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Episode 102: Dallas Dentist Love Triangle

Dr. Kendra Hatcher, 35, a Dallas pediatric dentist, was fatally shot in the head by an unknown assailant in the parking garage of her Dallas apartment building Sept. 2, 2015. Dr. Hatcher was about to leave for Mexico for a vacation with her new boyfriend, Dr. Ricardo Paniaguia, a dermatologist. Kendra was a step up from Ricky’s ex, dental hygienist Brenda Delgado, 36, whom he’d dumped in February, seven months earlier (three months before meeting Kendra). Apparently, Brenda became “obsessed” with getting Ricky back, and was angry that he’d broken up with her by e-mail. Police learned she hired a hit man, 35-year-old Kristopher Love, to “eliminate” her rival in exchange for drugs and money. Love was sentenced to life in prison. Brenda’s dental assistant friend Crystal Cortes, the 27-year-old getaway driver, pleaded guilty in October to a lesser murder charge in exchange for a 35-year sentence. Brenda Delgado was found guilty of capital murder and sentenced to life.

This episode contains the testimony from June 4, 2019 of: Brenda Delgado’s friend and former room-mate Jennifer Escobar, Kendra Hatcher’s close friend Rosie Singh, and her boyfriend Ricardo Paniagua.

Listen to the episode here.

Episode 101: Deposition of Father Jerome Kern

On April 15, 2014, Father Jerome Kern, a priest in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, was deposed as part of a sexual abuse lawsuit filed in Minnesota  While Kern does not admit to sexually abusing children in the deposition, he does admit to “horsing around” with young boys, and doing something he calls “Italian wrestling.” He claims that his only sexual outlet is “masturbation” to fantasies about “ladies,” though he admits he may be bisexual. He describes putting his hand on one boy’s stomach, chest, lower stomach, and inside his bathing suit while swimming, and touching another boy’s genitals on the outside of his swimsuit and touching his chest and stomach in the sauna.

At 72, Kern is (or appears to be) shaky, absent-minded, and forgetful. He says he’s tired, has problems remembering, and is unfamiliar with modern terms like “sexual abuse.” While he admits that he came to realize that it was wrong to “give hugs and horse around,” he presents himself as a man from another age who is surprised to find his good intentions have been misinterpreted. The deposition aims, in part, to discover the extent of the church’s cover-up, since the Archdiocese received reports of Kern’s inappropriate sexual misconduct with minor children as early as 1969, yet Kern remained in ministry until 2002.

In 1987, the mothers of two boys abused by Father Kern met with senior church leaders to discuss the allegations, but were brushed off. Eventually, Al Michaud, one of Father Kern’s victims,  filed a lawsuit against Kern and the Archdiocese, which was settled out of court.

Listen to the episode here.

Episode 100: Alex Zaldivar murder trial

  In May 2013, Bessman Okafor and Nolan Bernard broke into a home in a quiet suburb of Ococee, Florida, after misidentifying it as a “drug house.” When it was clear they had the wrong place, the men tied up the house’s four young roommates: included Alex Zaldivar, 19, and Brienna Campos, 20, and their two friends Will and Brandon. The youngsters were threatened with guns, and robbed of their cash, laptops, cellphones, and electronics. Police quickly identified Okafor and Bernard, who were arrested and released on bond.

A trial date was set for September 11, 2013, and the four young victims were listed as witnesses. One day before the trial, Okafor and Bernard returned to the house in the middle of the night and woke up the sleeping inhabitants, Alex Zaldivar, Brienna Campos, and her 23-year-old brother Remington, who were lined up and shot in the head. Alex was killed, but Brienna and Remington survived. A jury found the gunman, Bessman Okafor, guilty of Alex Zaldivar’s murder and the attempted murder of his two roommates, and recommended the death penalty by a vote of 11-1. But the case was overturned because the jury was not unanimous, and Okafor is waiting for retrial.

This episode contains State witnesses from Okafor’s murder trial in August 2015: Amy Scott, a neighbor to whom Remington and Brienna ran for help; officer Daniel Schilling, who investigated the crime, and victim Brienna Campos.

Listen to the episode here.

