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

Mary Nicholson

Mary Nicholson lived with her sons and a hired hand across the road from the Hossacks, about a quarter of a mile away. Her husband had died, after a short illness, less than two weeks before John Hossack was murdered.

Mary Nicholson, one of the few neighbors who claimed to know nothing about the Hossack family troubles, spoke with Mrs. Hossack on the afternoon of the murder. Mrs. Nicholson later reported that her neighbor seemed to be in good spirits.

As one of the closest neighbors, Mrs. Nicholson was the first to be alerted to the attack when Cassie ran barefooted to her house. John Nicholson, the older son, went immediately to the Hossack farmhouse to see if he could help, and then rode around the neighborhood to notify others.

At the coroner's inquest, Mrs. Nicholson was asked a number of questions about John Hossack's visits to her home: how often he had come, who was at home at the time, and whether or not she thought Mrs. Hossack might have reason to be jealous of another woman. Although the members of the inquest jury seemed to think that jealousy might have been a motive for the murder, that line of questioning was not followed in subsequent proceedings, and Mrs. Nicholson was not called as a witness at the Grand Jury or either of the trials.

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