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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bowie-Knife Murder as Demonstration of Dexterity

A bowie-knife murder in what is now Washington state was described in Tacoma: Its History and Its Builders; a Half Century of Activity (1916), by Herbert Hunt.
John Scolla, an Indian who had dissolved his tribal relations and had become a citizen, was murdered in August, 1873, by Gus Lyttle, in front of the Indian's home in Steilacoom. Lyttle was a desperado, who had been plotting to kill and rob Paymaster Bingham, of the Northern Pacific, and he had been giving exhibitions of his skilfull use of the bowie knife and dagger. As far as could be learned he killed the Indian merely as a further demonstration of his dexterity. He cut the Indian in sixteen places, most of the wounds being close to the heart. He fled, and a reward of $200, offered by the county commissioners, procured his capture within a few hours. At the hearing he pleaded self-defense, but he was convicted.

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