The Night Stalker Part 1. April, 1984. Los Angeles, California. A home intruder is raping, robbing, and killing residents in the Los Angeles area. A 79 year-old woman who lived in a Glassel Park apartment was raped and stabbed to death after her killer entered through a window. Her place was ransacked. There would be many more victims. Determined detectives would gather clues such as fingerprints and shoeprints but the investigation was complicated by the randomness of the attacks and no apparent victim type. Anyone could fall prey to this killer. While the media would give this boogeyman many nicknames, only one would stick. The man who caused sleepless nights for so many would become known as The Night Stalker. In this first episode we discuss Richard Ramirez's origins, his childhood, and his early crimes. (Part 2 will be released on April 2nd, 2017)
Patricia Esparza. April 16, 1995. Irvine, California. A body is discovered on the side of a road wrapped in strips of blue towels. It will be reported to the authorities. The man had clearly been viciously attacked with something sharp. An autopsy revealed this weapon to likely be a meat cleaver. Investigators will establish a link between the dead man and an incident from hours earlier when a man named Gonzalo Ramirez was abducted by people driving a white van. Interviews with suspects will reveal the motive for the killing. In this case, the dead man was accused of raping a young woman who later told her boyfriend about it. Prosecutors will charge the woman, respected psychology professor Patricia Esparza, many years later with murder. Did she send her boyfriend to murder her rapist? Or did prosecutors go too far in charging her with murder?
Ronnie Long. April 25, 1976. Concord, North Carolina. A man enters a home through an upstairs window and rapes the woman who lives there. Detectives work quickly to solve the case. Within 15 days of the attack, the woman will head to court after being asked to go there to see if she could recognize the man who had raped her. After an African-American man named Ronnie Long walks by where she is sitting, she positively identifies him as the one responsible. Police had discovered strong similarities between her description of the man and Ronnie Long and what they were wearing. With that, they believe they have the right man in custody. Later, a jury will agree and find him guilty of rape and burglary. He was given two concurrent 80 year sentences. Later, though, Ronnie's legal team will start to learn the truth about the evidence in the case and realize that there were serious issues with the investigation and the prosecution of Ronnie Long. Did the jury convict the right man? Or did the State prosecute an innocent person?
Harold Henthorn. September 29, 2012. Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. A man surprised his wife with a meticulously planned hiking trip in Rocky Mountain National Park for their 12th wedding anniversary. The weather was calm and the views were amazing. Tragedy would strike after his wife, Toni, fell from a cliff. Due to their remote location and the lack of light, rescuers arrived too late to save her. An investigation quickly focused on the husband, Harold Henthorn. The FBI believed that this was probably no accident. Adding to his guilt was the mysterious death of Harold's first wife, Sandra. She was killed when the suv she was under fell on her. She had been out with Harold that night for a drive one evening when he said one of the tires felt mushy and needed to be changed. Also common to both wives were the life insurance policies that Harold had taken out on them. Policies worth hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars. Did Harold murder his wives for the money? Or is he just very unlucky?
Sonia Cacy. November 10, 1991. Fort Stockton, Texas. A woman moves into the home of her uncle, Bill Richardson, to care for him after his cataract surgery. A month later, multiple fires are reported on November 2nd, 1991. The woman and her uncle fear that someone is attempting to harm them. Days later, another fire would break out that claimed the life of Bill Richardson. An investigation into this fire would result in the arrest, trial, and conviction of Sonia Cacy for the murder of her uncle. Over time, arson investigators and the Innocence Project of Texas are able to establish that the fire was not due to arson. When the facts of the case are revealed it becomes obvious that some of those responsible for her conviction knew all along that she did not start the fire. Judgment, corruption, lack of empathy, and junk science all played a role in this unbelievable true crime case.
Cullen Davis. 1976-1978. Fort Worth, Texas. An oil heir from Fort Worth, Texas is estranged from his second wife. While the divorce process continues, the judge seems to be a real thorn in his side. Increasing his monthly payments to her and having him cover legal fees. Worse yet, she gets to stay in the house and all business decisions must be cleared by Judge Eidson. On August 2nd, 1976, the man's estranged wife, Priscilla, returns home with her boyfriend and they are ambushed by a man wearing a wig and carrying a gun in his hands and wrapped in black plastic. The man will shoot them both. She will somehow make it to a neighbor's house and the police will be called. Found dead at the home was her boyfriend as well as her youngest child, 12 year-old Andrea. Another man was injured with a shot to his spine who had arrived with his girlfriend shortly after. Priscilla, as well as the other two survivors, would name the attacker. They said it was Cullen Davis, who was married to Priscilla. He would be brought to trial for the murders, but these were not the only crimes that he would be charged with. He would also be caught on tape by the FBI paying a man for the murder of Judge Eidson. His divorce judge wasn't actually murdered, but Cullen was tricked into believing he was and handed over $25k. Two trials occurred with very good evidence against him in each. The results of these trials puts Cullen Davis right up there with Robert Durst and OJ Simpson.
