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Unjust & Unsolved

Unjust & Unsolved

The Innocence Project estimates that there are currently over 20,000 innocent people locked away in US prisons. These cases remain unsolved. Each week, Investigative Journalist Maggie Freleng tells the story of one of those people and takes a deep dive into the crime they were convicted of. Through her original interviews with the convicted, their lawyers, families, and friends, Freleng chronicles each inmate?s fight for exoneration and their hope that justice can still be served.

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Introducing "Murder in Alliance: Ep. 1 Dead in the Water"

Hey, Unjust and Unsolved listeners! We're so excited to bring you the new show from the Obsessed Network, "Murder in Alliance." The new show dives deep into an episode we covered in "Unjust and Unsolved," reinvestigating the case in real time.  We've got the first episode here for you in this feed, and two more available right now wherever you get your podcasts.

Listen to the first three episodes and follow "Murder in Alliance" on your favorite podcast player HERE (https://lnk.to/98BXWuip).

In the podcast, investigative journalist Maggie Freleng reinvestigates the 1999 murder of Yvonne Layne. Though her ex-boyfriend David Thorne was convicted of the murder, evidence points to his innocence. Now, twenty years later, Maggie travels to Ohio to talk with people involved in the case, explore new leads, and try to identify who killed Yvonne.

Follow "Murder in Alliance" on Twitter and Instagram: @Murder_Alliance
2021-05-13
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22: Cheri Hayden

On Feb 23, 2008 a botched robbery took place leaving 68-year-old Patricia Landry dead. Witnesses said the driver of the vehicle that ran her over was a blonde woman in her 20s. Despite the age discrepancy, Cheri Hayden, a 45-year-old woman with deep facial wrinkles, clearly not 20, was arrested, tried and convicted with no evidence other than eyewitness testimony. In fact, if the police had done a proper investigation they would have found multiple people who said the real killer confessed...and she was blonde and in her 20s.

For more information and a complete list of sources for this episode, visit:
https://www.unjustandunsolved.com/

Join us on Patreon to support the show and access exclusive content:
patreon.com/unjustandunsolved
2021-02-04
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21: Brandon Spencer

Halloween night 2012, 19-year-old Brandon Spencer and his girlfriend were on the University of Southern California campus in Los Angeles attending a Halloween party. Suddenly, shots rang out and it was pandemonium. Everyone scattered, ducked, and hid. There was screaming...it was chaos and Brandon Spencer a smart kid from a well-to-do supportive family, with a good job getting ready to enter an EMT program wound up being pinned for it. Family, friends, police, even the former mayor of Inglewood vouched for Brandon, but the jury bought the prosecution's theory, that Brandon was a hardcore gangbanger and Brandon was sentenced to 40 years to life for four counts of attempted murder. However, years later, the star witness recanted and without his testimony...there is no evidence linking Brandon to the shooting. So why is Brandon still in prison? And if he's innocent, why was he railroaded?

For more information and a complete list of sources for this episode, visit:
https://www.unjustandunsolved.com/

Join us on Patreon to support the show and access exclusive content:
patreon.com/unjustandunsolved
2021-01-28
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20: Sara Bennett

Former appellate attorney and author Sara Bennett captures stunning, honest portraits of women serving life sentences in prison. She and Maggie talk about how women doing time differs from men, re-entry for women, and the humanity of the people we lock up. Sara?s art has been widely exhibited and featured in publications like The New York Times, The New Yorker Photo Booth, and Variety & Rolling Stone?s ?American (In)Justice.? Right now she has art up in New York City at MOMA PS1 in the ?Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration? exhibit along with folks who have made art from inside prison.

For more information and a complete list of sources for this episode, visit:
https://www.unjustandunsolved.com/

Join us on Patreon to support the show and access exclusive content:
patreon.com/unjustandunsolved
2021-01-21
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19: Andre Brown

1990?s Bronx, New York: The most violent decade in the city?s history in one of the most impoverished areas in the nation at the time, and college student Andre Brown was right in the middle. A drug turf war, teens with guns, and a corrupt mob lawyer for the Bonanno crime family - what could possibly go wrong?

