Skip to content

Episode 57: Antoinette Tuff 911 Call

On Monday Aug. 20, 2013, a young man with a AK47 and close to 500 rounds of ammunition briefly took control of the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy just east of Atlanta. Michael Hill had not been taking his medication and was not mentally stable.

The students were evacuated and the school went into lockdown mode. When police arrived, Hill repeatedly fired shots at them. The intermediary between Hill and the police was a school bookkeeper named Antoinette Tuff, who was left alone in the front office with the shooter. In between negotiating with the police on Hill’s behalf, Tuff told him about her life struggles, including the collapse of her marriage after 30 years, and her struggles with opening her own business. She eventually convinced Hill to surrender, put his weapons aside, and allow the police come in to take him to the hospital.

“I just want you to know that I love you, though, O.K.?” she tells him as he prepares to give himself up. “And I’m proud of you.” Ms. Tuff sounds completely calm, poised, articulate and in control all the way through the call, maintaining a good rapport with both Hill (whom she refers to, before she knows his name, as “the gentleman,” and then “Michael”), and the 911 operator. Yet when the police finally arrive to arrest Hill, she breaks down in  relief

Listen to the episode here.

Episode 56: Jodi Arias Police Phone Calls

These are recordings of phone calls made between Jodi Arias and Arizona Police Detective Esteban Flores on June 10 and June 25, 2008. When handsome young Mormon salesman Travis Alexander was found brutally murdered in his home in Mesa, Arizona on June 9,, his friends all told Flores he should investigate Travis’s “stalker” ex-girlfriend, Jodi Arias. “I talked to a number of people about you,” Flores tells Jodi, “and I hate to say this, I don’t mean to make you feel bad, but they didn’t have the best things to say about you.”

Arias called to speak with Detective Flores the night Alexander’s body was discovered, but he didn’t return her call until the following day, after Jodi had called him again and left another message. She tells Flores that she wants to offer him her assistance, presenting herself as a devoted and heartbroken ex-girlfriend. In fact, she tells Flores that she was the one who broke up with Travis due to his infidelity, and they were both trying to “move on.” Flores said he suspected Arias right from the start, and it’s pretty clear why. In these conversations, her show of grief and concern give way very quickly to oddly flirtatious reminiscences, boasting about Travis’s “soft, Egyptian cotton linen” sheets and his “Intelligel bed,” asking Flores for discretion while at the same time spilling her soul. Her verbosity makes it easy for Flores to back her into a corner and confront her about when and from where she last accessed  Travis’s e-mail and social media accounts.

On April 13, 2015, Jodi Arias was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

Listen to the episode here.

Episode 55: Grim Sleeper Police Interrogation

On July 7, 2010, the LAPD reported that an arrest had been made in the case of the serial killer responsible for the deaths of at least ten poor black women, many drug addicted prostitutes, in south central Los Angeles between 1980 and 2010 (detectives later estimated the perpetrator may have killed up to 25 women).  The case became controversial when it was revealed that the LAPD had originally marked the deaths with the identification “NHI” (meaning No Humans Involved, an internal code used for cases involving chronic drug users and prostitutes).

The suspect was 57-year-old car mechanic Lonnie David Franklin Jr. As the police interviewer reveals, Franklin was arrested after DNA was retrieved from the crime scenes. When there was no exact match with any of the profiles in California’s DNA profile database, police searched the database for stored profiles that demonstrated sufficient similarity to allow police to infer a familial relationship. They found similar DNA belonging to Franklin’s son, Christopher, who had been convicted of a felony weapons charge. Detective then obtained a piece of discarded pizza containing Franklin’s DNA to make the match. The fact he does not confess is irrelevant: the DNA profile has already spoken. To add insult to injury, Franklin refers to two of the victims, when shown their pictures, as “fat” and “butt ugly.”

On May 5, 2016, a jury convicted him of killing nine women and one teenage girl, and on August 10, 2016, Lonnie Franklin Jr. was sentenced to death.

Listen to the episode here.

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.