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Episode 153: Sanel Saint-Simon

On July 28, 2014, Alexandria Chery, 16, an Olympia, Florida High School student, told her mother she was feeling well and wanted to stay home from school. Her mother, Haitian immigrant Rosalie Joseph, agreed. She tried to call Alex at various times during the day, but her daughter didn’t pick up. When Joseph got him, her daughter was missing. She found blood in Alex’s bedroom, along with bleach that appeared to be used to cover up the blood splatter.

Police investigators learned that Alex had told her friends and her older brother Fanzo that her stepfather Sanel Saint Simon, who had raised Alex since she was 5, had begun touching her inappropriately. Fanzo tried to be sure his stepfather was never alone with his sister. However, Saint Simon began entering Alex’s room at night, when everyone was asleep. Her body was found near the Osceola-Polk county line a few days later with stab founds and skull fractures, and Saint-Simon was ultimately charged with first-degree murder. During the trial, Saint-Simon and Joseph testified through a court translator. Saint-Simon was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

In this episode, Alexandria’s friends Alia Garrett and Dana Saint Clair describe how, during a FaceTime chat with Alex and their mutual friend Dana St. Clair, Sanel Saint Simon knocked on the door of Alex’s room, and she asked them to stay on the line because she was afraid. After he left the room, Alex told her friends that her stepfather had “tried to touch my boob.” Defense attorney Peter Schmer tries to ask Alia whether her stepfather had an erection, but Alia, confused and embarrassed, does not know what an erection is. Her honest response foils the attorney’s line of questioning by showing that Alex and her friends are sexually innocent.

Listen to the episode here

Episode 152: Four 911 Calls

had a blood alcohol content of .23 (and Ian passed a polygraph), the death was ruled a tragic accident.

(2) In Oct. 2009 several people who had paid more than $9,000 to attend a motivational retreat in Sedona, Arizona, fell unconscious while taking part in a 2-hour “sweat lodge” session. After one man fell onto the burning rocks, panic broke out and people tried to get out of the lodge. An on-scene nurse attended to the victims and then dialed 911 for help. When dispatchers arrived, more than 50 people needed medical assistance, many of whom were lying on the ground, unable to move. Two participants, James Shore and Kirby Brown, died, and eighteen others were hospitalized after suffering burns, dehydration, breathing problems, kidney failure, and elevated body temperature. Liz Neuman, another attendee, died on October 17 after being comatose for a week. Guru James Arthur Ray was convicted of two negligent homicides and spent 20 months in prison, before being released in 2013.

(3)  In Feb. 2007, shoppers at the Trolley Square shopping center in Salt Lake City, Utah, called 911 to report gunfire inside. Police responded and tracked down Sulejman Talović, 18, who was armed with a shotgun and handgun. For an unknown reason, Talović shot and killed five persons, injured another four, and was killed by police. Police radio audio follows 911 calls from shoppers.

(4) In August 2009, police in Glynn County, Georgia responded to the New Hope mobile home park in response to 911 calls, and found the bodies of seven dead people. Two other persons were injured, including 19-year-old Michael Toler, who died the following day. Later that day, police arrested Guy Heinze, Jr., 20. On October 25, 2013, Heinze was convicted of all eight murders and sentenced to life without parole. Drugs and money were apparently the motive. The first call is Heinz’s neighbor, who hands the phone to Heinze and later the to the trailer park maintenance man. The second call is from the trailer park manager, who had been called by the maintenance man.

Listen to the episode here.

Episode 151: Pastor Lewis Clemons Deposition

This deposition features another sinful apostle (see episode 106). In this case, Apostle Lewis Clemons, of the Church of God in Christ in Columbus, Georgia. Clemons was deposed reluctantly by attorneys for Lakisha Smith, a member of Clemons’ church from 2011-2016, who describes three occasions where the pastor acted inappropriately, on one occasion “anointing her body with oil” as he had been taught to do by “an older pastor.” When Lakisha Smith filed a civil suit against Clemons, another woman came forward with similar accusations. Lequita Jackson, who started attending pastor Lewis Clemons’ church when she was 14 and did not leave it until last month, alleges that Clemons led her into “inappropriate sexual contact.” Jackson, now 30, said Clemons used his position of leadership in the church to make her “do what he wanted and to justify his actions.” She said the married “apostle” twice paid for abortions after getting her pregnant, once when she was 16 and he was 40. The women’s civil suit in was filed Muscogee County Superior Court in July 2017, seeking financial damages and to have Clemons banned from serving as a pastor. The outcome of the case has not been made public.

Listen to the episode here.