For more information and a complete list of sources for this episode, visit:
https://www.unjustandunsolved.com/

Join us on Patreon to support the show and access exclusive content:
patreon.com/unjustandunsolved
2021-01-14
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18: Ralph Trent Stokes

On March 11, 1982 three people were murdered during a robbery of a famous Philadelphia restaurant. 19-year-old Ralph Trent Stokes was arrested three days later and at trial after only 45 minutes of deliberation, Ralph Stokes was convicted of three counts of first degree murder and sentenced to death. Roger King was the prosecutor. He held the record for most death sentences achieved in the state of Pennsylvania when he retired. He?s also infamous for prosecutorial misconduct and having multiple overturned convictions. King used made up physical evidence placing Ralph at the location of the crime and his star witness who fled the jurisdiction dressed as a woman - could have been the real killer all along.

For more information and a complete list of sources for this episode, visit:
https://www.unjustandunsolved.com/

Join us on Patreon to support the show and access exclusive content:
patreon.com/unjustandunsolved
2021-01-07
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17: The Prosecutors

Brett and Alice are The Prosecutors. Both are real life prosecutors, co-workers, friends and co-hosts of the podcast "The Prosecutors." This week, Maggie interviews Brett and Alice about being on the other side of the cases Unjust & Unsolved covers. They talk specifically about Darrell Ewing's case from Episode 8. Maggie gave them the transcripts, appeals, and all the documents she had and they dive into how the case was prosecuted, what happened, why, and if Brett and Alice would do the same.

For more information and a complete list of sources for this episode, visit:
https://www.unjustandunsolved.com/

Join us on Patreon to support the show and access exclusive content:
patreon.com/unjustandunsolved
2020-12-31
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Announcement

Hi everyone! We are off this week for the holiday break, but if still want to hear "Unjust & Unsolved", you can head over to Patreon for more bonus content: 

patreon.com/unjustandunsolved

Happy Holidays!
2020-12-22
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16: Tracy Alan Zornes

On Feb 19 2010, Tracy Zornes and some friends were hanging out drinking. Tracy left to see his girlfriend and when he came back, the apartment he was at was on fire. Tracy, avoiding a previous warrant for burglary, fled. Two weeks later he was arrested and charged in the stabbing, beating and arson murder of his friends Megan Londo and John Cadotte. Years later, a cop and a PI discovered evidence that Tracy, a Native American from a nearby reservation, did not commit the crime, and they know who did. They believe Tracy was railroaded because of long-standing bias against Native Americans in the region and country.

Learn more about Tracy's case and how to help:https://ww.change.org/tracy-allen-zornes

For more information and a complete list of sources for this episode, visit:
https://www.unjustandunsolved.com/

Join us on Patreon to support the show and access exclusive content:
patreon.com/unjustandunsolved
2020-12-17
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15: Diamantina Salinas Kolojaco

This week's episode is absolutely insane. Diamantina Salinas Kolojaco and her lover Andres Mascorro did almost 2 decades in prison for the murder of her husband, before Proclaim Justice took their case after one of the most notorious serial killers confessed to journalist Alex Hannaford before execution.

For more information and a complete list of sources for this episode, visit:
https://www.unjustandunsolved.com/

Join us on Patreon to support the show and access exclusive content:
https://www.patreon.com/unjustandunsolved
2020-12-10
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Live Q&A Tonight with Ronnie Long

Ronnie Long is celebrating 3 months out of prison after serving for 44 years for a crime he did not commit. Join us live tonight at 8pm EST on GetVokl for a Q&A with Ronnie and his wife AshLeigh. Access the link by joining the Patreon now: 
https://www.patreon.com/unjustandunsolved
2020-12-09
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14: Temujin Kensu

On the morning of November 5 1986, 21-year-old Scott Macklem, a student at St. Clair Community College, was gunned down near his car in the school parking lot. Almost immediately, Temujin Kensu was homed in on as a suspect. The victim's fiancé had dated Kensu months earlier. An eyewitness also identified Kensu, who was tried and convicted of first degree murder. However, Kensu has at least 10 witnesses stating that he was 450 miles away from the murder when it took place and there is no physical evidence linking him to the crime. He was convicted through a hypnotized witness, a jailhouse informant and an unsubstantiated plane flight theory. ?Since his conviction, a retired officer from the same department that helped convict him has now joined his team as a PI and says the more he digs into this case, the more red flags he sees.

