Divorces can be ugly. A Pendleton woman in January of 1954 discovered divorces can also be dangerous, after she was shot by the jealous wife of a neighbor.
Juanita Julia Harris, 34, of Pendleton, filed divorce papers against her husband, Willie Harris, in December 1953. But three weeks later she changed her mind and decided she wanted her husband back. The Harrises and a neighbor, Daisy Crawford, 23, were playing cards together on Jan. 4, 1954, in the Harris apartment for about two hours. Juanita left the game briefly to visit the bathroom outside the apartment, and when she returned she was met by Daisy at the front door. Juanita said it appeared Daisy was going to strike her.
Juanita pulled a .38 short revolver out of her clothing and fired through the narrow opening between the door and the jamb, hitting the coffee pot dead center. She then reached around the nearly closed door and fired again, hitting Daisy in the shoulder. Juanita also fired two more shots through the door, neither of which hit anyone. The shot that hit Daisy clipped her collar bone, nipping off the end of the bone, and lodged in her neck.
Willie Harris decided at this point it was time to disarm his wife. He opened the door — and was met by the muzzle of the gun. Willie claims Juanita pulled the trigger and it snapped on an empty chamber. Convinced all the bullets had been fired, Willie wrestled the gun away from Juanita, then hit her over the head with it three times to subdue her.
By this time, a neighbor had called police. When officers arrived, Willie was trying to get Daisy into the car to take her to the hospital. Pendleton police arrested Juanita Harris, then followed Willie and Daisy to the hospital. After Juanita was checked out by doctors, and Daisy was admitted for treatment, both Harrises were taken to the police station for questioning.
Juanita admitted shooting Daisy. She claimed she was carrying the gun because she thought Willie and Daisy might try to assault her. She also claimed she did not try to fire at her husband. When the gun was examined, officers found one bullet unexploded in the chamber, with no evidence of a misfire.
The following day, Juanita was charged with assault while armed with a dangerous weapon. Willie was questioned but turned loose. And Daisy was mending nicely at St. Anthony Hospital.