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True Crime

Criminal

Criminal & Radiotopia

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Criminal is a podcast about crime. Not so much the "if it bleeds, it leads," kind of crime. Something a little more complex. Stories of people who've done wrong, been wronged, and/or gotten caught somewhere in the middle. We're a proud member of Radi...Show More
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Episode 1: Animal Instincts

21:00 | Jan 29th, 2014

In 2001, a woman was found dead in a pool of her own blood. Her husband was convicted of her murder. But a curious neighbor had a different theory... one that brings new meaning to man vs. beast.
Episode 111: Silvon Simmons

33:49 | Mar 29th

"My first instinct, to be honest, was they shot this guy and now there’s a coverup." —Liz Riley, Special Assistant Public Defender, Monroe County Public Defender's Office Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. If you haven't already, p...Show More
Episode 71: A Bump in the Night

20:24 | Jul 21st, 2017

Amber Dawn was 20 when she moved into a one-bedroom apartment in Enumclaw, Washington. On her very first night, she began to notice strange sounds. And they didn't stop.    Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX.   If you haven't alrea...Show More
Episode 61: Vanish

26:58 | Feb 17th, 2017

People have faked death to escape criminal convictions, debts, and their spouses. In 2007, a man named Amir Vehabovic faked his death just to see who showed up at the funeral (answer: only his mom). It's an appealing soap-opera fantasy, but actually ...Show More
Episode 15: He's Neutral

18:05 | Jan 30th, 2015

Dan Stevenson has lived in Oakland's Eastlake neighborhood for 40 years. He says crime has been an issue for as long as he can remember, but he isn't one to call the police on drug dealers or sex workers. He's a pretty "live and let live" kind of guy...Show More
I'm Phoebe Judge

04:52 | Oct 5th, 2018

Thanks for helping us celebrate 100 episodes!
Episode 97: Palace of Justice

27:51 | Aug 17th, 2018

When Benjamin Ferencz was 27 years old, he prosecuted his very first trial. There were 22 defendants, each of them high-ranking members of Nazi Germany's death squad. The entire world was watching. Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. ...Show More
Episode 51: Money Tree

28:09 | Sep 23rd, 2016

When Axton Betz-Hamilton was 11 years old, her parents' identities were stolen. At that time, in the early 90s, consumer protection services for identity theft victims were basically non-existent. So the family dealt with the consequences as best the...Show More
Episode 2: Pants On Fire

15:40 | Feb 14th, 2014

For nearly a century we've been trying to read someone's truthfulness by the way they act. Be it through machine, or our own intuition. The police have tried. The FBI has tried. The CIA has tried. But the fact is… most of their efforts just don't wor...Show More
Episode 112: The Mail

28:00 | Apr 12th

This episode contains adult content. Please use discretion. When Sarah Garone was 13 years old, she received something very strange in the mail. She didn't know who it was from, or why they would have sent it. And then it happened again. Criminal ...Show More
Episode 110: Baby Snatcher

38:51 | Mar 15th

Georgia Tann bragged that she had a rigorous selection process that matched the perfect child with the perfect home. Barbara Raymond's book is The Baby Thief. Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. If you haven't already, please review...Show More
Episode 108: The Numbers

34:17 | Feb 15th

When Fannie Davis and her family moved to Detroit in the mid-1950s, they hadn't prepared themselves for how hard it would be. They had trouble finding steady work. So, Fannie found a way to take care of her family. She started small, but built a robu...Show More
Episode 103: Get Out of My House

27:24 | Nov 16th, 2018

On a hot summer day in 1978, a group of friends started renovating an old house in Atlanta. They were steaming wallpaper off of the walls when two strangers just walked in. One of them had a gun. Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. I...Show More
Episode 93: Lavender Scare

27:06 | Jun 15th, 2018

Helen James grew up in a military family - her great great grandfather fought in the Civil War, her father in WWI, and her uncles in WWII. So when she enlisted in 1952, she felt like she belonged. Shortly after, she realized something was wrong. Cri...Show More
Episode 91: The "It" Girl

29:51 | May 18th, 2018

The story behind the face of New York's Gilded Age. For more information, check out Paula Uruburu's book, American Eve. Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. If you haven't already, please review us on iTunes! It's an important way to...Show More
Episode 86: Willie Bosket

29:12 | Mar 9th, 2018

Before he was 10 years old, Willie Bosket had skipped school, started fires, picked pockets, and stolen a car. A psychiatrist at Bellevue called him the "saddest little boy she’d ever seen.” By the time he was 16 years old, he was known all over New ...Show More
Episode 82: The Choir

