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Episode 22: Joshua Komisarjevsky confession

On Sunday, July 22, 2007, 48-year-old Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her 11-year-old daughter Michaela went to a local grocery store near their home in Cheshire, Connecticut, to pick up food for a pre-birthday that Michaela planned to prepare for her mother. During their trip to the grocery store, the two women attracted the attention of 27-year-old Joshua Komisarjevsky, who, along with 44-year-old Stephen Hayes, was looking for someone to rob. Komisarjevky followed the women home, then gave their address to Hayes, who joined him in robbing the house. As Komisarjevky states in his confession, they originally planned to tie up the inhabitants and take their money.

Things went wrong, as Komisarjevky explains, when Hayes unexpectedly encountered Dr. William Petit asleep on the front porch, at which point Komisarjevky hit him on the head with a baseball bat and tied him up at gunpoint in the basement. They then tied up Jennifer, Michaela, and 18-year-old Hayley. When they could only find $10 in the house, they waited until the bank was open, then made Jennifer go and get more money. She asked the bank teller for help, and the teller called 911, but police were unsure of the nature of the crime taking place, and lamentably slow in surrounding the house. They gave Hayes time to go and fill up cans with gasoline, and both men to escalated the nature of their crimes.

As Komisarjevsky admits in his confession, he raped the 11-year-old Michaela (whom her refers to here, the the discomfort of the intervieer, as “Kay Kay”, after hearing her mother refer to her this way; he also calls Jennifer and William Petit “mom” and “dad”). He also photographs the assault on his phone. This provokes Hayes into raping Jennifer. When the men realize William Petit has escaped from the basement, they tie Jennifer up and douse the house with gasoline. The two daughters were tied to their beds and Jennifer tied up downstairs as the house burned down.

Both men blamed on another for the murders. In 2010, Hayes was convicted of the murders and sentenced to death. Komisarjevsky, was found guilty on October 13, 2011, and sentenced to death on January 27, 2012. However, in August 2015, Connecticut abolished the death penalty, and all death sentences were commuted. Hayes and Komisarjevky are both serving life sentences without the possibility of parole.

Listen to the confession here.

Episode 21: Hemy Neuman Trial

In November 2009, 49-year-old business executive Hemy Neuman shot and killed father-of-two Rusty Sneiderman outside a Dunwoody day care facility where he had just dropped off his young son. Neuman pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. He had been obsessed with Rusty’s 34-year-old wife Andrea, his colleague at General Electric, whom he had hired in May.

Andrea testified that she had “no choice” but to put up with the unwanted advances from Neuman, for the sake of her career. She said she had shied away from her boss, who had asked her to marry him twice. However, police believed the two were having an affair, and initially charged Andrea with involvement in her husband’s murder.

In this episode, the witness is a friend of Hemy Neuman’s, a realtor named Melanie White, who sold Neuman his home in 2006. She testifies about  meeting with Hemy in the summer of 2010 to discuss possibly short-selling his home due to his financial and marital troubles. Hemy told Melanie that he had left his wife for a younger woman who had two young children, but that she was reluctant to leave her husband because she was worried about losing her family.

Melanie explains how she advised Hemy to go back to his wife and forget about the other woman, who, she thought, seemed to be stringing him along, but in a later meeting in October 2010,  he said he was now even closer to the new woman, Andrea. He discussed their upcoming work trip to London.

“That he and Andrea go closer. I believe that is when, I believe that was the time that he said that he and Andrea had decided that they were soul mates. He also told me that Andrea was adamant that she would not leave her husband and her two kids. And he continually asked me what I thought he should do,” White said.

She also testifies that Hemy confided that he and Andrea shared a bed in London. Melanie said she told Hemy that “Andrea has you on a yo-yo emotionally. She keeps lifting you up, then knocking you down.” We are left with two questions: (1) Was Hemy telling Melanie the truth about his relationship with Andrea, or was he fantasizing (or boasting, or delusional)? (2) If he was telling the truth, was Andrea’s frustrating behavior responsible for Hemy’s emotional breakdown?

Listen to the trial testimony here.

 

Episode 20: Heaven’s Gate Exit Statements

“The media will tell all kinds of lies about us, describe us as a crazy UFO cult. We know that. We know the kind of things they’ll say about us. That we’re all brainwashed by some kind of guru,” says one of the members of Heaven’s Gate in his exit statement. He knew what we were going to say, and he didn’t care. He knew he was going to the evolutionary level beyond human – and why should we disbelieve him?