Episode 150: Len Kachinsky Stalking Trial Part 2

This episode presents the December 2018 defense case in the trial of Wisconsin lawyer and former Fox Crossing municipal judge Len Kachinsky, who was accused of stalking his court manager Mandy Bartel, as featured in episode 140. Kachinsky was one of the  lawyers defending Brendan Dassey in the Making a Murderer series on Netflix. The stalking charge was punishable by up to 5 years in prison.

His clerk, Mandy Bartelt, said she started feeling uncomfortable with Kachinsky’s behavior. She said he harassed her and retaliated against her when she tried to take their relationship from a friendship to one that was solely professional. In his defense, Kachinsky explains that the two developed a friendship when she started her job and he was hospitalized for a serious illness. The judge says he was confused when Mandy went abruptly from socializing with him and exchanging playful messages to wanting significantly limited contact with Kachinsky, whose quirky behavior was usually considered endearing, according to his attorney.

 Kachinsky said he felt the situation was essentially a personality conflict that the prosecution tried to make into a sexual harassment case. Kachinsky was acquitted of the stalking charges. However, the Wisconsin Supreme Court suspended him from the bench after he was booked into the Winnebago County Jail before formal charges were filed, and a court order limited his communications with Bartelt to business matters. However, in September 2019 he was convicted of violating the order, and has not been reinstated as a judge.

Listen to the episode here.

Episode 149: Sean Foley Case

Sean Foley, 26, didn’t like the fact that his girlfriend, Miranda Goddard, 25, was very close to her stepdad, Jimmy Shelton, who had–as Shelton had admitted–abused and molested her when she was a child. Miranda’s response to the abuse was complicated. From the time she turned 18, she began asking her stepdad for money in exchange for sexual favors. Miranda had got used to using her body to make a living–she worked as a stripper and also appeared in home-made porn. Sean  didn’t believe the sex between them was fully consensual.

On August 28, 2018, after a day of drinking, smoking pot and hanging out at the family home in Blount County, Tennessee, Miranda got Jimmy to apologize for raping and molesting her when she was a child. Sean, overhearing the conversation, began to record it on his cell phone. Later that evening, Sean noticed that Jimmy was sitting on the porch with Miranda, and they were talking about how Jimmy wanted to pay to watch Miranda having sex with other people, and if she let him, he’d buy her a car. At one point, Jimmy grabbed Miranda and pulled him on to his lap. Sean said Miranda looked very uncomfortable but Jimmy wouldn’t let her go. He loaded a gun, but waited 20 minutes before confronting Jimmy with a gun. On tape, Sean says, “You fuck with her again, and I will fucking drop you.” He then said that Jimmy came towards him, and in response, Sean shot him multiple times.

Sean Foley was found not guilty of murder and sentenced to five years and six months in prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter, a Class C felony. This episode contains trial testimony from Miranda Goddard, followed by the testimony of Sean Foley.

Listen to the episode here.

Episode 148: Bob Ward Trial Testimony

In June 2018, millionaire real estate mogul Bob Ward, 65, shot and killed his wife Diane, 54, in the master bedroom of the couple’s ritzy home in Isleworth, Florida. For some time, Bob’s company had been suffering financial losses due to the collapse of the real estate market, and the couple’s cars had been repossessed. They had to sell their home in Altanta, where Diane had friends and was happy, and move to Florida full-time. Bob Ward claims the shooting was a tragic accident. He said his wife had been severely depressed. He said she had a gun, and when he tried to get it away from her, it went off, shooting her in the head. He told the 911 operator that Diane’s death was an accident.

Other members of the family agreed that Diane was depressed, erratic and suicidal, and she drank at least a bottle of red wine every day. Her sister Paula testified that Bob could stay at her home if he was released, and she would even put up her house as collateral for his bond, as he is now broke. Here, Diane Ward’s best friend Christina Steinhaus testifies that Diane was unstable, in a highly volatile mental and emotional state, and thinking and acting in an erratic and life-threatening manner.

The jury opted found him guilty of manslaughter with a firearm, and he was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Episode 147: My Lai Massacre Testimony

In March 1968, Lieutenant William Calley ordered his troops to rape and murder a village of  Vietnamese civilians in a search-and-destroy mission performed on a Viet Cong stronghold known as “Pinkville.” At least 109 civilians were killed, including unarmed woman and children. On September 6, 1969, Calley was formally charged with six specifications of mass murder just a few days before he was due to be released from active service. He was cleared of all charges. Audio in this episode is extracted from Four Hours in My Lai directed by Kevin Sim, a 1989 television documentary made by Yorkshire Television. Testimony in the episode is from members of Charlie Company, in the following order:  Fred Widmer, Radio Officer; Private First Class Varnardo Simpson (committed suicide 1997); Rev Carl Creswell, Chaplain; Sergeant Kenneth Hodges; Warrant Officer Hugh Thompson; Sergeant Ronald Haeberle; Helicopter Gunner Lawrence Colburn; Machine Gunner Harry Stanley; Door Gunner Ronald Ridenhour; Captain Ernest L. Medina; General Kenneth Hudson; Lieutenant William Calley.

