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Episode 123: Ezra McCandless Case

Ezra McCandless (born Monica Carlson), 20, chose a new “gender neutral” name because she sometimes identified as a boy. At the time of the crime, she had three suitors: on/off boyfriend Jason Mengel, 35; Alex Woodworth, who called her his “boy,” and John Hansen, who (according to McCandless) sexually assaulted her. When the crime occurred, Ezra had moved out of Jason Mengel’s home in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and their relationship had ended–partly because Jason had learned Ezra was having a sexual relationship with Alex Woodworth, whom (she said) liked to be aggressive and choke her during sex. Ezra wanted to get back with Jason. On March 22, 2018, she broke up with Alex, and he reacted badly. They went for a drive to “continue the discussion in a public place.” The car got stuck on a muddy road, and after trying to free themselves, the two got into a fight. Ezra claims Alex tried to sexually assault her. She stabbed him 16 times, then carved the word “boy” into her arm and went to a nearby farmhouse to get help. The prosecution claimed the attack was “an attempt to recaputure the relationship she wanted with Jason Mengel.”

During the trial, McCandless changed her plea from ‘not guilty by reason of mental disease’ to a ‘not guilty’ plea. She was found guilty of first-degree intentional homicide.

Listen to the episode here.

Episode 122: Nicole Nachtman Trial

Nicole Nachtman was, by all accounts, a disappointment to her mother, Myriam, and stepfather Bob. The defense argued that Nicole’s mother had inflicted years of psychological, verbal and physical abuse on her daughter, including forcing her to get liposuction and Lasik surgery. Nicole was emotionally stunted and lived in fear, taking refuge in online games and animated cartoons. Her mother punished Nicole for the slightest infraction, so Nicole was naturally terrified when she realized she was too late to get housing at FSU when returning to college for her second year.

Nicole apparently returned home in August 2015 when Myriam, 56, was out of town on a work-related trip and shot her 67-year-old stepfather in the back of the head. She then dragged his body into a bedroom and locked the door. She cleaned up her stepfather’s blood, but left droplets and smudges throughout the house, along with her own thumbprint stamped in blood on a wall. When Myriam returned home, Nicole was lying in wait, and shot her mother three times. A next-door neighbor testified he heard the gunshots and a scream, then saw a shadowy figure dashing between their homes.

Nicole then returned to FSU (she had, as she later found out, been given overflow housing) and asked her roommates to say she’d been there for two days. She was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder, rejecting defense arguments that she was insane at the time of the crimes, and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. This episode contains the testimony of Nicole’s half-brother, Joseph Carey; neighbor Alaina Roe; her father Ronald Nachtman, and her only friend, Laura Hessemer.

Listen to the episode here.

Episode 121: Robert Durst Arrest and Interview

On March 14, 2015 (the day after the final installment of the six-part documentary series The Jinx aired on HBO), Robert Durst, 73, was arrested by the FBI in connection with the murder of his former girlfriend, the writer Susan Berman. He was staying in a hotel in New Orleans and found to be in possession of a false Texas ID, stacks of $100 bills, bags of marijuana, a .38-caliber revolver, a map folded to show Louisiana and Cuba, a latex mask, and a wig. In his interview with Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney John Lewin, Durst confesses that he took meth during his interviews on The Jinx, and says he has smoked pot almost every day of his life.
Lewin asks Durst about the disappearance of his wife Kathy Durst in New York in 1982, his acquittal on murder charges in the 2001 dismemberment killing of a neighbor Galveston, Texas, and the killing of Susan Berman in Los Angeles as she was about to speak with prosecutors investigating Kathy’s death.
During the interview, Lewin talks a lot. He gushes over Durst, telling him he’s brilliant and the most interesting suspect he’s ever investigated. He coaxes and flatters, quoting Durst’s lines from The Jinx, even doing impressions of him. It’s sometimes difficult to tell whether his flattery and enthusiasm is an attempt to get Durst to trust him, or whether it’s genuine. Either way, it gets him nowhere. Durst is cordial and receptive, but never lowers his guard.

Listen to the episode here.

Episode 120: Kellen Winslow Jane Doe 1

This episode contains the testimony of Jane Doe 1 in the rape trial of Kellen Winslow Jr., a former NFL tight end, in San Diego County Superior Court in early November. Jane Doe, who remained nameless and was not shown on camera, was a 54-year-old homeless woman from Encinitas, California. Walking by the 101 highway one day, she was picked up by a  large black man with tattoos who drove a black Hummer and identified himself as “Dominique.” She testifies that he drove her to a parking lot close to a shopping center and raped her violently, causing extra pain due to his “gigantic penis.”

