The Sword and Scale true-crime podcast is an immersive audio experience covering the dark side of humanity and human nature. Our stories delve into the worst of the worst and include murder, rape, dismemberment and cannibalism. No crime is too brutal and no victim is too pure. The worst monsters are real.
Here's the Latest Episode from Sword and Scale – Incongruity:
Freedom of speech and religion are two foundational parts of what this nation has to offer. They’re important to us and when we feel they’re being infringed upon, Americans speak up. What happens when freedom of religion directly causes harm to someone though? Are there limits to this freedom? Seth Welch found that there are hard limits. Not every state cracks down on how freedom of religion can put children in direct danger, but Michigan does.
Orange County California has seen its fair share of bizarre crimes. When Sam Herr, a decorated combat veteran is nowhere to be found and his best friend Julie Kibuishi is discovered dead in Sam’s apartment, police are quick to begin a manhunt. As the investigation continues, more bizarre details begin to emerge, leaving the entire county stunned. The many people affected by this case have learned, if nothing else, that you never truly know who someone is, or what goes through their mind.
8-year-old Isabella Cipriano woke up in the middle of the night in April of 2012 to find that her father, mother, and brother were being attacked in the family home in Farmington Hills, Michigan. On the surface, this seemed to be a random home invasion, until Isabella saw the perpetrator. The truth behind who committed these atrocities, and why, would cause pain for the Cipriano family that may take longer to heal than their many physical scars.
Ryan Lawrence appeared to be a caring and dutiful father, taking his 21-month-old daughter Maddox with him as he delivered pastries throughout Syracuse, New York, and holding her hand through a rare form of cancer she was diagnosed with before her first birthday. But unbeknownst to everyone, an even more terrible storm is gathering on the horizon.
On May 6th, 2013, Sharlene Bosma watched as her husband Tim pulled away from their house on a test drive with two strange men, never to return again. Finding the mysterious kidnappers will only be part of the struggle. Finding out what happened to Tim Bosma will lead to the most gruesome discovery of all.
Never before have so many of us been forcibly cooped up in our houses for this length of time. COVID-19 has shaken up our routines and our state of mind. During this quarantine, we’ve seen an increase in drug and alcohol consumption, in stress-levels and exacerbated mental illness, loneliness, hopelessness, all of the things that breed conflict. In this episode, we’re starting with a broad scope, talking about all of the attempted acts of domestic terrorism happening on the outside while we sit at home in our own little bubbles, but also the turmoil happening inside homes right now.
We're joined by Charles Adams from the KPRC 950 AM and iHeartRadio show The Truth with Charles Adams to dissect the psychology, legal and political issues behind the recent COVID19-related crime wave.
The quiet seclusion of rural Maine gives many people a feeling of solace but sometimes the isolation can fracture a person’s psyche. The rural town of Winthrop, Maine had never seen a murder case like the one on Halloween 2016. Andrew Balcer, a minor, accused of murdering his parents… and the reason would surprise everyone even Andrew.
Citizens of Bakersfield California were in for a crazy day on December 10, 2016. The public events of this day would result in a police chase, and two deaths, eventually a third.
Manuel Vela was no stranger to dealing with the law, and resisting arrest almost every single time. Beating on his woman was not an unknown pastime for him. He spent his entire life in and out of juvenile homes and eventually prison, but his final crimes against his fiance would be beyond any act of violence he had committed before.
Who do we blame when an innocent 8-year-old boy is brutally murdered in a stranger’s kitchen? In this particular case, fingers are pointed in every direction. The cut-and-dry cases of random abduction and murder are terrible and tragic, yet simple. The murder of Markie Mason, however, is anything but simple.
The United States has experienced a slew of mass murders in recent years, but the two mass shootings that occurred within 14 hours of each other in August of 2019 have made a big impact on a society that is becoming more complacent by the day. The 24-hour news cycle consistently seems to have a negative effect on the frequency of these mass shootings as well as the continued desensitization of our society.
We’re back with the riveting conclusion to the tale of Ezra McCandless and her claims of repeated sexual victimization. To understand the many facets of this case, you absolutely must go back and listen to part 1 before you listen to this episode.
We ended part 1 with some final details about Ezra’s love triangle with Jason Mengel and Alex Woodworth, and all of her many rape allegations against the men in her life, but we still don’t know what happened to Alex on March 22, 2018. Ezra is the only person who can help the police locate him, and her missing car.
Ezra McCandless wove a web of complicated relationships for herself, getting involved romantically with many of the men in her coffee-shop clique in a hipster Wisconsin college town. Things were going well for her until they weren’t, and one person in the exclusive friend group ended up dead.
A neighbor dispute turns deadly after a brain damaged war vet with PTSD finally snaps on Labor Day 2012. Did Billy Woodward plan his military style assault, or did he have no choice but to Stand His Ground?
This is the exciting conclusion of the Sheila Davalloo Story. If you haven’t listened to part one go back one episode and start there.
The leads in Anna Lisa Raymundo’s murder investigation were dead ends… that is until Sheila Davalloo tries to kill her husband. During the attempted murder Sheila makes a phone call, but not to 911. That phone number leads the police to a common thread in both investigations… Nelson Sessler.
This is the riveting first part of a two-part story that will leave you wondering “how well do I know my significant other.”
Sheila Davalloo is educated and from an affluent family. She lives among the well-to-do and works for the powers that be but her life is anything but as mundane as that. Sheila Davalloo had a secret obsession that involved mind games, spying, and eventually… murder.
A school shooting in Santa Clarita, California, leaves two students dead and five injured.
A Texas jury sentences a man to death for the double-murder of his roommate, and his roommates 17-year-old girlfriend.
Finally, law enforcement in California release new video evidence in the October kidnapping and murder of Indian-American Tech CEO, Tushar Atre.
Daily true-crime news and coverage of high-profile criminal cases from around the country and around the globe, five days a week.
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Daily true-crime news and coverage of high-profile criminal cases from around the country and around the globe, five days a week.
- Apple Podcasts - https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/sword-and-scale-daily/id1487148155
- Google Podcasts - https://play.google.com/music/m/Ijqsr5kldi4hnoson5rwogdzijq?t=Sword_and_Scale_Daily
- Spotify - https://open.spotify.com/show/6ZoM1t4vw6rZNJus1n2O5G
- Stitcher - https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/sword-and-scale-daily
- iHeartRadio - https://www.iheart.com/podcast/269-sword-and-scale-daily-52523391/
- Castbox - https://castbox.fm/channel/Sword-and-Scale-Daily-id2452645?country=us
- RadioPublic - https://radiopublic.com/sword-and-scale-daily-WedwRv
- Pocket Casts - https://pca.st/5qtq95lv
- RSS - https://rss.art19.com/sword-and-scale-daily
Around 1 A.M. on October 15th, 2018, Barron County Sheriff’s Department receives a 911 call. What sounds to be a struggle and screaming on the other end of the line triggers deputies to drive to the home which the number was registered to. Upon arrival, deputies found 56-year-old James Closs and his wife, 46-year-old Denise deceased from apparent gunshot wounds. Quickly, they find out that the Closs’ 13-year-old daughter was missing from the house. Despite all of the searches, rumors and theories, it wouldn’t be until 88 days later when 13-year-old Jayme Closs wandered down a road 70 miles away from her home, finding a Good Samaritan who recognized the young girl and was able to notify law enforcement.
But who was it that took her? And why did they kill her parents? It was a story that shocked the nation and showed that strangers are capable of anything…
In April 2018, Boca Raton Police Department were alerted of a missing person. James Scandirito II was calling to report that his father, 74-year-old James ‘Skip’ Scandirito was missing from his home and that he had not heard from his father in a few days. Concerned friends also had called in to make a report. But quickly, detectives began to keep an eye on James, as he had mad suspicious statements and acted out unusually while they were trying to conduct their investigation. As they surveilled the 49-year-old man, he ended up leading them to a grisly discovery…
We’re taking a deep dive into the world of YouTube rant channels in the early 2000s. Tony48219 loved to sit in his computer chair and shout at the camera about evolution, geocentrism, women, and atheists. Most of his abrasive opinions were met with expected opposition online. As unpopular as his opinions could be, nothing is as unpopular and unbelievable as what happened when he took his online anger and acted upon it in the real world.
Sexual child abuse is so widespread that the numbers are astounding. We seem to forget that the threat is omnipresent and can come in the form of another troubled child with little to no parental supervision. Girls are typically more pretected, more sheltered from these sorts of dangers, but when this sort of abuse happens to a boy the repressed shame, guilt and anger can last a lifetime.
Do you have a personal story to tell about your experience with sexual abuse, physical/psychological abuse, or domestic violence? Tell others like you about it on SurvivingThis.com.
Domestic violence happens every day. It happens so often that as a society we’re numb to it. When Brandon Clark stabbed Bianca Devins in the throat it was just another case of domestic violence. But when Brandon posted the gory photo online taunting Bianca’s beta orbiters and then attempted suicide live on Instagram, the story Bianca’s murder took on a life of its own.
The afternoon of January 13th, 2010, a Conyers Georgia police officer encounters an exasperated 16-year-old Tasmiyah Whitehead approaching his squad car in a gated community. The girl claims she and her identical twin arrived home from school to find their mother unconscious in the bathtub, the home destroyed by blood stains and broken furniture. The evidence investigators later find at this murder scene tells a sickening story.
Preorder Yucca Harris' Book: The Untold Story
When ‘Megan Wants A Millionaire’ is suspended from airing after only three episodes, a former Reality TV ‘star’ rises to infamy after a brutal murder, and international manhunt.
Most of the time, accidents are simply just that. Accidents. Sometimes though, collisions are made with precise decision making, with little to no care in terms of the safety of human beings. We’re going to examine a few cases of wrong way drivers that have occurred over the past few years and question what may have been behind the lack of regard for the lives of others…
On July 17th, 2016, former United State Marine Gavin Long went into Baton Rouge, Louisiana to wage an all out war on the police. Many thought it was in retaliation for the tragic death of Alton Sterling in the weeks prior, but not everything is as it seems…
If the police wanted to target him for years, he was going to be their ultimate target.
When 23 year old Bonnie Haim goes missing in January of 1993, abandoning her husband and 3 year old son, all fingers point toward her husband, Michael Haim. With no body, no DNA evidence, and no proof, police couldn’t make an arrest, and couldn’t prove that Bonnie hadn’t just run off to start a new life. The case went cold for over two more decades until new evidence arose in 2014.
During the early morning hours of May 5th, 2012, Mark Duenas was awoken by what sounded like a catfight outside of his family home. He got up from his recliner and began checking the outside of the home. Walking down the hallway, he noticed the light on in his wife’s bedroom. When he opened up the door, he found her crumpled on the ground, covered in blood. No one knew who could have done such a thing. But in trying times such as these, it’s important for families to stick close.
Andrew Urdiales, a serial killer with military training, attacks and tortures women across three states for ten years. Only one woman lives to the tell her harrowing tale; but with no evidence left behind, how many years will pass until justice is served?
