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Criminal

Criminal is a podcast about crime. Not so much the "if it bleeds, it leads," kind of crime. Something a little more complex. Stories of people who've done wrong, been wronged, and/or gotten caught somewhere in the middle. We're a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX, a curated network of extraordinary, story-driven shows. Learn more at radiotopia.fm.

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Episode 101: The Fox

This episode picks up where Episode 100 left off. We suggest you listen to them in order. When Martin McNally met another plane hijacker in prison, they started coming up with a plan to ...

Episode 100: Ten Thousand Feet in the Air

On the afternoon of June 23rd, 1972, Martin McNally walked into the St. Louis airport with a wig, a sawed-off rifle, and a plan. Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. If you...

I'm Phoebe Judge

Thanks for helping us celebrate 100 episodes!

Episode 99: Racehorse Haynes

There is nothing Richard "Racehorse" Haynes wouldn't do to win a case. He once held a cattle prod against his skin. He cross examined an empty chair on the witness stand. He considered nai...

Episode 98: The Doctors

Three of America's most experienced trauma surgeons speak with us about what happens when someone is shot. Special thanks to Dr. Amy Goldberg, Dr. David Spain, and Dr. Ronald Stewart. Cr...

Episode 97: Palace of Justice

When Benjamin Ferencz was 27 years old, he prosecuted his very first trial. There were 22 defendants, each of them high-ranking members of Nazi Germany's death squad. The entire world was ...

Episode 96: On the Run

When Tyler Wetherall was a kid, her mother and father packed up the family car and drove through the night. They were on the run from the FBI. And by the time she was 9, Tyler had learned ...

Episode 95: The Job

Not long into his job as prison superintendent, Frank Thompson was asked to write the manual on lethal injection for the state of Oregon. Capital punishment had not been implemented in mor...

Episode 94: The Chase

Mark Roberts has attended almost every major sporting event in the world. And he's been escorted off the field almost every time. Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. If yo...

Episode 93: Lavender Scare

Helen James grew up in a military family - her great great grandfather fought in the Civil War, her father in WWI, and her uncles in WWII. So when she enlisted in 1952, she felt like she b...

Episode 92: Dementia Americana

This episode picks up where Episode 91 left off. We suggest you listen to them in order. The early 20th century's biggest murder trial, and a particular brand of "madness." Visit thisisc...

Episode 91: The "It" Girl

The story behind the face of New York's Gilded Age. For more information, check out Paula Uruburu's book, American Eve. Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. If you haven't...

Episode 90: Sharks

The U.S. Navy attempted to develop a shark attack repellant after many sailors were attacked during WWII. The first step was the formation of a "Shark Research Panel," which led to what we...

Episode 89: Shadowing Sheila

SPOILER WARNING: Please listen to our first episode about Sheila, Episode 88: Cold Case, before you listen to this one. This episode contains descriptions of violence and may not be suitab...

Episode 88: Cold Case

In 1984, Sheila Wysocki found herself helping the police investigate the murder of her college roommate. Detectives asked her to help gather information, even sending her out to dinner wit...

Episode 87: Casper, Wyoming

David Dovala has lived in Casper, Wyoming since he was 19. He’s worked all kinds of cases, first as a detective and later as sheriff, but a 1973 murder stays with him. This episode contain...

Episode 86: Willie Bosket

Before he was 10 years old, Willie Bosket had skipped school, started fires, picked pockets, and stolen a car. A psychiatrist at Bellevue called him the "saddest little boy she’d ever seen...

Episode 85: The Manual

In 1993, a family was found murdered in their home. A Maryland police spokesperson described the homicide investigation as the most "exhaustive and labor intensive" in the department's his...

A New Show from the Makers of Criminal: Episode 1

In 1971, David Alexander went for a run in Central Park and started talking to a stranger. For our first episode of This Is Love, a story about what's possible when we bet everything on ea...

Episode 84: Masterpiece

In the 1950s poodles were all the rage - one tabloid even reported that when a girl “makes the big time she traditionally acquires 3 things — minks, gems, and a poodle.” But one poodle in ...