    These happy and heartfelt exit statements explain the class members’ beliefs and reasons for going to the next level with their beloved leader, Do. Many have been in the class (and yes, they refer to Heaven’s Gate as a “class,” not a religion, or a church, or a even a belief system) for over thirty years; most have belonged for ten years or more. Surprisingly, many state that they left the class at some point, then, disillusioned with the world, returned to the class, professing regret for their defection and nothing but deep love, respect, and admiration for their leaders from the evolutionary level beyond human, Do and Ti.

 Interesting details are revealed, including the fact that some of the male members of the class, including Do, had elected to have their “vehicles neutered” (and felt so much the better for it). The class left behind a document called “The Routine,” outlining the process by which their exit would occur. It took place over the course of three days.

A group of 15 exited on Sunday March 23rd 1997, assisted by eight others. A second group of 15 exited the following day, also assisted by eight people. 39 bodies were found on Wednesday March 26th 1997, so that would have left a final group of nine to exit the previous day. Do’s was a late death, but he was not the last to die.

The means of death was a combination of phenobarbital and hydrocodone, probably consumed with apple sauce or pudding, chased down with vodka. The members, who were dressed in new white Nikes, dark, collarless shirts with closely cropped hair, then put plastic bags over their heads and suffocated, after which they were covered in purple shrouds. Each member had a roll of quarters and a five dollar bill in their pocket, and a duffle bag beside them.

At least one cult member had blood flowing from their nose or mouth, in reaction to the suicide drugs. Do lay on a large bed; his followers lay on bunks. An illustration of an extraterrestrial stood nearby. The bodies were clad in all-black outfits bearing a  triangular patch specially made for the group. It read: “Heaven’s Gate Away Team.” 

(audio edited and compressed)

Listen to the exit statements here

Heaven’s Gate website
Transcripts of Exit Statements
Watch Exit Statements on Youtube
Watch Do’s Exit Statement on Youtube

 

 

Episode 19: Jonestown Mass Suicide

The Peoples Temple was an American Communist Evangelical church led by the charismatic preacher Jim Jones. Due to the persecution of communists, the church had left the U.S. and built a compound in northwestern Guyana, Africa, known as Jonestown. Relatives worried about their family members in the church had written to their Congressman, Leo Ryan, asking him to investigate the group. Ryan and a group of other concerned parties flew to Jonestown and visited the compound in November 1978. When they left, on November 18, a few members of the church requested to go with them. On the airstrip, as Ryan’s plane was about to leave, a cult member who had infiltrated the group began shooting, killing Ryan and five others.

“How very much I’ve tried my best to give you the good life,” begins Jim Jones in the recording. Jones realized the murders meant his church had come to an end, and that evening he instructed his followers to commit mass suicide, an act that had been rehearsed a number of times previously in what the church called its “White Nights.” Cyanide and phenobarbitol was mixed in vats with Kool-Aid, and everyone drank from the vats. A total of 909 individuals died in Jonestown; a third of the victims were children.

On the tape, which captures the first 45 minutes of the event, Jones, in great despair, refers to “revolutionary suicide.” Although young children can be heard crying in the background, most of the adults express pleasure that they are finally entering the kingdom of heaven, and they exhort one another to be brave and to die with dignity and without fear. One woman who suggests they try to get airlifted to the Soviet Union is soon argued down, and she comes to realize the folly of her idea. Jones, who is addressed as “Dad” by his followers, speaks with a lisp, sounding tired and defeated. The distortion towards the end of the tape adds an additionally creepy element to the recording.

Listen to the recording here.

Transcript of the recording

Collection of articles about the Jonestown tape by Josef Dieckman

Episode 18: Adam Frasch Trial

On Feb. 22, 2014, the gardener at a private home in the swanky Tallahassee gated community of Golden Eagle called 911 to report that there was a body in the swimming pool. The body was that of the 38-year-old Madagascan-born Samira Frasch, a former model and singer and the 3rd wife of Dr. Adam Frasch. According to her autopsy report, Samira Frasch died as the result of drowning and blunt head trauma.

