|Death: ||Dec. 10, 1951|
Walla Walla County
Executed by hanging at Walla Walla State Prison for the double slaying on New Year's night, 1949, in Riparia, Washington of Joseph Roberge,25, and James Beckner,20.
In a prosecution for murder, the evidence was sufficient to support a verdict of guilty, where it appears that the defendant, who was an employee of the victim and lived in his home, entered the bedroom of the victim and his wife, to which he was not permitted access on any occasion, and committed an assault upon the wife with a shotgun by threatening to kill her.
The appellant is a single man, twenty-seven years of age. He and Joe Roberge were employed on the farm of James Beckner, about one hundred twenty miles from Spokane. He was on good terms with both Roberge and the Beckners. He and Roberge slept upstairs in the Beckner home, took their meals in the kitchen, had free use of the washroom and hallways, but otherwise were not given the run of the house, although they were invited upon occasion to play cards in the evening in the Beckners' living room.
For a number of days prior to the commission of the crime on December 31, 1949, the appellant had been in Spokane on a protracted drinking spree. He returned to the farm in a taxi on the evening of that day. He had been drinking heavily in the taxi. The Beckners and Roberge had spent the evening playing cards, and had retired at about ten p.m. The appellant had retired earlier.
Sometime later the appellant went downstairs, secured and loaded Beckner's shotgun, went back upstairs and shot and killed Roberge in his sleep. He then went back downstairs. Mrs. Beckner had been aroused by the noise of the shot and saw a streak of light under their bedroom door, which was closed. She awakened her husband, the door was then opened, and appellant appeared with the shot gun in his hands, which he levelled at the Beckners, who were still in bed. Mrs. Beckner ran into a closet, but the appellant ordered her out, stating that he was going to kill them both. She inquired about the sounds coming from upstairs, and the appellant said, "That's Joe I killed the ____" She suggested that they try to help him, but he deterred her with the statement, "He'll be dead in a few minutes." He then permitted Mrs. Beckner to leave the room, and fired the shot that killed James Beckner, as she emerged therefrom. She ran from the house, and traversed several miles of fields to a neighbor's home, where she related what had taken place. Meanwhile, the appellant took the Beckner farm truck and drove into Washtucna, where he gave himself up to the authorities.
None of these facts were denied, and on the trial the appellant relied solely on his special plea of insanity and mental irresponsibility.
1930 United States Federal Census
School District 21, Sheridan Co., Montana
Andrew A. Rio 42 -Head Norway -RR Telegraph Oper.
Alice M. Rio 40 -Wife Wisconson
Beverly Rio 11 -Dau Wisconson
Ellsworth A. Rio 9 -Son Wisconson
Grant E. Rio 7 -Son Montana ***
Russell L. Rio 5 -Son Montana
Sheldon G. Rio 2 -Son Montana
U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946
Name: Grant E. Rio
Birth Year: 1922
Race: White, citizen (White)
Nativity State or Country: Montana
State of Residence: Washington
County or City: Spokane
Enlistment Date: 20 Oct 1942
Enlistment State: Washington
Enlistment City: Spokane
Source: Civil Life
Education: 2 years of high school
Marital Status: Single, without dependents
Height: 74 in
Weight: 200 lbs
Mountain View Cemetery
Walla Walla County
Created by: Arthur Allen "Art" Moore...
Record added: Jun 10, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 53524632
Added: Aug. 11, 2012