This Is Love

Some spiders eat their young, and some eat their parents … love is never simple. From the makers of the award-winning podcast Criminal, This is Love investigates life’s most persistent mys...

Episode 83: The Mothers

There is a group in Durham, NC called "Parents of Murdered Children." This week, we meet three of its members. Criminal is launching a new show that investigates life’s most persistent my...

Bonus Episode: Like a Page from a Book

In 1892, a gruesome murder took place in a small fishing village in Argentina. The police had a suspect who would not confess. What happened next would change the way murders were investig...

Episode 82: The Choir

As a child, Lawrence Lessig was a gifted singer. His church choir director encouraged him to attend a choir camp at a prestigious boarding school in New Jersey. He was so talented that the...

Episode 81: Unexpected Guests

Three mysteries we can't stop thinking about.     Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. If you haven't already, please review us on iTunes! It's an important way to help n...

Episode 80: Photo, Hair, Fingerprint

In 1988, a man in Hickory, NC was sentenced to life in prison based on evidence that experts would later call "junk science." It took him 24 years to convince someone to look at the eviden...

Episode 79: Secrets and Séances

Helen Duncan was a famous medium who travelled around Britain in the 1940s performing séances. She claimed to speak to the dead, and even produce physical manifestations of their spirits. ...

Episode 78: The Botanist

In 1993, a man in Steamboat Springs, Colorado was found dead in his home. He'd been burned with a stun gun, hit with a shovel, and shot several times. The victim's wife was the primary sus...

Episode 77: The Escape

In 1962, two men managed to escape the one prison in America that was supposed to be inescapable. They were never found. More than 50 years later, their 82-year-old sister is still waiting...

Episode 76: The Big Lick

The Tennessee Walking Horse has a natural gait that's famously smooth. And, if trained in a certain way, it can perform a walk that's even more spectacular. But, there's a secret behind ho...

Episode 75: The Gatekeeper

"I keep saying 'where's the body? Kill someone,'" Marilyn Stasio told us. She reads at least 200 crime novels a year to determine which are worthy of her prestigious "Crime Column" in the ...

Episode 74: Catastrophe

In 1993, more than 1,000 levees broke along the Mississippi River, flooding thousands of acres. In most cases the floods were seen as an “Act of God.” In one case, however, the flood was a...

Episode 73: Carry A. Nation

At the turn of the century, Carry Nation was “America’s foremost lady hellraiser” and "the apostle of reform violence.” In her own words, she was "a bulldog running along at the feet of Je...

Episode 72: Bears, Birds, and Bones

As long as 2,500 years ago, Native Americans placed the bones of the dead in giant mounds of earth in the shape of animals. The Effigy Mounds National Monument was created to protect the m...

Episode 71: A Bump in the Night

Amber Dawn was 20 when she moved into a one-bedroom apartment in Enumclaw, Washington. On her very first night, she began to notice strange sounds. And they didn't stop.    Criminal is a...

Episode 70: The Procedure

In 1967, a very unlikely group of individuals gathered to help women quietly break the law and obtain an abortion. The first step was to call a phone number. A recording of a woman's voice...

Episode 69: Becoming Chief Brown

Shortly after David Brown was sworn in as the Dallas Chief of Police, his son shot and killed a police officer. Just before he retired as chief, 5 Dallas officers were shot and killed in w...

Episode 68: All the Time in the World

The “body farm" at Texas State University is a place almost no one except researchers and law enforcement are able to see, because it's one of very few places in the world that deliberatel...

Episode 67: Milk Carton Kids

On a Sunday morning in 1982, in Des Moines, Iowa, Johnny Gosch left his house to begin his usual paper route. A short time later, his parents were awakened by a phone call – it was a neigh...

Episode 66: Bully

Skidmore, Missouri is a very small town. In the '70s, there was only one bar, one grocery store, and one bully. Ken McElroy was so ruthless and intimidating that even law enforcement looke...