The process of vetting those we allow into our lives is a precarious one. When young, prospective college student Brandy Rosine met Jade Olmstead online, it seemed to be love at first Skype. Things were going smoothly for the couple, they began living together for a short while until a restless Jade abandoned the relationship for a former flame. As Jade and Brandy continued to keep in touch despite Jade’s rekindled relationship with Ashley Barber, trouble began to brew within the love triangle.
On October 10th, 2008, 38-year-old Johnny Altinger made his way to South Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He had set up a date with a mysterious woman on the website Plenty of Fish. He emailed friends and family about his big date, even forwarding the directions of where he was heading to. A few days later, his friends and family realize they haven’t heard from the man who’s usually always in contact. A string of bizarre emails they receive make them contact the police about his well being. The directions lead to a garage full of horrors, almost as if it was made for a movie…
Serious psychological issues can develop, fester, and become toxic in the cover of darkness when not addressed and treated properly. None of us are immune to the dangers or pitfalls of mental illness or where dark thoughts could lead us. On March 10th, 2017, Anjum Coffland learned this lesson the hard way when she went to her husband Randall’s residence in order to retrieve her work computer.
16-year-old Emma Walker broke up with her boyfriend, 18-year-old Riley Gaul because she realized it wasn’t a healthy relationship and was tired of his controlling and abusive behavior. But when she needed help after a series of strange and frightening events, Riley was there to save her… or so she thought. On the morning of Monday, November 21, 2016, Emma is found dead in her bed and Riley is the number one person of interest.
Sticks and stones will break my bones... a child's nursery rhyme which contains a universal truth that is all but lost in today's day and age of safe spaces and mass censorship of "hurtful words." Respect is not only demanded in this brave new world, but some of us feel entitled to it. Chris Dorner never received the respect he felt he was entitled to. When he felt his honor was being stripped away by the very institution he swore allegiance to he had only one logical choice… go to war with the LAPD. How he chose to act then, said more about his character than any words ever could.
Three vicious murders in rural Northeastern Maine stun the small city of Amity’s 238 residents. A missing truck, three innocent victims killed with surgical precision, and a crime scene just a few miles West of the US/Canadian border leave detectives with few clues. Like a trained assassin creeping through the Maine thicket, 20-year-old Thayne Ormsby commits one of the state’s most heinous triple homicides, all apparently - by mistake. A tale of vigilante justice gone horribly wrong when the truth is finally revealed.
On July 17th, 2016, Cara Beckerle went up to the bedroom of her 19-year-old daughter, Aleah, to check on her. When she opened the door, the bed was empty, and Aleah’s wheelchair was sitting next to it.
Aleah could not have left of her own free will, as she was incapable of moving on her own due to physical disabilities, and she was nonverbal due to mental disabilities. She was also prone to seizures and had to take daily medication for them. That medication was also still in her room.
What happened to Aleah Beckerle?
Chris Watts is arrested and charged with murder on August 15th, 2018 in the disappearance of his pregnant wife Shanann and their two children, daughters Bella and Celeste. The caring father and husband was the envy of those who followed their success live online for the world to see. But behind the dramatic weight loss, the anticipated birth of their third child - a son, and Chris and Shanann’s thriving professional careers, a much darker truth remained. Chris wanted a new beginning. A new lease at life. And he was willing to do anything for a fresh start with his new love. He was a monster hiding in plain sight, and his actions horrified an entire nation, bringing new meaning to the classic marital vows, “til death, do us part.” (Part 2 of 2)
On August 13th, 2018, expectant mother Shanann Watts and her daughters Bella and Celeste were reported missing from their home in Frederick, Colorado. As if vanishing into thin air, her vehicle was left locked in the family garage, her purse and wallet remaining on the kitchen counter. Husband and father Christopher Watts was the last to see them alive in the early morning hours, and his claims grew increasingly more bizarre as he spoke openly to the media in the hours and days after their initial disappearance. With every interview given, it became clear that Chris Watts was hiding much more than just their disappearance.
All you need, is love. The lyrics etched on the consciousness of an entire generation. But what happens when all you need, is lost? 36-year old former child actor Aaron Wulf details nearly thirty years of violent physical and sexual abuse in his nearly 600 page written manifesto entitled, “My Worst Nightmare In History.” A man who grew up in front of the camera, records his final moments behind the lens after losing his fiance unexpectedly to cancer. His story begs the question - is every man capable of reaching his breaking point?
9-year old Omaree Varela’s lifeless, bruised, and tattered body was recovered at the base of toy bouncy horse just two days after Christmas in 2013. His mother and stepfather claimed his death was the result of a freak accident while playing with his younger sibling. However, the marks on Omaree’s body and a horrifying 22 minute 911 call just six months earlier paint a much more sinister picture of what really happened.
In 2008, Adam Baker and his daughter, Zahra, moved to the United States from Queensland, Australia with the hopes of having the perfect new life. Adam had just married his new bride, Elisa, whom Zahra was quite fond of. What they soon began to learn was that the so-called “Evil Stepmother” was no fairytale, and what existed was a real life monster…
On Tuesday September 13th, 2016 a 911 call police responded to 363 Covert Court Ashland, Ohio, an abandoned house near a laundromat. Minutes earlier, a frantic 911 call had been placed, from this location, by a woman who claimed she was being held captive and forced to perform sex acts with her captor. The story that would emerge from this strange series of events would lead to the eventual conviction of a serial killer by the name of Shawn M. Grate.
Chris and Cameron Ervin felt neglected and under-loved. In a life of increasing pressures, they numbed their minds with recreational drugs and shucked all responsibility in spite of being provided every opportunity to lead a successful life. When life seemed like too much they took the one thing that stood in their way...
In 1997, Shannon McCrossan moved with her two daughters, 8-year-old Kirsten Hatfield and 3-year-old Faith to a home on Jet Drive in Midwest City, OK. At the time, life seemed to be okay. The neighbors were friendly and there were children for the girls to play with. On May 13th, 1997, Shannon awoke to any mother’s worst nightmare. Kirsten was missing from her bedroom.
Searches were made for the 8-year-old girl, but she was never found. The trail ran cold, until 2015 when the case was reopened and re-examined, leading investigators to a suspect in the unlikeliest of places…
In the early morning hours of February 5th, 2015, a man wearing a mask and black tactical gear burst into the bedroom of Lisa Trubnikova. Eventually, he took the mask off to reveal a familiar face. He wanted the women to know who he was and why he was there.
For years, Lisa had not thought about this man. But he had been doing a lot of thinking about her…
Special Guest: Chris D'Elia (http://chrisdelia.com)
51-year-old Ruth Pyne is found beaten and stabbed to death in the garage of her home in Highland Township, Michigan. Her immediate family members become the focus of the investigation, and one of them has a questionable alibi.
Indirect evidence begins to pile up, and a jury is left with the following question: at what point does circumstantial evidence overcome reasonable doubt?
On July 21st, 2006, an entire family seemingly disappeared from their home in Hopkinton, Massachusetts. When police searched the residence, there were no signs of a break-in. Nothing was disturbed, and nothing of value appeared to be missing.
But there was no sign of Neil, Rachel, or Lillian Entwistle.
Everyone loves the idea of having the perfect family and keeping everyone close together. Go to work, come home, play with the kids, eat dinner together. Unfortunately, that isn’t always how things go. In 2015, the Bever family was the perfect example of this. The family of nine stuck close together within the four walls of their home in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.
But, stick a family together long enough, and eventually someone will blow their lid. On the evening of July 22nd, 2015, Robert and Michael Bever carried out a savage attack on their family, leaving most of their family dead, but their plans reached further than the closed doors of their home.
We all love to talk about all of the things we’re going to do to better ourselves… all of the changes we want to make. Maybe we’d like to focus more on our families, start a business, or go back to school. Whatever the case, these aspirations often remain nothing more than that… aspirations. We put them on hold for so long that we forgot about them.
This is the story of 26-year-old Laura Ackerson, a young woman who was taking those steps. She was determined to build a brighter future for herself and for her children.
But just as it was starting to take shape, that future was cut short.
When you have a problem, you hire someone to fix it. That's what you do. Sometimes you don't have the benefit of Yelp reviews though...
During the early morning hours of September 22nd, 2010, 13-year-old Alexis Mitchell awoke to the sight of her father looming over her and wearing a Halloween mask. His hands were around her neck, but he let up after she elbowed and bit him. Either having passed out or fallen asleep again thinking it was all a dream, Alexis eventually woke again up to the sound of screaming.
On Sunday, October 4th 2009, Milford Police Sgt. Kevin Furlong was dispatched by 911 to 4 Trow Road in Mont Vernon. There had been a home invasion. Inside he found Jaimie Cates with multiple stab wounds and injuries and the body of her mom Kimberly Cates with numerous slashing and stab marks. Who would have done such a thing to this poor family?
31-year-old Nicole VanderHeyden was substitute teacher and mother of three. She lived with her boyfriend and father of her infant son, Doug Detrie, in Bellevue, Brown County, WI. The Green Bay metro area. Her body was found naked and strangled in a farm field on May 21, 2016. Her skull was fractured and she suffered blunt force trauma to the left side of her head breaking and dislocating her jaw as well as injuries to her esophagus, trachea, and neck consistent with strangulation. Her clothes were found off the side of a highway on-ramp. Doug reports her missing that same morning. Police arrest him a couple days later after Nicole’s blood is found on the pavement and the murder weapon, a “black cord,” outside his home.
Some crimes are so extreme that they defy the laws of nature. Ending the life of your very own mother, for example, is so unfathomable to most that it may be the most vile crime imaginable. The story we tell you here goes well beyond that. Strap in..
This will be, BY FAR, the most frustrating podcast you listen to (perhaps ever). We here, at Sword and Scale, have had some pretty frustrating interactions with emergency operators, but nothing can prepare you for this audio gem.
We also tangentially cover the brutal and completely senseless killing of an entire family. They were the Van Breda's and they lived near 10 Allemann Street.
Some tales of human depravity are just unimaginable. Are they the actions of a monster, or simply a monstrous act? Sometimes the lines are not quite so clear, and perhaps monsters are not only real, but existing all around us, and hidden in plain site.
This is the story of a young boy named Joshua Earl Patrick Phillips, an even younger girl named Maddie Clifton, and a waterbed.
What exactly is "God's Plan?" Do you know? Some people think they do. Jonathan Hearn and Sabrina Limon thought "God's Plan" included having an illicit affair and killing Sabrina's husband.
Part 2 of the Natalie Bollinger Murder...
A teenage girl is stalked by a homeless man and suddenly goes missing two weeks later.
When Jane Bashara was found strangled to death in the back of her SUV nobody knew what to make of it. Things like this simply didn't happen in Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan, a wealthy community of million-dollar homes.
The Bashara's, now empty nesters in their mid 50's, also were not the type of people who were found murdered in a parking lot. They were the type of people who volunteered for charity when they weren't hanging out at the country club.
No one suspected that there were deep dark secrets between them that would end in murder.
