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Episode 117: Corn Rake Murder Trial

This episode contains the testimony of Todd Mullis, 43, on the stand during his trial for the murder of his wife Amy, 39. Mullis, an Iowa hog farmer, testifies that he was doing chores with his wife in the hog barn when Amy, who’d recently had surgery, seemed dizzy and weak. She left the hog barn on an errand, and an hour later, noticing she hadn’t returned, Todd sent his 13-year-old son Trystan to find out if she was okay. Trystan discovered his mother crouched over on her hands and knees in the doorway of the barn with a corn rake sticking out of her back. It first it seemed like a freak accident–Amy appeared to have got dizzy and fallen on the rake while she was changing a light bulb. But an autopsy showed that Amy’s body had at least six stab wounds from the rake.
Todd testifies that Amy had cheated on him in the past, but they had been to therapy and got over it. However, it seemed as though around the time of her death, Todd had discovered she his wife was having an affair with the Jerry Frasher, his field manager. The two would have sex during the day by the side of the road, or in hog pens. Frasher claimed that Amy was “scared to death” of Todd, and that the hog farmer would “kill her” if he discovered their secret relationship, rather than lose his children and the farm in a divorce.

Listen to the episode here.

Episode 116: Incel Uprising: Elliot Rodger/ Alek Minassian

The first piece of audio in this episode is “Elliot Rodger’s Retribution,” posted online by the 22-year-old before his Isla Vista rampage on May 23, 2014. Roger explains that he is angry about being unable to get a girlfriend ever though he is obviously “gorgeous,” “magnificent,” and a “supreme gentleman.”
This is followed by audio from the police interrogation of software development student Alek Minassian after he drove a van into a Toronto crowd, killing 10 and injuring 16. In the police interview, Minassian, who has Asperber’s syndrome, identifies himself as an “incel” and, describes his mass rampage as part of the “incel uprising” (confused Detective Rob Thomas keeps referring “incels” as “celebs”). Speaking in a monotone, emotionless voice, Minassian describes how he drew inspiration from other incels on 4Chan who used violence as a form of retribution for “being unable to get laid.” In a Facebook post the day of his rampage, Minassian wrote, “All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!”
Minassian tells Thomas about a Halloween party in 2013, where he tried to speak with young women, but was often ignored or laughed at. “I consider myself a supreme gentleman,” he said, adding: “I was angry that they would give their love and affection to obnoxious brutes.”

Listen to the episode here.

Episode 115: Murder of Florida Physician Teresa Sievers

This episode contains audio of Curtis Wayne Wright, Jr. testifying at the trial of co-conspirator Jimmy Ray Rogers about his part in the murder of Dr. Teresa Sievers at her home in Bonita Springs, Florida in June 2015. Dr. Sievers, 46, was a popular and charismatic holistic health care doctor, married with two children. She was beaten to death in her kitchen with a hammer.
The plot to murder Dr. Sievers was hatched at the Missouri wedding of Wright, 51. Wright was a boyhood friend (and lookalike) of Teresa’s husband, Mark Sievers, also 51, and a longtime felon. On the way to his own wedding, Curtis left some hot dogs in a freezer and returned to pick them up. His buddy Mark Sievers went with him, and during the trip, Mark told Curtis that his wife was going to leave him and take their two daughters, and he wanted to have her killed. Wright promised he would take care of it for a share of the life insurance payment. To assist him in the murder, Wright called on his old friend Jimmy “the Hammer” Rogers, but the two hitmen made a mess of things and were soon tracked by the FBI.
Wright pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, and struck a deal for 25 years in prison. In exchange, he agreed to tell jurors about what happened to the victim. Wright says he approached Dr. Sievers from behind, intending to choke her, but accidentally kicked a dog bowl, creating a sound like a gong. At this point he hit her with a hammer, and Sievers fought back. Then Rodgers, who also had a hammer, came out of nowhere, and went berserk, hitting her until she fell down dead on the floor. Wright took a deal for 25 years. Rogers was convicted of second degree murder and is awaiting sentencing. Mark Sievers has yet to be tried.