    However, Jane Doe 1 is not the best witness. She seems disturbed and moody, and her testimony is full of contradictions and misstatements. She often answers the same question in opposite ways while on the stand. She isn’t consistent with her testimony from the pretrial hearing. At one point she claims she hasn’t had a drink in 30 years. The defense soon points to a lengthy list of arrests for public intoxication.
But the prosecution charged Winslow with raping not just Doe No. 1, but also a 59-year-old homeless woman, as well as a then-17-year-old at a 2003 party. Winslow was 19 at the time. There are also indecent acts where he allegedly exposed himself to an elderly female neighbor who was in her yard gardening and a 77-year-old in a health club hot tub while Winslow was out on bail and awaiting trial.

    With incontrovertible evidence accumulating against him, Winslow finally accepted a plea deal that spared him from the possibility of a life prison sentence. He pleaded guilty to raping an unconscious teen in 2003 and to the sexual battery of Jane Doe 1, while the San Diego County Superior Court agreed to dismiss other felony charges including kidnapping, sodomy, forced oral copulation and two charges of forcible rape.

Listen to the episode here.

Episode 119: Granville Ritchie Case

This episode contains the testimony of Eboni Wiley in the trial of Granville Ritchie, 40, for the rape and murder of Wiley’s neighbor, 9-year-old Felecia Williams, in Tampa, Florida. Ms. Wiley previously testified that Mr. Ritchie, who said his name was “Trevor,” had picked her up in the street a few days earlier. Since then, the two had done drugs and had sex together a few times, and Ms. Wiley had put his number in her phone, referring to him as “my husband.” Ms. Wiley was friends with the Williams family, her neighbors, whose 9-year-old daughter Felecia was known as “Sugar Plum.”
On May 16, 2014, Ritchie picked up Ms. Wiley, who had Sugar Plum with her. The three traveled to Ritchie’s home, where Ms. Wiley and Ritchie did drugs. At around 4:50 pm, Ms. Wiley left the apartment to get food for Sugar Plum, returning an hour later to be met at the door Ritchie, who was shirtless, sweating, and upset. He told Ms. Wiley that Sugar Plum had run away, and to conceal their negligence, they should tell police that they were having sex in the shower at the time, and that Ritchie’s mother was in the apartment with them.

Ritchie concealed the body in a suitcase and dragged out of the residence later that night. Sugar Plum’s body was found and nude, floating face-down in the water. She had been fatally strangled, and had received blunt force trauma to the head before death, authorities said. She had also been sexually assaulted.

Wiley was charged with providing false information to law enforcement during a missing person investigation. Ritchie was found guilty of murder and sentenced to death.

Listen to the episode here.

Episode 118: Wendi Adelson Police Interview

This episode contains three hours of the eight hours with attorney Wendi Adelson spent with Tallahassee police immediately after the death of her husband, FSU law professor Dan Markel (see episode 113). After being informed of her husband’s death, Wendi spoke with law enforcement officers for almost eight hours (without asking for counsel). The police have not charged her with anything, but she admits that she feels as if she’s being treated as a suspect.

As noted in episode 113, Sigfredo Garcia, whose girlfriend dated Wendi’s sister Charlie Adelson, has since been convicted of Dan Markel’s murder, which, according to the prosecution, Markel’s murder resulted from the “desperate desire” of the Adelson family to relocate Wendi Adelson and her two sons from Tallahassee, where Markel lived, to South Florida, where the Adelsons live.

Over the course of questioning, Ms. Adelson appears shocked, distressed, heartbroken, and confused. At times, she is also chatty and relaxed.

Listen to the episode here.

Episode 117: Corn Rake Murder Trial

This episode contains the testimony of Todd Mullis, 43, on the stand during his trial for the murder of his wife Amy, 39. Mullis, an Iowa hog farmer, testifies that he was doing chores with his wife in the hog barn when Amy, who’d recently had surgery, seemed dizzy and weak. She left the hog barn on an errand, and an hour later, noticing she hadn’t returned, Todd sent his 13-year-old son Trystan to find out if she was okay. Trystan discovered his mother crouched over on her hands and knees in the doorway of the barn with a corn rake sticking out of her back. It first it seemed like a freak accident–Amy appeared to have got dizzy and fallen on the rake while she was changing a light bulb. But an autopsy showed that Amy’s body had at least six stab wounds from the rake.
Todd testifies that Amy had cheated on him in the past, but they had been to therapy and got over it. However, it seemed as though around the time of her death, Todd had discovered she his wife was having an affair with the Jerry Frasher, his field manager. The two would have sex during the day by the side of the road, or in hog pens. Frasher claimed that Amy was “scared to death” of Todd, and that the hog farmer would “kill her” if he discovered their secret relationship, rather than lose his children and the farm in a divorce.