41:31 | Jan 12th, 2018

As a child, Lawrence Lessig was a gifted singer. His church choir director encouraged him to attend a choir camp at a prestigious boarding school in New Jersey. He was so talented that the school invited him to stay and join their official choir. He ...Show More
Episode 81: Unexpected Guests

36:15 | Dec 15th, 2017

Three mysteries we can't stop thinking about.     Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. If you haven't already, please review us on iTunes! It's an important way to help new listeners discover the show: iTunes.com/CriminalShow. Say ...Show More
Episode 80: Photo, Hair, Fingerprint

28:10 | Dec 1st, 2017

In 1988, a man in Hickory, NC was sentenced to life in prison based on evidence that experts would later call "junk science." It took him 24 years to convince someone to look at the evidence again.      Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia fro...Show More
Episode 74: Catastrophe

32:38 | Sep 8th, 2017

In 1993, more than 1,000 levees broke along the Mississippi River, flooding thousands of acres. In most cases the floods were seen as an “Act of God.” In one case, however, the flood was a crime: “knowingly causing a catastrophe.” This story comes to...Show More
Episode 73: Carry A. Nation

25:52 | Aug 18th, 2017

At the turn of the century, Carry Nation was “America’s foremost lady hellraiser” and "the apostle of reform violence.” In her own words, she was "a bulldog running along at the feet of Jesus, barking at what He doesn't like."     We liked her hatc...Show More
Episode 70: The Procedure

26:01 | Jul 7th, 2017

In 1967, a very unlikely group of individuals gathered to help women quietly break the law and obtain an abortion. The first step was to call a phone number. A recording of a woman's voice would tell you what do to next.   Criminal is a proud membe...Show More
Episode 68: All the Time in the World

33:40 | Jun 2nd, 2017

The “body farm" at Texas State University is a place almost no one except researchers and law enforcement are able to see, because it's one of very few places in the world that deliberately puts out human bodies to decompose in nature. Forensic Anthr...Show More
Episode 66: Bully

29:37 | May 5th, 2017

Skidmore, Missouri is a very small town. In the '70s, there was only one bar, one grocery store, and one bully. Ken McElroy was so ruthless and intimidating that even law enforcement looked the other way. He terrorized the town for decades, until the...Show More
Episode 59: In Plain Sight

32:04 | Jan 20th, 2017

In 1849, abolitionist and attorney Wendell Phillips wrote: "We should look in vain through the most trying times of our revolutionary history for an incident of courage and noble daring to equal that of the escape of William and Ellen Craft; and futu...Show More
Episode 53: Melinda and Judy

27:55 | Oct 21st, 2016

When Melinda Dawson was seven years old, she learned that she was adopted under mysterious circumstances. As she got older and had children of her own, she tried to learn something about her biological parents. And when she went to the county courtho...Show More
Episode 31: American Dream

22:27 | Nov 27th, 2015

When we're kids, we have ideas of what we want to be when we grow up -- movie star, doctor, astronaut. But what if we dream of being like Butch Cassidy, Jesse James, or John Dillinger? And what happens when you're not a kid anymore but you're still o...Show More
Episode 23: Triassic Park

21:34 | Jul 17th, 2015

The Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona has the largest collection of petrified wood in the world. The beautiful wood is more than 200 million years old, and visitors to the park often take a little piece home with them as a souvenir. But steal...Show More
Episode 22: Ex Libris

22:46 | Jun 26th, 2015

Hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of rare books have been disappearing across America since the late 90s, and haven't resurfaced in the marketplace. They've just vanished, never to be seen again. But unlike most thieves, this thief is motivated...Show More
Episode 20: Gil From London

26:26 | May 15th, 2015

Karen Miller met a man named Gil Harper on Facebook. They started flirting. The flirtation grew more serious. Eventually, they planned to meet in real life. Gil would travel from London to meet Karen for her birthday. With his arrival just a few days...Show More
Episode 120: The Tunnel

22:55 | Aug 2nd

In the late 1800s, North Carolina was trying to build a railway system through the Western part of the state. In December of 1882, something went wrong. The Raleigh News and Observer called it “too horrible to chronicle without a shudder.” Criminal ...Show More
Episode 119: He's Still Neutral

35:01 | Jul 19th

Dan Stevenson has lived in Oakland’s Eastlake neighborhood for 40 years. He says crime has been an issue for as long as he can remember, but he isn’t one to call the police on drug dealers or sex workers. He’s a pretty “live and let live” kind of guy...Show More
Episode 118: Stowaway

