|Death: ||Oct. 28, 1924|
Believed to have been crazed by jealousy, Ray Sperry, age 41, traveled from house to house at Reardan about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday and instantly killed Miss Velma Beeman, 19, Dow Lathrom, 27, and James S. Dueber, 30, wounded Steven Lathrom and then shot himself. Sperry, who lived in the Reardan district since boyhood, had been keeping company with Miss Beeman for about a year until recently, when it is said she refused to associate with him and began going out with Dow Lathrom. (Davenport Times: 10-28-1999 in 75 Years Ago, Representing 10-30-1924)
Jilted Suitor Murders Three, Then Suicides
Sperry, Apparently Crazy, Shoots Victims Through Hearts
Four persons today lie dead in Reardan, 24 miles west of Spokane and just over the Lincoln county line following three murders and a suicide there about 5:30 p.m. yesterday.
The dead are Miss Velma Beeman, age 19, Dow Lathrom, age 27, James S. Deuber, age 30, and Ray Sperry, age 45, who killed the other three and then took his own life when he believed he was being cornered.
That Sperry was insane is believed by all residents of the town who were shocked by the suddenness and size of the tragedy.
Reardan residents believe Sperry's mind gave way because he was jilted by Miss Beeman, with whom he had kept company for nearly a year, and that he had planned the wholesale murders several weeks in advance. Main street in Reardan today carries on but little business, as most of its residents are standing in little knots, braving wind and rain, discussing the events of last evening.
Left Spokane Yesterday.
Reaching Reardan about 5:15 p.m. on a motor bus from Spokane, Sperry lost but little time walking to the Charles Travis home, where Miss Beeman was working. So quiet did he knock that Mrs. Travis did not hear the rap. Miss Beeman, born and raised in the Reardan Community, went to the door and admonished the Travis tots to "get back out of the cold." Mrs. Travis claims she did not hear the shot and when the girl fell moaning, Mrs. Travis believed she was laughing. The husband rushed to the girl's aid and saw Sperry walking toward the Lathrom home nearly two blocks away. The girl lived about 30 minutes.
At the Lathrom home Sperry knocked. When the son, Dow, age 27, answered, he was shot down without warning. The bullet from a .32 caliber automatic pistol that crashed through young Lathrom's struck the father, Steven Lathrom, in the abdomen and made a flesh wound. Dow Lathrom is said to have kept company several times with Miss Beeman since she refused to marry Sperry about a month ago.
Sperry then went south across the Northern Pacific tracks to the main business corner, the Deuber Motor Sales garage. Here he tarried but a moment. He asked for James Deuber, who looked up from fixing a tire chain as Sperry's gun spat fire. Deuber fell dead.
The murderer then inquired for Undertaker W.A. Hard at the Raymer Hardware company store. Not finding him, Sperry started in the direction of the Hard home by cutting through an alley to the east. As he emerged on the street men were approaching from several directions. It was in front of the Driscoll home that he put a bullet through his right temple and expired.
According to information gained in Reardan today, Sperry had worked during the summer for the Reardan Telephone company, of which Mr. Deuber was secretary-treasurer. It is said that Sperry resented being discharged a day or two before another man who had been employed later, and he believed Mr. Deuber was responsible for his being let out.
Along in 1916 Sperry is said to have had some words with Undertaker Hard over the settlement of a bill. The matter had been smoothed over and Sperry had apparently been on friendly terms with every one in the town.
Deuber Was Veteran
Mr. Deuber, a veteran of the World war, was for years cashier of the Farmers' State bank of Reardan. Beside his widow and parents, Mr. and Mrs. Emil Deuber, he is survived by three sisters, two of whom are teaching high school at Bozeman, Mont., and Astoria, Ore.
Miss Beeman is survived by her mother and grandmother, with whom she lived in Reardan, also by her father at St. Maries, Idaho.
Dow Lathrom is survived by his parents and two brothers, both of whom reside in Reardan. Sperry who lived in the Reardan neighborhood since boyhood, is said to be survived by a brother in Spokane.
Bodies of the three victims are at the rooms of the Jerue undertaking company in Reardan, while that of Sperry is at Undertaker Hard's rooms. So far no funeral arrangements have been made for either the slayer or his victims.
All three victims were shot directly through the heart, according to C.J. Jerue, undertaker, who claimed that if the three wounds had been on one body a 50-cent piece would have covered all three. A second bullet fired at Mr. Deuber struck his left temple. So close did the slayer hold the gun to Miss Beeman's breast that her clothing was severely powder burned. [Spokane Daily Chronicle, 10/29/1924, p. 2]
Henry Clinton Beeman (1854 - 1934)
Anna Caroline Hoffman Beeman (1874 - 1939)
Benjamin Martin Beeman (1884 - 1953)**
Edna May Beeman Rogers (1890 - 1922)*
Leonard Clinton Beeman (1896 - 1940)*
Celesta Eldora Beeman Rogers (1898 - 1989)*
Velma Viola Beeman (1906 - 1924)
death year on stone is 1925
Plot: Block E1, Lot 3, Plot 3
Created by: Sandra Brommer
Record added: Jul 11, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 20402615