It was the best of times, then the worst of times, for two con men — and their marks — as they separately traveled America using one of the country’s most famous and powerful names to wheedle their way into the hearts and minds of the rich. And ultimately, for one, to commit murder. What drove these two very different men — one French, one German — to call themselves Rockefeller? And why did people who should know better buy it?
It’s a funny, shocking, tragic and ultimately sad story.
Everyone makes stalking jokes. Everyone. But from the time it first came into modern public perception as a thing, to the recent murder of singer Christina Grimmie, and for millions of regular people who aren’t celebrities and have to live with it every day, it’s not a joke at all.
What’s happened since the vicious 1982 attack on actress Theresa Saldana, or the 1989 murder of actress Rebecca Schaeffer? Or even since the June murder of Grimmie? And when did we actually start calling it stalking? And what’s the deal with “Catcher in the Rye”?
Also, we talk to lawyer Matt Nichols about why it’s okay to revoke bail for some people charged with big crimes, and our recommendations include old-timey movies that we like even though they’re not in color.
We don’t mail it in when we discuss the spate of US Postal Service-related shootings over a 20-year period that spurred the phrase “going postal,” particularly one in Edmond, Oklahoma, in 1986 that changed the way we look at mass shootings. Patrick Shirrell wasn’t the first disgruntled worker to shoot up his workplace, but when he killed 14 coworkers, it riveted the nation and brought us in to a new era. His was the deadliest of dozens of post office and/or postal working shootings from the early 1980s to early 2000s that, fairly or unfairly, gave us a new phrase for people who kill in the workplace.
Nearly 16 years after Washington intern Chandra Levy disappeared and nearly 15 after her remains were found in Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C., police are no closer to convicting someone of her murder. That’s despite one trial and conviction, a scheduled then dumped retrial and the extremely unhelpful “goofiness” of Gary Condit, the California congressman the 24-year-old was having a secret affair with when she disappeared.
Sex, drugs, jailhouse snitches, sleazy middle-aged men who lead on pretty young things — this story had it all. All, that is, but some resolution. Find out everything you ever wanted to know about the Chandra Levy case, and maybe even some things you didn’t, in Crime & Stuff Episode 13.
And, yes, he’s back! Ask a Lawyer, with Matt Nichols of Nichols & Churchill in Portland, Maine, tells us why jailhouse snitches aren’t any worse witnesses than a a lot of other witnesses.
And, this week, we talk about the podcasts that we listen to when we’re not doing our own. C’mon. You know you want to know.
From drunken assaults to sex trafficking to an Uber app in which Satan told the driver to kill, the ride-share business has had plenty of crime during its short life. Drivers, passengers, bystanders — everyone joins the party. We discuss some of the highlights from our special perspective of being Uber drivers ourselves.
Buckle up, folks. It’s going to be a rough ride.
And on this week’s recommendations, a discussion of other things devolves into a rant on why Maureen won’t read the Harry Potter books. I know! What’s wrong with her?
One of New Hampshire’s longest-standing mysteries — the discovery of the remains of a woman and three children in Bear Brook State Park — was solved (kind of) when a young woman searching for her birth parents with DNA set off a series of events that revealed a cross-country serial killer.
Bob Evans — or Gordon Jensen, Lawrence Vanner, Curtis Kimball, Gerald Mockerman or any number of aliases — killed prolifically. And he seems to have mostly killed women he was in relationships with and their children. We trace the tangle that led to New Hampshire authorities determining he was responsible for the Bear Brook four, a mystery that had endured since 1985.
What seemed like a good thing for people on the margins when it started out turned into one of the most horrific tragedies of the late 20th century, thanks to a narcissistic megalomaniac who had just enough charisma to convince politicians he was a godsend and to leave him alone, get a thousand people to follow him into the jungle and ultimately get many of them to kill their children then die because he convinced them it was the best thing for them.
Fond of the cliche “drink the Kool Aid”? Here’s where it came from. And it’s not pretty. Anyway, it was Flavor Ade.
We take a look at Jim Jones, Jonestown and what led to the 1978 massacre in Guyana.
Also, Matt Nichols talks about what attorney-client privilege really means in Ask a Lawyer, then we complain about 48 Hours and Dateline — aren’t there enough murders in the U.S. for them to do some fresh shows? Sheesh.
A special road trip episode as we talk in the car ride home from Washington DC about the Women’s March and other stuff. Fun fun fun with one million others! What’s the deal with the crowd count? The guys who were there? What was the deal with the boy in the tree? What DID he see? What we saw, did, heard. Why the hell did we go, anyway? Not a lot of crime, just a lot of stuff.
This is a departure from our usual, so if you would rather hear about crime (and stuff), check out our other episodes. We’ll talk about Jonestown and how it’s about more than just “drinking the Kool-Aid” the week of January 29, and Chandra Levy the week after that.
Time for a traffic study, America!
Here’s a small taste of us, along with sister Nicki and friends Kayla and Paige, at the Women’s March in DC!