The Last Master Outlaw. In 1971, a man boarded a plane and would demand $200k in cash. The flight crew believed that this man, whose name was given as Dan Cooper, had carried a bomb aboard the aircraft in a briefcase and the threat was taken seriously. Later, after acquiring the ransom money, he would parachute out of the plane with the money. His identity was never discovered. Many years later, a team of researchers led by Thomas J. Colbert would reveal the name of the man they discovered to be the hijacker of the Boeing 727. In 2016, a book was published with the title, 'The Last Master Outlaw' by Colbert who was also on the History Channel's documentary, 'D.B. Cooper: Case Closed?' released that same year. On this episode, Colbert explains the story behind the research that led he and his team to the most famous hijacker of all time. A man that will forever be known as D. B. Cooper.
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John Christie. March 31, 1953. 10 Rillington Place, Notting Hill, London. A serial killer operates under the guise of being helpful. Luring women into his place under the pretext of an intent to cure them of an illness or to perform abortions, he would render them unconscious with coal gas before raping and strangling them. Among his known eight victims was his own wife, Ethel. Despite the warning signs, he was able to do this for a decade before he made a serious error and his evil deeds began to come to light. The victims of John Christie would be found both inside and outside his home. With that, a terrible truth was revealed about a man that Christie had testified against in court a few years earlier. A man who was later put to death for murdering his daughter and suspected of killing his own wife.
Kerry Max Cook. Tyler, Texas. June 10, 1977. A young woman named Linda Jo Edwards is brutally murdered in her room. Her roommate, Paula Rudolph, will describe seeing a silver-haired man she saw standing in Linda's doorway. Despite the description, a psychologist will create a profile of the killer that steers the investigation towards a bartender named Kerry Max Cook. This started a 40+ year nightmare for him as he fought a system intent on getting him convicted despite evidence pointing towards the woman's ex-boyfriend. In any case in which both the victim and the wrongly convicted have been failed by the justice system, most would support and encourage them to make a deal that illustrates the failures of the investigation, identifies the actual murderer, and exonerates the convicted. When it comes to this case, though, such results seem unattainable. Join us as we discuss the case and ask Kerry Max Cook what it will take for justice to finally be served in this decades old case.
Jamison Family Deaths. October, 08, 2009. Red Oak, Oklahoma. Bobby and Sherilynn Jamison, along with their daughter, 6 year-old Madyson, drive out to a remote area near Red Oak, Oklahoma to look at property. They are intending to move out there from Eufaula, Oklahoma. After this, no one hears from the family again. A search involving over 100 law enforcement and civilians fails to turn up the family's whereabouts, but their truck is located. Inside the truck is their now emaciated dog and many of their personal items. It would be four more years before their remains are discovered about 2.7 miles from where their truck was found. What could have happened to this family? Rumors suggested many possibilities: possible cult involvement, drugs and gangs, as well as strange behavior by Bobby and Sherilynn in the time leading up to their disappearance.
Lester Bower. Oct 08, 1983. Sherman, Texas. Four men are discovered murdered in a hangar at the B&B ranch near Sherman, Texas. An investigation will uncover a prime suspect by the name of Lester Bower. He was to meet up there with the others to purchase an ultralight aircraft not long before the killings occurred. For some time, Lester maintained that he didn't go to the hangar and wasn't buying the ultralight. A search warrant was issued and evidence was found on his property. Including the very ultralight that was offered to him for sale. A trial will result in his conviction and he will be sentenced to death. With no eyewitnesses, no murder weapon, no fingerprints and a seemingly clean record up to that point, many believe Lester Bower to be innocent of the crimes. Was there evidence that proves that he was responsible for the murders? Or was he a victim of a justice system looking to quickly close a case?