The human mind can go to such depths of depravity that, for the average well-adjusted person, it’s hard to even imagine. Kevin Ray Underwood’s mind was so far gone that his sexual fantasies started to include cannibalism.
When 10-year-old Jamie Rose Bolin went missing, both of her parents lives were utterly destroyed. Little did they know that Jamie was literally just a few doors away in the same apartment building, and they were likely sitting there the moment she was killed.
So many leaves...
It doesn't happen often, but the intersection of Psychosis and Psychopathy is a scary place. A place where all things that are good, break down and all that's left is pure darkness.
Matthew Hoffman lived in such a place...
"CENTAUR... you have awoken. Don't let them kill you." The bath salts epidemic has reached new proportions in the state of Florida, as more and more shocking cases make their way to the front pages of local papers, before capturing International attention through the news wires. This is the story of a young man named Austin Harrouff who earned worldwide recognition for his actions on the night of August 15th, 2016. Could drugs explain his behavior that night, or was something else to blame?
Love is often expressed with gifts such as flowers and chocolates, but those same gifts can be used to manipulate, control and threaten in the hands of a stalker.
That is a lesson that Alice Ruggles learned the hard way from her obsessed ex-boyfriend Trimaan Dhillon who couldn't handle her rejection.
Nothing quite says fear like a machete. In this episode we bring you to distinct stories of some of the most barbaric and utterly inexplicable attacks with a blade to poor souls who did nothing to deserve such brutality.
The first story comes from Apex, North Carolina, where an 18-year-old girl named Priyanka Kumari is savagely attacked on her way home from school. The second comes from South Florida of course, where 17-year-old Jose Amaya-Guardado is ganged up on and killed by his classmates at a live-in trade school for troubled youth. They then have sex near Jose's corpse because nothing quite says romance like hacking up a kid to pieces.
The death of a little girl named Jodi Parrack send a small town into a spiral of shock and disbelief. Everyone goes looking, but when a reserve police officer named Raymond McCann suggests looking in the cemetery all eyes turn on him as the primary suspect.
We conclude with Part 2 of the Scrivo Murder Case, a story which deals with elements of mental illness, grief and the relationship between a mother and a son.
For our landmark hundredth episode we cover a story that has all the elements our listeners love to hear. A graphic and gory case of body parts being found
scattered across a roadway, and the unbelievable tale of how the case then unfolds from there will leave you scratching your head.
Underreported and underdiscussed, male sexual child abuse is a topic that is often brushed under the rug due to social norms and the child's fears of being labelled a homosexual or future perpetrator. Data from various studies indicates that the problem is much more widespread than initially thought, but because such a small percentage of victims ever come forward, the data is skewed. In this episode we delve into this topic and discuss it freely and openly.
If you want to tell us your story, please call us at +1-954-889-6854 and leave your story on our voicemail.
"We lock our doors at night to keep the outside world, to keep evil out, right? ...but what happens when evil has a key?" Those were the words spoken by Nation Hahn, a man who knows first hand how evil can deceptively find its way into your home without warning.
Becoming a parent can be one of the most joy-filled experiences in one's life. It has been a long-standing tradition for friends, family and neighbors to all gather to celebrate this special experience with a baby shower. In the last decade or so, a new trend called "gender-reveal parties" has emerged for expectant parents to have another opportunity to celebrate. But when the celebration of a new life is suddenly visited by death, a new bundle of questions emerge.
There's a lot that can go wrong in this organ we call the human brain, which we don't fully understand. It's important for all of us to be much more aware of the red flags so that we can prevent tragedies like this one from happening.
We examine this phenomenon of "Gangstalking" and "Targeted Individuals" and the case of a young lawyer named Myron May. We're joined by graduate professor of forensic psychology Dr. Vanessa Holtgrave.
Escapism is something most of us are guilty of. We retire to our TV shows, video games, podcasts... One would not assume that even the most esoteric escapes could be dangerous, but for two gay men in the mid 80's living in rural Northern Georgia, that would be a dangerous assumption.
This is the story of a place called Corpsewood. The handbuilt manor castle in the remote woods was meant to be a solitary retreat for Dr. Charles Scudder and Joseph Odem, but instead it would become their final resting place in which a carnival-like media atmosphere of victim-blaming would descend.
Randy Stair secretly identified as a female for years. She ditched her given name for the pseudonym Andrew Blaze and also ditched the YouTube channel she had worked on for a large part of her life to pursue animation. The cartoons she created were dark, angst-ridden creations derived from an existing Nickelodeon character that she was infatuated with and believed existed in some otherworldly plain which she planned to be welcomed into after murdering three of her coworkers.
The highly polarized political climate we're living in colors our view of the world in one way or another. Sometimes it's hard to see the big picture and true underlying human tragedy when we're too busy judging the beliefs of others.
This is a story of four people who died tragically, seemingly for no reason, in a supermarket, in the middle of the night.
The love of a mother is something many of us take for granted, but when it's not present during the early formative years the results can be disastrous. This is what Edmund Kemper suggests happened to him. A serial killer who enjoyed murdering coeds in the early 70's, Kemper is not your average lunatic. He has the IQ of a genius and has spent years self-analyzing his actions. We hear from his own words and delve into the extreme nature of his crimes.
We kick off this week's episode with some much needed updates about what's been going on behind the scenes, fist of which is Sword and Scale Rewind, hosted by Lynette Carolla and Stefanie Wilder-Taylor, which launches on June 14th. It's the after-show for this podcast, so every episode of Rewind will cover an episode of S&S, starting with Episode 1. Make sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts so you don't miss a thing. Secondly, we get into the other big thing that's happening right now and the reason why we've been so busy... We're making a TV Show!!! That's right, we're working with Propogate Content to develop a brand new made-for-TV version of Sword and Scale. We have some big names onboard which we'll be announcing soon, but we're very excited about how it's all coming together. ...And while we were out there in Los Angeles, we got to pop in to The Museum of Death which was so fascinating that we decided to talk to its assistant curator for an audio-based tour. Lastly, we get into this week's main story. A look behind the scenes into an investigation regarding a car theft and the kidnapping of Kingston Frazier, a 6-year-old boy who was in the car that was taken. The following 12 hours become a mad manhunt for the boy and the details surrounding this investigation will leave you speechless.
When Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalist Claudia Rowe, author of The Spider and The Fly, decided to write to a serial killer, she wasn't prepared for how it would change her life. In her quest to understand the nature of cruelty, she ended up discovering much more about herself. Kendall Francois murdered at least eight women and hid the rotting corpses in the home that he shared with his mother, father, and younger sister. A large foreboding figure who emanated a pungent odor, he demands that Rowe offers personal details of her life in exchange for the answers she is seeking. She does not comply with his wishes, which leads the reader to wonder "Who really is the spider and who really is the fly?"
Matthew Hahn is bright, eloquent, friendly and just generally the kind of person you like immediately. He's the kind of person that will tell you everything about his life within seconds of meeting him, but only if you ask. He's an open book which is unusual, because once you hear his story, and your jaw drops to the floor with the disbelief that what you're listening to is not is tall tale, but a reality that this person you're speaking to has lived through, there's one other fact you have to accept: Matt Hahn is a criminal. And you still like him, because his moral compass is stronger than most...
When a 14 year old boy named Philip Chism goes missing in the middle of a school day, his mother thinks the worst and calls 911. Little does she know, that her son isn't the only missing person from Danvers High School that day. A 24-year-old math teacher is missing also. She is Phillip's teacher which raises some immediate questions, but after finally solving a mishap with the school's 140-camera security system, police are able to come up with a theory as to what happened that day. Another big clue, of course, is the body in the woods. Colleen E. Ritzer was a 24-year-old math teacher at Danvers High School. She had a warm smile and love of teaching. Some of her friends would later say that she was "born to do this job." However, no one could have imaged the darkness that would shroud the school on that particular day, and when all is said and done we are all left with the nagging question of "why?"
Over the course of a normal school day, a mystery unravels. At first there is chaos, confusion and much worry, but soon all of that anxiety melts into a river of loss and agony as friends and family members find out the truth. This first part of a two-part story is sure to keep you riveted, at the edge of your seat, and pulling your hair out waiting for the next part.
The 20 year anniversary of one of the strangest tales in modern American religious history is quickly approaching. On March 26th, March 26, 1997 Marshall Herff Applewhite led a group of 39 devoted followers to their final destination. In their minds they were headed to a spaceship following the Hale-Bopp Comet where they would be taken and transformed into perfect angelic alien beings, a state in which they would live forever. We're joined by Benjamin E. Zeller, Religious Historian and Author of the book "Heaven's Gate: America's UFO Religion."
There are few things more horrifying than the idea that your children can be taken from their beds, from their own home, while there's an adult sleeping inside, yet that's exactly what happened on the morning of Monday, Oct. 10, 2016 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. We, as a modern society, have systems in place, technological marvels, to prevent and deter these things from happening. However, in this case, the very system that was used to try and rescue the children ended up leading to their deaths. This is the bizarre story of Amber Pazstor told through her own words. We're joined by Brett Thomas from WAYN-TV Newschannel 16, who interviewed Pazstor from behind bars to find out why she chose to perform this horrible series of actions.
There is a place that humanity has created where the rules of society mean nothing. This place is a void of laws and social norms. The scariest thing, is that there is a doorway to this dark place in every home, in some cases we carry this doorway with us day after day. It's a place called The Dark Net. In this episode we're joined by Jamie Bartlett to discuss this dark and sinister place, along with the human psychology that created it and makes it particularly nefarious. We also touch on the stories of William Francis Melchert-Dinkel who tricked a young girl into committing suicide for his own sick sense of entertainment. Mitchell Henderson, who was a young boy constantly bullied and ended up commiting suicide, but even in death he found no solace as an endless barage of trolls relentlessly mocked him and his grieving parents. We also talk about the extraordinarily disturbing case of Peter Scully, who's business enterprise No Limits Fun created such despicable works such as DAFU Love and Daisy's Destruction.
Love can be a wonderful thing. It can make the world around you seem like a magical place. But sometimes, love can go wrong. Very wrong.In this season opener we examine several cases where love failed and darkness took over culminating in various murder-suicides.
When you dial those three numbers on your phone, you expect that someone will help you. However, as with all matters involving humans, sometimes things can go wrong.In this season-finale episode, we speak with 13-year emergency dispatch veteran Ricardo Martinez from the Within The Trenches Podcast. We talk about what goes into doing this job and what happens when the wrong person does it.
This is the PARTAY episode! People love parties. Some people love parties so much that they're willing to do just about anything to have one. Tyler Hadley loved parties this much.
The stories we like to tell the most here are those of serial killers and homicidal maniacs. Those archetypes can be somewhat predictable, if not downright boring. We like to focus instead on everyday people, just like you and me, who find themselves suddenly in the midst of a monster. A monster who looks just like them.This is part two of the two part story of Phillip Markoff, a young and handsome Med student from New England, who came to be known as The Craigslist Killer.