For more information and a complete list of sources for this episode, visit:
https://www.unjustandunsolved.com/

Join us on Patreon to support the show and access exclusive content:patreon.com/unjustandunsolved
2020-12-03
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Live Q&A Tonight!

We have a breaking news exclusive in John Brookins' case. Join us live tonight at 8pm EST on GetVokl for a Q&A with John's wife Karen Brookins as she reveals breaking updates in the case and takes listener questions. Access the link by joining the Patreon now: 

https://www.patreon.com/unjustandunsolved
2020-12-02
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13: Marty Tankeleff

At 6 AM on September 7, 1988 17-year-old high school senior Marty Tankleff found both of his parents brutally murdered; stabbed and beaten. Almost two years later, Marty was convicted and sentenced to fifty years to life for their murders. Marty did 17 years behind bars before his conviction was overturned. In this Thanksgiving special, Maggie talks to Marty, her hometown exoneree from Port Jefferson, NY, about his conviction, exoneration and the system that put him there.

For more information and a complete list of sources for this episode, visit:
https://www.unjustandunsolved.com/

Join us on Patreon to support the show and access exclusive content:
patreon.com/unjustandunsolved
2020-11-26
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12: Nikki Zinger

On March 10, 1991 Nikki Zinger's mother Linda Holley was found dead in her Magnolia, AR, home. The crime was brutal. She was stabbed 12 times, bludgeoned and left for dead. A month went by with no arrests, and then out of the blue 28-year-old Nikki and her boyfriend 24-year-old Daniel Rischer were arrested and convicted for her mother's murder. The prosecution said the motive was Linda's $90,000 life insurance policy. However, decades later new DNA evidence busts holes in the prosecution's theory. And circumstantial evidence is brought into question. It also turns out there was a similar murder that happened five days after Linda's that could point to the real killer.

For more information and a complete list of sources for this episode, visit:
https://www.unjustandunsolved.com/

Join us on Patreon to support the show and access exclusive content:
patreon.com/unjustandunsolved


2020-11-19
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11: John Brookins

On December 20th, 1990 26-year-old John Brookins went to his friend Sheila Ginsberg's house to help her clean. Sheila was an older woman, 58, and actually the mother of his on and off again girlfriend Sharon. When John arrived he says he found Sharon standing over her mother's dead body, stomping scissors into her chest. The crime scene was brutal. Sharon fled and then John, a young black man standing over a dead white woman, panicked and also fled the scene. Months later he was convicted for the murder of Sheila Ginsburg, based on Sharon's statements. But multiple people came forward saying Sharon actually confessed to the murder and was known to have a violent history with her.  The case is also riddled with police misconduct, ineffective council, and DNA that still needs to be tested.
2020-11-12
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10: DeMarco Wilson

On February 1, 1997, Charles Newsome was shot while driving his car in a parking lot in West Memphis, AR. Newsome was a known gang member and according to witnesses there was gunfire between him and people in the parking lot. A passenger in his car, Frederick ?Tyrone? Ellis, gave a statement about the shooters. He changed his statement multiple times until he said the three defendants who were there: DeMarco Wilson, Antonio Williams, and Kendric Gillum. Ellis was facing criminal charges at the time and they were dropped with his testimony. Two jailhouse informants also got lesser sentences for their testimony. One has recanted and said the prosecution forced him into it. DeMarco also had a solid alibi. The three were convicted in Judge David Burnett?s courtroom who also presided over the infamous West Memphis 3 case. Jason Baldwin, one of the WM3, is working to help secure DeMarco?s freedom with his organization Proclaim Justice.
2020-11-05
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9: Jeffrey Havard

On February 21, 2002 Jeffrey Havard was babysitting his girlfriend?s baby, Chloe Britt. Jeff was bathing her when she accidentally slipped from his hands and hit her head on the toilet. He put her to bed and everything was fine until she was later rushed to the hospital and died. Jeff was arrested, charged and sentenced to death in Mississippi for the sexual assault and murder Chloe. Changes in science behind ?Shaken Baby Syndrome? caused an evidentiary hearing for Jeff in 2016. The original medical examiner in the case said that he specifically told prosecutors on more than one occasion prior to trial that he could not support a finding for sexual abuse. This information was withheld from the defense. He has also changed his initial findings and believes that this was indeed an accident, agreeing with many new experts. In September of 2018, Jeff's death penalty sentence was vacated, and he was re-sentenced to life without parole, but is still fighting for his freedom.

