Midnight Assassin: A Murder in America's Heartland
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Third Day of Indianola Murder Trial--State's Evidence Not Very Damaging as Yet.

INDIANOLA, April 3. --(Special.) -- When court reconvened at 1:30 this afternoon J.H. Barrough was sworn by the prosecution in the Hossack case. He described the condition of the room at the Hossack home the day of the murder, stating that he saw blood spots on the wall, and on a piece of carpet, lying by the side of the bed. He also testified that the discovered blood spots on the sitting room carpet were in a line between the bedroom and the porch door. He admitted that he made the examination by lamp light, but said he was not mistaken in the nature of the spots, that they were the same as those he saw in the bed room. The cross examination was the strongest that has yet been made. However, they were unable to shake him in his statements.

Cassie Hossack was next called. She is now on the stand under cross examination. Her evidence was favorable to the prosecution, tending to show that on the night of the murder conditions in the house were not as described by the witnesses.

The third day of the Hossack murder trial opened this morning. Court convened at 9 o'clock with Dr. Dean on the stand. The cross examination begun by the defense was resumed. This was devoted to showing that the injuries sustained by Mr. Hossack would not have paralyzed his power of speech. He stated that from the nature of the wound upon the murdered man's head the latter might have been able to converse as soon as the result of the concussion produced by the blow had disappeared.

Considerable time was taken up in a technical analysis of the construction of the brain and of the functions assigned to its several portions, the intention being to show that such wound as was inflicted would not necessarily produce instant and complete unconsciousness.

Following Dr. Dean, R.A. Wilson, another physician, was placed upon the stand. His testimony was unimportant, relating to the appearance of the axe, which he described as showing bloody marks on its head. He also said he had noticed several hairs adhering to the axe on one side.

George McIntosh was the next witness. He testified to going to Truitt's house on the night of the murder to find John Hossack, jr., and finding him there in bed. He only remained on the stand for a few minutes and was evidently put there to establish an alibi for John Hossack in case the defense should raise a question to his guilt.

Ivan Hossack was next called. He is the youngest child and told his story in a straight, unhesitating manner. He testified to hearing his father repeatedly call for his mother, and that he saw his mother attending his father; that she did all she could do to alleviate his suffering.

On cross examination he stated that the night before the murder his father had been in unusually good spirits and had spent some time playing with the children and their mother; that there had been no quarrel between his parents. When asked about the house dog, he said that the following day the animal, which was generally friendly and playful, had been stiff and out of sorts and that although many strangers were about the place he did not bark. The intention evidently was to show the dog had been doped.

J.F. Hendricks was next sworn. He testified to going to the Hossack house about 5 o'clock. He said he saw a bloody rug on the floor by the bed and that there was lots of blood on the walls.

E.A. Osborne was the next witness sworn. He is a resident of Indianola and a druggist by profession. He testified that the day following the murder he went out to the Hossack homestead to take photographs of the murdered man; that these photographs were taken between 2 and 4 o'clock and that in taking them he used a flash light. On cross examination he admitted that he was not a professional photographer. He also stated that he was related through his wife to the prosecuting attorney, Clammer.

H.H. Hartman, an attorney living in Indianola, was next sworn. He stated that he had gone to the Hossack home with Osborne. That while there he had seen the axe and that he brought it to Indianola and sent it by U.S. express to Dr. Eli Grimes of Des Moines. An effort was made by the defense to show that the axe had not been in proper custody between the committing of the crime and the time it was turned over to the grand jury. T.W. Passwater was the next witness. He testified to having gone to the Hossack home and having seen blood on the north wall, near the west end. He also served on the coroner's jury. The defense tried to show that he either solicited a service on the jury or was put there by the prosecuting attorney. But this they failed to do. He described minutely the bloody undervest formerly worn by Mrs. Hossack. He stated that he had seen a large blood stain on the garment on the back side and also stains on the right shoulder and a little, near the collar, in front.

INDIANOLA, April 3.--(Special)--Fully 1,200 people flocked out of the court house when court adjourned yesterday at the close of the second day of the Hossack murder trial. During the afternoon session, which began sharply at 1:30 o'clock, the seating capacity of the court room proved inadequate to the demand and scores of people crowded into the aisles and stood packed in about the railing separating the attorneys, witnesses and defendant from the promiscuous multitude.