Clifford Olson. British Columbia, Canada. 1980-1981. A career criminal, Clifford Olson escalated his crimes from scams and thefts to rape and murder. From November 1980 through July 1981, he abducted, raped, & murdered kids ranging in age from 9 to 18. He would be arrested in August of 1981. In a controversial move, he was offered a 'cash for bodies' deal that would pay 100k dollars into a trust fund for his wife if he gave up information on 11 murders. The families of the victims were disgusted. Olson wasn't merely content with committing his crimes. He also taunted his victims' families. We discuss how Clifford's life began, how he operated, as well as whether or not the deal the Attorney General authorized was a reasonable one. Olson was a serial killer who preceded Robert Pickton and Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo. The Beast of British Columbia may have murdered many more before finally losing his freedom forever.
The Crewe Murders. June, 1970. Pukekawa, New Zealand. A successful farming couple have been married for four years and have an 18 month-old daughter. Things are going quite well for them save for some troubling occurrences. A burglary at their farmhouse is followed by arson fires at their home and their barn. Is someone out to get them? Harvey and Jeannette would go missing in June of 1970. Jeannette's father, Len Demler, would visit the home and find young Rochelle in her cot, but no sign of her parents other than bloodstains and signs that furniture had been moved. The Crewe's bound bodies would later be found in the Waikato River which helped authorities focus on a suspect. Evidence would mount and a conviction would twice be secured before Arthur Allen Thomas was pardoned. Thomas maintained his innocence while police would be forced to admit evidence may have been planted against him. Much like the Steven Avery case, questionable evidence and suggestions that an innocent man was framed popped up. Why was justice not done in this case?
Diane Schuler. July 26, 2009. Mount Pleasant, New York. The 2009 Taconic State Parkway crash resulted in eight deaths and three injuries. Half of those who died were young children. At the center of the mystery is a woman who was a successful executive and responsible mother. When toxicology reports indicate that she was driving with a blood alcohol level of 2.5 times the legal limit, many who knew her could not accept the lab results. They rarely saw her drink. They spoke about her character and her devotion to her family. Could she have been a closet alcoholic? Witnesses stated that she had been driving a red Ford Windstar aggressively in the ninety minutes or so before the crash. Could such a responsible person knowingly put so many others' lives at risk? Is there any possibility that a medical issue was behind this? Justin & Aaron discuss the possible scenarios that led to the fatal collision that occurred in 2009 as well as what happened later to those left behind after the deaths of their loved ones.
Death Of Kathy Wangler. September 4th, 2006. Lima, Ohio. A man wakes up to the sound of an alarm. It's the carbon monoxide detector. He will hurry upstairs to check on his wife. She appeared to be having a seizure. He then called 911 to get her help. No one could save her, though. She was pronounced dead at the hospital after attempts to revive her had failed. While Mark moves on with his life, getting remarried 14 months after his wife Kathy's death, her family pressures police to investigate the anesthesiologist. More than three years after the death of his wife he is charged with her murder. Dr. Mark Wangler would profess his innocence. He would state that his wife's death was an accident. His two grown sons voiced their support for him as did his new wife, Esther. Kathy's family and friends did not believe him. They said Mark was verbally abusive to her and wanted to avoid a costly divorce. Was a faulty water heater to blame as Mark claims? Or did he set his wife up to die?
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Sky Metalwala. November 06, 2011. Bellevue, Washington. Just days after a mediation session grants visitation rights to her husband, a mother of two needs to take her sick two year-old child to see a doctor. On the way, though, her car stalls. She opts to walk back to a gas station with her four year-old daughter. Leaving her younger, sick child behind in the car. When she later returns, the car is empty and her child is nowhere to be found. An investigation fails to support the mother's story, though, and the boy's disappearance begins to look more like foul play. Did a stranger take Sky Metalwala from a parked car? Or is his mother, Julia Biryukova, responsible for what happened to her son?
TWA Flight 800. July 17, 1996. JFK International Airport. Trans World Airlines Flight 800 was to takeoff for Paris, France at around 7pm EST. Various issues kept it from taking off until 8:19pm. Just 12 minutes into the flight, at 8:31pm, the plane exploded. Efforts were made to rescue anyone alive in the Atlantic Ocean from the destroyed Boeing 747, but none of the 230 passengers and crew had survived. Terrorism was suspected early on as the United States was facing threats at home and abroad. As the investigation continued, though, the evidence began to point to an issue with the plane itself. Or did it?
Mothman. West Virginia. From November 1966 to December 1967, many strange sightings and occurrences were happening in Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Unidentified flying objects, strange men in black suits, & even a large, winged human-like creature named the Mothman. It all culminated in a tragedy known as The Silver Bridge collapse. Forty-six people died when rush hour traffic, backed up on and off the almost 40 years old structure, went down into and near the Ohio River. Some say that the Mothman was a warning. Others believe that the Mothman caused the collapse. Another theory suggests that the killing of a Shawnee Chieftan about 200 years before was the reason for the disaster. Just what was going on in West Virginia back then? John Keel's book, 'The Mothman Prophecies', is full of information on these strange goings on. Justin & Aaron will break it all down for you in this tale of legends, sightings, and disasters.
