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'Born loser's' hit-list terrorized local police

Chuck Biedka
| Sunday, Sept. 19, 2010

The man who terrorized the Alle-Kiski Valley in 1969 once lived with his family at a cemetery off Route 910 in Indiana Township where his mother and father were caretakers.

Stanley B. Hoss Jr. dropped out of Knoch High School before the end of eighth grade. His first arrest came when he was 14.

Known as Bill Hoss and "Sonny," he was 5 feet, 8 inches tall, weighed 180 pounds and had a sinister intensity, according to those who knew him. The laborer, grave digger and truck driver had brown hair, piercing grayish-green eyes and a scar on his forehead.

He had several tattoos -- one of a heart; another with the word "Pat," for the woman he married when he was 16 and she was 15; and another saying, "Born to Lose."

Hoss became adept at stealing cars -- often sports cars -- and was known for his temper.

"He had a really short fuse," said Indiana Township police Officer Dick Curti, who arrested him several times.

In March 1969, Hoss tied up and robbed a pregnant woman in her home in the Bairdford section of West Deer.

A month later, on Good Friday, he kidnapped and raped a 17-year-old Shaler girl in Indiana Township.

After he escaped from jail in September 1969, murdered a Verona policeman and committed a host of other crimes, the nationwide manhunt for Hoss ended Oct. 4, 1969, in Waterloo, Iowa.

Police there found Hoss' "hit list" naming police officers in West Deer, Indiana Township, East Deer and Tarentum, an Allegheny County detective and a state trooper.

The hit list reveals a side of Hoss' personality.

He hated people who arrested him, said R.J. Collins, one of the policemen on the list.

Now retired from the Tarentum Police Department, Collins still remembers how he felt when he learned his name was on Hoss' list. He feared Hoss would escape again.

"I made sure my daughter had transportation back and forth to school, and my wife learned how to use a gun," Collins said. "I started to carry a high-powered rifle in my car as well as my service revolver. If it was him or me, it was going to be him."

When he was convicted of killing a police officer, Hoss was sent to Western Penitentiary in Pittsburgh.

"He told me he was a born killer, but he didn't know why," said one-time prison counselor Joe Hoffman. "He didn't seem to have any remorse for anything he did."

That chilling thought resurfaced during Hoss' 1973 trial for helping to kill Western Penitentiary prison guard Walter Peterson.

Psychiatrist John Hitchcock testified that Hoss had "no interest" in the outcome of the trial in which he was convicted of second-degree murder.

After all, Hoss already was serving a life sentence for killing a Verona police officer.

Hitchcock also testified that Hoss was "disappointed" that he wasn't going to be executed and that Hoss had made one suicide attempt "but preferred that someone else kill him."

After the Peterson trial, Hoss was transferred to the state's only other maximum-security prison, Graterford, near Philadelphia, where he died.

Hoss is buried in the same cemetery where he once lived.

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