Listen to the episode here.

Episode 114: Amber Guyger Cop Shooting Case

  Amber Guyger, 31, was charged with the murder of 26-year-old Botham Jean, a Dallas accountant and native of St. Lucia. On the stand, she breaks down in tears several times as she gives her version of what happened on Sept. 6, 2018.
Her attorneys argue that Guyger fired in self-defense after mistaking Jean for a burglar and contend the shooting was a tragic mistake. They say Guyger returned home exhausted after a long shift, got off the elevator on the wrong floor of her apartment complex, and went to the wrong apartment. The door was open and the apartment was dark. When the shadowy person inside began approaching her at a “fast-paced” walk, she said she called out, “Let me see your hands! Let me see your hands!” then fired her gun.
Witness Joshua Brown, 28, said he watched a sobbing Guyger pace back and forth in front of Jean’s door while on the phone, telling the person on the other end of the call that she had mistaken the apartment for her own. Guyger was found guilty and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Joshua Brown was found shot to death just days after giving testimony in the case.

Listen to the episode here.

Episode 113: FSU Law Professor Murder

FSU law professor Dan Markel was shot and killed in his car outside his home in Tallahassee on July 19, 2014. Markel had been involved in a bitter dispute with his ex-wife Wendi Adelson, also a law professor at FSU, about the custody of their two sons. Suspicion fell on Wendi’s brother Charlie Adelson, a playboy  dentist who had a lot of friends on the shady side of the law. Three of these friends–Charlie’s ex-girlfriend Katie Magbanua, Katie’s ex-boyfriend Sigfredo Garcia, and henchman Luis Rivera–were tried for involvement in the murder. Rivera turned State’s Evidence and confessed to the trio’s role in the crime. Garcia was found guilty of first-degree murder, but Magbanua’s case was declared a mistrial.
This episode includes audio of Wendi Adelson, who testified under a grant of immunity that she was not involved in the plot to kill her ex-husband. Her testimony is followed by that of her ex-boyfriend Jeff Lacasse, who said that Wendi told him that Charlie was looking into hiring a hit man to kill Dan.

Listen to the episode here

Episode 112: Manson follower Brooks Poston police interview

Brooks Poston was a member of the Manson family who testified for the prosecution during the Tate/Labianca murder trial. This recording was made on 3 October 1969, after Manson’s arrest for the Tate/LaBianca murders, when Poston was interviewed by the Inyo County police. As Poston explains, he was a devout follower who believed in Manson’s magic powers. When he was first introduced to Manson, at Dennis Wilson’s Sunset Boulevard home, Charlie walked up to Poston and kissed his feet. Poston, who’d just taken some LSD, was deeply affected by the meeting. For a while, he believed Manson was Jesus Chris, and took his teachings literally.
In his interview, Poston describes life with the Manson family at the Spahn ranch, and the family’s beliefs, including the idea of Helter Skelter. After the trial, he formed a band called Desert Sun, which recorded two of Manson’s songs.

Listen to the episode here.

Episode 111: Letalvis Cobbins Confession

On Saturday, January 6, 2007, in Knoxville, Tennessee, Channon Christian, 21, and Christopher Newsom, 23, went out on a date for dinner a restaurant in Knoxville, Tennessee. On the way home, when they pulled off the road to kiss, they were hijacked, bound and blindfolded by three males, and driven to a rundown rental house.
When the couple didn’t arrive home, the police were called and a search began. On Monday, Channon’s car was found two blocks away from the rental house. On Tuesday January 9, Christopher Newsom’s body was found dumped by a railroad track. He had been raped, short, and his body partially burned. When police entered the rental house, they found Channon Christian’s body in a trash can in the kitchen. She’d been raped, beaten, choked, and left to suffocate.
The perpetrators were Eric D. Boyd, Letalvis D. Cobbins, his brother Lemaricus Davidson, George Thomas, and Vanessa Coleman. All had multiple prior felony convictions, and none of them cooperated with prosecutors, with each claiming their own innocence. After six years of legal wrangling, trial, Davidson was convicted and sentenced to death by lethal injection. Cobbins was convicted and sentenced to life without parole. Thomas got 35 years, and Eric Boyd got 18 years. Vanessa Coleman, Cobbins’s girlfriend, got a sentence of 35 years for facilitating the crimes.
Since the victims were white and middle class, and the defendants poor and black, some accused the national media of reverse discrimination by failing to give the case the same attention paid to white-on-black hate crimes. However, no evidence demonstrated the race of the victims was a motivation in their killing.