You've been pulled over by a bevy of police cars and taken to an interrogation room. What happens next? In this two-part story, we'll first examine what it's like to be in the shoes of someone who has gotten themselves mixed up with the wrong end of the law, and next time we'll tell you what it is they did to put themselves there...
Halloween is a fun time of the year when we dress up like ghosts and goblins and attempt to scare each other with haunted houses and horror films. However the scariest things don't come with candy in plastic pumpkin containers. instead, the scariest things are all around us: People, and the depravity they are capable of.On this episode we tell two stories: one of a 10+ year old case and one of a 10 year old girl. Victoria Martens and Brianna Lopez were born to the wrong parents, and their short lives were filled with unimaginable suffering, but thanks to the actions of their parents, they will never feel any pain ever again.We also get a chance to talk to Joshua Zeman (Cropsey) and Rachel Mills stars of the new A&E docuseries The Killing Season which premieres on November 12th at 9pm EST.
The idea of leaving the hustle and bustle behind, and disappearing into the woods to live off the land, can be appealing. Yet few of us would actually attempt to give this idea any more than a fleeting thought.In this episode we examine three cases of people who dropped off the face of the planet to indulge this bizarre way of life, and each one of them was a criminal.The stories we'll discuss are Christopher Thomas Knight, Colton Harris-Moore and the most famous hermit of all Ted Kaczynski.
Finally, an update episode! This one fills in the details of what has happened with the Justin Ross-Harris, Holly Bobo and Aaron Hernandez cases, with special guest Cathy Ruson from CourtChatter.com. We also get schooled by a listener on crucial pieces we missed in the Andrea Yates story. We talk to friends of the Blancharde's who knew them best, and cap off the show with a living legend in the field of true-crime: none other than former host of Dateline's To Catch a Predator, and new host of Crime Watch Daily, Chris Hansen.
This is a bizarre tale. Part gruesome murder tale, part love story. Yes, you read that right..None of of the Gainesville Ripper story makes much sense, but it made an entire university of 30,000+ students panic and leave their studies and futures behind, for the sake of their personal safety.This story also challenges our ideas of what crime-journalism is and should be. "Guilty until proven innocent?" ...that's not a well-recognized concept these days. And the media and public are quick to judge those on the periphery of the story as well. Sometimes their judgements are right, but sometimes they can equally be misguided.
The border town of Brownsville, Texas is one of the poorest places in the continental United States. Wracked by crime in the form of drug-use and prostitution, this small town, in the middle of nowhere, is also the home of many historical structures. One such structure was located on 805 E. Tyler Street, and it housed a horrific triple-murder which changed the community of Brownsville forever. We are joined this week by Laura Tillman, author of the book The Long Shadow of Small Ghosts: Murder and Memory in an American City. Guest actors on this episode also include comedian Owen Benjamin and his wife Amy.
A subset of our audience really has an issue with episodes that feature any crimes being done to children. That's understandable, since they are the weakest and most vulnerable members of our society. But there are cases, however rare, where the "monsters" are the children themselves.In this episode we explore three cases in which children killed, seemingly for the sheer pleasure of it. Beware though, you may not ever want to have children after this episode.
A recurring question in the criminal justice system is whether the death penalty is moral, right or just. Everyone seems to have a fairly strong opinion regarding it, but almost no one has any any first-hand experience with the process. The idea that such a severe punishment to be conducted in secrecy, behind closed doors, may seem archaic and somewhat medieval.In this episode we talk to a man named Dr. Bill Kimberlin, who did something few others would. He actively attempted to attend an execution, and in fact has seen three of them conducted. He also has extensive knowledge of the death row system in the state of Ohio and describes the cushy life that the worst criminals in our society enjoy.We also revisit the Rodney Reed case and get an update on its state of limbo a full year after we first reported the story to you.
Have you ever wondered why most violent crimes are committed by men? Apparently so have several criminologists, who have conducted several studies to examine this phenomenon.Today’s show is the exception to the rule: two stories of women committing horrible acts against the one person they swore to love for the rest of their lives. The stories of what Christy Sheats and Cheryl McCafferty did to their husbands will have our male audience looking at their significant others a little differently.
Sword and Scale isn't just a podcast. We also have a website (swordandscale.com) where we post daily stories of dark deeds done by the most evil and devious amongst us. To highlight this point, we've chosen two stories that we've previously covered in articles on our website. The first is extremely fascinating, the second is extremely violent.Harvey's Wagon Wheel Casino was a popular destination for tourists in the Lake Tahoe area, until it was blown to bits by one of the most complex bombs ever built. We're joined by Adam Higginbotham, author of 1,000 Pounds of Dynamite to tell this amazing story.Our second story is that of a girl from Japan named Junko Furuta, who endured 44 days of torture, before her death, at the hands of countless others who could have stopped what was happening at any time, but chose not to.
As a Florida resident and native, I am disgusted by the events of the past weekend in Orlando. Thus, I decided to cover the two senseless shootings and also throw in a third recent and horrifying story that proves Florida really is a terrible place to be.In traditional Sword and Scale style, rather than just go over the details of the Christina Grimmie murder, the Orlando gay nightclub massacre, and the murder and dismemberment-by-chainsaw of Tricia Todd, we tell you these stories from a new and unique perspective that will make you understand the underlying depravity of humanity that is right there, just under the surface. Be prepared to be heartbroken, and angry, and disgusted.
Cara Marie Holley from Roanoke Virginia was just 18 years old when she went missing from her home on July 7, 2010. Two days later her body was found in shallow grave several miles away. The killer was arrested almost immediately because he was using her credit card and driving her car around the very town where he killed her.The worst part of this story is that Cara knew her killer Carey Shane Padgett. They went to high school together and were friends, but there was something very wrong with Padgett. It seems he was interested in killing someone for the sole purpose of becoming famous. A volley of experts would be dispatched in court to try and explain away what he did, but sometimes there just is no acceptable explanation for the evil of man.We speak to both Cara's friend and schoolmate Victoria Johnson, and her mother Lisa Cowling, to attempt to tell this heartbreaking story of insurmountable loss, heartbreak and suffering.
Something is very wrong when two children can disappear from society for two years and not a single person notices or cares.This is the tale of how violence breeds violence and the most vulnerable among us are the ones who suffer because of it. The horrors that occurred in the residence of Mitchelle Blair are ones you won't likely soon forget.
When someone secretly means to do you harm, there's a good chance they will succeed. When you are a celebrity or public figure of some kind, you become much more vulnerable to attack because of the nature of public life. Your whereabouts are often tracked and your habits and vulnerabilities are a matter of public record.There are people out there such as Ricardo Lopez who wish to do harm, for whatever demented reasons their sick minds have constructed. Many times they do succeed, but this is not one of those cases. We were, however, left with one of the clearest pictured into the mind of a celebrity stalker that we've ever had. There are 22 hours of Lopez's video diary leading up to the final act, and seeing what transpired in the mind of this very sick individual is frightening.
Sometimes the monsters are not only in our homes, but they are the ones closest to us: our mother or father, brother or sister. To a young child living in an environment where a depraved individual lurks can be terrifying. In this episode we will experience that terror from the perspective of that young child who is powerless to change their situation.We speak to three survivors of domestic child abuse and child sexual abuse and hear their unfiltered stories of their terrifying experiences. More importantly, we learn how they coped with the terrible start of their lives and have gone on to serve as an example to others that you don't have to be a product of your environment. You can go on to a better life eventually, should you choose it.
After Michelle Macneill, a healthy 50-year old mother, dies mysteriously of a heart condition in the bathtub of her Pleasant Grove, Utah home, questions begin to emerge. Her husband, Martin Macneill, begins to exhibit strange behavior even on the very day of his wife's death. Soon afterwards, a nanny is introduced into the family home and a sordid affair is revealed, along with a motive for murder.
Pleasant Grove, Utah. A picturesque gated community. A perfectly manicured lawn. A lovely brick home. The perfect family. The perfect life. A bathtub.This is the story of Martin Macneill, and his late wife Michelle.
A 30-year-old woman named Jenelle Potter has spent her entire life sheltered from the world. Not being allowed to get a job, drive a car, date, or even leave the house without the supervision of her mother Barbara, Jenelle turns to the Internet and social media as her only escape. However her lack of real-world social skills translate to disaster online. She starts making enemies just as fast as she makes friends and eventually the online feuds turn vicious.When her mother Barbara and her father Buddy, and ex-WW2 POW, get involved the online attacks turn deadly. Jenelle uses a fake identity to coerce her own father into killing innocent people, simply because of her jealousy and bitterness to the outside world.We're joined this week by Assistant District Attorney Dennis Brooks, author of the book Too Pretty To Live: The Catfishing Murders of East Tennessee.
Every parent's nightmare can happen in an instant. It can happen on a day just like any other in a place you would never expect and, the fact of the matter is, you will never see it coming.Such is what happened to the family of 9-year-old Connor Verkerke. One moment everything was fine; it was a beautiful late summer day and kids were playing in the local playground. The next minute, all hell broke loose.But this tragedy wasn't exclusive to Connor and his family. The story of 12-year-old Jamarion Lawhorn, who was also on that playground on that day, was also tragic and heartbreaking.
Alternative rock superstar, host of the reality TV-show Ink Master, actor and recent filmmaker Dave Navarro joins us to talk about his film "Mourning Son" which details the events leading up to and surrounding his mother's brutal murder when he was just 15 years old.We're also joined by Cameka Crawford, Chief Communications Officer at the National Domestic Violence Hotline and steering committee member for NOMORE.org, to talk about this epidemic which affects an alarming number of people.To highlight the point of domestic violence's stranglehold despite our modern society, we feature a story from Traverse City, Michigan. This is the story of Sandra Rode's death at the hands of her husband Michael. The details of which are too horrifying to even describe.
When many of us think of true-crime, we think of cops and killers, detectives and victims. We even spend a great deal of time examining medical forensics and human decomposition. Rarely do we shift our focus to the paramedics who work tirelessly every day and night, sometimes at great personal risk to themselves, to save the lives of victims of horrific crimes.In this episode we'll do just that by speaking with former paramedic Kevin Hazzard. He wrote a phenomenal book called "A Thousand Naked Strangers: A Paramedic's Wild Ride to the Edge and Back" where he describes every aspect of this crazy job.
Cathy Ruson from courtchatter.com describes Facebook Killer Derek Medina as "an odd duck." That's probably the most accurate way to describe this man, who shot his wife eight times in the kitchen of their South Florida home, while she was preparing breakfast for her 10-year-old daughter, and then posted a picture of his handiwork on Facebook for all of his friends and family to see. In this second part, to our two-part story, we get to know the strange man who for years seemed desperate for attention.The YouTube channel that Derek Medina left behind is chocked full of dozens of meaningless "selfie" videos of this narcissist performing various sporting activities. At times, he seems quite normal, then at other times there's clearly something "off" about him. Medina described himself as an actor, after playing a small non-speaking part in an episode of the television series Burn Notice. He also fancied himself an author after self-publishing 6 bizarre books with unnecessarily long titles. We delve into these materials to try and understand the mind of this cold-blooded killer.
