Nov. 18: Exhibit Opens about 12-year-old Sheriff Killer


How would Herbert Niccolls, the 12-year-old who shot and killed Asotin County’s sheriff in 1931, have fared in today’s criminal justice system? A new exhibit at WSU Libraries will prompt this and other questions related to the treatment of juvenile offenders past and present.

“The Case of the 12-year-old Sheriff Killer: Herbert Niccolls and the Washington Justice System” opens Wednesday, Nov. 18, with a reception 3:30-5 p.m. in Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections (MASC) on the ground floor of Terrell Library. It will run through March 26. MASC hours are 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.

The exhibit, curated by WSU manuscripts librarian Cheryl Gunselman and designed by graphic designer Amy Grey, relates to this year’s common reading book, “Just Mercy,” written by Bryan Stevenson, who created the Equal Justice Initiative to offer legal representation to indigent defendants and prisoners. Read more at

“I want the exhibit to be interesting to the general public, especially as a local story,” Gunselman said. “I also hope this will tie in well with the Common Reading Program book this year and that students will explore the case with ‘Just Mercy’ in mind.”

MASC collections from two of the case’s major players provide intriguing glimpses of the crime, trial and its aftermath: Elgin V. Kuykendall, the circuit court judge who presided over Niccolls’ trial, and Clarence Martin, the Washington governor who signed Niccolls’ conditional pardon from Washington State Penitentiary when he was 21. The Asotin County Museum and Washington State Archives also contributed reproductions of key documents and photos.

For the full story about Niccolls, visit….