Episode 65: The Kingfish

In 1928, Huey P. Long became the youngest Governor in Louisiana’s history. He bragged that he bought lawmakers like “sacks of potatoes, shuffled ‘em like a deck of cards.” By the time he w...

Episode 64: 420

The Colorado Department of Transportation says the 420 mile markers on the state's highways were stolen so often, they had to replace them with 419.99 mile markers. Many people know that "...

Episode 63: Rochester, 1991

Kim Dadou says she wishes she had a nickel for every person who has asked why she didn't leave her abusive boyfriend. They stayed together for four years. And then, in the middle of the ni...

Episode 62: Wildin

In 2014, 16-year-old Wildin Acosta left Olancho, Honduras and traveled toward the U.S. border. When he arrived, he turned himself in to border patrol agents. He was one of 68,541 unaccompa...

Episode 61: Vanish

People have faked death to escape criminal convictions, debts, and their spouses. In 2007, a man named Amir Vehabovic faked his death just to see who showed up at the funeral (answer: only...

Episode 60: Finding Sarah and Philip

In 2005, Teri Knight drove 650 miles on midwestern roads through Ohio, Indiana, Iowa and Illinois, pleading with the public to help her do what law enforcement and the FBI had not been abl...

Episode 59: In Plain Sight

In 1849, abolitionist and attorney Wendell Phillips wrote: "We should look in vain through the most trying times of our revolutionary history for an incident of courage and noble daring to...

Episode 58: Walnut Grove

In 2010, Michael McIntosh's son was incarcerated at the Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility in the small town of Walnut Grove, Mississippi. One Sunday, McIntosh went to visit his son ...

Episode 57: Everyday Genius

To close out 2016, we're bringing you two lighter stories of people exhibiting everyday genius under. . . unusual circumstances. Comedian Dave Holmes' story begins with an upsetting phone ...

Episode 56: Don't Let Me See You In The Whirl

Since 1938, a weekly African-American owned newspaper called The Evening Whirl has covered crime in St. Louis with a style all its own, using alliteration and rhyme, and often omitting the...

Episode 55: The Shell Game

The Magic Castle in Hollywood has been a private club for magicians since 1963, and its walls are lined with portraits of magicians past and present. Among them is a portrait of one of the...

Episode 54: Melinda and Clarence

SPOILER WARNING: Please listen to Episode 53: Melinda and Judy before you listen to this one. Melinda Dawson found out on the same day in 1998 that her adoptive mother had been killed and...

Episode 53: Melinda and Judy

When Melinda Dawson was seven years old, she learned that she was adopted under mysterious circumstances. As she got older and had children of her own, she tried to learn something about h...

Episode 52: The Checklist

SPOILER WARNING: Please listen to Episode 51: Money Tree before you listen to this one. While working on our last episode, we became curious about the nature of psychopathy -- how it is ...

Episode 51: Money Tree

When Axton Betz-Hamilton was 11 years old, her parents' identities were stolen. At that time, in the early 90s, consumer protection services for identity theft victims were basically non-e...

Episode 50: This is Criminal

To celebrate Criminal's 50th episode, we check in with some of our most memorable guests including Fran Schindler from Episode 17: "Final Exit," Dan Stevenson from Episode 15: "He's Neutra...

Episode 49: The Editor

In November of 1988, Robin Woods was sentenced to sixteen years in the notoriously harsh Maryland Correctional Institution. In prison, Robin found himself using a dictionary to work his wa...

Episode 48: Eight Years

2008 was an exciting time to be a Harry Potter fan. The final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, had been released. Movies were on the way. And author Melissa Anelli was at the ce...

Episode 47: Brownie Lady

Shortly after Meridy Volz moved from Milwaukee to San Francisco, she received a phone call from a friend asking her to take over a small bakery business.  Meridy agreed to run the bakery,...

Episode 46: Tiger

There are more tigers in captivity in America than wild tigers in the entire world. The exact number of captive tigers in this country isn't known, because many of them live in people's ba...