Episode 99: Jessica Bashara Testifies

On January 25, 2012, in the wealthy suburb of Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan, successful marketing executive Jane Bashara, 56, was found strangled to death in a Mercedes-Benz SUV in a Detroit alleyway.  In March 2012, a mentally impaired handyman named Joe Gentz was arrested and charged with first degree murder after telling police that Jane’s husband, Bob Bashara, 57, had paid him $2,000 and an old Cadillac to murder Jane. Investigators also discovered that Mr. Bashara owned an underground sex dungeon in the basement behind a building he owned, where he took women for S&M sex games, and where he was known as “Master Bob.”
In September 2015, Bob Bashara was tried for the murder of his wife. His daughter Jessica, 23, testified that she was unaware of any problems between her parents, who had been married for 26 years, although she knew her father thought her mother was too critical of him. She also mentioned catching her father using a pornographic S&M website. “He told me that he was on pornographic websites because he had been experiencing erectile dysfunction and he wanted to know if the problem was with him or my mother,” says Jessica. Bob Bashara was sentenced to life without parole.

Listen to the episode here.

Episode 98: Claudia Hoerig Trial Testimony

In March 2007, the body of Air Force Reserve Major Karl Hoerig was found in his home in Ohio, with two gunshot wounds in his back, and another in his head.  His wife of two years, Claudia Hoerig, had fled to Brazil. For various reasons, she wasn’t extradited until January 2018, at which point she confessed to the murder, but said it was an act of self-defense, and the marriage had been abusive. She said she got a gun to kill herself, and Karl told her to do it in the basement so she wouldn’t make a mess. At that point, said Claudia, she decided to shoot him instead.

During a discussion of the Hoerig’s relationship prior to Karl’s death, Claudia Hoerig’s attorney directed the conversation to the couple’s sexual habits. Ms. Hoerig claims that her husband “was not able to perform without Viagra or without bondage, or without something weird or me pretending to be dead.” She says that it wasn’t until after they were married that Karl revealed his fetishes.

Claudia Hoerig was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Listen to the episode here.

Episode 97: Robert Mondrian Powell Police Interrogation

When telling lies, people are apparently either overly vague, or too specific. In his responses during this interrogation, Robert Mondrian-Powell, 59, is both extremely indirect and annoyingly particular. This polite and well-spoken gentleman explains that he was homeless when he met Elvira Segura, 67, a retired librarian whose decomposed body was found by police in the bathroom of her Las Cruces home a month before this interview took place.
Mondrian-Powell tells police that Ms. Segura let him live in her home in exchange for doing handyman work around the house. Police closed in on Ms. Segura’s former tenant after neighbors told them he recently held a yard sale, disposing of many of Ms. Segura’s possessions, then took off in her car. His description of the problems Ms. Segura was having with her headphones and her computer are pointlessly detailed, as Mondrian-Powell seems to realize he’s been caught, and is stalling for time.
But after 40 minutes of rambling about electric wiring and circuit breakers, Mondrian-Powell suddenly confesses to murdering Ms. Segura in a domestic fight. He describes smashing her head into the ground, causing her to bleed, and then shooting her in the neck.
However, the District Attorney’s Office made a mess of the prosecution. Mondrian-Powell was held in jail for 20 months while eight different members of the prosecution team took turns working on the case before the judge decided that his constitutional right to a speedy trial had been violated, and he was released without charge.

Listen to the episode here.

Episode 96: Tara Grinstead Trial Testimony

 Tara Grinstead was a south Georgia beauty queen and high school history teacher who disappeared from her home in Ocilla in Irwin County, Georgia, in 2005. This episode includes testimony from the second day of the trial of Bo Dukes, who stands accused of helping to cover up the crime. The man accused of murdering Tara, Ryan Duke, is set to go to trial later this year.
First on the stand is Grinstead’s Ocilla neighbor, Joe Portier,who recalls how Tara did his granddaughter’s hair for a beauty contest the weekend she went missing. Portier said that he called a police officer and the two men went to search Tara’s house, where they found clothes and jewelry from the beauty show, but no sign of Tara. Next up is John McCullough, who says he met Bo Dukes when they were in basic training. He recalls that Bo told him that Ryan got into a fight with Tara, and ended up accidentally strangling her. McCullough said that according to Bo, Ryan asked if he could borrow his truck to move Tara’s body to a pecan orchard, where Bo helped him to burn it, and bury the remains. McCullough testifies that he tried reporting what Dukes had told him multiple times, but no one would listen.

Listen to the episode here.

Episode 95: Six Mayday Calls

(1) The Northern Belle was a 75-foot fishing vessel that went down in the Gulf of Alaska on April 20 2010. Three of her four crew were rescued alive; her captain, Robert Royer, who placed the Mayday call, tried to jump overboard but wasn’t able to get clear of the tangle of gear, hit his head on a large metal pump, and didn’t re-surface. Some time later, his body was seen floating face-up. The captain’s cocker spaniel, Baxter, also went down with the vessel.

