INDIANOLA, Dec. 11.--(Special)--Worn and emaciated, Mrs. John Hossack was led from the county jail to the office of the justice of the peace, H.M. Ross, this morning where preliminary hearing on the charge of murdering her aged husband on the night of December 1 was to take place. She was accompanied by her children and sheriff Lew Hodson. The party emerged from the jail and skirted a back alley leading to the preliminary court room and the hundreds of spectators thronging the streets were deprived of the privilege of seeing the party.
The interest of the spectators was intense as they momentarily expected a dramatic commencement of the trial. But they were doomed to disappointment. Instead, the attorneys for the defense quietly announced that their client had decided to waive preliminary trial and permit the case to go directly to the grand jury.
Justice Ross declined to state whether he would release the defendant on bonds or not, taking the matter under advisement for a few days. He has the right to release a prisoner though charged with murder where the presumption of innocence is very strong. Whether he will so regard this case remains to be seen, but the popular impression is that he will within four days fix a heavy bond and upon it being furnished order the prisoner's release.
Mrs. Hossack has kept a close mouth since her incarceration, refusing to talk to any except her attorneys, Henderson and Berry. Sheriff Hodson says that within the past few days she has begun to show signs of weakness and at different intervals he has noticed red and swollen eyelids indicating that she has been weeping.
A bitter fight was expected to develop before the preliminary trial was over. The very fact that the coroner's jury failed to agree, was regarded as an indication that the state would have [had] trouble to bind the prisoner over to the grand jury. But now this fight is to be waged before the grand jury itself.
The evidence of the men who sat in the inquest will be introduced and it is expected that one of the Johnsons who is supposed to be the cause of the jury hanging at the time will be of invaluable worth to the defense.
It will be remembered the coroner's jury summoned on the following Monday after the murder on Sunday failed to reach an agreement, and was discharged. Immediately after Sheriff Hodson drove to the funeral of the murdered man near New Virginia and arrested the wife on a warrant from the state charging her with the foul murder.
In all probability Mrs. Hossack will not go on the stand in her own defense. It will all depend, however, as to how strong a case the state will make. If the state makes a weak case then it is expected the attorneys for the defense will not be compelled to put the prisoner on the stand.
Henderson and Berry were seen this morning. While they evidence an inclination to a reticency in the matter, they intimated that after the grand jury hearing there would be a different story to tell. They have been working night and day since the case was put into their hands and claim to have found additional evidence at the Hossack farm exonerating their client. Whether or not they will attempt to implicate some relative or someone who committed the crime with the intention of robbery is not known, but it is predicted they will try hard to change the sentiment of the people in regard to the prisoner.
Justice Ross stated to a NEWS reporter this afternoon: "Judging from the evidence submitted at the coroner's inquest, I regard Mrs. Hossack's offense bailable."
This means that he regards the evidence thus far produced by the county attorney as not only conclusive but as not overcoming the presumption of the prisoner's innocence.
County Attorney Clammer stated this afternoon that there will be no special session of the grand jury and that Mrs. Hossack's case will therefore not be considered until January 8. Judge Applegate will preside.