According to Pusser, on the pre-dawn morning of August 12, 1967, Pusser's phone rang, informing him of a disturbance call on New Hope Road in McNairy County. He responded, with his wife Pauline joining him for this particular ride. Shortly after they passed the New Hope Methodist Church, a car came alongside Pusser's; and the occupants opened fire, killing Pauline and leaving Pusser, who had suffered a bullet wound to the chin, for dead. He spent eighteen days in the hospital before returning home and would need several more surgeries to restore his appearance,
Pusser vowed to bring all involved with his wife's death to justice. He identified four assassins: Louise Hathcock's former boyfriend, Carl Douglas "Towhead" White, George McGann, Gary McDaniel, and Kirksey Nix; but he later changed his story as to who the assassins were when he couldn't identify them from pictures and in person.
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