The Hossack Case
Professor John Tilton (Expert Witness)
Dr. John Tilton was a key witness for the prosecution. Born in New Hampshire in 1863, he was educated at Wesleyan University, Harvard University, and the University of Chicago. He was hired as head of the Natural Sciences Department of Simpson College in 1888, where he taught chemistry and geology. The prosecution asked Tilton to study the hairs and blood found on the Hossack family ax. Tilton testified at length and in great detail. Some of the blood, he determined, came from a fowl. He could not say with certainty that any of the blood on the ax was from a human. As for the hairs, he thought that they were “probably” human hairs, but he could not confirm that they matched the hairs taken from John Hossack's head after the victim's body had been exhumed. In short, Tilton's testimony proved to be inconclusive.