28:50 | Jul 5th

One day in 1969, Paulette Cooper decided to see what she could get away with. Learn more about Paulette Cooper on her website. Here’s her 1969 Cosmopolitan piece about stowing away. Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. If you haven't...Show More
Episode 117: The Lake

36:01 | Jun 21st

Amanda Hamm and her boyfriend Maurice LaGrone drove to Clinton Lake one night in 2003. The next day, DeWitt County Sheriff Roger Massey told a local newspaper, “We don’t want to blow this up into something that it’s not. But on the other side, we’ve ...Show More
Episode 116: Jessica and the Bunny Ranch

42:57 | Jun 7th

In our last episode we spoke Cecilia Gentili, a trans Latina who worked for many years as an undocumented sex worker. Today, we get two more views of sex work in America. We speak with a high-end escort in New York City, and take a trip to one of the...Show More
Episode 115: Cecilia

33:58 | May 24th

When Cecilia Gentili was growing up in Argentina, she felt so different from everyone around her that she thought she might be from another planet. “Some of us find our community with our own family and some of us don't.” Criminal is a proud member ...Show More
Episode 114: Philip and Becky

34:12 | May 10th

When Philip Benight met Becky Golden, they made a promise to stick together, no matter how bad things got.  Read Ann Neumann's reporting in Harper's. https://harpers.org/archive/2019/02/going-to-extremes-elderly-assisted-suicide-caregivers/. Her boo...Show More
Episode 113: Hostage

29:18 | Apr 26th

One summer in 1973, two men robbed a bank in Stockholm. They held four people hostage for six days. Swedish psychiatrist and criminologist Nils Bejerot coined the term "Stockholm Syndrome" to describe the response of the hostages. One of the bank rob...Show More
Episode 109: Homewrecker

25:36 | Mar 1st

It's one thing to get into an argument with a stranger on Facebook. It's another thing to try to ruin that stranger's life. Special thanks to Kashmir Hill, at Gizmodo. https://gizmodo.com/when-a-stranger-decides-to-destroy-your-life-1827546385 Cri...Show More
Episode 107: The Widow and the Winchester

24:53 | Feb 1st

When Sarah Winchester's husband died, she inherited millions from the family business: the manufacture of the famous Winchester Rifle. A medium reportedly told Sarah that she would be haunted by the victims of that rifle unless she used her fortune t...Show More
Episode 106: Linda

31:48 | Jan 18th

In a suburb outside of Salt Lake City, a 69-year-old woman named Linda Gillman hired a man named Christian Olsen to do some repairs on her condo. After months of working together, Linda Gillman asked for Christian’s help with a different sort of proj...Show More
Episode 105: Protection

26:13 | Dec 21st, 2018

John "Sonny" Franzese was once described as "largely responsible for the glamorization of the Mafia over the past century.” He'd been active in the Colombo crime family since the 1960s. And then, when he was 93, he was given an 8-year sentence. The e...Show More
Episode 104: Witness

28:21 | Dec 7th, 2018

We speak to a man who has given thousands of people new names, told them where they would live, and warned them they could never go back home. For more, check out Gerald Shur's book, WITSEC. We have new Criminal totes, as well as stickers, t-shirts...Show More
Bonus Episode: The Chase

08:09 | Nov 30th, 2018

A story about doing things a little differently. Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. You can find out more about Radiotopia and donate at Radiotopia.fm If you haven't already, please review us on iTunes! It's an important way to hel...Show More
This is Love: How to Live Forever

25:32 | Nov 14th, 2018

Our second podcast, This is Love, is back. We’re sharing this first episode with Criminal listeners - we hope you like it. If you want to hear more, subscribe to This is Love in Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen. Learn more at www.thisislovepodca...Show More
Episode 102: Ride-Along

33:17 | Nov 2nd, 2018

We spend the day in a police car in Austin, Texas. Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. If you haven't already, please review us on iTunes! It's an important way to help new listeners discover the show: iTunes.com/CriminalShow. Say h...Show More
Episode 101: The Fox

25:17 | Oct 19th, 2018

This episode picks up where Episode 100 left off. We suggest you listen to them in order. When Martin McNally met another plane hijacker in prison, they started coming up with a plan to escape...using the very thing that got them there in the first...Show More
Episode 100: Ten Thousand Feet in the Air

33:58 | Oct 5th, 2018

On the afternoon of June 23rd, 1972, Martin McNally walked into the St. Louis airport with a wig, a sawed-off rifle, and a plan. Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. If you haven't already, please review us on iTunes! It's an importan...Show More
Episode 99: Racehorse Haynes