What happens when the details of a tragedy become the foundation of internet legend? We discuss the Massachusetts nursing student’s disappearance on a dark New Hampshire road as the 12-year mark approaches, it’s connection with the Vermont disappearance of 17-year-old Brianna Maitland a month later, as well as the possible Boston serial killer of young mostly drunk men and a bunch of other stuff.
And we tie it together. we promise.
We also discuss the CSI Effect with lawyer Matt Nichols and then we profess our love for The Mod Squad and other cop shows of our childhood. Solid.
Maine has one of the lowest murder rates in the country. For the past couple of decades, there have been between 20 to 25 homicides a year in the state. In 2016, there were 16.
Yet, the types of murders Maine has are telling — murder victims are most likely to be killed by someone who professes to love them. We take a look at three of 2016’s Maine homicides on this week’s episode.
We also learn not to take presumption of innocence lightly from a fired-up Matt Nichols in Ask a Lawyer, and what do Abe Vigoda, Prince and Harper Lee all have in common? Come on, we know you know the answer. We take a last look at some of the famous people who died last year on this week’s Crime & Stuff.
It’s been 20 years since the body of JonBenet Ramsey was found in the basement of her parents’ Boulder, Colorado home. She’d been bludgeoned to death and strangled. The case has, to quote one documentary “haunted America” ever since and, America being what it is, spawned a variety of documentaries over the past months, some good but most not so much.
We discuss some of the docs, as well as the “evidence” and evidence of the crime, including the implausible intruder story and the role of her parents, John and the late Patsy Ramsey in keeping the investigation from ever reaching a realistic result. The story has everything: sexploitation of a cute kid, rich white folks, dueling investigators, lies and videotape.
On Christmas 27 years ago in California, a woman on her way home from looking at the Christmas lights was abducted, brutally raped and nearly killed, saved by her own bravery and smarts. It took nearly three decades and the imagination of a young prosecutor to bring her attackers to justice.
The day after Christmas in 2000, a disgruntled IT professional at a Massachusetts company shot to death seven coworkers. His defense that he believed he was killing Nazis to get his soul back didn’t wash, and Michael “Mucko” McDermott is serving seven life sentences for the massacre.
No, we don’t talk about JonBenet Ramsey (next week!), the Grinch, or the dipshit in the Santa suit who held up the 7-Eleven, but these two “Christmas crimes” had a lasting impact, and are the focus of a very special Christmas episode of Crime & Stuff.
Sarah Cheiker happily lived most of her 80-plus years in her Los Angeles bungalow. That changed when three drifters befriended her. In 2008 she disappeared, turning up 3,000 miles away in Maine four years later, abandoned in a ramshackle cabin that the police officer who found her said he wouldn’t keep his dog in.
What happened to Cheiker from the time she met Nicholas and Barbara Davis in the mid-2000s to when she was found in Maine in 2011 will make your hair freeze.
We discuss her long strange trip on this week’s Crime & Stuff, and then have attorney Matt Nichols clarify some of the nuances of multi-state crime in Ask a Lawyer.
We also trash Santa Claus, moon over Dennis Lehane and discuss Tig Nataro’s “One Mississippi.”
On the morning of December 17, 2011, Justin DiPietro called the Waterville, Maine, police to report his 20-month-old daughter, Ayla Reynolds, missing. That was the spark to what eventually became the biggest criminal investigation in Maine’s history. Five years later, Ayla is still gone and no one has been charged in her disappearance, which police quickly termed a criminal investigation and made clear that they believed she’d been killed. Ben McCanna, a former reporter with the Morning Sentinel in Waterville, whose beat was all Ayla all the time in the months after she vanished, talks about his experience, which includes access to the toddler’s parents that no other reporter at the time had.
Matt Nichols, of Nichols & Churchill, explains, in our Ask the Lawyer segment, why charges are sometimes not brought even when “everyone knows” someone is guilty of a crime.
Want more? We also eviscerate the new Gilmore Girls.
Todd Kohlhepp, charged with killing seven people in South Carolina, is not a good boy. No matter what his mother says.
Kohlhepp, a popular and successful realtor, was arrested in early November after Kala Brown, missing for three months, was found in a storage container on his 100-acre farm. Kohlhepp admitted to killing Charles Carver, Brown’s boyfriend, and also told police he’d killed Meagan and Johnny Coxie, who disappeared in December 2015. To top it off, police said he also confessed to shooting to death four people in a South Carolina motorcycle shop in 2003.
Kohlhepp’s mother insists he’s not the monster everyone seems to think he is. She’s been doing that since he was convicted at age 15 of raping a teenage neighbor at knife point, telling the court that “he’s not a bad boy.”
But he is. And always has been. Crime&Stuff Episode 2 takes a look at the life of accused South Carolina serial killer Todd Kohlhepp.
Ann and Alison Dadow were as close as two sisters could be. Or closer. They did everything together. They changed their names together, to Anastasia and Alexandria Duval. They taught yoga together, moved across the country, drank, fought and even filed for bankruptcy together. Everything, that is, until their car went over a cliff in Hawaii during a hair-pulling brawl and one died and the other was charged with murder.