It's one thing to kill someone, it's quite another to publish your handiwork on social media for all your friends and family to see like some sort of macabre trophy. That's exactly what Facebook Killer Derek Medina did after killing his wife Jennifer Alfonso in the kitchen of their Miami condominium, while her 10-year-old daughter cowered upstairs under a red blanket. After shooting the unarmed woman eight times, in his words "emptying the clip", he went back upstairs and got dressed before taking a picture of the body, posting it on Facebook, and leaving the residence with the 10-year-old girl still upstairs. Horrified friends and family could do nothing but wait for news of what had transpired, meanwhile the picture of Jennifer's corpse remained posted on Facebook for hours before it was finally taken down.In this two-part story we will cover the trial of this cold-blooded killer with special guest Cathy Russon from courtchatter.com, and get to know the man behind this horror show.
Over the course of the last year we've spoken to many different people from all walks of life. We asked them one simple question: "If there was one thing you could change about the criminal justice system, what would it be." This final episode of Season 2 is a compilation of their answers.We're joined by criminal defense attorney Christopher Zervic, as well as the guys and gals from The Generation Why Podcast and the Thinking Sideways Podcast. The cast of guests includes: Jason Lucky Morrow from HistoricalCrimeDetective.com, Julie Strickland, Charles Graeber author of the book The Good Nurse, true-crime author Dianne Fanning, clinical psychologist James M. Cantor, Dr. Michelle Elliott, Thought Catalog author M.J. Pack, documentary filmmaker Jan-Willem Breure, and Noreen Gosch from The Johnny Gosch Foundation.
The topic of abortion is a highly controversial one, with emotionally-charged opinions on either side. Regardless of how you feel about the topic, this story about abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell illustrates the workings of a man who has lost his humanity and no longer cares who he hurts on his path to profit.The Women's Medical Society, the clinic with a grandiose name that Gosnell ran, was a pill mill by day and an illegal abortion clinic by night. It is estimated Gosnell earned well over a million dollars conducting illegal late-term abortions. Many of the women who came to the clinic were poor and easily fooled by Gosnell and his staff of unlicensed "doctors" who administered dangerous drugs to the unsuspecting patients. Even after two patients died, the Philadelphia Department of Health did nothing, due to political pressure. Had it not been for a tip related to illegal prescription medications, bearing Gosnell's name, the clinic may still be operating today.
There's something about the perceived safety of an automobile's cab that makes many of us feel like we are impervious to danger, yet danger is all around us. In this episode, we examine two cases which seemingly began with a road rage incident and ended with murder.In the first case Robert Doyle shoots and kills Candelerio Gonzalez in front of his own home and then holds the victim's family at gunpoint. Case number two is the death of Tammy Myers at the hands of 19-year-old Erich Nowsche, a young man who seems to have lost his way. Ironically, the victim in this case was trying to help Nowsche before the incident.These cases vastly differ and deal with issues such self-defense, child abuse and drug use. Also, CNN Legal Analyst Danny Cevallos joins us to walk us through some of the legal intricacies of the castle doctrine and stand-your-ground themes which hovers over both of these cases.
The stories we tell often tend to focus on the criminal act itself, rather than the investigation that follows. In this episode of Sword and Scale we'll show you how the human body often tells the tale of its final living moments in the form of forensic evidence, and what it takes to extract this information from a corpse.We're joined by the husband and wife team Dr. Judy Melinek and TJ Mitchell, who co-authored the book "Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner." In it they describe Judy's journey from her goal of becoming a surgeon all the way through her career as a forensic pathologist during the September 11th terrorist attacks.
It's one thing to talk about gun violence, it's quite another to see it up close on live television. In this episode of Sword and Scale we take you back to one of the first examples of a life being lost on live television: the suicide of Budd Dwyer, an American politician who had been convicted of bribe receiving. However, before his sentence of 55 years' imprisonment and a $300,000 fine could be imposed Dwyer chose to take his life with a blued Smith & Wesson Model 27 .357 Magnum revolver at a press conference he had himself called.A few weeks ago we were once again exposed to a display of gun violence on live television, when disgruntled reporter Vester Lee Flanagan II who also went by the alias, Bryce Williams, shot and killed a young reporter and cameraman and injured a third innocent woman. The media has refused to show the footage of this killing, giving one reason or another for their censorship of newsworthy information. ABC News and the local Sheriff's department have also refused to release the killer's 23-page manifesto despite the Freedom of Information Act, citing some nonsense about glorifying the killer. They have, on the other hand, provided 24-hour news coverage about the event and named the killer repeatedly.The father of the reporter that was killed, Andy Parker, has vowed to shame lawmakers into creating some meaningful legislation rather than kowtowing to the NRA's lobbyists. In his words, "We’ve got to do something about crazy people getting guns."
In Episode 47 we told you about the McMartin Preschool case and the Satanic Panic that overtook an entire nation under the fear that our children are not safe. This week we are joined by Keelan Balderson from WideShut to cover a case that is hauntingly familiar, but occurring in modern-day Europe.When Ella Draper met marijuana-advocate Abraham Christie her life, and the lives of her two young children, spiraled out of control. According to Mrs Justice Pauffley, the presiding judge in the case, Christie was an abusive man who punished the children by hitting them with metal spoons and kicking them in the stomach. According to Pauffley's ruling, the couple brainwashed the two kids into making up an elaborate story about a satanic cult committing the ritualistic murder of children. Not surprisingly, at the head of the cult, was the children's father who was in the midst of a bitter custody dispute with Draper at the time.A bizarre cast of characters, including software engineer turned victim's advocate Sabine McNeill, refuses to believe the judges ruling and instead continue to argue that the whole thing is a grand conspiracy reaching the highest levels of government, despite the total lack of physical evidence in the case. This case demonstrates what happens when personal beliefs and biases take hold over common sense.
On November 18, 1978, in a remote settlement of northwestern Guyana, 909 Americans lost their lives in what is considered to be the largest mass suicide of the twentieth century. This compound, informally known as Jonestown, was established by a charismatic preacher named Jim Jones who led his People's Temple to their ultimate demise. In this episode, we welcome Julia Scheeres, author of the book "A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Jonestown", to tell us the story of how this story evolved into a tragedy.The religious organization he established was called People's Temple, and it was shrouded in secrecy and isolation. After drawing some unwanted attention from concerned family of People's Temple members, Jones moved his followers to a 3,800 acre plot of jungle he leased from Guyanese officials. Once there, Temple members were trapped. Late night meetings known as "White Nights" were used as drills to keep residents prepared for an imminent invasion by the CIA or other intelligence agencies which Jones referred to as "capitalist pigs." Temple members were tricked into committing "revolutionary suicide", as Jones called it, for the sake of their cause during staged sessions. Eventually, the paranoia and drug abuse of Jones would lead Jonestown down a dark path to which there was no other alternative but the death of every resident of Jonestown.If you're familiar with the term "drinking the Kool-Aid", this is where it comes from. However, the derogatory term simply doesn't fit the set of facts. Many of the residents of Jonestown simply didn't have a choice and almost a third of them were children. This mass "suicide", wasn't suicide at all. It was murder.
On June 15th, 2015 an ominous message appeared on Facebook which sent friends and family into a panic. Their worst fears were realized when police entered the home of Claudinnea "Dee Dee" Blancharde and her disabled daughter Gypsy, and found the mother dead and the daughter missing. The killer seemed to be mocking concerned loved ones online, and immediately the most important concern was to make sure the poor sickly daughter was found and that she would be unharmed. Little did they know the web of lies and deceit they would expose, dating back decades, and making victims out of dozens of concerned neighbors, friends, family and even various charitable organizations.
In Episode 48 we revisit many of the stories we've previously covered on Sword and Scale and fill you in on what has happened with in each case.We start with alleged theater shooter Curtis Reeves who is accused of shooting and killing Chad Oulson after a disagreement about texting during the previews of a movie. We then move on to the story of Vince Li, a schizophrenic man who suddenly without provocation beheaded Timothy McLean on a Greyhound bus. Then we jump over to South Africa, for an update to the Oscar Pistorius case, and the lackadaisical sentencing of this self admitted killer. We then ride the rollercoaster of twists and turns in the Holly Bobo case and discuss the various cast of strange characters accused of being involved with her murder.Such a jam-packed episode demands a strong opening act. We bring you one with a one-on-one interview with Noreen Gosch, who's son Johnny was abducted in 1982 and subsequently became the central piece of the Franklin Credit Scandle Conspiracy. We talk to her and director David Beilinson about his new film "Who Took Johnny?"
The highly technological society in which we live obscures the fact the we are still a very primitive species. One which continues to fall under the spell of magical beliefs and mass hysteria. Although we'd like to think we have evolved, this story which mirrors the insanity of the Salem Witch Trials shows, that perhaps, we have not.In the early 80's a madness was brewing. The rise of heavy metal music combined with the infiltration of demonic imagery into American homes in the form of VHS and Betamax videotapes of horror films such as The Exorcist, Rosemary's Baby and The Omen, had many of the public on edge. Combine that with several books and TV shows suggesting that Devil Worshipers make up a vast underground network that can exist in any middle-class neighborhood and you have a recipe for disaster. Fear turns to terror. Terror turns to mass hysteria. This phenomena was called Satanic Panic and elements of it can still be seen in our culture even today.
Despite being a grown man, Joseph McEnroe still exhibits the same traits he did when he was just a little boy: He bottles up his frustrations until they explode in fits of violence. He also seems to have a hint of the same Nightingale Syndrome that his mother uses to justify her abhorrent dating behaviors. Joseph follows in her footsteps by meeting a series of strange women through his online fantasy writing group and then travelling to whatever city they're in an attempt to start a relationship. Many of these women give him the cold shoulder, but Michelle Anderson, unfortunately, does not.The relationship that followed would end in the deaths of six innocent people at the hands of this awkward young man, an illegitimate child without even a proper mother to guide him. You may think he's a monster or you may take pity on him, but in the end a jury of 12 King County peers ultimately decided his fate. Is it life or death? You'll find out in this episode which is part 2 of the two-part story known as The Carnation Murders.
In this first part of a two-part story, we examine the Carnation Murders. This slaughtering of an entire family, by a seriously deranged couple, took place in 2007 in Carnation, Washington, a small rural town 25 miles east of Seattle. This story is told through the words of the man behind the trigger, as he's tries to make excuses and barter for his life.As with all unspeakable acts such as this we are interested in finding out why this occurred, so we take a closer look at Joseph McEnroe's life and family. Somewhere along the way, despite this hateable man's atrocity, we end up finding out he was actually a human being that and pity begins to take the place of hate. A product of the horrible home life due to a mother who was desperate for male companionship and unfit to care for her 4 illegitimate children, McEnroe ended up having to pick up the slack and take on most of the household responsibilities while he was still just a child. This along with his social awkwardness and speech impediment are all ingredients that made up the disaster he would become as an adult.
