with husband James Mahoney, age 38. She was 68 years old.

Kate Moore Mahoney1

The couple had married six weeks after meeting in Dec. 1920. Their belated honeymoon was to begin April 16. Jim Mahoney just happened to be on parole from the Washington State Penitentiary for assault and robbery. So when he came back to Seattle after 10 days to “to take care of Kate's business interests,” and said that she had traveled to Havana, Cuba with friends, Mrs. Mahoney’s two nieces became suspicious and notified police.

James Mahoney1

While the above trunk was not related to Mrs. Mahoney’s disappearance, her body was eventually found Aug. 8, 1921, in a steamer trunk in the northeast end of Lake Union near the University Bridge. “The autopsy revealed that Kate had been poisoned with 30 grains of morphine, stuffed in the trunk, then had her skull smashed with a heavy blunt instrument. Two days later, Jim Mahoney was charged with premeditated murder.”1

“The trial, held in King County Superior Court, began on September 20, 1921, and ended on October 1, 1921, when the jury, after only four hours and 40 minutes, found Mahoney guilty of first-degree murder and recommended the death penalty.”1

Mahoney was sentenced to hang at the Washington State Penitentiary. On Dec. 1, 1922, he died on the gallows, still proclaiming his innocence.

The Bemidji Daily Pioneer; “Investigate Mystery of Missing Seattle Woman”; May 26, 1921; p. 1.



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