Listen to the episode here.

Episode 116: Incel Uprising: Elliot Rodger/ Alek Minassian

The first piece of audio in this episode is “Elliot Rodger’s Retribution,” posted online by the 22-year-old before his Isla Vista rampage on May 23, 2014. Roger explains that he is angry about being unable to get a girlfriend ever though he is obviously “gorgeous,” “magnificent,” and a “supreme gentleman.”
This is followed by audio from the police interrogation of software development student Alek Minassian after he drove a van into a Toronto crowd, killing 10 and injuring 16. In the police interview, Minassian, who has Asperber’s syndrome, identifies himself as an “incel” and, describes his mass rampage as part of the “incel uprising” (confused Detective Rob Thomas keeps referring “incels” as “celebs”). Speaking in a monotone, emotionless voice, Minassian describes how he drew inspiration from other incels on 4Chan who used violence as a form of retribution for “being unable to get laid.” In a Facebook post the day of his rampage, Minassian wrote, “All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!”
Minassian tells Thomas about a Halloween party in 2013, where he tried to speak with young women, but was often ignored or laughed at. “I consider myself a supreme gentleman,” he said, adding: “I was angry that they would give their love and affection to obnoxious brutes.”

Listen to the episode here.

Episode 115: Murder of Florida Physician Teresa Sievers

This episode contains audio of Curtis Wayne Wright, Jr. testifying at the trial of co-conspirator Jimmy Ray Rogers about his part in the murder of Dr. Teresa Sievers at her home in Bonita Springs, Florida in June 2015. Dr. Sievers, 46, was a popular and charismatic holistic health care doctor, married with two children. She was beaten to death in her kitchen with a hammer.
The plot to murder Dr. Sievers was hatched at the Missouri wedding of Wright, 51. Wright was a boyhood friend (and lookalike) of Teresa’s husband, Mark Sievers, also 51, and a longtime felon. On the way to his own wedding, Curtis left some hot dogs in a freezer and returned to pick them up. His buddy Mark Sievers went with him, and during the trip, Mark told Curtis that his wife was going to leave him and take their two daughters, and he wanted to have her killed. Wright promised he would take care of it for a share of the life insurance payment. To assist him in the murder, Wright called on his old friend Jimmy “the Hammer” Rogers, but the two hitmen made a mess of things and were soon tracked by the FBI.
Wright pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, and struck a deal for 25 years in prison. In exchange, he agreed to tell jurors about what happened to the victim. Wright says he approached Dr. Sievers from behind, intending to choke her, but accidentally kicked a dog bowl, creating a sound like a gong. At this point he hit her with a hammer, and Sievers fought back. Then Rodgers, who also had a hammer, came out of nowhere, and went berserk, hitting her until she fell down dead on the floor. Wright took a deal for 25 years. Rogers was convicted of second degree murder and is awaiting sentencing. Mark Sievers has yet to be tried.

Listen to the episode here.

Episode 115: Murder of Florida Physician Teresa Sievers

This episode contains audio of Curtis Wayne Wright, Jr. testifying at the trial of co-conspirator Jimmy Ray Rogers about his part in the murder of Dr. Teresa Sievers at her home in Bonita Springs, Florida in June 2015. Dr. Sievers, 46, was a popular and charismatic holistic health care doctor, married with two children. She was beaten to death in her kitchen with a hammer.
The plot to murder Dr. Sievers was hatched at the Missouri wedding of Wright, 51. Wright was a boyhood friend (and lookalike) of Teresa’s husband, Mark Sievers, also 51, and a longtime felon. On the way to his own wedding, Curtis left some hot dogs in a freezer and returned to pick them up. His buddy Mark Sievers went with him, and during the trip, Mark told Curtis that his wife was going to leave him and take their two daughters, and he wanted to have her killed. Wright promised he would take care of it for a share of the life insurance payment. To assist him in the murder, Wright called on his old friend Jimmy “the Hammer” Rogers, but the two hitmen made a mess of things and were soon tracked by the FBI.
Wright pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, and struck a deal for 25 years in prison. In exchange, he agreed to tell jurors about what happened to the victim. Wright says he approached Dr. Sievers from behind, intending to choke her, but accidentally kicked a dog bowl, creating a sound like a gong. At this point he hit her with a hammer, and Sievers fought back. Then Rodgers, who also had a hammer, came out of nowhere, and went berserk, hitting her until she fell down dead on the floor. Wright took a deal for 25 years. Rogers was convicted of second degree murder and is awaiting sentencing. Mark Sievers has yet to be tried.

Listen to the episode here.