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Book examines brutal Tarentum killer

Chuck Biedka
| Sunday, Sept. 19, 2010

A first-time author is tackling the violent story of Stanley B. Hoss Jr., the Tarentum man who killed a Verona police officer in 1969 and is suspected of killing a young Maryland woman and her child.

"I constantly heard his name when I worked in Western Penitentiary. After all, it was the most infamous crime of this region — maybe ever," said Jim Hollock, a resident of Pittsburgh's North Side. "I've always wanted to be an author and I thought, 'Why not?' "

The book, "Born to Lose: Stanley B. Hoss and the Crime Spree that Gripped the Nation," is scheduled for publication next spring by Kent State University Press. It is named for the tattoo on Hoss' arm, which read "Born to Lose."

Hollock, a retired prison counselor, said he knew many of the prison staff who knew Hoss. As part of his research for the book, Hollock said he talked with the relatives of Hoss and a police officer Hoss killed, as well as the killer's girlfriends and associates.

"It took me five years to research the book before I wrote one word," Hollock said.

Hollock's introduction sets the tone.

"It wasn't the robberies, rapes, the daring escape or even the cop killing that catapulted Stanley Barton Hoss to the FBI's most wanted man," he wrote. "It was the broad daylight kidnapping of the lovely young mother and her child.

"In a nearly unprecedented step, J. Edgar Hoover enlisted the Army to assist in a nationwide manhunt. An engaged public followed the drama by hour, day and week — and year to year — for when all thought the carnage was over, it wasn't. And how Hoss struck again, in virtually impossible circumstances, and who fell, brought a governor to a funeral and provoked racial divide in a county."

Hoss' story is "distinguished by exceptional cruelty, heartbreak and landmark trials," Hollock wrote. Hoss became to many lawmakers the "perfect reason for capital punishment."

Hollock's book looks at some of the mysteries Hoss took to the grave: What happened to kidnap victims Linda Peugeot and her 2-year-old daughter• Did he commit suicide, or was he murdered?

The book includes an epilogue in which Hollock explains what happened to most of the people associated with Hoss, including his ex-wife and mistress.

A graduate of Butler High School and Marshall University, Hollock served with the Peace Corps. He worked for 30 years for the state Department of Corrections, primarily in Western Penitentiary.

Additional Information:

Read about it

'Born to Lose: Stanley B. Hoss and the Crime Spree that Gripped the Nation' will be published by Kent State University Press in May 2011 as part of the university's True Crime series. Pittsburgh resident Jim Hollock is the author. Hollock can be reached via e-mail .

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