A Look Back in Time: Distraught Mother Only Onlooker in Son’s 1952 Homicide Trial


Dee Delvin, 30, pleaded guilty to two counts of negligent homicide in Lewis County Superior Court on April 15, 1952, after killing two women while driving drunk.

The guilty plea saved Delvin an appearance before a jury and removed the consideration of additional charges, which included reckless driving, drunken driving and driving while his license was revoked.

“His mother, with tears in her eyes, occupied a lonely seat in the courtroom as her son was re-arraigned on charges that meant an extended prison life,” reported The Chronicle.

She had been the first person to enter the courtroom that day, even before Prosecutor John Panesko.

When Panesko entered the courtroom, the bereft mother pleaded with the man on behalf of her son.

“Make it as easy on him as you can,” she sobbed. “He’s not as bad as they say he is … If he had just never drank … If he’d only gotten away from that crowd he ran around with … I’m not making excuses for him, but he is really dear to me. He’s a good boy.”

When Delvin entered the courtroom, clad in suntan pants and shirt, he addressed his mother, with his first words being, “Why don’tcha go home.”

His mother gave a soft reply to her son’s rejection.

“I wanted to be here with you,” she said.

Delvin’s sentencing hearing was set to occur after the spring jury term ended, and Judge John Murray ordered he be taken back to the reformatory in the interim.


April 16, 1932:

• Centralia police officers arrested T.H. Ramaur, 69, of Centralia, on April 15, 1932, after he allegedly fatally wounded Opal Brink, 27. Ramaur was transferred to Lewis County jail pending a murder charge against him.

• The American Legion Auxiliary hosted a bridge tournament for the women of Centralia on April 15, 1932. It was the first of its kind in the city.

• William A. Jones, then 73, of Winlock, died April 15, 1932 in the Centralia hospital. He was survived by his widow, Florence Jones.

• Area resident Jess Perry, 75, was admitted to the hospital with a broken collarbone after he was allegedly hit by Ray Hughes’ automobile. Perry also received a “severe scalp wound,” reported The Chronicle.

• J.H. Jahnke, Centralia city attorney, appeared before the state department of public works to request that it pressure Pacific Telephone Company to lower its rates by “at least 25 per cent,” reported The Chronicle. “Here we have the company charging wartime emergency rates which were ratified by the federal court in 1924,” said an attendee of the meeting. “Now there are declining commodity prices and labor costs, and the spending power of the people has been curtailed. A rate reduction is due.”

• Florence Phelan, the superintendent of the state school for girls in Grand Mound, was in the process of recovering from injuries she received in a car accident. The offending automobile was “badly damaged” after it overturned near the Scatter Creek service station, reported The Chronicle.

• Elizabeth Ann Tabor, 86, whom The Chronicle identified as an “aged Rochester resident” died April 15, 1932, at the home of her son, Luther Tabor. Elizabeth Tabor’s death followed a brief illness.


April 16, 1942:

• Plans were completed for 60 members of the Centralia selected service to ship out for a call to fight in World War II. They were set to travel by bus to the induction station in Tacoma.

• “Mr. and Mrs. Herbert C. Aldrich” were set to observe their 60th wedding anniversary the following Thursday. They were married on April 16, 1882. “Their golden wedding anniversary (is) a 10-year-old memory now …” wrote a Chronicle reporter.

• A project for the improvement of the Toledo watershed was in the works. The environmental initiative was set to cost $2,420 and had received presidential approval.

• An infant incubator installed in a Lewis County hospital the week prior already had its first occupant by April 16, 1942. The premature baby was the daughter of “Mr. and Mrs. Donald Price.”

• The motor vehicles driven by Orville Downey and Karl Linder collided at the corner of Cascade and Main streets in Chehalis, sending several people to the hospital with minor injuries. The car accident occurred at 10:45 p.m. on April 15, 1942.

• Major Clarence B. Shain of the Washington State Guard appeared before the Centralia Kiwanis Club, stating that national defense was only ever invested in by the U.S. in times of dire need. Shain also said the war machine being used by Germany in WWII was a creation of the United States.

• The Centralia High School Bengal baseball team played a 15-inning ballgame against the Shelton Highclimbers, taking the W with a score of 6-4.

April 16, 1952:

• Chehalis residents were set to embark on a springtime clean-up extravaganza in the city starting the following Thursday. The drive was supported by all the civic and community organizations the city could boast of, including local businesses.

• Edward F. Paulson, of Chehalis, was recognized for his acts of bravery during World War II, a decade prior. Paulson received the Silver Star award.

• The trucking of mail from Seattle to Portland began in April of 1952. Postmaster Marie Fusco and most of her staff greeted the first truck as it arrived for the exciting new service. Mail had been transported by train before that.

• The CIO Communications Workers of America were part of an ongoing strike against Pacific Telephone Company. While the Centralia office of the communications giant was the site of six pickets the previous Wednesday, the Chehalis and South Gold Street offices were free of the workers’ rights advocates.

• After a 16-day wait, the Chehalis Fire Department “finally ‘rolled’ their new $24,000 pumper Tuesday afternoon and that had a repeat performance Wednesday morning,” reported The Chronicle. Both fires were minor in nature.

• The contract for who would perform garbage collection in Centralia was in flux, as A.J. Neitert’s company’s contract renewal was withheld. Several other collection companies vied for the contract as the Centralia City Commission remained stagnant on its decision-making.

• The Lewis County Farm Forestry Association was launched the previous Tuesday at the 4-H building on the Southwest Washington Fairgrounds. A crowd of over 125 people gathered in the building, most of whom were farmers invested in farm woodland management.