Midnight Assassin: A Murder in America's Heartland
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The Hossack Case


Shep, the Hossacks' ten-year old dog, figured prominently in the Hossack case, especially in the argument for the defense. During the first trial, one newspaper headline proclaimed, "DEFENSE HOPES REST UPON HOSSACK DOG."

He was reputed to be an active dog with a tendency to bark at stray cattle and strangers. On the night of the murder, Margaret Hossack testified that she had heard Shep barking vigorously between 9 PM and 10 PM, but neither she nor anyone else recalled the dog making any noise later, or at the time of the attack. Several family members and neighbors who saw the dog after the murder thought that he was quiet and uncharacteristically listless, fueling speculation that the assailant had drugged the dog with chloroform. When the defense made that argument in court, the prosecution countered by claiming that Shep had witnessed Margaret Hossack killing her husband and that the dog's demeanor expressed shame and sorrow.

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Midnight Assassin copyright © 2017; Patricia L. Bryan and Thomas Wolf