30:22 | Sep 21st, 2018

There is nothing Richard "Racehorse" Haynes wouldn't do to win a case. He once held a cattle prod against his skin. He cross examined an empty chair on the witness stand. He considered nailing his hand to the jury box. He is widely considered to be o...Show More
Episode 98: The Doctors

23:05 | Sep 7th, 2018

Three of America's most experienced trauma surgeons speak with us about what happens when someone is shot. Special thanks to Dr. Amy Goldberg, Dr. David Spain, and Dr. Ronald Stewart. Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. If you haven...Show More
Episode 96: On the Run

29:08 | Aug 3rd, 2018

When Tyler Wetherall was a kid, her mother and father packed up the family car and drove through the night. They were on the run from the FBI. And by the time she was 9, Tyler had learned how to communicate in codes, adapt to new countries, and to ne...Show More
Episode 95: The Job

29:31 | Jul 20th, 2018

Not long into his job as prison superintendent, Frank Thompson was asked to write the manual on lethal injection for the state of Oregon. Capital punishment had not been implemented in more than 30 years, and no one knew how to do it. Frank had to tr...Show More
Episode 94: The Chase

23:48 | Jul 6th, 2018

Mark Roberts has attended almost every major sporting event in the world. And he's been escorted off the field almost every time. Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. If you haven't already, please review us on iTunes! It's an importa...Show More
Episode 92: Dementia Americana

23:33 | Jun 1st, 2018

This episode picks up where Episode 91 left off. We suggest you listen to them in order. The early 20th century's biggest murder trial, and a particular brand of "madness." Visit thisiscriminal.com to see rare photographs from Harry Thaw's trial. C...Show More
Episode 90: Sharks

26:43 | May 4th, 2018

The U.S. Navy attempted to develop a shark attack repellant after many sailors were attacked during WWII. The first step was the formation of a "Shark Research Panel," which led to what we have today: the International Shark Attack File. When someone...Show More
Episode 89: Shadowing Sheila

30:12 | Apr 20th, 2018

SPOILER WARNING: Please listen to our first episode about Sheila, Episode 88: Cold Case, before you listen to this one. This episode contains descriptions of violence and may not be suitable for everyone. Sheila Wysocki became a PI to try to help s...Show More
Episode 88: Cold Case

36:56 | Apr 6th, 2018

In 1984, Sheila Wysocki found herself helping the police investigate the murder of her college roommate. Detectives asked her to help gather information, even sending her out to dinner with the main suspect. This episode contains descriptions of sex...Show More
Episode 87: Casper, Wyoming

22:10 | Mar 23rd, 2018

David Dovala has lived in Casper, Wyoming since he was 19. He’s worked all kinds of cases, first as a detective and later as sheriff, but a 1973 murder stays with him. This episode contains descriptions of sexual assault and may not be suitable for e...Show More
Episode 85: The Manual

27:31 | Feb 23rd, 2018

In 1993, a family was found murdered in their home. A Maryland police spokesperson described the homicide investigation as the most "exhaustive and labor intensive" in the department's history. And then homicide investigators found a strange manual, ...Show More
A New Show from the Makers of Criminal: Episode 1

31:43 | Feb 14th, 2018

In 1971, David Alexander went for a run in Central Park and started talking to a stranger. For our first episode of This Is Love, a story about what's possible when we bet everything on each other. This Is Love is a proud member of Radiotopia from P...Show More
Episode 84: Masterpiece

27:43 | Feb 9th, 2018

In the 1950s poodles were all the rage - one tabloid even reported that when a girl “makes the big time she traditionally acquires 3 things — minks, gems, and a poodle.” But one poodle in particular put the breed on the map. His name was Masterpiece....Show More
This Is Love

08:05 | Jan 26th, 2018

Some spiders eat their young, and some eat their parents … love is never simple. From the makers of the award-winning podcast Criminal, This is Love investigates life’s most persistent mystery. Stories of sacrifice, obsession, and the ways in which w...Show More
Episode 83: The Mothers

27:36 | Jan 26th, 2018

There is a group in Durham, NC called "Parents of Murdered Children." This week, we meet three of its members. Criminal is launching a new show that investigates life’s most persistent mystery: love. Subscribe to This Is Love today: https://apple.co...Show More
Bonus Episode: Like a Page from a Book

24:53 | Jan 15th, 2018

In 1892, a gruesome murder took place in a small fishing village in Argentina. The police had a suspect who would not confess. What happened next would change the way murders were investigated around the world. This bonus episode of Criminal was ma...Show More
Episode 79: Secrets and Séances

