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Melvin Lane Powers Extradition Hearing (1964)


Silent | 1964

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  •  Texas Secretary of State Crawford Martin presides over the hearing 
  •  Criminal defense attorney Percy Foreman, counsel to Melvin Lane Powers, challenges Florida’s request to extradite his client 
  •  Detectives with the Dade County Sheriff’s Department present evidence 
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This unedited footage from Houston’s KPRC-TV captures the extradition hearing for Melvin Lane Powers on July 28, 1964. Powers was charged with the murder of Jacques Mossler, husband to Powers’ aunt, Candace Mossler. Jacques was stabbed and bludgeoned to death on June 30, 1964, at his home in Key Biscayne, Florida. Following Powers’ arrest on July 3, Florida Governor Farris Bryant asked Texas Governor John Connally to extradite the accused to Florida to face trial. Powers’ attorney, Percy Foreman, challenged the request, leading to a hearing before Texas Secretary of State Crawford Martin. Connally signed the extradition papers on August 21. Candace Mossler was not indicted until July 1965. The accused went to trial in 1966, with the prosecution arguing that Powers and Mossler were lovers hoping to acquire the victim’s multi-million-dollar fortune. According to the New York Times, the trial was so lurid that the judge barred spectators under 21. The pair were acquitted in 1966. Powers went on to become a Houston real estate tycoon.
Crawford Martin served as a Texas state senator and Texas secretary of state until he was elected Texas attorney general in 1966. Martin was the first state attorney general to successfully file litigation against commercial drug companies for fixing prices of antibiotics, and through this litigation, recovered over $4,000,000 for Texans. His office also set up litigation firmly establishing the Sabine River as the border between Louisiana and Texas, protecting Texas oil rights.