We live in a world where pregnant women have to fear going about their daily lives as they normally would because of the very real possibility that the unthinkable could happen to them at any time. It did to Michelle Wilkins, a mom who was trying to get some inexpensive baby clothes for her unborn daughter Aurora. Instead, what she got was a nightmare which unfolded on a beautiful Wednesday afternoon in Longmont, Colorado.The person who perpetrated this heinous act wasn't a serial killer, drug addict, or psycho, it was another mom named Dynel Lane. Dynel was so desperate to have another child that she would resort to lying to her friends and family and, eventually, unspeakable acts to secure whatever benefit she perceived from motherhood.In this episode we examine this crime and others like it, and try to answer the fundamentally basic question of what makes a mom a monster.
When Rodney Reed turned himself in to Bastrop Police, on what he though was a gun charge, little did he know he would be spending the next 17 years on Death Row for a crime he did not commit. However, that seems to be exactly what happened. He was charged, convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of Stacey Stites who he was having an affair with at the time. Unfortunately for Rodney, Stites was engaged to a Bastrop police officer named Jimmy Fennel who allegedly didn't take to kindly to his future wife sleeping with a black man.While Reed rotted away in a Texas jail cell, Jimmy Fennel and other cops who were allegedly involved in the coverup went on with their lives. Until an event in 2007, washing over Fennell like a Karmic wave, exposed the truth behind his real character. Despite this, appeal after appeal has failed and Rodney Reed's fate now lies in the hands of a few powerful people and listeners like you who have the power to change the course of events by standing up and demanding true justice.
The idea of ultimate justice is appealing to those of us who have strong empathy for victims in vicious and unspeakable crimes. However, the cost of implementing such an unyielding and unrepairable finality as taking someone's life, is that from time to time we'll make a mistake and get it wrong. The end result of a mistake like this is the execution of an innocent man. As a society are we so hungry for "justice" or perhaps "vengeance" that we are willing to accept the collateral damage that an imperfect system of justice will continue to provide?In this first part of a two-part story, we examine the curious case of Rodney Reed, a man who is currently on death row awaiting his execution. Meanwhile practically everyone who has closely examined this case believes he is not guilty of the crime he is about to be killed for. Not only that, but there's some pretty good evidence we know exactly who is, and the answer may reveal a shady criminal conspiracy by law enforcement officials.
Luckily there aren't very many examples of the perfect storm occurring in a community where a dysfunctional family, a broken child-protection agency, and a community that makes a series of unlucky decisions end with the death of a beautiful, happy and loving 5-year-old little girl. Episode 41, however, isn't one of them. On January 8th, 2015, Phoebe Jonchuck was thrown 62 feet off the Dick Misener Bridge in Tampa, Florida. As a result, she died at the hands of her father.Her mother, on the other hand, was absent. After the child's death, revelations about her would be made public that would show how little Phoebe Jonchuck never had a chance. Of course, had the Florida Department of Children and Families done its job, this story would have never had to have been told. But they didn't, of course, and the list of other actors in this story that could have stepped in and didn't is too long to list.Nobody cared enough about this 5 year old girl to take action beyond the bare minimum other than attorney Genevieve Torres whose calls and cries were ignored and dismissed. When you have a system so broken that an attorney insisting that a 5 year old is in danger goes ignored, then what good is it?
When asked to imagine the perfect place to perform serial murder most imagine something dark and creepy, but the truth of the matter is that the perfect place to kill is actually the same place in which most of us are born and die: a hospital.This is a place where death is not only common, but expected. Many of the victims are already incapacited and there's a steady stream of them coming in each day. Not to mention the fact that the tools for killing are readily available in the form of various dangerous drugs. Combine that with a hospital's reluctance to report any activity which may cost them a lawsuit and it's no wonder that Charles Cullen was able to get away with killing more than 40 patients over the course of 16 years at nine different institutions.In this episode we speak with Charles Graeber, author of The Good Nurse, and recount the terrifying story of a serial killer nurse and the broken system around him which facilitated and possibly covered up his killing spree.
Some things are hard to fathom, like why a young boy with his entire life ahead of him would choose to destroy it by an act of unspeakable violence towards the people that love and care for him most in the world: his parents. Yet, time after time, we see these angst ridden youth lose control of their developing minds and act out in a way that cannot be taken back and will not easily be forgiven or forgotten.In this episode of Sword and Scale we cover two cases in the form of two shocking 911 calls, each of which will leave you with a dropped jaw. Alex Crain woke up one morning and killed his mom and dad for seemingly no reason, and Jake Evans killed his mother and sister one night because he liked a horror movie and wanted to see what it was like to commit murder. Both teenage boys handle the aftermath very differently, yet they both seem to fully realize what they've done very shortly after the act and call 911 in a panic. These senseless and inexplicable murders prove that monsters are everywhere, sometimes in our very own homes.
In 2013 an independent documentary began making its way through various film festivals. It was received with harsh criticism, outrage and even death threats by various groups, each of which was repulsed by the subject matter and the way it was presented. The name of this film was Are All Men Pedophiles? and once we heard about it we knew we had to speak to the creator of the film Jan-Willem Breure.Early on though we figured we'd need some serious help telling this story properly and responsibly, so we solicited the expertise of Dr. Michelle Elliott, founder of the UK non-profit Kidscape, who has been in the business of protecting children for over 25 years. We also contacted clinical psychologist and research scientist Dr. James Cantor, for his controversial and fascinating research on the mind of a pedophile (or peadophile). The combination of all of these ideas and points of view makes for an amazingly honest insight into a topic most would be happy to shy away from.
We finally have the pleasure of speaking to Diane Fanning, author of 13 true crime books and counting. She tells us the tragic story of Wesley and Jocelyn Earnest, a tale that serves as a fable to any young woman who has recently been separated from her spouse.This couple had such a good life ahead of them, but somehow it all fell apart due to the lust, greed and hatred of one man. It seems inconceivable to most, and the tragic tale is further highlighted and enhanced once you realize what a sweet and wonderful person the victim actually was, and what a monster her husband was. A man who was willing to do anything to achieve a certain status in the eyes of others, and in doing so he destroyed everything around him; a man who thought he was smarter than everyone else; a man who thought he could get away with anything, even murder.
Timothy Wesley McCorquodale had a rage in him that was uncontrollable. Like a loose cannon he could go off at any minute, unleashing mayhem an any poor unsuspecting soul that happened to cross him. The horror he would subject 17-year-old Donna Marie Dixon to in 1974, is unfathomable to this day. This week, we are joined once again by Jason Lucky Morrow, author and webmaster from the popular true-crime site HistoricalCrimeDetective.com to discuss this disturbing case from the past.We also take a virtual tour of Washington DC's Crime Museum, formerly known as the National Museum of Crime & Punishment, with it's Chief Operating Officer Janine Vaccarello. This is a unique exhibit, sure to be of interest to Sword and Scale fans.
What happens when you run out of luck? You lose your job, your marriage, your home, your arms and legs, the respect of your parents, and your will to live, what happens then? If you've ever lived on planet Earth, then the answer is obvious, this is where desperation takes over and horrible things happen.This week we present the sad story of Sean Petrozzino, a mild mannered "great kid" that grew up into a world of bad luck and it ended up consuming him and making him a true monster. After killing the two people who loved him most he led authorities on an 8-day manhunt that would end tragically.We also briefly cover the case of Angela Simpson, a convicted psychopath who loves her status and wants to tell you about it. The audio of her interview is chilling and will question your ideas about whether some of us are worth trying to reform.Then we talk to Cathy Russon from CourtChatter.tv who fills us in on the status of the Oscar Pistorious and Justin Ross Harris cases, and also fills us in on the biggest high-profile case(s) of 2015, that of the Aaron Hernandez murder trials. Apparently, we'll be seeing two separate trials, one for murder, and one for double murder. It's going to be a hell of a show.
Probably the most horrific murder publicly accessible though a variety of social media, the death of Lin Jun was a public execution for all to see. The culprit was a narcissistic psychopath named Luka Magnotta, and the terror he would unleash upon the world would reach out like evil tentacles across nations, cultures, and ages through the free-flowing highway of information we call the Internet.Magnotta's evil wasn't limited to humanity, he also tortured animals. The kind of animals that are so adorable, innocent, and unable to defend themselves that it literablly makes you sink to even think about it. But Magnotta wanted fame, so he wasn't content with having you think about it. He wanted you to see it, as many did, including young children who will undoubtedly be scarred for the rest of their lives.
One of the more bizarre stories of our lifetime, the story of Luka Magnotta is wrought with remorseful refrains and awkward pauses. This is a man, who was so narcissistic that there would be nothing to stand between him and what he wanted in life... fame. Had he been "normal" his goals might have been awe-inspiring, but Luka was the worst type of person, a psychopathic narcissist, and he would flaunt it in the nose of the good people of the world.The hell he would unleash online is something that would bring many to tears. He would find a way to reach fame, or infamy, one way or another. Whether it be adult films or the slaughter of animals, Luka was destined for stardom. Unfortunately for the Chinese International Student Jun Lin, who would eventually become a victim of his madness, Magnotta would find the International spotlight he was looking for. His crime, would be one so brutal and so bizarre that it would prompt Canada's largest International manhunt, but would they ever catch this killer, who was a virtual phantom, before it was too late?
In this season finale of Sword and Scale, we bring back many of the guests we've spoken to over the last year and ask them a fundamental question that relates to the nature of crime: "Is humanity inherently good or evil?" The answer comes from many different perspectives. They are victims, convicts, authors, podcasters, psychologists and neurologists. Their answers open a discussion into the nature of these abstract concepts and will leave you asking what you yourself believe.Thanks to all those who have taken part in Sword and Scale's success and we wish you a wonderful holiday season. See you next year!
There are 2.2 million schizophrenics in the United States. You have a one in a hundred chance of encountering one on any given day. Most are non-violent people struggling with what can sometimes be a debilitating disease, but every now and then the voices in their head can lead a handful of them down a path from which there is no return. For the rest of us, no knowing if the person next to you is capable of murdering and dismembering you at any given moment can be utterly terrifying.This week we tell you the story of three people who were minding their own business, going about their day either taking a trip, going to work, or just relaxing at home after a long day. Each of these people have one thing in common: they all became victims unexpectedly to a case of the severe mental illness of another, as well as a flawed healthcare system that fails to treat and help these people.In this episode we discuss the cases of Vince Weiguang Li, Alton Nolen and Derek Ward. All three of these men decapitated their victims, with a complete lack of empathy or mercy, while undergoing a severe psychotic episode. The brutality of their attacks are unimaginable and terrifying. If these stories don't give you nightmares, you should seek counseling yourself.
