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.
From the collective minds of Jack Luna (Dark Topic), Tyler Bell (The Westside Fairytales) and Mike Boudet (Sword and Scale) comes Monstruo, the most disturbing podcast ever made. Nine stories, carefully crafted, one year in the making. Each two part episode of episode of Monstruo delves into the the most heinous and depraved killers ever to walk this earth. Told from the perspective of the individuals who were unfortunate enough to be there, and using highly-immersive audio-drama-like presentation, each story uncovers the motivation of these human monsters. The presentation of Monstruo consists of two 30-minute episodes followed by an after show where the hosts and creators chat about the story in their own words and further explore the details of each grizzly case.
Apple Podcasts - https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/monstruo/id1440306805
Stitcher - https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/wondery/monstruo
TuneIn - https://tunein.com/podcasts/History-Podcasts/Monstruo-p1184745/
Spotify - https://open.spotify.com/show/5TxmPu677nCiBAtSKc8b6u
Podbean - https://www.podbean.com/podcast-detail/whmbk-804d1/Monstruo-Podcast
PlayerFM - https://player.fm/series/monstruo
Podbay - https://podbay.fm/podcast/1440306805/reviews
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
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.