Last Saturday I had the privilege of being a guest speaker at a fundraiser and book signing event to honor fallen Verona police officer Joe Zanella, who was murdered in the line of duty by Stanley Hoss in 1969. Hoss was on the FBI's most wanted list and eventually became the most hunted man in the U.S. in the late 60s.
James Hollock’s book, Born to Lose : Stanley B. Hoss and the Crime Spree that Gripped a Nation, is an excellent read documenting Hoss' murderous rampage. It's receiving 5 star-ratings on Amazon.com. Even though I was personally involved in the case, I still learned so much from reading this gripping and important book.
Most people recognize me for pointing my finger in TV commercials, but when I first started my career as a lawyer I served as a public defender for Allegheny County. My first big case was representing the notorious Hoss. I remember the first time I met him in person, and I honestly feared for my life. Even though Hoss was clearly guilty, he had the right to an attorney – just like all U.S. citizens.
At the event I had the opportunity to meet four of officer Zanella’s sisters, Hoss’ granddaughter Nicole Raymond, former Verona police chief Carmen (Blacky) DeLellis (who worked with Officer Zanella), and many other supportive members of the community. After meeting Nicole and witnessing her caring attitude, you would never imagine that her grandfather was the man who terrorized the residents of this area for years. She even recently donated her kidney to a neighbor in need.
It was a very special day, and I'm glad I was able to be a part of the event. I encourage you to read Born to Lose. I'm sure you'll find it as interesting and enthralling as I did.