Here's an odd story about the odds from 1889. Can anyone calculate the mathematical probability of Mr. See being identified in the specific court appearance described below? 1 in 1000, 1 in 10000, etc?
This tale of coincidence caught my eye as I was perusing through the Yakima Herald. It can be found on page 3 of the May 30, 1889 issue, less than six months before Washington became a state:
The Strange Story of Dick See
“The story of the arrest of Richard See, who was recently taken from Ellensburgh to California, on a requisition charging him with murder, is an interesting one. Seventeen years ago See’s father and William Duncan were playing cards in a saloon in Los Angeles. A dispute arose and Duncan struck See in the face. Dick See, who was then a young man, was present and was greatly incensed. He left the saloon, went home, saddled his father’s fleetest horse, took his gun, carefully loaded it with buckshot, and went back to the saloon. When he arrived there the quarrel had been settled and the elder See and Duncan were in the act of drinking together at the bar. Young See deliberately pointed his gun and fired and Duncan dropped dead. The murderer fled to Winnemucca where for sixteen years his identity was lost under the name Bennett Jackson. A year ago he moved to Cle-Elum and resumed the name of See for the purpose of getting his share of an estate left by his grandmother. While in Cle-Elum he committed robbery and during his trial at Ellensburgh a stranger dropped into the court room. This stranger proved to have been one of those who were present in the Los Angeles saloon at the time of the shooting, and he recognized See as the murderer. He notified the California authorities, extradition papers were gotten out and when See’s sentence for robbery expired Detective W.H. Russell, of Los Angeles, was promptly on hand and took the prisoner in charge. This is only another verification of the old adage that ‘Murder will out’.”
More information at:http://blogs.sos.wa.gov/library/index.php/2012/03/an-odd-story-about-the-odds/