33:44 | Nov 17th, 2017

Helen Duncan was a famous medium who travelled around Britain in the 1940s performing séances. She claimed to speak to the dead, and even produce physical manifestations of their spirits. But when she seemed to know wartime secrets about the whereabo...Show More
Episode 78: The Botanist

23:24 | Nov 3rd, 2017

In 1993, a man in Steamboat Springs, Colorado was found dead in his home. He'd been burned with a stun gun, hit with a shovel, and shot several times. The victim's wife was the primary suspect, but she had an alibi for the estimated time of death. In...Show More
Episode 77: The Escape

28:10 | Oct 20th, 2017

In 1962, two men managed to escape the one prison in America that was supposed to be inescapable. They were never found. More than 50 years later, their 82-year-old sister is still waiting for them to come home...and one U.S. Marshal is still on the ...Show More
Episode 76: The Big Lick

25:35 | Oct 6th, 2017

The Tennessee Walking Horse has a natural gait that's famously smooth. And, if trained in a certain way, it can perform a walk that's even more spectacular. But, there's a secret behind how, exactly, these horses are trained to do the crowd-pleasing ...Show More
Episode 75: The Gatekeeper

26:26 | Sep 22nd, 2017

"I keep saying 'where's the body? Kill someone,'" Marilyn Stasio told us. She reads at least 200 crime novels a year to determine which are worthy of her prestigious "Crime Column" in the New York Times Book Review. We talk with her about crime as en...Show More
Episode 72: Bears, Birds, and Bones

30:47 | Aug 4th, 2017

As long as 2,500 years ago, Native Americans placed the bones of the dead in giant mounds of earth in the shape of animals. The Effigy Mounds National Monument was created to protect the mounds - and the bones inside. But in 2011, a new superintenden...Show More
Episode 69: Becoming Chief Brown

32:21 | Jun 16th, 2017

Shortly after David Brown was sworn in as the Dallas Chief of Police, his son shot and killed a police officer. Just before he retired as chief, 5 Dallas officers were shot and killed in what was said to be the deadliest attack for law enforcement si...Show More
Episode 67: Milk Carton Kids

19:51 | May 19th, 2017

On a Sunday morning in 1982, in Des Moines, Iowa, Johnny Gosch left his house to begin his usual paper route. A short time later, his parents were awakened by a phone call – it was a neighbor — their paper hadn't come. His would be the first face of ...Show More
Episode 65: The Kingfish

28:44 | Apr 21st, 2017

In 1928, Huey P. Long became the youngest Governor in Louisiana’s history. He bragged that he bought lawmakers like “sacks of potatoes, shuffled ‘em like a deck of cards.” By the time he was 39 years old, he’d made his way to the U.S. Senate. And jus...Show More
Episode 64: 420

18:25 | Apr 7th, 2017

The Colorado Department of Transportation says the 420 mile markers on the state's highways were stolen so often, they had to replace them with 419.99 mile markers. Many people know that "420" represents marijuana - hence the popularity of the mile m...Show More
Episode 63: Rochester, 1991

28:59 | Mar 17th, 2017

Kim Dadou says she wishes she had a nickel for every person who has asked why she didn't leave her abusive boyfriend. They stayed together for four years. And then, in the middle of the night on December 17th, 1991, Kim's entire life changed.  This ...Show More
Episode 62: Wildin

25:15 | Mar 3rd, 2017

In 2014, 16-year-old Wildin Acosta left Olancho, Honduras and traveled toward the U.S. border. When he arrived, he turned himself in to border patrol agents. He was one of 68,541 unaccompanied minors who crossed the border into the U.S. that year.  ...Show More
Episode 60: Finding Sarah and Philip

22:07 | Feb 3rd, 2017

In 2005, Teri Knight drove 650 miles on midwestern roads through Ohio, Indiana, Iowa and Illinois, pleading with the public to help her do what law enforcement and the FBI had not been able to: find the remains of her children Sarah and Philip Gehrin...Show More
Episode 58: Walnut Grove

35:22 | Jan 6th, 2017

In 2010, Michael McIntosh's son was incarcerated at the Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility in the small town of Walnut Grove, Mississippi. One Sunday, McIntosh went to visit his son and was turned away because, he was told, prison officials "di...Show More
Episode 57: Everyday Genius

21:12 | Dec 16th, 2016

To close out 2016, we're bringing you two lighter stories of people exhibiting everyday genius under. . . unusual circumstances. Comedian Dave Holmes' story begins with an upsetting phone call from the IRS. Then we meet a Baton Rouge attorney with a ...Show More
Episode 56: Don't Let Me See You In The Whirl

