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

John C. (Johnnie) Hossack

Johnnie was born on December 13, 1875. After Alex moved off the farm in 1890, Johnnie was the oldest boy in the household. It was well known in the neighborhood that Johnnie and his father often clashed, with Johnnie chafing under his father's rigid discipline. Father and son often argued about the proper way to do the farm work, and they also quarreled about Johnnie's trips to town to dance, play cards, and see girls. During one quarrel, according to reports from the other children, Johnnie tried to protect his sister from their father's anger; John Hossack stormed out of the house, claiming that he was going to get a knife and come back to kill his son. A few years later, in the spring of 1900, Johnnie moved to the Truitt farm nearby, where he worked and boarded.

On the night of the murder, Johnnie was notified of the attack by George McIntosh, who found the young man at the Truitts' house. Johnnie told McIntosh that he had no idea who could have committed the crime. He returned home within the hour and was there when his father died. Despite Johnnie's alibi, some neighbors speculated about his involvement, although the authorities questioned him only briefly and seemed satisfied with his story.

After the second trial, Johnnie moved west and settled in California, where he married and had two sons. He died in 1936 in a mental hospital.

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