Tomorrow morning's session will commence at 9 o'clock with cross examination of Dr. Dean, the third witness for the prosecution.

When Attorney Berry yesterday afternoon addressed the jury for the defense and took up the events of the day preceding the night of the murder and detailed them in their proper sequence, the stillness in the court room became oppressive. Carefully he went over the actions of each member of the family. He told how on the night of the killing five of the children were asleep in the house; how that at the side of the death bed eight of the nine children gathered while the mother, stunned by what had happened, attended to the wants of the sufferer, frequently administrating water to the parched lips and bathing the wounded head.

During the description of this scene Mrs. Hossack, who occupied a seat by the sheriff's wife, surrounded by three of her daughters and all but one of her sons, broke completely down and wept bitterly. Grief was not confined to her alone, it spread until the weeping group embraced the family and the sympathetic wife of Sheriff Hodson, who frequently applied her handkerchief to her eyes.

The first witness to be called by the prosecution was William Hossack.

After describing preliminary incidents and being called by his mother, he said he was the first to enter the room in which his father lay.

"What did you see?" he was asked.

"I saw my father in bed."

"How was he lying?"

"With his head turned slightly to the left."

"Who spoke first?"

"I did."

"What did you say?"

"I asked him who hit him."

"What did he say?"

"He said he wasn't hit."

"Did you hear your mother say anything?"

" Do not think she did."

"You may state what she said to you."

"She said she heard a noise like two boards being slapped together. That she got up and ran out of the room. That as she went out she saw a light on the wall. That the blinds were shut but she saw a light shining through a crack."

"Did you look for any money in the house?"

"I did. I found some in the secretary."

"Do you remember of any fowls being killed on the place about Thanksgiving time?"

"Yes. I killed a turkey."

"What did you kill it with?"

"With an ax."

"Did your mother and father quarrel any?"

"Not within an year."

An objection was taken to this question by the defense but the court held it to be pertinent. Efforts to have the witness determine and say when he last heard them quarreling, resulted in his maintaining the former statement. He was certain that, while during former years there had been frequent differences between them, nothing like a serious misunderstanding had transpired since a year from last Thanksgiving. When questioned about the proposed division of the property at the time a separation was talked of, he stated that it was intended his father should take the east eighty acres and his mother the rest.

He described finding the axe under the granary and said there were blood stains on the handle but none on the blade; that when he examined it he found several hairs sticking to one side of the cutting edge which he picked off and turned over to the sheriff.

Mrs. Haines was next called to the stand. She is a small woman, who looks to be suffering from some nervous ailment. In answer to the county attorney's questions she described a scene which occurred in her house when the defendant called one afternoon.

"What did the defendant say to you on the occasion you refer to?" asked Clammer.

"She said 'it would be a Godsend if Mr. Hossack was gone.'"

She also stated that she and her husband had often called at the Hossack house and that they had sometimes been called upon to talk to Mr. Hossack. That she knew the Hossacks frequently quarreled. That on one occasion Mrs. Hossack had asked her and her husband to come down to her home and bring with them several of the neighbors as she was afraid that her husband would kill the family before morning.

The last witness of the day was Dr. W.F. Dean. He testified to being the family physician and to being called to the Hossack homestead on the night of December 1. That he reached the house about 4:30 o'clock in the morning and he found Mr. Hossack in bed and unconscious. He described the wounds on the head, going into minute detail. He testified to having remained at the house until after the death of Mr. Hossack. which occurred a little after 9 o'clock and that the latter did not regain conciousness while he was there.

He repeated in substance the talk he had with Mrs. Hossack which did not differ from her statement to her son William.

He then described having assisted at the examination of Mrs. Hossack's wearing apparel the following day. He described the undervest as being covered with blood at a point between the shoulders in the back and showing a few bloody spots on the right shoulder and about the upper portion of the neck in front.

"In your opinion was Mr. Hossack ever conscious after being struck?"

"I don't know whether he could return to consciousness or not after those blows."

The purpose of the prosecution in these questions was to show that the reported conversations between the dead man and members of his family could not have taken place.

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