Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

A Million Dollar Murder

A Nephew Moves In

Candy Mossler had a soft spot for hard cases.

She once sat on a county grand jury that indicted a man named Howard Stickney for a double murder. After he was tried, convicted and sentenced to die, Candy founded a defense fund on his behalf, convincing her wealthy opera guild friends that capital punishment was immoral.

In 1956, her brother DeWitt Weatherby was sent away to prison for life in Georgia for killing a man during a poker game. Candy and Jacques Mossler spent untold sums of money -above board and below - to buy political influence on her brothers behalf. He was paroled in less than five years. 

Melvin Powers
Melvin Powers

In 1961, Candy Mossler took another hard case. His name was Melvin Lane Powers, son of her older sister, Elizabeth Weatherby Powers. Mel was a striking physical specimen. He stood about 6-foot-4 and had the build of a linebacker. He sported coal-colored hair and had the facial features of a movie star - pouting lips, bedroom eyes, high cheekbones and a solid jaw. He had one blemish: disfiguring acne.

Powers was just 20 years old in 1961, but he could have passed for 35. He dressed in jacket and tie and had the easy repartee of a salesman. Powers had sold magazine subscriptions door to door in the southeast after high school, then moved to Pontiac, Mich., where he fell in with a group of men involved in a swindle racket. He was jailed for 90 days and was still on probation when he showed up at Aunt Candys. He arrived in Houston late in 1961, apparently at his mothers urging. She hoped Candys wealth would help set him straight.

Candy urged her husband to hire Mel at one of his Houston financial firms, the Allen Parker Co. She then asked whether Mel could move into the mansion, to tide him over until he got on his feet financially. Jacques Mossler reckoned that there was room for one more kin. Mel moved in.

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