Episode 45: Just Mercy

As a law student, Bryan Stevenson was sent to a maximum security prison to meet a man on death row. The man told Stevenson he'd never met an African-American lawyer, and the two of them ta...

Episode 44: One Eyed Joe

Not only was John Frankford a famous horse thief, he was also a notoriously good escape artist. People thought no jail was strong enough to keep him, but then in 1895 he was sentenced to P...

Episode 43: 39 Shots

In 1979, a group of labor organizers protested outside a Ku Klux Klan screening of the 1915 white supremacist film, The Birth of a Nation. Nelson Johnson and Signe Waller-Foxworth remember...

Episode 42: The Finger

People have been giving each other "the finger" since Ancient Greece. The first documented use is said to be a photograph from 1886 in which the pitcher for the Boston Beaneaters extends h...

Episode 41: Open Case

Since 1965, there's been an unsolved murder in Houston, Texas. The main suspect managed to disappear and police were never able to find him. The case is still considered open. In 1997, a c...

Episode 40: Pappy

When it comes to the bourbon Pappy Van Winkle, it doesn't matter who you are or how much money you have -- you can't get it unless you're exceptionally lucky or willing to break the law. T...

Episode 39: Either/Or

In 1983, three men were prepared to plead guilty to a violent sexual assault in Anderson, South Carolina. Defense attorneys did not want their clients to go before a jury, and arranged a p...

Episode 38: Jolly Jane

Jane Toppan was born in Massachusetts in 1857. She attended the Cambridge Nursing School, and established a successful private nursing career in Boston. Said to be cheerful, funny and exce...

Episode 37: Hastings

In 2010, an eighth-grader brought a loaded gun to a middle school in Hastings, Minnesota. We speak with two students and the principal about the minutes and hours in lockdown.  Read Jake ...

Episode 36: Perfect Specimen

The 500-year-old Treaty Oak in Austin, Texas was once called "the most perfect specimen of a North American tree." But in 1989, Austin's city forester realized that the Treaty Oak didn't l...

Episode 35: Pen & Paper

As a young woman in the 60s, Andy Austin talked her way into a job as a courtroom sketch artist in Chicago. She spent 43 years sketching everyone from disgraced governors to John Wayne Gac...

Episode 34: The Stay

Michael Ross was the first person in Connecticut to be sentenced to death since 1960. He claimed that he wanted to die in order to atone for what he had done. One journalist spent twenty y...

Episode 33: Deep Dive

Sgt. David Mascarenas is the Dive Supervisor for the Los Angeles Police Department. He's been diving his whole life, and prides himself on never refusing a dive, no matter how treacherous....

Episode 32: It Looked Like Fire

Ed Crawford had never been to a protest until he heard about the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Robert Cohen, a staff photographer with the St. Louis Post Dispatch, ended...

Episode 31: American Dream

When we're kids, we have ideas of what we want to be when we grow up -- movie star, doctor, astronaut. But what if we dream of being like Butch Cassidy, Jesse James, or John Dillinger? And...

Episode 30: The Agreement

In 2005, Danny Egipciaco had the opportunity to participate in a robbery of a drug supplier's stash house. He was told he'd take home between $100K-200K. In the end, the robbery never happ...

Episode 29: Officer Talon

Corporal Scott Foster of the Hillsborough, NC Police Department worked closely with his K-9 partner, Talon, for many years. They located weapons and narcotics, tracked suspects through dar...

Episode 28: P.D.I.D.

Patti Hammond Shaw is a transgender woman. She's legally female on her birth certificate and driver's license, and has been since 1993. But when she was arrested in 2009, male officers str...

Episode 27: No Place Like Home

In the early 90s, a wealthy magazine publisher was convicted of fraud and sentenced to 18 months in a minimum security prison in Louisiana. But white collar criminals weren't the only peop...

Episode 26: Angie

In July of 2002, Philadelphia Homicide Detective Pat Mangold was called to the scene of a gruesome murder on the Schuylkill River. When he wasn't able to determine the victim's identity, h...