(2) On April 7, 1994, a FedEx employee named Auburn Calloway tried to hi-jack Federal Express Flight 705 from Memphis to San Jose. Calloway, who was about to be fired, boarded the flight with several hammers and a speargun concealed in a guitar case. He planned to crash the aircraft hoping that he would appear to be an employee killed in an accident, so his family could collect his life insurance. But the crew fought back, subdued Calloway, and landed safely.

(3) Betty Ong was a flight attendant on American Airlines Flight 11, the first airplane to be hijacked during the September 11 attacks. Shortly after the hijacking, Ong notified  ground crew of the hijacking. She reported that none of the crew could contact the cockpit nor open its door, a passenger and two flight attendants had been stabbed, and someone had sprayed mace in the business class cabin.

(4) On August 10, 2018, a Horizon Air Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 was stolen from Sea–Tac airport in Washington, by 29-year-old Richard Russell, a Horizon Air ground service agent with no piloting experience. Friends described him as “a quiet guy” who was “well liked by the other workers”. Around one hour and 15 minutes after takeoff, Russell committed suicide by intentionally crashing the aircraft on a lightly-populated island in Puget Sound. No explanation for the incident was found.

(5) On September 27, 2018, crew member Franklin Freddy Meave Vazquez, 27, went berserk on the fishing vessel Billy Haver when about 55 miles off Nantucket, Mass. He assaulted a crew member with a knife in one hand and a hammer in the other, Vazquez then struck a third colleague before he was chased up the mast in an attempt to avoid capture, He was charged with murder and attempted murder. No-one knows what sparked the attacks.

(6) Not actually a Mayday call…. on the taxiway, a German Lufthansa pilot is annoyed that maintenance have left the gas tank door open on his plane. Rather than wait for the ground control crew to come and close it, he gets out of the cockpit to do it himself.

Listen to the episode here.

Episode 94: James Scandirito Jr. Trial Testimony

  In 2000, the Honorable James “Skip” Scandirito, a Michigan county court judge, had his judge’s license revoked in 2002 after sexual misconduct allegations. Women had accused him of offering leniency for their charges in return for sexual favors. In the case of a 22-year-old female defendant charged with drunk driving, for example, the judge suggested she meet him at a bar to talk over her case. After his resignation, Scandirito retired to Boca Raton, Fla., where he spent his time quietly playing golf, barbecuing with friends, and taking care of the neighborhood’s stray cats–until, in March 2018, parts of his body were found buried at an abandoned golf course.

The last person to see the former judge was his son, James “Jimmy” Scandirito Jr., who initially claimed his father, 74, was missing after not returning from a kayaking trip with a new lady friend he’d met on the golf course. However, Junior later came clean and admitted he’d cut up his father’s body with a hand saw–although he insists he didn’t kill his father.

On the stand, Scandirito claims he’d been watching TV with his dad while doing cocaine (out of something like an “hors d’oeuvres” dish), although his father had a “good enough buzz” from beer and didn’t want to indulge. Scandirito said he went outside to smoke a cigarette, and returned to find his father dead on the floor, and the cocaine knocked over. He assumed his father had died of an overdose, and cut up the body in a drug-fueled paranoia. Prosecutors said Scandirito killed his father to get the older man’s money, since was bad with finances and had been no longer able to support his desired standard of living.

Scandirito Jr. was found guilty of dismembering his father’s body (which proved negative for cocaine), but not guilty of murder. He faces up to 15 year in prison when he is sentenced in June.

Listen to the episode here.

Episode 93: Cory Batey Rape Trial

On August 9, 2013, four Vanderbilt University football players–Brandon Vandenburg, Cory Batey, Brandon Banks and Jaborian McKenzie–were caught on video carrying an unconscious girl to Vandenberg’s dorm room. Here, they took it in turns to rape and abuse her, as testified by images captured on cellphone cameras.

The prosecution pointed out that the girl, 21, a friend of Brandon Vandenburg, had been drinking heavily; she had consensual sex with Vandenberg the next morning, and she didn’t know she’d been raped. When her roommates pointed out the vomit in her hair and missing shoes, she was initially reluctant to get a medical exam, and when she learned she’d been raped, she didn’t want to believe her date had been involved.

Th football players were dismissed from football team on June 29, 2013 and banned from campus during the six-week investigation that followed. In this excerpt from the trial of Corey Batey, 24, who–according to prosecutors–urinated on the girl, made a racial slur at the end of the attack, and referred to her as a “bitch” in e-mails, Batey explains that his initial story was a fabrication devised by the team’s coach in order to be sure the players all had their story straight. Batey, who claims he blacked out and has no memory of the incident, received the minimum 15-year sentence, and has requested a new trial.

Listen to the episode here.