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Episode 54: Dylann Roof Police Interview

This is an abbreviated version of Dylann Storm Roof’s two-hour FBI interview in which he confesses to killing nine people at a South Carolina church Bible study in June 2015. The interview was recorded the day after the shooting.

Roof appears child-like and baby faced, unsure of himself, both uncannily relaxed and, at the same time, intimidated by the FBI.  He is obviously anxious, and struggles to conceal his confusion about what he’s done. He laughs nervously a few times, and has trouble explaining why he committed the massacre, other than that he has become “racially aware” after reading about black-on-white crime on the internet. One woman in the church reported that Roof told her he wasn’t going to kill her because he wanted to leave at least one person alive to tell his story. When an FBI officer asks him if this was true, he says, “Yeah, but there isn’t really a story to tell.”

He says he originally considered shooting drug dealers, but realized they might shoot back, he said. Instead, he picked the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church because the black people there wouldn’t fight back. “I knew that would be a place to get a small amount of black people in one area,” Roof says, later adding, “They’re in church. They weren’t criminals or anything.”

Roof’s confession shows the 21-year-old to be less inscrutable than simply naive and immature. Online, he called himself “The Last Rhodesian,” but seems ignorant of African history and racial politics general. Nevertheless, he meticulously prepared for the shootings. He carried eight magazines that could each hold 13 rounds, but loaded only 11 each so that he could shoot 88 times. He explains that 88 stands for “Heil Hitler” because H is the eighth letter of the alphabet.

At one point, an FBI agent asked if Roof had thought about killing more blacks. “Oh, no. I was worn out,” says Roof. He says he left bullets in a magazine so that he could kill himself after the slayings, but changed his mind when he didn’t immediately see any police. He believed he’d killed maybe one or two people. About 45 minutes into his interview with the FBI, an agent decided to tell him that nine people were dead. “Are you lying to me?” asks Roof, incredulously. “There wasn’t even that many people in there!”

At trial, Roof’s defense attorney offered a plea of guilt if the state took the death penalty off the table. Prosecutors refused, and in January 2017, Dylann Roof was sentenced to death by lethal injection. In April 2017, now aged 23, he was transferred to death row at Terre Haute Federal Prison in Indiana.

Listen to the interview here.

Episode 53: Andrew Watson Police Interrogation

Lise Fredette, 74, was last seen on Nov. 12, 2014 after leaving her shift at a Walmart in Peterborough, Quebec, where she worked as the store’s jewellery department manager. Ten days later, when the grandmother-of-two still hadn’t been found, her ex-boyfriend, Andrew Watson, 78, was arrested and questioned by Ontario Provincial Police Staff Sgt. Scott Johnston. Fredette broke up with the elderly Scotsman in April 2014 after they had dating on and off for three years. When she left him, he had threatened her with violence and sent her angry letters.

Watson tells Johnston that he’s spoken with a lawyer before the interview, who told him not to say anything. But he’s annoyed by the way he’s been treated by the police, and wants to vent his complaints. “You should see the mess in my house,” he tells Johnston. He asks multiple times what will be happening to him next, and asks if he can get a pillow and blanket for his cell. He also asked to be released and he’d just “sit and wait” at home (“You could let me stay at home where at least I’d be comfortable”).

Finally, Johnston begins asking questions about Fredette. Watson says he last saw her  the Saturday before she went missing, when they were both at a dance, but he didn’t speak to her, he said, as he’d got a second warning from police a few days earlier, telling him to leave Fredette alone. Watson tells Johnston there’s nothing going on in his life and he spends 95 per cent of his time in his house alone, “so no matter what crime would be committed in Peterborough, I could not give the police an alibi.” When Johnston asks Watson what he thinks happened to Fredette, he says, “I don’t know.” When asked, for the sake of Fredette’s loved ones, to tell them where her body is, he says, “I’ll tell you, no one is missing her more than I’m missing her.” When asked where he was the night Fredette went missing, he replies, “I’m not supposed to be speaking to you.” When asked about blood that was found in his house and his Subaru, he says, “Well, there’ll be blood all over my house … because I’m always bleeding.” The constant clicking sound you can hear is the sound of Watson attempting to light and re-light his cigarettes, cadged from Johnston, who doesn’t smoke.

On April 20, 2017, Watson was convicted of the first-degree murder of Fredette, even though her body had still not been found.  “Mr. Watson, the road is now over for you,” said the Judge. “If you have a heart, sir, I would strongly suggest you speak … to put closure to this, so this family can lay this very kind, compassionate woman to her proper rest.”

“No thanks,” the unrepentant Scotsman replied.

Listen to the episode here.

Episode 52: Stephen Duxbury Trial Testimony

 This episode presents audio from Nov 14, 2017 in the trial of Stephen Duxbury, 35, who was charged with the first-degree murder, sexual battery and burglary of Sasha Samudean. The 27-year-old was found dead on Saturday, Oct. 17, inside her apartment on Orange Avenue in Orlando, Florida, where Duxbury worked as a security guard. According to the prosecution,  Duxbury followed Samsudean into her apartment, raped her, strangled her, then rolled her body in her comforter and covered it in bleach. It was, according to the prosecutor, “a crime of opportunity.”