Episode 25: The Portrait

More than eighty years ago, a North Carolina family of nine posed for a Christmas portrait. Two weeks later, all but one of them had been shot dead. (See the portrait here.)  Thanks to El...

Episode 24: Pearl Bryan

  In February of 1896, a little boy discovered a woman's headless body in a farmer's field in Fort Thomas, Kentucky. No one knew who she was, or what had happened. Newspapers carried head...

Episode 23: Triassic Park

The Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona has the largest collection of petrified wood in the world. The beautiful wood is more than 200 million years old, and visitors to the park oft...

Episode 22: Ex Libris

Hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of rare books have been disappearing across America since the late 90s, and haven't resurfaced in the marketplace. They've just vanished, never to b...

Episode 21: Bloodlines

Julius Robinson had killed for revenge before, and so when his sister was brutally murdered in her sleep last year, he says he planned to "get" the killer. He felt like his family expected...

Episode 20: Gil From London

Karen Miller met a man named Gil Harper on Facebook. They started flirting. The flirtation grew more serious. Eventually, they planned to meet in real life. Gil would travel from London to...

Episode 19: Mother's Little Helper

Sandie Alger is a 71-year-old woman with a very long rap sheet. She was in and out of prison throughout the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, and upped her game each time she got out. Prison, she says,...

Episode 18: 695BGK

Police officer John Edwards was patrolling a quiet neighborhood in Bellaire, Texas when he saw an SUV driven by two young African-American men. It was just before 2am on December 31, 2008....

Episode 17: Final Exit

No one disputes that it's against the law to take another person's life, but is it against the law to sit with someone and watch while they commit suicide? We meet an elderly woman who sne...

Episode 16: Poster Boy

On July 17th, 1889, the residents of Clayton County, Iowa woke up to news of the worst crime in their history. A Civil War veteran and his young wife had been murdered in their bed in a gr...

Episode 15: He's Neutral

Dan Stevenson has lived in Oakland's Eastlake neighborhood for 40 years. He says crime has been an issue for as long as he can remember, but he isn't one to call the police on drug dealers...

Episode 14: The Fifth Suspect

In June 2014, authorities released information about a massive child pornography ring being conducted in North Carolina.  Four suspects had already been arrested, and the police were askin...

Episode 13: The Big Sleep

Raymond Chandler is often called the greatest American crime novelist, famous for murder mysteries like "The Big Sleep" and "Farewell, My Lovely." He's the subject of several biographies, ...

Episode 12: Break The Internet

In 1999, most of America's tech hysteria centered around Y2K. But at that same time, a teenager in Canada was messing around in chat rooms, meeting hackers, and learning tricks. At 15, he ...

Episode 11: I'm About To Save Your Life

In 1977, a mild-mannered aeronautical engineer sideswiped a parked car in Compton, CA. When he stopped his car to survey the damage, a man opened the driver-side door, shoved him over, and...

Episode 10: Dear Sheila

Working as a reporter for a TV station in New Hampshire, Kevin Flynn was covering the capture and arrest of a female serial killer named Sheila LaBarre. As he grew more and more obsessed w...

Episode 9: That Crime Of The Month

What does it mean when a woman commits a crime and attributes her actions to PMS? We revisit the first use of the "PMS defense," in this country, back in 1981. What have we learned about...

Episode 8: Can't Rock This Boat

In March 1964, a 35-year-old African American woman named Johnnie Mae Chappell was walking along the side of the road in Jacksonville, Florida. Four white men were driving around listening...

Episode 7: J.R.R. Ziemba

Crime victims are often put under the same scrutiny as the accused. Not only for their version of events, but sometimes for how they look and talk, too. We meet a man whose trial hurt wors...

Episode 6: We Lost Them

On April 13, 2014, former KKK member Frazier Glenn Cross pulled into a Jewish Community Center and ambushed a grandfather and grandson, killing both.  He then killed another woman a short ...