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Listed below are keynote events that are planned and hosted by the Common Reading Program itself. Our Coug Presence page lists both these events and additional events hosted by our partners.

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“The Case of the 12-Year-Old Sheriff Killer: Herbert Niccolls and the Washington Justice System”

November 18, 2015 @ 8:00 am - March 23, 2016 @ 5:00 pm


In the very early morning hours of August 5, 1931, just about 30 miles directly south of Pullman, Wash., Asotin County Sheriff John Wormell and his deputies responded to a report of a burglary at an Asotin store. Twelve-year-old Herbert Niccolls Jr. was inside, stealing gum and tobacco, and emptying the cash register. As the sheriff interrupted the burglary and ordered him to come out, the boy drew a loaded revolver and pulled the trigger. Sheriff Wormell died instantly.

This exhibit explores aspects of the crime, the trial, Niccolls’s experiences as a juvenile sentenced to life in the Washington State Penitentiary, and his eventual pardon. His case attracted national attention, notably from Father Edward Flanagan of the famous Boys’ Town home in Nebraska. The exhibit features primary source documents about the case from Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, the Washington State Archives, and the Asotin County Museum.  Common Reading Stamp available; see MASC staff for a stamp to prove attendance at the exhibit.


November 18, 2015 @ 8:00 am
March 23, 2016 @ 5:00 pm