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

William and Rinda Haines

William and Rinda Haines lived just half-mile north of the Hossack farmhouse. Both of the Haines were important witnesses at the coroner's inquest, testifying about their knowledge of the Hossack family's domestic disputes. Although their accounts were not completely consistent, they both reported that Margaret Hossack had once approached the couple, and had asked William Haines to bring some men to the house to beat up her husband. Rinda Haines told the jury that “Mr. Hossack was no angel in his family, ” and she had her own theories about the source of the problems in the marriage: she had heard that John Hossack had originally wanted to marry Margaret's older sister, Jane.

A few days before the first trial, William Haines was committed to an insane asylum, and some said that he went crazy brooding about his upcoming role as a witness. With her husband unavailable, Mrs. Haines gave important testimony for the prosecution, helping the lawyers for the state to argue that Mrs. Hossack had a motive for the crime.

Mr. Haines did testify at the second trial, and, under questioning by the defense lawyers, he acknowledged that he and Hossack had argued about politics just a few weeks before the murder. Haines also admitted that he had lied to the Hossack children on the night of the murder when he told them that he had seen a stranger on his porch.

Years later, Rinda and William Haines were divorced. In her petition to the court, Mrs. Haines charged that her husband had become dangerous and unstable.

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