18:42 | Dec 2nd, 2016

Since 1938, a weekly African-American owned newspaper called The Evening Whirl has covered crime in St. Louis with a style all its own, using alliteration and rhyme, and often omitting the usual crime-reporting words like "accused" or "alleged." The ...Show More
Episode 55: The Shell Game

18:11 | Nov 18th, 2016

The Magic Castle in Hollywood has been a private club for magicians since 1963, and its walls are lined with portraits of magicians past and present. Among them is a portrait of one of the earliest American organized crime bosses and conmen, Jefferso...Show More
Episode 54: Melinda and Clarence

34:12 | Nov 4th, 2016

SPOILER WARNING: Please listen to Episode 53: Melinda and Judy before you listen to this one. Melinda Dawson found out on the same day in 1998 that her adoptive mother had been killed and that her husband Clarence was being charged with the murder. ...Show More
Episode 52: The Checklist

25:51 | Oct 7th, 2016

SPOILER WARNING: Please listen to Episode 51: Money Tree before you listen to this one. While working on our last episode, we became curious about the nature of psychopathy -- how it is defined, and what to do if someone close to you meets the cri...Show More
Episode 50: This is Criminal

39:01 | Sep 9th, 2016

To celebrate Criminal's 50th episode, we check in with some of our most memorable guests including Fran Schindler from Episode 17: "Final Exit," Dan Stevenson from Episode 15: "He's Neutral," Corporal Scott Foster from Episode 29: "Officer Talon," an...Show More
Episode 49: The Editor

30:04 | Aug 26th, 2016

In November of 1988, Robin Woods was sentenced to sixteen years in the notoriously harsh Maryland Correctional Institution. In prison, Robin found himself using a dictionary to work his way through a book for the first time in his life. It was a Mari...Show More
Episode 48: Eight Years

25:03 | Aug 12th, 2016

2008 was an exciting time to be a Harry Potter fan. The final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, had been released. Movies were on the way. And author Melissa Anelli was at the center of it all, running a popular fan site called The Leaky Ca...Show More
Episode 47: Brownie Lady

23:44 | Jul 15th, 2016

Shortly after Meridy Volz moved from Milwaukee to San Francisco, she received a phone call from a friend asking her to take over a small bakery business.  Meridy agreed to run the bakery, but she only wanted to sell one thing: pot brownies. Her brown...Show More
Episode 46: Tiger

22:12 | Jul 1st, 2016

There are more tigers in captivity in America than wild tigers in the entire world. The exact number of captive tigers in this country isn't known, because many of them live in people's backyards or unaccredited zoos, and the legality of their owners...Show More
Episode 45: Just Mercy

27:23 | Jun 17th, 2016

As a law student, Bryan Stevenson was sent to a maximum security prison to meet a man on death row. The man told Stevenson he'd never met an African-American lawyer, and the two of them talked for hours. It was a day that changed Stevenson's life. He...Show More
Episode 44: One Eyed Joe

30:35 | Jun 3rd, 2016

Not only was John Frankford a famous horse thief, he was also a notoriously good escape artist. People thought no jail was strong enough to keep him, but then in 1895 he was sentenced to Philadelphia's Eastern State Penitentiary. At Eastern State, Fr...Show More
Episode 43: 39 Shots

32:20 | May 20th, 2016

In 1979, a group of labor organizers protested outside a Ku Klux Klan screening of the 1915 white supremacist film, The Birth of a Nation. Nelson Johnson and Signe Waller-Foxworth remember shouting at armed Klansmen and burning a confederate flag, un...Show More
Episode 42: The Finger

18:26 | May 6th, 2016

People have been giving each other "the finger" since Ancient Greece. The first documented use is said to be a photograph from 1886 in which the pitcher for the Boston Beaneaters extends his middle finger to the camera (ostensibly to the rival New Yo...Show More
Episode 41: Open Case

25:59 | Apr 15th, 2016

Since 1965, there's been an unsolved murder in Houston, Texas. The main suspect managed to disappear and police were never able to find him. The case is still considered open. In 1997, a couple of accountants decided to look into the murders, and wer...Show More
Episode 40: Pappy

26:20 | Apr 1st, 2016

When it comes to the bourbon Pappy Van Winkle, it doesn't matter who you are or how much money you have -- you can't get it unless you're exceptionally lucky or willing to break the law. The Pappy frenzy has law enforcement, bartenders, and even the ...Show More
Episode 39: Either/Or

28:17 | Mar 18th, 2016

In 1983, three men were prepared to plead guilty to a violent sexual assault in Anderson, South Carolina. Defense attorneys did not want their clients to go before a jury, and arranged a plea deal. This left the sentencing in the hands of the judge, ...Show More
Episode 38: Jolly Jane