Adam Frasch, 49, was a jet-setting foot doctor with a suspiciously lucrative practice in Thomasville, Georgia, – suspicious enough that the federal government raided his office, suspecting him of Medicare fraud – and a penchant for exotic dancers, tall black women, travel, luxury cars (at one time he owned 81), and designer sunglasses. He met Samira, 38, in the summer of 2006 during fashion week in Paris, while he was separated from his second wife. They married in 2009. The following year, she moved to Florida to live with her husband, and discovered that he had fathered a child with another woman in the meantime.

Over the next few years, the couple had two little girls, Hynah and Skynah; Samira was grooming Hynah to be a celebrity child. According to those who knew them, the Frasches had a violent, tempestuous relationship. There was a great deal of physical and verbal abuse. Finally Samira, tired of her husband’s infidelity, filed for divorce and won custody of the Golden Eagle house and their two young girls. Frasch’s cellmate says Dr. Frasch told him that, the night before her death, Samira discovered evidence of a yet another affair, this time with a stripper in Panama city, and attacked him in the middle of the night. Frasch apparently said he hit her on the head with a golf club, threw her body in the swimming pool, and tried to flee the country.

Dr. Frasch has steadfastly maintained his innocence. He claims he left the house the next morning while Samira was sleeping, taking the two girls at her request so his wife could rest. He was arrested at his home in Panama City Beach hours after her body was discovered, and in January 2017 he was found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to life without parole.

In this except from the trial, Frasch’s girlfriend Martha Moore, the mother of the child he fathered while engaged to Samira, testifies in court. Her testimony is followed by that of Dr. Frasch’s cellmate.

Listen to the trial testimony here.

Search Warrant for the Frasch Residence
Search Warrant for the Frasch Residence
Samira Frasch Divorce Petition
Samira Frasch Autopsy Report
Frasch Investigative Report
Adam Frasch to the People of Tallahassee

Watch the trial on Youtube

Episode 17: Jeffrey Dahmer Trial Part 4

In Dr. Fred Berlin’s third day of testimony. Later in the trial, other expert witnesses for the defense diagnosed Dahmer with necrophilia, as well as with borderline personality disorder, schizotypal personality disorder, and a psychotic disorder.  Nonetheless, forensic psychiatrist Park Dietz, testifying for the prosecution on  February 12, said he did not believe Dahmer to be suffering from any mental disease or defect at the time that he committed the crimes. Dietz interviewed Dahmer for a total of 18 hours. He says he found the killer personable, pleasant to talk to, and thoroughly cooperative; some of their conversations were a sort of expert-to-expert exchange about things like strangulation. Dietz read hundreds of pages of police reports; transcripts of interviews with Dahmer’s family, friends, and co-workers; and medical reports. He went to the apartment building where Dahmer committed his last string of murders. He observed the places where Dahmer had cruised for victims. Samuel Friedman, an independent psychologist (testifying for neither prosecution nor defense), described Dahmer as, “amiable, pleasant to be with, courteous, with a sense of humor, conventionally handsome, and charming in manner. He was, and still is, a bright young man.” Jeffrey Dahmer was found to be legally sane at his trial.

Listen to Dr. Berlin’s final day of testimony here.

The Case of Jeffrey Dahmer: Sexual Serial Homicide from a Neuropsychiatric Behavioral Prespective, J. Arturo Silva, M.D., Michelle M. Ferrari, M.D., and Gregory B. Leong, M.D., Journal of Forensic Sciences, November 1992, 47.6.

Watch the testimony on Youtube

Episode 16: Jeffrey Dahmer Trial Part 3

In the following day of testimony, Dr. Berlin is attacked by prosecutor Michael McCann, and criticized on a number of counts, including the amount of time he spent with Jeffrey Dahmer. McCann tries to argue that Dahmer did not suffer from primary necrophilia because it was clear that he preferred live sexual partners to dead ones, as evidenced by his efforts to create unresistant, submissive, “zombie” sexual partners devoid of rational thought and to whose needs he did not have to cater. McCann argues that Dahmer was without mental disease or defect at the time he committed the murders, and simply had a preference for inert partners–a preference that he was perfectly able to control. McCann suggests that Dahmer is a calculating and cunning individual, able to differentiate between right and wrong, with the ability to control his actions. Dr. Berlin gets angry at McCann’s implication that he is inexperienced, and is acting as a hired gun for the defense.

Listen to the testimony here.

