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Candace Mossier and Melvin Lane Powers Trial: 1966

Sexual Perversions, Preparing An Alibi, More Unsolved Mysteries

Defendants: Candace Mossier and Melvin Lane Powers
Crime Charged: Murder
Chief Defense Lawyers: Henry Carr, Percy Foreman, Walter E. McGwinn, Marian Rosen, Harvey St. Jean, and Clyde Woody
Chief Prosecutors: Richard E. Gerstein, Arthur E. Huttoe, and Gerald Kogan
Judge: George E. Schulz
Dates of Trial: January 17-March 6, 1966
Verdict: Not guilty

SIGNIFICANCE: Millions of dollars were at stake in this trial, one of the most sensational in years. There was talk of sexual variations, suspected contract-killers, and police corruption in this tale of greed and brutal murder.

For 12 years Candace and Jacques Mossier lived together in seeming harmony. Mossier, a multimillionaire Houston, Texas, businessman, lavished attention and money on his beautiful wife and was rewarded with her apparent devotion, until 1961. In that year, Melvin Powers, Candy Mossler's 20-year-old nephew, came to live with the couple. Not long afterwards, according to Mrs. Mossler's testimony, Jacques Mossler was struck down by a mysterious illness that left him a homosexual. Shattered by this discovery, Candy Mossler turned to her sister's son for companionship, despite their 21-year age difference. When Jacques Mossler found out, he fired Powers from the company and moved to Miami, Florida.

Candy Mossler and Melvin Powers remained in Houston until the summer of 1964, when she took her four adopted children to visit her husband in Florida. Once there, she began chauffeuring the children on a series of suspicious midnight car rides. On June at 1:30 A.M. she drove them to a nearby hospital emergency room. Just minutes later, someone broke into the Mossler household, struck Jacques Mossler over the head and stabbed him 39 times. The murder time was established by neighbors who heard loud barking from the MossIer's dog, and cries of "Don't! Don't do that to me!" A "dark-haired man in dark clothing" was also seen fleeing. Police believed that man was Melvin Powers, acting in collusion with Candy Mossler. The couple was charged with murder 12 months later.

Jury selection began January 17, 1966, and took several days. At its conclusion Arthur E. Huttoe presented the state's case against Candy Mossier and Melvin Powers, detailing a "sordid, illicit, love affair." The motive, Huttoe said, was money: with her husband out of the way, Candy Mossier would inherit millions plus control of his business.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1963 to 1972