The story of Herman Webster Mudgett, otherwise known as H.H. Holmes, has been told numerous times: a brilliant man with so much potential but so inherently evil that his actions would require new words be created to describe the monster that he was. The depravity of someone who would construct a building solely for the purpose of torture, murder, and the "processing" of human bodies for profit, is unimaginable. Although it has inspired numerous books and movies, many people who are not avid true crime fans, have never heard this story. Even if you have heard this story, you'll want to listen to this episode, because we've uncovered an even bigger story which is downright fascinating...Was H.H. Holmes the true identity of Jack the Ripper?We talk to two men who say they know this is a fact, and have spent years trying to prove it. We are joined by Dane Ladwig author of the book "Dr. H. H. Holmes and The Whitechapel Ripper" and Jeff Mudgett author of the book "Bloodstains". Jeff's last name is no coincidence, he claims to be the great-great-grandson of the protagonist in this story, Herman Mudgett, otherwise known as H.H. Holmes.
The term "bluebeard" conveys images of pirates sailing the high seas, but the actual meaning of this term is much darker and there are examples of it all around us. You see, a "bluebeard" is a man that murders his wife. The term is derived from a French folktale dating back to the 1600's, making this horrible idea not a new one.The fact that this term isn't commonly used in North America is curious, since its female counterpart "black widow" is widely known worldwide. In this episode of Sword and Scale we examine some Bluebeard cases which you probably haven't heard about, including some recent ones that have shocked us in their pointlessness and brutality. But beware... After listening, you may never look at your husband the same way again.
Everyone thought Joshua Gouker was a dangerous criminal. It was easy to convict him of murdering his 14-year-old step son Trey Zwicker, especially after he suddenly changed his plea to guilty and confessed. But why would a hardened criminal mastermind, who had several friends and family members at his command and lying for him, suddenly confess at trial without a plea bargain in place? The answer is that his son, who he proudly referred to as a demon child, was also on trial for the same murder, and although he was only 15 when Zwicker died, he was being tried as an adult.The bond between this father and son duo is stronger than you would expect given the fact that neither of them seem to have a moral compass of any sort. We'll delve into the incredible details of this case, which gives new meaning to the words "like father, like son."
In this special two-parter, the brutal and inexplicable murder of a 14-year-old boy exposes a dysfunctional American family's secrets and lies. This is the story of Trey Zwicker's murder, a young boy who did everything right but never really had a chance because he grew up in the wrong place, around the wrong people.This is also the story of a father and son. Joshua Young, a bright honor-role student, and Joshua Gouker, a convicted felon who had spent most of his son's lifetime behind bars. The two were so close that they even share a murder indictment for Trey Zwicker's untimely departure from Earth. One was sentenced to life, the other walks among us, but did the justice system get it right or was it fooled by a criminal mastermind? We'll present the evidence and let you decide for yourself in the true-crime murder mystery.Be sure to check in for part two of this story, where we flip the table and make you question your conclusions.
This is one of the most under-reported murders in the history of the North American Continent. A mutilation that took hours and mind that was so disturbed it relished in the extreme violence inflicted on the deceased, this story exposes the obvious deficiencies in the extremely Liberal Canadian justice system, which even many natives don't even fully understand. Dan Zupansky, author of Trophy Kill "The Shall We Dance Murder" and host of the highly-popular true-crime podcast True Murder "The Most Shocking Killers in True Crime History", joins us to tell us a tale that is as disturbing as some of the most infamous cases ever reported. Zupansky, however, wasn't satisfied in simply chronicling a historical case. He jumped in, head first, into an active case that was still unraveling. In doing so, he became the unwitting target of critics and star witness for the prosecution of his subject. He tells us his story, no holds barred, describing his disdain for some of the actors in this case such as Greg Broadsky, who defended infamous killer Paul Bernardo and is on a short list of the most prominent known Canadian criminal defense attorneys. This story is interesting from so many different standpoints, and also so tragic from so many different standpoints, it's unlikely for anyone not to find something they feel passionate about on this particular case.
Every year more than 3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States involving more than 6 million children. Being one of these children is nightmarish enough, but if your abuser is someone you completely trust, then the event becomes all the more traumatic. Jamie Sivrais was one of these children. When he was 10 his father, who had been absent much of his early life, sexually abused him. Emboldened by his act, the abuse escalated to a point where Jamie knew he had to do something to try and put an end to it.Today Jamie runs a non-profit called A Voice for the Innocent which encourages victims of sexual abuse to come forward anonymously with their stories and get help from a community of others who have had similar experiences. The abuse at the hands of Jamie's father is shocking and terrible, but the fact that he has been able to turn such dark events in his life into such a positive act by assisting other victims, makes his story inspirational and uplifting.
With just 10,000 residents, the small town of Jennings, Louisiana has one of the highest crime rates per capita of any US town. Any vice you're looking for can be found here, including prostitution, which is just one of the things that linked all 8 victims that were found in the surrounding swamp land. Another thing linking all eight women, was their association with a man by the name of Frankie Richard. A shady character with a spotty, Richard knew all 8 women and admits to having sexual relations with almost all of them, yet he claims to have nothing to do with the murders and provides little information beyond that.However, the secrets of this town are lying there in wait for someone to who cares enough about eight dead prostitutes to come forward and solve this case. Apparently, the local Sheriff's department hasn't stepped up to the job, and the level of corruption and crime going on by those who actually wear a badge is staggering. The number of officers or investigated for ethics violations over the last decade would be shocking even for a large city, let alone a small town such as Jennings. It has become clear, over the course of two sheriffs being prosecuted and one mysteriously resigning before being asked to step down, that the culture of corruption in this town may go all the way to the top and, because of that, this crime may never be solved.
What could be more horrifying, terrible, and heart-breaking than a mother intentionally taking the life of her own child. The fact that there's even a word in the English language that describes it it shocking in itself. The word is filicide and, even though you may have never heard of it, there are too many cases to cover in just one episode of Sword and Scale. We barely scratch the surface in this episode of some of the most horrifying cases of mommies killing their babies.Episode 23 covers some of the more famous cases like Andrea Yates and Casey Anthony, as well as the deplorable recent case of Megan Huntsman and her garage of nightmares. We also touch on more recent cases that will literally turn your stomach, such as Microwave Mom China Arnold and the attempted murder suicides of Elaine Campione and Julia Murray, each of which failed their intended outcome for entirely different reasons.Warning: these cases are highly disturbing. You won't be able to get these stories out of your head. So if you are sensitive to the brutal truth of true crime, then you may want to skip this one.
A family divided, a hungry media looking for answers, and an inept police department looking for answers to explain and more importantly prove the inexplicable actions by a father of two young boys, sets a community in turmoil. Soon, the entire nation is wrapped up in the "what ifs" that emerge from the web of lies and misinformation that has been weaved by a family of deviants.In the end answers are few and far between, but there is a resolution, although not the resolution anyone would have hoped for. This is the story of Josh Powell, his wife Susan Powell, and their two young kids Charlie and Braden. Of course, the story also involves the friend and family around them that were, and are still, affected by the actions on the night of and early morning hours of December 6-7th, 2009.
Historical Crime Detective Jason Morrow joins us once again to tell the tale of a mysterious killer who took on the persona of a secret agent in the Summer of 1930. One of the first documented cases of a narcissistic killer engaging the media to taunt police, the tale of 3X captured the imagination of the nation. However after the killing stopped abruptly, this story was all but forgotten... until now. With similarities to the Zodiac Killer case, this is a story you have to hear.We also invite trial reporter Jen Wood from TheTrialDiaries.com to give us an update on the Seth Mazzaglia and Bryan Wayne Hulsey murder cases which she is covering. Also... some fun.
Ronald William Brown was a ventriloquist puppeteer on a television program called Joy Junction, a variety show on the Christian Television Network. Last year he received a 20-year sentence for child pornography charges, but the real story is much more disturbing.Brown along with 42 others were netted in a child porn sting that spanned two continents and perpetrators from every walk of life. Believe it or not, the worst part of the story isn't that these individuals wanted to molest children. Instead, their online chat logs revealed a deep desire to murder, mutilate and eat their corpses too. Brown even had a particular victim in mind, a boy that attended his local church. The horrific level of detail in their plans is captured in the eerily benign nature of their back and forth dialog, which has been recreated using computer voices for this program.Sword and Scale has never released a show this disturbing, so if you are sensitive to topics like this please do not listen.
Elliot Rodger's privileged background and his family's ties to Hollywood didn't help him get accepted by those around him. Instead his awkward behavior and creepy mannerisms made girls want to ignore him and guys want to bully him. For most of his life he endured what he described as a torturous and tormented life, so on May 23rd he took his revenge on the world that had created "such an injustice", in what he called his "day of retribution".We also cover two cases in which South Florida, from the last month, in which police officers have been shot by their girlfriends. Although these cases occurred in adjacent counties, they had very different outcomes. We'll also tell you about a 911 call that may make you mad ...very mad.
How much to you trust your friends? How much do you know your friends? What would they do for you? What would you do for them?In this episode of Sword and Scale we examine a story of betrayal involving new age cults, sound healing, apocalyptic scenarios and a self-serving meth-head who has left a trail of destruction in her wake. Welcome to the story of Eric Preimesberger's unfortunate premature death, and the people responsible for killing him and hiding his body. It's also a tale about the perimeter, the friends that were just outside the fold and due to luck or divine intervention, stayed there. It's also a story about you, and who you know, how well you know them, and how easily you could be sucked into being an accomplice to murder.
In this episode of Sword and Scale we recap the last month's most bizarre stories in the genre of true crime. Quite a few people in trouble have gotten in trouble with the law lately because of their poor choices and bizarre behavior. Although to them it may be no laughing matter, everyone else is left thinking "just what on earth were they thinking?"We also catch up with Cathy Russon from Court Chatter who fills us in on all the courtroom drama behind the Julie Schenecker murder case. We'll hear her take and also let you hear Schenecker's bizarre apology which, interestingly enough, did not include any mention of her estranged ex-husband.
Lauren Giddings had just graduated law school and was getting ready for a new life when she suddenly disappeared from her apartment in Macon, Georgia. As her friends and family desperately tried to find her, they were surprised to see Lauren's reclusive neighbor on the news overreacting to word that a dismembered body had been nearby. The shaggy, bearded introvert was questioned by police in one of the strangest and most infuriating interrogations ever caught on tape.In this episode of Sword and Scale we discuss Stephen McDaniel's bizarre behavior, and what led up to his eventual admission of guilt. We also talk to Sergeant Mario de los Santos of the City of Miami Police Department, and former personality of A&E's The First 48, about his experience interrogating murder suspects, and the tactics used by police to secure a confession.
A deliberate murder that took 8 years of planning and plenty of hard work to accomplish. It involved a man, his truck, and an underground bunker in the Washington mountains. Peter Keller was described as a survivalist with a distrust of authority by his family and friends, but none of them had any idea he would ever resort to what he did. Now they're left wondering how they could have missed the clues and whether there was anything they could have done to prevent the murder of his wife and daughter.We'll also cover the castle doctrine case of Byron David Smith, in which all of the condemning audio was recorded by the home owner’s own security system. Even if you strongly feel in the second amendment and the right for homeowners to protect themselves and their property, you'll find this particular case absolutely chilling. The pure evil in Smith's voice is nakedly obvious on tape, stirring memories of Norman Bates in Psycho.
