Midnight Assassin: A Murder in America's Heartland
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Counsel For the Prisoner Claims to Have Discovered New and Valuable Evidence.

INDIANOLA, Mar. 23--Senator Berry of Indianola, counsel for Mrs. Hossack who is accused of murdering her aged husband on the night of December 1, 1900, was in the city a few days ago. While here the Senator intimated that new and valuable evidence has been discovered for the defendant and that in all probability it would result in her acquittal at an early date. Just what the nature of this evidence is the Senator did not say. However, enough is known to warrant the belief that surprises will be the order of the Hossack trial. County Attorney Clammer is said to have intimated that he was expecting a surprise from the opposing counsel, but he, too, refused to disclose the nature of the surprises, if there are any in store.

W.T. Haines, the man who testified before the grand jury that Mrs. Hossack tried to hire him to murder her husband, is reported to have gone insane brooding over the tragedy, and was yesterday sentenced to the insane asylum.

The Hossack trial comes on for hearing next Tuesday. Both the counsel for the state and defense have been working industriously since Mrs. Hossack was bound over to the grand jury for the murder of her husband, and one of the most sensational trials that has ever occupied the attention of a Warren county criminal court is promised when the case opens; Judge Applegate is on the bench. He is said to be one of the fairest minded judges in the circuit and there will be no objection from either source. For a time it was thought that a change of venue would be asked and Polk county courts expected the famous trial to come here. Both Senator Berry and County Attorney Clammer have made statements, however, to the effect that no such a change will be asked.

Bloody Evidences of Murder

No one has ever been able to gain access to the exhibits which will be introduced as evidence at the trial. The bloody ax, the pole and blade of which are covered with the life blood of John Hossack, is kept locked in the vaults of the state attorney. Four finger marks appear on the handle and it is understood these will be used as damaging evidence against the defendant. The marks are plainly visible and the imprint made by the lines on the finger tips can be traced. It may be that this celebrated case will employ the hobby of Mark Twain's "Puddinhead Wilson" in ferreting out the murder of the old defenseless man.

Locked up in the attorney's vaults is also the chemical analysis of the blood found on the blade of the ax. There is a question as to whether or not this blood is human. The ax was sent to Chemist Floyd Davis for his analysis and he, together with County Attorney Clammer, and the midnight assassin, are the only persons who know whether the blood is that of John Hossack or, as has been claimed by the defense, a chicken, which had been slaughtered the day previous to the murder.

Story Told Again.

Everyone remembers the foul murder of John Hossack, who was killed while sleeping by the side of his aged wife on the night of December 1. The story is old, but as the trial approaches a curiosity revives and the incidents on that eventful night are vividly recalled. Hossack was a wealthy farmer residing in the vicinity of New Virginia, a small village thirteen miles south of Indianola. About 2 o'clock on the night of December 1 the Hossack household was aroused by screams from Mrs. Hossack who declared her husband had been murdered. Soon lights were gleaming through the rooms and members of the family was horrified to see the dead body of their parent lying in a pool of blood on the bed, a deep gash extending along the base of the right ear, one side of the incision mashed, and the brains slowly oozing from the gaping wound. Neighbors were aroused and a physician summoned, but the old man was mortally wounded. The laceration of the brain by the blade of an ax paralyzed the right side of his body rendering him unable to talk. He died the following morning and the secret of his death was buried with him a day later.

Arrested at Open Grave.

But Mrs. Hossack was suspected. No one could have struck the fatal blow seemingly without arousing her. The suspicion grew until a coroner's jury was empanelled. They deliberated adjourning without returning a verdict. County Attorney Clammer of Warren count was present at the session. He believed the wife was guilty of the crime and at once proceeded to Indianola swearing out a warrant for her arrest. It was served the next day just as they were throwing the last shovel of dirt on her husband's grave. She offered no resistance and showed no emotion. Four months in the county jail has not changed her. She is the same square jawed, determined looking woman as she was when Sheriff Hodson arrested her for the murder of her husband; the same as when she was dragged into a justice court and held to the grand jury under heavy bonds; the same as when an indictment, charging her with murder in the first degree, was returned and the same as she will be when led into the court room for final indictment.

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