In the early morning hours of June 30, 1964, Houston socialite Candace “Candy” Mossler entered her estranged husband’s apartment to find him stabbed and bludgeoned to death. Jacques Mossler, the head of a $33-million banking and loan empire, had earlier moved out of the couple’s River Oaks mansion to live in Key Biscayne, Florida. While Candy had a solid alibi, her nephew and suspected lover, Melvin Lane Powers, did not. Harris County sheriff’s deputies caught up with Powers in Houston three days later, arresting him for first-degree murder. A year later, Dade County officials in Florida similarly charged Candy.
The Mossler-Powers trial began in Miami on January 17, 1966. The prosecution argued that the couple murdered Jacques to acquire his multi-million-dollar fortune. Between Candy’s platinum-blonde glamour, her controversial relationship with her co-defendant, and the courtroom dramatics provided by defense attorney Percy Foreman, the trial became a media sensation. Court proceedings were so sordid that the judge barred spectators under 21, while a Miami newspaper printed supplemental coverage on hot-pink paper. After three days of deliberation and six inconclusive votes, the jury passed a ruling of not guilty. The courtroom spectacle ended with the cleared couple driving off in a gold Cadillac. Mossler and Powers split after a year or two living together in Houston. She remarried in 1971, dying five years later as a result of an accidental overdose. Powers died in 2010, following a prosperous career as a real-estate developer.