On the stand is Anthony Roper, 30, a mechanical engineer, a close friend of Sasha Samsudean. Roper recounts the evening he spend with Sasha, the bars they went to, and the amount they drank. Roper admits Sasha had been drinking a lot, but says she did not intend to see anyone after she went home. In fact, he says it was uncharacteristic of her to bring a stranger home. “She never explicitly took a guy home from the bar in front of me,” he says. “She never did that.”

Anthony explains that he tried to reach Sasha the morning after their night out in Orlando but she didn’t pick up. He testifies that he messaged and called her all day before going to her apartment. When she didn’t answer her door, Roper called Orlando police to file a missing person’s report between 7 and 8 p.m. Duxbury was found guilty of murder, and given life without parole.

Listen to the episode here.

Episode 51: Jonathan Broyhill Trial Testimony

This audio is from Day 7 (March 12, 2015) of the trial of Jonathan Broyhill, 31, for assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill after he stabbed young Democratic strategist Jamie Kirk Hahn and her husband, Nation, 27, at their North Raleigh residence in Raleigh, North Carolina in April 2013. Jamie, 29, sustained fatal stab wounds to her abdomen; Nation recovered.

On the stand, Nation Hahn is being cross-examined about the day of the murder by defense attorney Joseph Arbour. We learn that Broyhill was as a longtime friend of the couple. He and Nation Hahn grew up in the same town and Broyhill was the best man at the Hahns’ wedding in 2009. Since at least 2010, Broyhill worked for Jamie’s policy firm, Sky Blue Strategies.

Brad Miller (D-NC) had worked with both Jamie and Broyhill through Sky Blue Strategies in 2012 on his re-election campaign, which he ultimately abandoned. Miller’s campaign had been independently investigating Broyhill for alleged campaign-finance irregularities. We learn that Broyhill had been lying about the fact that he had cancer, and stealing money from the Miller campaign. The attack on the Hahns, we learn, came from a confrontation about the money.

Nation Hahn maintains his composure on the stand, although Arbour’s chummy tone clearly grates on his nerves. He responds to most questions with a “yes, sir,” “no, sir,” or “I can’t recall, sir,” remaining dignified even when being questioned about taking his iPad to the bathroom with him, or whether or not his pants were down or up when he heard Jamie scream. His poise and self-possession make Arbour sound like a chump. Broyhill was convicted, and is serving a life sentence in prison.

Listen to the episode here.

Episode 50: Denise Lee 911 calls

Plumber Nathan Lee was at work on Thursday, January 17, 2008; his wife, Denise Lee, was at home with their young children. She called him at 11:21 a.m.. They discussed the nice weather: the couple decided that the windows should be opened at their home. Denise said she had already opened them. Nathan Lee arrived home around 3:30 p.m. to find the windows closed, his wife missing and the children home alone in the same crib.

During the afternoon, Denise Lee was abducted from her home by an unemployed man named Michael King. He drove her around, tied up in his vehicle, for quite some time; several people witnessed the journey. Denise managed to call 911 from the car, but the operator was confused and could barely understand what she wanted. Around 6:30 p.m., a witness, Jane Kowalski, heard screaming from a car next to hers at a stoplight. Kowalski called 9-1-1 to report what she believed to be a child abduction. Later that evening, King raped and murdered Lee and buried her in a shallow grave. Her body was found on January 19, 2008. King was later found guilty of kidnapping, sexual battery and first degree murder; he was sentenced to death and is presently detained awaiting execution.

This episode contains two of the 9-1-1 calls. This first is Michelle Lee, in the car with King, trying to convey information about her situation to the dispatcher without alerting her abductor. The second is the call from Jane Kowalski.

Listen to the episode here.

Episode 49: Larry Nassar victim impact statements

This episode contains audio from Day 2 Part 1 of the Sentencing Hearing of Larry Nassar, the 54-year-old USA Gymnastics team osteopathic physician and convicted child molester. This testimony, from January 17 2018, includes impact statements from the following gymnast-victims: Maggie Nichols (given by her mother, Gina Nichols); Tiffany Thomas-Lopez; Jeanette Antolin; Amanda Thomashow; Gwen Anderson; Amanda Barterian; Jamie Doski; Janelle Moul, and Madeline Jones.

In handing down Nassar’s punishment, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina said, “Our Constitution does not allow for cruel and unusual punishment. If it did, I have to say, I might allow what he did to all of these beautiful souls — these young women in their childhood — I would allow someone or many people to do to him what he did to others.” Nassar was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison.

See an article in Time magazine by By Anne E. Gowen January 26, 2018, on How Larry Nassar Judge Rosemarie Aqualina Undermined Justice.

Listen to the episode here.

Episode 48: Ed Kemper Prison Interview

Edward Emil Kemper, after a horribly abusive upbringing, murdered both of his grandparents at age 15, and was sent to the criminally insane unit of the Atascadero State Hospital, where he was held until he was 21. At this point, he convinced psychiatrists he was reformed and well enough to be released.