Criminal Complaint against Jeffrey Dahmer

Watch the testimony on Youtube

Episode 15: Jeffrey Dahmer Trial Part 2

The difficult task of defending Dahmer was laid chiefly in the lap of expert Dr. Fred Berlin, founder and director of the Johns Hopkins Sexual Disorders Clinic from 1980 to 1992, and then founder and director of the National Institute for the Study, Prevention and Treatment of Sexual Trauma in Baltimore. In the first day of his testimony, Dr. Berlin makes the case that Dahmer was insane due to his necrophilic drive (his compulsion to have sexual encounters with corpses), a rare type of paraphilia. The main question Dr. Berlin needs to answer is whether Dahmer was able to prevent himself from killing or not. He argues that Dahmer tried many times to stop himself, only to give in when an opportunity arose. Finally, in November 1987, when Dahmer was living with his grandmother, he believed he had finally overcome his urges. One night that month, he met 25-year old Steven Tuomi at a bar and persuaded him to return to the Ambassador Hotel, where Dahmer had rented a room. The following morning, Dahmer said he awoke to find Tuomi lying beneath him on the bed, his chest “crushed in” and blood seeping from his mouth, with bruises on Dahmer’s own fists and one forearm; he stated he had absolutely no memory of having killed Tuomi, and later informed investigators that he simply “could not believe this had happened.” When he realized he was going to kill even despite himself, when he had no memory of it, he decided there was not point trying to stop, and he began instead to actively seek out victims.

There’s also an explanation of what the paraphilias are, with particular emphasis on necrophilia.

Listen to Dr. Berlin’s testimony here.

Watch the testimony on Youtube

Episode 14: Jeffrey Dahmer Trial Part 1

The trial of Jeffrey Dahmer, 31, began in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on January 30, 1992. After his arrest on July 23, 1991, Dahmer had been questioned by police about the evidence found at his apartment. Over the following two weeks, Dahmer spent over 60 hours confessing his crimes, waiving his right to a lawyer, adding he wished to confess all as he had done as “I created this horror and it only makes sense I do everything to put an end to it.” He readily admitted to having murdered 17 young men since 1987. Of these victims, 12 were killed in his North 25th Street apartment in Milwaukee. Three further victims were murdered and dismembered at his grandmother’s West Allis residence, with his first and second victims being murdered at his parents’ home in Bath, Ohio and at the Ambassador Hotel in Wisconsin respectively.

He was tried in Milwaukee for the 15 counts of murder before Judge Laurence Gram, pleading guilty to the charges brought against him, although he did not testify at trial. The issue debated by opposing counsels at Dahmer’s trial was to determine whether he suffered from either a mental or a personality disorder: the prosecution claiming that any disorders did not deprive Dahmer of the ability to appreciate the criminality of his conduct or to deprive him of the ability to resist his impulses; the defense arguing that Dahmer suffered from a mental disease and was driven by obsessions and impulses he was unable to control. Convicted of fifteen murders, Dahmer was sentenced to fifteen terms of life imprisonment on February 15, 1992. He did not testify in the trial, but read out a statement after his conviction. “I never wanted freedom. Frankly, I wanted death for myself. I knew I was sick or evil or both. Doctors have told me about my sickness and now I have some peace. I know how much harm I have caused. I feel so bad for what I did to those poor families.”

Jeffrey Dahmer was murdered in prison by a fellow inmate on the morning of November 28, 1994.

Listen to the trial proceedings here.

Jeffrey Dahmer Criminal Confession

Watch the trial on Youtube

Episode 13: Pascagoula UFO Abduction

     On the night of October 11, 1973, Charles Hickson, forty-two, was fishing from an old pier on the Pascagoula River with a friend, nineteen-year-old Calvin Parker Jr., when both men heard a “zipping” sound and en­coun­tered a glowing, elongated UFO hovering above the ground. Three aliens emerged from the craft and took the men on board. The encounter made national headlines, and the two men were interviewed separately by James Harder of the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization, and the astronomer, professor and UFO researcher J. Allen Hynek. Both Hickson and Parker gave almost identical accounts of their experience, although Parker admits he passed out for a time from fear. The aliens were described as humanoids just over five feet tall with no neck, slits for eyes and mouth, a pointed nose and pointed ears, claw-like hands, and joined, pedestal-like feet. After numerous interviews, including one under hypnosis, Harder concluded that Hickson and Parker “experienced an extraterrestrial phenomenon,” and Hynek concurred that the two men had “a very real, frightening experience.”

Due to the age of the recording, audio quality is very poor.

Listen to the interview here.