27:28 | Mar 4th, 2016

Jane Toppan was born in Massachusetts in 1857. She attended the Cambridge Nursing School, and established a successful private nursing career in Boston. Said to be cheerful, funny and excellent with her patients, nothing about "Jolly Jane" suggested ...Show More
Episode 37: Hastings

21:34 | Feb 19th, 2016

In 2010, an eighth-grader brought a loaded gun to a middle school in Hastings, Minnesota. We speak with two students and the principal about the minutes and hours in lockdown.  Read Jake Bullington's essay, "Yeah, I'm Afraid of Guns."  Criminal is ...Show More
Episode 36: Perfect Specimen

24:45 | Feb 5th, 2016

The 500-year-old Treaty Oak in Austin, Texas was once called "the most perfect specimen of a North American tree." But in 1989, Austin's city forester realized that the Treaty Oak didn't look so good, and began to wonder whether someone had intention...Show More
Episode 35: Pen & Paper

19:49 | Jan 22nd, 2016

As a young woman in the 60s, Andy Austin talked her way into a job as a courtroom sketch artist in Chicago. She spent 43 years sketching everyone from disgraced governors to John Wayne Gacy, and says she only made someone look bad on purpose once. S...Show More
Episode 34: The Stay

29:11 | Jan 8th, 2016

Michael Ross was the first person in Connecticut to be sentenced to death since 1960. He claimed that he wanted to die in order to atone for what he had done. One journalist spent twenty years trying to figure out whether or not his remorse was real....Show More
Episode 33: Deep Dive

22:19 | Dec 18th, 2015

Sgt. David Mascarenas is the Dive Supervisor for the Los Angeles Police Department. He's been diving his whole life, and prides himself on never refusing a dive, no matter how treacherous. At least until the summer of 2013, when a murder investigatio...Show More
Episode 32: It Looked Like Fire

18:34 | Dec 11th, 2015

Ed Crawford had never been to a protest until he heard about the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Robert Cohen, a staff photographer with the St. Louis Post Dispatch, ended up taking a photograph of Ed that would be seen around the wo...Show More
Episode 30: The Agreement

20:32 | Nov 13th, 2015

In 2005, Danny Egipciaco had the opportunity to participate in a robbery of a drug supplier's stash house. He was told he'd take home between $100K-200K. In the end, the robbery never happened, so why has Danny spent the last ten years at Fort Dix Co...Show More
Episode 29: Officer Talon

21:49 | Oct 30th, 2015

Corporal Scott Foster of the Hillsborough, NC Police Department worked closely with his K-9 partner, Talon, for many years. They located weapons and narcotics, tracked suspects through dark woods, and went home together after work. But when Talon was...Show More
Episode 28: P.D.I.D.

21:10 | Oct 9th, 2015

Patti Hammond Shaw is a transgender woman. She's legally female on her birth certificate and driver's license, and has been since 1993. But when she was arrested in 2009, male officers strip-searched her in front of male detainees, and held her overn...Show More
Episode 27: No Place Like Home

26:03 | Sep 25th, 2015

In the early 90s, a wealthy magazine publisher was convicted of fraud and sentenced to 18 months in a minimum security prison in Louisiana. But white collar criminals weren't the only people living there, and the other people inside had basically bee...Show More
Episode 26: Angie

25:31 | Sep 11th, 2015

In July of 2002, Philadelphia Homicide Detective Pat Mangold was called to the scene of a gruesome murder on the Schuylkill River. When he wasn't able to determine the victim's identity, he expected the case to remain unsolved. But then, out of the b...Show More
Episode 25: The Portrait

26:57 | Aug 28th, 2015

More than eighty years ago, a North Carolina family of nine posed for a Christmas portrait. Two weeks later, all but one of them had been shot dead. (See the portrait here.)  Thanks to Elephant Micah and Sarah Bryan for collaborating with us this mo...Show More
Episode 24: Pearl Bryan

20:48 | Aug 7th, 2015

In February of 1896, a little boy discovered a woman's headless body in a farmer's field in Fort Thomas, Kentucky. No one knew who she was, or what had happened. Newspapers carried headlines like "Hunt for the Head" and "Headless Horror." Quickly, th...Show More
Episode 21: Bloodlines

22:30 | Jun 5th, 2015

Julius Robinson had killed for revenge before, and so when his sister was brutally murdered in her sleep last year, he says he planned to "get" the killer. He felt like his family expected him to get revenge, because that's what he'd always done, bot...Show More
Episode 19: Mother's Little Helper