The Greenbrier Ghost. Greenbrier County, West Virginia. 1897. Mary Heaster did what she could to vet the men that were interested in seeing her daughter. She didn't have much success. Her daughter would become pregnant just before one man left. She would also marry a man just a few weeks after meeting him. A drifter named Erasmus Trout Shue. When the young woman dies unexpectedly, her husband seems to be overcome with grief. So much so that he will not leave her side until after the funeral. The investigation is closed as no foul play is suspected. When Zona's mother asks the prosecutor re-open the case, she has an unlikely source for the information she has implicating her son-in-law in the crime.
Steven & Cary Stayner. Merced, California. 1972. A 7 year-old boy named Steven Stayner is abducted by a pedophile. He is kept for 7 years and suffers daily abuse. In 1980, his abductor then kidnaps a 5 year-old boy named Timothy White. Concerned for the boy's safety, Steven will escape and take him to the authorities. His heroic actions earn Steven celebrity status and people everywhere want to talk to him. Two decades later, his brother Cary Stayner makes headlines as well. As a serial killer.
Ed Gein. Plainfield, Wisconsin. November, 1957. A man who did odd jobs was either pitied or teased by those who knew him. Behind the scenes, he had grown up in an abusive home. He would lose his entire family in a span of less than five years. It was the loss of his mother, though, that seemed to have a profound effect on Edward Theodore Gein. Unbeknownst to the others in the town, Ed was robbing graves of recently buried women at night from local cemeteries. In his quest to bring his mother back to life he would also resort to capturing and killing women who reminded him of his mom. In November of 1957, authorities would seek out Ed after the abduction and murder of a store owner named Bernice Worden. Her son was convinced that Ed was responsible. It wouldn't take long before Gein's nightmarish collections would be revealed. Who was Ed Gein and why did he do the things that he did?
Cropsey & The Killing Season. Urban legends and unsolved serial murders. Articles, books and documentaries attempt to tell the stories of these mysteries. On this episode Justin and Aaron speak with filmmakers Joshua Zeman and Rachel Mills about Zeman's film Cropsey as well as their new docuseries,The Killing Season, which covers the Long Island Serial Killer, the West Mesa murders and more. The Killing Season is debuting on A&E on November 12th, 2016. It takes an investigative look at the connections between five unsolved serial killer cases in the United States.
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James Keown. September 2004. Waltham, Massachusetts. He seemed to have it all; an adoring wife, a good job, a luxury car, and an acceptance letter from Harvard Business School. When he and his wife moved from Missouri to Massachusetts so that he could pursue his degree, things were looking even more promising. Soon after moving to the Boston suburb, though, his wife Julie started becoming ill. To those who knew the couple he appeared to take great care of his wife. Just months later, though, Julie would fall into a coma and die. She had been poisoned. An investigation that began during the final days of her life would start to uncover the truth about James Keown. The smooth talking, intelligent man Julie had fallen for and married was a con artist who lied about everything. Computer forensics would reveal his sinister intentions.
Holly Bobo. April 13, 2011. Parsons, Tennessee. 20 year-old Holly Bobo gets up early to prepare for the day. She is to take an exam to complete her nursing degree. Shortly after 7:30am a neighbor hears a scream. Her dog will start barking and her brother will wake up. He will look outside and spot two people kneeling by Holly's car. He believes that his sister is speaking with her boyfriend. He cannot make out the conversation but he does hear her say, "No. Why?" It sounds like they might be going through a breakup. After speaking with his mother, though, he learns that her boyfriend is off hunting turkey and that the man that is with her is a stranger. His mother implores him to grab his gun and shoot him. By the time Clint Bobo understands the danger she may be in it is too late. She and the strange man have disappeared into the woods. Holly Bobo would never be seen alive again.
Bart Whitaker. December 10, 2003. Sugar Land, Texas. A 24 year-old man and his family go out one evening to celebrate his graduation from Sam Houston State University. Upon arriving home they are ambushed by a gunman waiting inside. The mother and her 19 year-old son are killed. The father and the older son whose graduation they were celebrating are hospitalized with injuries. The investigation finds its target early on as information comes in showing that the celebration was for nothing. Bart Whitaker was not graduating college. More people would come forward and this young man who was so loved by his family was found to be hiding a dark secret.