Printed on: May 16, 2013
100 years ago
A 16-year-old was recovering in the Idaho Falls General Hospital this week in 1913 after losing most of his left leg in a bizarre accident. James Keefer, son of Jake Keefer of the Willow Creek vicinity, was in a car with his family on a drive through the hills near their home when he got out of the car to walk part of the way. On re-entering the vehicle, his left foot and leg somehow became caught between two spokes of the moving wheel, twisting his leg off at the knee joint. The teen's sister had the presence of mind to apply a tourniquet to stop the flow of blood, likely saving his life. He was hurried to the hospital and was said to be doing as well as could be expected under the circumstances. The doctor said the membrane that connects to the bone was torn from Keefer's femur above the knee, adding to the seriousness of the accident.
75 years ago
Despite evidence of a Friday the 13th jinx, the Idaho Falls High School band and orchestra managed to find a silver lining, earning high honors at the national music meet in Provo, Utah. On Thursday, just before the group was set to board the train for the two-day meet that began Friday the 13th, two members were forced to stay behind. Katherine Reed, pianist and accompanist for seven soloists, submitted to an appendectomy, while cellist Maurice Ritchie was stricken with smallpox. Later, Dale Magleby, who had left Wednesday with a group of soloists, also underwent an appendectomy in a Salt Lake City hospital. Despite the bad luck, the group performed admirably, placing first overall in symphony orchestra and earning highest honors in marching and a superior rating in concert playing.
50 years ago
A 52-year-old man was convicted of voluntary manslaughter this week in 1963, 11 years after he had been presumed dead. Clyde Gish had been committed to State Hospital South in Blackfoot in 1952 to determine his sanity after he was accused of murder in a shooting death in an Atomic City bar in December 1951. Gish escaped, and when a body was later found in the vicinity, authorities believed it belonged to him. But the case was reopened in 1962 when a man who identified himself as Roy Albert King applied for a secondhand dealer's license in San Jose, Calif., and authorities found that his fingerprints matched those of Gish. He was brought to Blackfoot to stand trial for the Atomic City murder, and throughout the proceedings insisted he was King and not Gish. The jury eventually found him guilty of the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter. The identity of the body that was initially believed to belong to Gish was still not known, and Gish was not charged in the man's death.
25 years ago
Murderer Paul Ezra Rhoades received two more death sentences this week in 1988 in a sentencing hearing over the kidnapping and murder of Blackfoot resident Stacy Dawn Baldwin. The judgment, along with a sentence of life in prison, brought to four each the number of death sentences and life terms imposed against Rhoades for the murders of Baldwin and two other eastern Idaho residents in February and March 1987. He had received two death sentences for the kidnapping, rape, robbery and murder of Idaho Falls teacher Susan Michelbacher, and two life sentences for the robbery and murder of Blackfoot resident Nolan Haddon. Rhoades was executed Nov. 18, 2011.