Listen to the episode here.

Episode 110: Brooke Skylar Richardson Trial Testimony

When Brooke Skylar Richardson, 18, discovered she was pregnant, she was afraid to tell either her parents, who would have been shocked and disappointed, or her boyfriend Brandon Saylor,

Richardson is charged with aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter, endangering children, tampering with evidence and abuse of a corpse for the incident that occurred in May 2017.

Brandon Saylor, Richardson’s boyfriend in the winter and spring of 2017. The 21-year-old said he did not know Richardson was pregnant when they went to prom in May 2017. He only learned about it about on television when the remains were recovered.

In the hours after the birth, well before he or anyone knew there was a birth, she texted Saylor: “Ill tell you all about it later but last night was like the worst ever and I didn’t go to sleep till 5:30 but I feel soooooo much better this morning I’m happy.”

The prosecution also showed a series of text messages between Richardson and her mother just before and after the baby was born, talking about getting birth control and weight loss. The jury was again shown a photo of Richardson working out that the gym on the night after giving birth in which she was tracking her weight loss.

Skylar was found not guilty of aggravated murder and involuntary manslaughter, but will spend three years on probation for “gross abuse of a corpse.” This episode contains excerpts from the trial: Brandon Saylor on direct, and Detective Christopher Wong (cellphone expert) on direct, reading texts between Skylar and her mom, Kim Richardson.

Listen to the episode here.

Episode 109: Pensacola CSI Love Triangle Murder

Pensacola private investigator and former police officer Taylor Wright, 33, was last seen on September 7, 2017. Taylor had been going through a difficult divorce and had taken money that the court had ordered her to pay to her ex-husband, Jeff, who’d been given custody of their young son, Drake. When she went missing, gun-loving Taylor had been living with a woman, P.E. teacher Cassandra Waller, but this couple, too, were at odds.
Cassandra had just discovered that Taylor was cheating on her with Ashley McArthur, 42, a former crime scene technician for the Sheriff’s Office. Taylor had asked Ashley to keep $34,000 in her safety deposit box so she wouldn’t have to pay it to Jeff. Now, she was having problems getting the money back from Ashley.

Investigators learned that Ashley, who was married, had many lovers, including Brandon Beatty, owner of Stix billiard hall, and Audrey Warner, who tended bar there. Her phone and bank records showed that on August 16, 2017, a cashier’s check for $34,000 had been deposited into her account and had since been spent. Taylor’s body was discovered on October 19 buried under concrete and potting soil on a property neighboring Ashley’s aunt’s horse farm in north Escambia County. The jury found Ashley McArthur guilty of first-degree premeditated murder with a firearm. 

This  episode contains excerpts from Jeff Wright on direct, Cassandra Waller on direct and cross, Audrey Warner on direct and cross, and Zachary McArthur on direct.

Listen to the episode here.

Episode 108: Jerrod Murray Confession

In December 2012, Jerrod Murray, 18, a freshman at East Central University, Oklahoma, asked fellow student Generro Sanchez, also 18, for ride to Wal-Mart in exchange for $20. Once inside the vehicle, Murray pulled out a gun and forced Sanchez to drive five miles north of Asher, Murray’s hometown. While driving, Sanchez began begging Murray […]