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Episode 146: Pamela Smart Trial Testimony

This episode contains testimony from the March 1991 trial of Pamela Smart for conspiracy to commit the murder of her husband, Gregg. This was one of the first trials in the U.S. to allow TV cameras in the courtroom, and Pamela believes this played a significant role in her conviction.

In 1990, at age 22, Pamela began working as a media lab coordinator at a high school in Hampton, New Hampshire. She also joined Project Self-Esteem, a local drug awareness program at the school. Here, she met 15-year-old sophomore Billy Flynn, who was also a volunteer. She also met and became close to her intern, 15-year-old Cecelia Pierce. Here, Cecilia testifies that she noticed that at some point she noticed a change in Pamela and Billy ‘s relationship. She testifies that Pamela told her she “loved Bill,” and that Billy was a virgin before he had sex with Pamela.

Rather than getting a divorce, Pamela allegedly conspired with Billy and three of his friends to kill her 24-year-old husband Greg. She was convicted of conspiracy to commit first degree murder, and was sentenced to life in prison. Billy Flynn and his three friends were released from prison on parole in 2015, but Pamela remains behind bars. This episode contains testimony from Cecilia Pierce and Pamela Smart.

Listen to the episode here

Episode 145: Luis Toledo Family Murder Trial

Kevin Dredden and Yessenia Suarez both worked at American K9 in Lake Mary, Florida, a military dog-training company. Although both were married with children, both were having marital problems and in early 2013, began to confide in each other. When they were both scheduled to go on a business trip to Alabama in October 2013, Kevin and Yessenia, 28, began an affair. When they returned to Deltona, they planned to get together at a hotel along the I-4 corridor but Kevin called off the meeting because he was worried his wife would notice the money for the hotel room missing from their account.

Meanwhile, Yessenia’s husband, Luis Toledo, 38, was suspicious that his wife was having an affair when she started talking about divorce. He installed spyware on her phone, saw the messages from Dredden, and showed up at American K9 on Oct. 22, 2013, and started yelling at Suarez. Kevin said it seemed things were getting out of hand, so he walked over to try and calm things, but this made Luis, a high-ranking member of the Latin Kings, even angrier, so Kevin left. He called Yessenia later that night to see if she was alright, and he said she sounded stressed and her speech was slurred.  He got a text from Yessenia’s phone about six hours later, but police claim the text was sent by Luis Toledo after killing his wife and their two children, Thalia, 9, and Michael, 8. Their bodies have never been found.

The jury trial took place in St. Augustine, Florida in November 2018 in front of Judge Raul Zambrano. This episode features the state’s attorney questioning Kevin Dredden about his affair with Yessenia.

Listen to the episode here.

Episode 144: Jessica Chambers Case

This horrible crime took place in Courtland, Mississippi, on December 6, 2014, when, as firefighters Daniel Cole, Brandy Davis, and Shane Mills testify here, cheerleader Jessica Chambers, 19, was found burning next to her car which was also on fire. She had burns on all of her body. A flammable liquid had been poured all over her, down her throat, and up her nose. Early the next morning, she died as a result of her injuries. Before she died, she was able to tell the firefighters that the person who did this to her was named “Eric” or “Derrick.”

Jessica had spent the morning with two friends, then went to her mother’s house where she took a nap. Later in the afternoon, she left after receiving a text from someone. She told her mother that she was going to get something to eat and clean out her car. At around 5:30PM, she went to a gas station about a mile-and-a-half from where her body was found. This was the last time she was seen alive.

No-one named “Eric” or “Derrick” was ever found, but texts on Jessica’s phone suggested she had told a friend, Quinton Tellis, that she was unable to meet him that night for sex. Tellis was tried twice for the crime, and both times mistrials were declared. (This audio is from the first trial, in 2017). However, in July 2015, Tellis was arrested in Louisiana for the sadistic murder of a different young lady, a Taiwanese exchange student named Ming-Chen Hsiao. He is currently in custody at the Ouachita Correctional Center in Ouachita Parish, Louisiana.

Listen to the episode here.