Usually we find the stories we want to talk about on Sword and Scale. This week the story found us, in the form of a cry for help from the surviving sister of Kimberly Renea Mabry, whose mutilated body turned up in a Rockford Illinois creek in 1995 and whose killer remains at large almost 20 years later. We bring you her story and ask for your help in solving this bizarre cold case that all but everyone has forgotten about.We next travel back to 1935 for a bizarre case of extortion and attempted murder in a small rural town of American Indian heritage. This story, titled "The Tahlequah Coed Case", is a place and time where prejudice prevails against justice, and a need for attention would put in motion a case highlighting the dark underside of small town life.We'll also cover the WTF Stories of the week and give you an update on the Oscar Pistorius Trial with Pistorius himself taking the witness stand in his own defense.
This week we're joined by former ex-inmate Glenn Langohr, who spent 10 years behind bars at some of California's toughest level 4 prisons, before reinventing himself as a best-selling author. His latest book, Prison Riot, takes the reader through the details of an actual prison riot he was involved in at California's Solano State Prison. We also talk to Professor Natasha A. Frost, author of the book The Punishment Imperative: The Rise and Failure of Mass Incarceration in America, about America's addiction with prisons and exactly how much it is costing us. We'll also show you how to make your own prison alcohol and taste test some prison food known as Nutraloaf (or Nutriloaf).
When 20-year-old Morgan Ingram tragically died in 2011, the family couldn't deal with their grief. What followed was a bizarre and prolonged Internet campaign of hate which has attempted to ruin the lives of at least a dozen people. Sword and Scale followed the rabbit hole to see where it would go, and we soon found that the pattern of behavior can be traced back to a mysterious individual named Sarah Afshar who interviewed Morgan's mom seems to have some sort of close relationship with. We dive head-first into this story and examine every aspect of it. No stone is left unturned.Morgan's family, and particularly her mother Toni Ingram, continues to claim that her daughter was stalked and killed, even though there is no evidence to support their claims. Toni has even publicly "outed" who she thinks is responsible on the web and on national television. Was Morgan really stalked and killed in the same house that her parents slept, did she commit suicide, or is there an even more sinister explanation to her unfortunate death like Munchausen by Proxy? We'll present you with the facts, but it's up to you to decide.
What happens when a family's grief slips into malice and madness, when a mother is so hell-bent on being portrayed as a victim that she begins victimizing everyone who doesn't see her as one? Welcome to the sad story of Morgan Ingram's untimely death and the circus of insanity that followed and continues to this day.When Morgan's car was keyed in 2011, a bizarre narrative began to unfold which consisted of a maniac serial-stalker who would terrorize the Ingram family for months. This methodical madman with unbelievable speed and agility was able to go undetected for months, according to Morgan Ingram's mother Toni, despite several attempts to catch him and an array of video cameras strewn around the Ingram household. Despite over nine calls to police, this psycho stalker, who Toni Ingram is convinced was a neighborhood boy, devised a plan to gain access to the Ingram home, subdue and murder Morgan with the same drug she was prescribed, and then make his exit without morgan's parents or two dogs noticing. She has publicly named this boy, and his girlfriend at the time, as the murderers of her daughter because she says they were jealous. She also watched his house for months, making note of when his car was in the driveway, driven by his workplace several times a day, and monitored his Facebook account looking for anything she could use to prove he was the killer, which would lead a sane person to question who the real stalker is.
Any untimely death is a tragedy, but when the victim is young, beautiful, and an all-around wonderful person, the whole thing seems to be much worse. Unfortunately, there are two high-profile cases in the news this week that fit this too-familiar mold. We walk you through the backstory of both of them, told by those who knew the victims best. We also speak to high profile crime experts Levi Page, host of The Levi Page Show and frequents HLN contributor and Cathy Russon from CourtChatter.com.The first case is that of nursing student Holly Bobo, who was abducted from her home in 2011. The case made national headlines and the inspirational tale of how an entire town rallied around the search for Holly is truly inspirational. This three-year-old case had started to grow stale, until shocking news this week which suggest the perpetrator was someone that everyone in the community knew, including Holly.Next we travel to the crime-laden land of South Africa, which is hosting a murder trial which has the entire world captivated. It is that of Oscar Pistorius, who shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in his home on Valentines Day last year. According to Pistorius, he thought she was an intruder and he thought a home invasion was occurring when he shot Steenkamp, but his behavior leading up to the incident and the testimony of ear-witnesses who heard the incident that night tell a different story.
If you had to choose a method of execution for yourself, which would you choose? What if you learned that what is considered the most "humane" method of execution is probably the most painful? We discuss the controversy behind lethal injections, and why just about any other method may be a better option. Convicted murderer Dennis McGuire found out about this the hard way, and his botched execution left onlookers stunned and horrified.We also hear a bizarre murder confession caught on tape by a news crew that ends up becoming part of the story. It's clear that schizophrenia is a major problem that even the neighbors know about, but help for people like this is still somehow inaccessible until they end up hurting others. And if those stories don't wet your appetite, we'll also tell you about the last meals of convicted murderers, including some of the strangest requests ever made. All that, plus Part 2 of the Curtis Reeves bail hearing where we hear from the alleged killer himself. You'll want to hear this one.
This week the true-crime media has been abuzz reporting the verdict of the Michael Dunn "Loud Music Murder Trial." On Sword and Scale we do things a little different, so we'll let you get your fill of that case from other media outlets while we break the case of Curtis Reeves, who like Michael Dunn allegedly shot and killed someone because he didn't like what they were doing and then tried to claim self defense afterwards. Instead of loud music, it was the simple act of texting at a movie theater.I know if someone uses a phone during a movie it can be extremely annoying, but texting isn't really that big of a deal unless you're sitting right next to someone with a particularly big and particularly bright phone. Even then, is it enough to get into an argument about, much less shoot someone? During former cop Curtis Reeves' bail hearing, we learn about all the details that led up to this senseless and tragic outcome where a man died for bad movie theater etiquette.
"White House Boy" Roger Dean Kiser tells us the story of his personal hell. To him, this world which anyone would consider a living hell was just normal everyday life. The way he describes this upbringing is so brutally honest and matter-of-fact, that it will chill your soul. Hundreds of other "White House Boys" have told the tale of the same experience, yet for over a century the institutional torture and sometime murder of children has been taking place right under our collective noses, and only now is this story coming to light.When you hear this story, just keep reminding yourself that you live in America, a country by the people and for the people. You may have to try extra hard to remind yourself because it will be easy to forget. This actually happened. It happened right here, in this country, and the worst part is there is no justice for the victims, not even the ones who are still living. It's absolutely sickening, and a wake up call for anyone who cares enough to listen.
This is the conclusion to a two part saga involving the organized abduction and abuse of children and ritualistic murders by satanic cults allegedly headed by the top levels of government at a mysterious all-male retreat known as Bohemian Grove. We tell the tale of what has become to be known as The Franklin Coverup and follow the trail of young Johnny Gosch and several other youngsters who were persecuted by the very system that was supposed to protect them, all for sharing their nightmare with us. Witness intimidation kept this story under wraps, but some individuals took the fall while countless others probably got away with outright murder.
Imagine a criminal conspiracy and cover-up so so massive in scale, involving the highest levels of government and industry, that it threatens the very fabric of the American system. Now imagine that the crimes of this criminal syndicate are so horrible, so horrendous, that the mere mention of them would be frowned upon in polite society, and the very idea of such a conspiracy being possible would be laughable and downright absurd. Yet, in September of 1982, the unexplained disappearance of a 12-year-old boy named Johnny Gosch, set a series of events into motion that would have earth-shattering ramifications to this day.In this episode of Sword and Scale, we'll delve into Part 1 of a series titled The Massive Cover-Up one of the strangest and most outrageous criminal conspiracy theories ever told, including audio from many of those who witnessed the story unfolding firsthand. We're also delve into all the bizarre side-stories that spin off like fractals into their own mysterious endings.The show concludes with a viral video that made headlines last week. In keeping with the theme, it is that of a sexual abuse victim named Jamie that decided that if the law wasn't going to help her, perhaps YouTube and the outrage of millions could. You won't want to miss this clip.
On Friday, October 5th 2012, 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway disappeared on her way to school. This is the story of what happened to her and how the suburban city of Westminster coped with the aftermath, including the perpetrator's chilling confession. We warn you, some of the details are quite disturbing and not intended for all audiences.We also examine how common child abductions are in the United States and cover some of the week's most eye-catching headlines.
It's really true that Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. This week we examine the fascinating topic of female serial killers, including the tale of Belle Gunness - a woman who makes Ted Bundy look like an amateur. Although the town of La Porte, Indiana has been made famous by the bizarre events that happened there over a hundred years ago, many have never heard of this woman or her series of cold and calculated murders on a pig farm.We're joined by Bruce R. Johnson, a local expert on the Belle Gunness story, along with Director/Producer of Belle Gunness: The Movie and The Gunness Mystery, Stephen Ruminski. We also chat with local librarian Mary Hedge about La Porte's unusual relationship with the Gunness case.Sword and Scale highly encourages you to support our guests. If you're a fan of Sword and Scale, we're certain you'll enjoy The Gunness Mystery on DVD. To order it, please visit http://www.thegunnessmystery.com/. Also, be sure to check out the La Porte County Historical Society's website for all the wicked little details surrounding this story, and if you want to dig deeper there's always our new friend Mary Hedge at The La Porte County Public Library. Also, if you're into that sort of thing, a horrifying collection of photos related to the Belle Gunness case is available at Murderpedia.If you're interested in the Belle Gunness Story, check out Sword and Scale Staff Writer's profile: Did Belle Get Away With Murder?
Psychopaths are all around us. Who are they? What are they? What makes them feel no empathy for other human beings, seeing them only as objects to manipulate and control? In Episode 2 of Sword and Scale, we examine these questions and hear from one of the world's leading neuroscientists in this field Professor James Fallon, who is not only an expert in the field of psychopathy, but also exhibits many of the traits of a psychopath himself. We also hear from actual psychopaths in their own words, including a chilling interview conducted of a serial sex offender by Dr. Anna Salter. Also, we'll play part of the final interview of one of the twentieth century's most infamous serial killers: Ted Bundy. The lack of empathy or remorse in their voice as they share the details of their horrific actions will probably turn your stomach, unless of course you're also a psychopath. Very special thanks to James H. Fallon, Professor Emeritus, Anatomy & Neurobiology School of Medicine, University of California, Irvine.
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In this debut episode of Sword and Scale, author Janice Holly Booth tells the story of Bruce Blackman's slip into the dark depths of schizophrenia and the horrible result it caused to him and his family. This tale is based on the true events that occurred in Coquitlam, British Columbia on January 18th, 1983.This story is chilling, and in the wake of events like the Aurora Movie Theater shooting, more relevant than ever. This close knit family missed all the signs of trouble brewing and it had drastic consequences.Very special thanks to Rachel Mallory, Ph.D., R. Psych for her medical insight and assistance with this broadcast.