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Candace "Candy" Mossler née Candace Weatherby (1920–1976) was a socialite at the center of a sensational, highly publicized murder trial in the 1960s.
Candace Mossler and her nephew Melvin Lane Powers, with whom she was having an incestuous affair, were charged with the killing of Candy's millionaire husband, Jacques Mossler, in his Key Biscayne, Florida, condominium on June 29, 1964. Candace Mossler and her husband were separated at the time of his murder. Jacques Mossler had considered suing Powers and divorcing his wife but, upon consultation with his lawyer, had decided against doing so in order to avoid the negative publicity and losing half of his fortune to Candace. At the time of her husband's murder, she was on a $5,000 a week stipend allocated for household upkeep.
During initial interviews with police officers, Candace Mossler asserted that she believed her husband's death was a result of a burglary gone wrong. However, when the officers stated they believed the murder was a crime of passion, noting that Jacques Mossler had been stabbed over thirty times before being bludgeoned over the head with a glass bowl, Candace changed her story, saying that she believed that her husband had been a closet homosexual, and had been cheating on her with another man who could have possibly committed the crime. As her husband had been found wearing only a bath robe, officers pursued this lead until they found Jacques' diary, which cast suspicion directly upon his wife and his nephew.
Media coverage and trial
America's newspapers and magazines took note of the salacious case, and a drumbeat began to build for indictment of Candace Mossler. It finally came on July 20, 1965. Candy Mossler was represented by a pair of Houston's best defense attorneys Clyde Woody and Marian Rosen. Melvin Powers was defended by top rank Houston defense lawyers Percy Foreman and William F Walsh, the former a high-profile attorney who later defended James Earl Ray, the man convicted of killing Martin Luther King, Jr. As the assets Candy was set to inherit from her late husband were frozen at the time of her arrest pending the investigation of his death, Candace paid Foreman's retainer with jewelry, diamonds, and furs that had been bought for her by her late husband before their separation.
Candy Mossler had flown to Rochester, Minnesota prior to her arrest in order to undergo treatment at the Mayo Clinic for migraines, but agreed to fly to Miami to surrender rather than risk the indignity of a surprise arrest. Accompanied by a private nurse and wearing a Mayo Clinic wrist identification band, she flew from Minnesota to Miami International Airport, where she was treated to a genteel arrest by a state police commander. A mighty press contingent had gathered at the airport, and Candy smiled and posed for them. When reporters confronted her with allegations of adultery, incest, and murder, she simply replied, "Well, nobody's perfect."
Candy, a bouncy former model with platinum blond hair and a southern accent, was notable for her on-camera charm. While jail inmates shouted obscenities at her, she would smile and blow kisses at the cameras.
She rented two adjoining flats at the White Hall Apartments on the North West side of town, and her children joined her. Meanwhile, investigators in Texas and Florida continued working for months to string together evidence. Each thread seemed to lead to Mel Powers, Candy Mossler, or both.
Police officers turned up four witnesses who claimed the lovers solicited a hit on "the old mooch." The investigators lined up a long list of witnesses—neighbors, employees, hotel clerks—who said they saw Mel and Candy share affectionate moments. Cops found a photographic record of Candy and Mel's travels—souvenir snapshots from nightclubs, ski slopes, concerts.
The courtroom was filled to maximum capacity with spectators every day of the murder trial, people bringing their lunches with them and eating during court processions in order to retain their seats all day. The subject matter was considered prurient enough that people under the age of 21 were turned away. During the course of their trial, lawyer Percy Foreman declined to call any witnesses to the stand, in direct contrast to the district attorney, who called a number of questionably relevant witnesses. Instead, Foreman emphasized his closing statement which, by many accounts, was extremely compelling. Both Mossler and Powers were acquitted.
Police officers and the district attorney's office declined to continue the search for Jacques' murderers afterwards, as they maintained their initial conclusion that Candace and her lover had committed the crime. Eventually, Powers and Mossler drifted apart and Mossler remarried.
Candace Mossler died of an accidental overdose of migraine medication on 26 October 1976 at age 62, in Miami Beach, Florida. She was survived by her adopted children Martha, Daniel and Edward; 6 grandchildren; and 3 great grandchildren.
- "TruTV". Archived from the original on October 19, 2012. Retrieved 24 October 2012.
- Houston Chronicle (September 8, 2001). "Mossler case was sensational story of murder, intrigue".
- Martin, Douglas (October 18, 2010). "Melvin Lane Powers Is Dead at 68; Cleared of Murder". New York Times.