20:41 | Apr 24th, 2015

Sandie Alger is a 71-year-old woman with a very long rap sheet. She was in and out of prison throughout the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, and upped her game each time she got out. Prison, she says, is where you move "up the criminal ladder, just like the corp...Show More
Episode 18: 695BGK

22:58 | Apr 3rd, 2015

Police officer John Edwards was patrolling a quiet neighborhood in Bellaire, Texas when he saw an SUV driven by two young African-American men. It was just before 2am on December 31, 2008. Edwards followed the SUV and ran the license plate number. Wh...Show More
Episode 17: Final Exit

25:05 | Mar 13th, 2015

No one disputes that it's against the law to take another person's life, but is it against the law to sit with someone and watch while they commit suicide? We meet an elderly woman who sneaks around the country as an "exit guide."  To learn more abo...Show More
Episode 16: Poster Boy

18:42 | Feb 20th, 2015

On July 17th, 1889, the residents of Clayton County, Iowa woke up to news of the worst crime in their history. A Civil War veteran and his young wife had been murdered in their bed in a grisly attack. Their two children escaped to raise the alarm. Bu...Show More
Episode 14: The Fifth Suspect

21:51 | Jan 9th, 2015

In June 2014, authorities released information about a massive child pornography ring being conducted in North Carolina.  Four suspects had already been arrested, and the police were asking the public for help finding a fifth suspect. But they didn't...Show More
Episode 13: The Big Sleep

17:57 | Dec 19th, 2014

Raymond Chandler is often called the greatest American crime novelist, famous for murder mysteries like "The Big Sleep" and "Farewell, My Lovely." He's the subject of several biographies, and his correspondence and manuscripts are archived at Oxford....Show More
Episode 12: Break The Internet

17:51 | Nov 26th, 2014

In 1999, most of America's tech hysteria centered around Y2K. But at that same time, a teenager in Canada was messing around in chat rooms, meeting hackers, and learning tricks. At 15, he decided to put his knowledge to the test. To push up against t...Show More
Episode 11: I'm About To Save Your Life

21:31 | Oct 30th, 2014

In 1977, a mild-mannered aeronautical engineer sideswiped a parked car in Compton, CA. When he stopped his car to survey the damage, a man opened the driver-side door, shoved him over, and started driving. He said, "I'm about to save your life."
Episode 10: Dear Sheila

18:17 | Sep 26th, 2014

Working as a reporter for a TV station in New Hampshire, Kevin Flynn was covering the capture and arrest of a female serial killer named Sheila LaBarre. As he grew more and more obsessed with LaBarre's story, Flynn decided to write her a letter. She ...Show More
Episode 9: That Crime Of The Month

13:18 | Aug 29th, 2014

What does it mean when a woman commits a crime and attributes her actions to PMS? We revisit the first use of the "PMS defense," in this country, back in 1981. What have we learned about the science of PMS since then? Last year, the American Psych...Show More
Episode 8: Can't Rock This Boat

19:40 | Jul 29th, 2014

In March 1964, a 35-year-old African American woman named Johnnie Mae Chappell was walking along the side of the road in Jacksonville, Florida. Four white men were driving around listening to the local race riots on the radio. They had a gun on the d...Show More
Episode 7: J.R.R. Ziemba

19:53 | Jun 30th, 2014

Crime victims are often put under the same scrutiny as the accused. Not only for their version of events, but sometimes for how they look and talk, too. We meet a man whose trial hurt worse than his assault.
Episode 6: We Lost Them

16:43 | May 23rd, 2014

On April 13, 2014, former KKK member Frazier Glenn Cross pulled into a Jewish Community Center and ambushed a grandfather and grandson, killing both.  He then killed another woman a short distance away.  What does the family left behind do when they ...Show More
Episode 5: Dropping Like Flies

23:30 | Apr 24th, 2014

Every year for the past few years, tens of thousand of flytraps have gone missing – from the wild, from gardens, from nurseries. And, really, nobody knows where they go. What’s cropped up in rural North Carolina is essentially a Venus Flytrap crime r...Show More
Episode 4: Call Your Mom

16:54 | Mar 28th, 2014

There are plenty of things we don't share with our mothers. Dark, sad things. Unless of course, you're both in the business of death.
Episode 3: The Buck Stops Here

19:30 | Feb 28th, 2014

With the advent of the Inkjet printer, counterfeiting money became as simple as a trip to Staples. By the year 2000, there were 72 million of these homemade dollars in circulation. The real question is… who was behind them all?