From May 1972 to April 1973, Kemper kidnapped and killed at least eight more people. Six were female college students hitch-hiking , his abusive mother, and his mother’s friend — dismembering and defiling their bodies in ways too horrible to mention here. At 6”9 and 350lbs, Kemper comes across as personable and articulate (he reportedly has an IQ of 145). He was ultimately convicted for eight counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment in the California Medical Facility. As of 2015, Kemper remains among the general population in prison and is considered a model prisoner. He is in charge of scheduling other inmates’ appointments with psychiatrists. He is an accomplished craftsman of ceramic cups and a prolific reader of books on tape for the blind.

This audio is taken from an interview with Kemper by FBI profiler John E. Douglas, who described Kemper as “among the brightest prison inmates” he ever interviewed and capable of “rare insight for a violent criminal. In the interview, Kemper is very forthcoming about the nature of his crimes and appears to express regret, though he also blames his mother for her “emasculating” cruelty.

Listen to the episode here.

Episode 47: 911 Call and Court Testimony, Michelle Wilkins case

This episode presents the court testimony and 911 call of Michelle Wilkins, 26, who went to the home of  Dynel Lane, 35, in Longmont, Colorado, in response to a Craiglist ad for free baby clothes for her unborn baby.

Lane stabbed and choked Michelle, who was heavily pregnant, until she lost consciousness. She then cut Michelle’s baby from her womb and left her to die in the basement. She had told her husband that she was pregnant with a baby boy, and on the day of the attack told him she herself had suffered a miscarriage.

The baby died, and Michelle, who managed to recover and call 911, spent 5 days in the ICU. Lane was convicted of the unlawful termination of a pregnancy, and four counts of felony assault. Because the baby was still a fetus when it had been removed from Michelle’s womb, she could not be charged with murder.

She was found guilty of all charges, and sentenced to 100 years in prison.

 

Listen to the episode here

Episode 46: Scott Peterson & Amber Frey Phone Call

This is a phone conversation between fertilizer salesman Scott Peterson, 31, and masseuse Amber Frey, that took place on Jan 12th, 2003, at 6:04PM. The two had been introduced by a friend the previous November, and had begun a romantic relationship. Scott told Amber he was single. Later, on December 9, 2002, he told her he had “lost his wife.” In fact, his wife Laci was seven months pregnant at the time.

    On December 24, 2002, Scott Peterson reported his wife Laci missing from their home in Modesto, California. When Amber read the news, she went to the police, who asked her to continue her relationship with Scott in the hopes of getting him to Laci’s murder. Calls between Scott and Amber at this time were recorded in the hope that they would provide evidence of Scott’s guilt. However, he did not confess.

On April 13, 2003, the remains of a late term male fetus were found on the shoreline of San Francisco Bay, where Peterson had been boating the day of Laci’s disappearance. The next day, Laci’s torso was found in the same area, missing its hands, feet, and head.

In this call, it’s obvious that Amber has been blinded by Scott’s charm. She clearly ignored the fact that he simply took her on a few dates and had sex with her. He didn’t introduce her to his friends or parents, didn’t take her home, didn’t tell her anything about his personal life.

While she knows the police are listening in, and is trying to get information out of Scott, Amber is also clearly speaking from the heart. She is miserable, but her self-righteousness makes it difficult to sympathize with her. She weeps, bewails her lot, reads poems, and recites Bible verses, believing all this will appeal to Scott, despite his evidence of bad character.

In 2004, Scott Peterson was convicted of the first degree murder of his pregnant wife, and the second degree murder of their unborn son. He was sentenced to death by lethal injection. His case is currently undergoing appeal.

Listen to the episode here

Episode 45: Michael McCarthy Police Interrogation

On June 25, 2015, a woman walking her dog on the shore of Deer Island in Winthrop, Massachusetts, discovered the remains of a 3 year old child in a plastic garbage bag.  After widespread media publicity, the child was identified three months later as Bella Bond. Her  mother, Rachelle Bond, and her mother’s boyfriend, Michael McCarthy, were arrested, and authorities confirmed that Bella had been murdered.

Rachelle Bond, 40, was charged with “accessory after the fact” in regards to her daughter’s murder, and pleaded guilty as the result of a plea deal, testified against McCarthy in his trial. She alleged that McCarthy had punched Bella in the stomach multiple times after claiming Bella was a “demon.” She said he was the sole perpetrator of the murder. Rachelle, a heroin addict and former prostitute, also admitted to concealing Bella’s death. She was in the car with McCarthy when he dumped her daughter’s body, but says she does not remember this happening, as she went on a drug binge immediately afterwards.

When people asked Rachelle where Bella had gone, she claimed the child had been removed by the Department of Family Services. This was a plausible excuse, as two previous children had been taken away in the past. In June 2017, Michael McCarthy was convicted of murder in the second degree and sentenced to life with possibility of parole.

Listen to the episode here.

More information about the Bella Bond case.