Learn more about Jeffrey's case and how to help:
http://www.freejeffreyhavard.org/

For more information and a complete list of sources for this episode, visit:
https://www.unjustandunsolved.com/
2020-10-29
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Introducing "Crimes of the Centuries"

"Crimes of the Centuries" is a new podcast from the Obsessed Network featuring award-winning journalist (and crucial "Unjust and Unsolved" collaborator) Amber Hunt.  Each episode tells the story of a case that might not be remembered today, but was huge when it happened.

The first two episodes are out today, and we're presenting a special preview of Episode 1.  Subscribe to "Crimes of the Centuries" wherever you get your podcasts. 
2020-10-26
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8: Darrell Ewing

On December 29, 2009 two cars pulled up to a Detroit intersection. In one was J.B. Watson, his girlfriend LaRita Thomas, and his cousin Phillip Reed. In the other, two black men. One got out and fired multiple shots at the trio, killing Watson. The shooting was claimed to be gang related and Darrell Ewing and and his co-defendant Derrico Searcy were convicted of the murder. However, Darell had a solid alibi at a family funeral and Tyree Washington came forward repeatedly to confess to the murder, including under oath. In 2017, Darrell and Derrico were ordered a new trial based on jury contamination and lack of overwhelming evidence of guilt. Again in 2019 a judge ordered a new trial, but the prosecutor Kym Worthy has fought every decision and appeal. They have been in prison for almost a decade for a crime they did not commit.

Learn more about Darrell's case and how to help:
https://actualinnocentprisoners.com/darrell-ewing

For more information and a complete list of sources for this episode, visit:
https://www.unjustandunsolved.com/
2020-10-22
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7: David Thorne

In 1999, Yvonne Layne was found murdered in her Ohio home while her two children were upstairs and one hid under the dining room table potentially watching the crime. Her ex-boyfriend David was instantly a suspect as the father of one of her children, but he had a solid alibi. So the police found Joe Wilkes, a friend of David?s, and a vulnerable kid whom they threatened with the death penalty if he did not confess to a murder for hire. In 2000 with Joe?s testimony, David was sentenced to life without parole. A year later Joe recanted his testimony and since then it appears evidence was planted and it was revealed that Yvonne was possibly a sex worker and had intimate relationships with multiple members of the police department. David has been in prison for twenty years.

Learn more about David's case and how to help:
http://www.linktr.ee/freedavidthorne

For more information and a complete list of sources for this episode, visit:
https://www.unjustandunsolved.com/
2020-10-15
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6: Charles Erickson

On Halloween night in 2001, Columbia Tribune Sports Editor Kent Heitholt was brutally murdered in the Tribune parking lot. Two years later, Charles Erickson read a memorial in the paper about Heitholt and was convinced he and classmate Ryan Ferguson committed the murder. Despite blacking out from partying that night and having no memory of the murder, besides what he called ?snapshots," Charles took a plea deal to testify against Ryan. Ryan?s conviction was overturned in 2012 based on a Brady violation and recanted witness statements, including Charles's. Ryan now sits on the board of the Innocence Project. Even though his co-defendant is free, Charles has been in prison for sixteen years.

Learn more about Charles's case and how to help:
http://www.freecharleserickson.org/

For more information and a complete list of sources for this episode, visit: 
https://www.unjustandunsolved.com/
2020-10-08
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5: JJ Velazquez

In 1998, JJ was sentenced to life for the murder of a police officer in Harlem, New York. The twenty-one-year-old father had an alibi that day, yet was placed in a lineup and identified as the shooter despite the alibi disparity between the appearances and race of the witness descriptions and JJ. Since then, identifying witnesses have recanted their testimony that JJ was the shooter and there is no evidence placing JJ at the scene. In fact, new evidence points away from JJ. The real killer is still out there and JJ has been in prison for twenty-three years.

Learn more about JJ's case and how to help:
http://freejonadrianvelazquez.org/


For more information and a complete list of sources for this episode, visit:
www.unjustandunsolved.com
2020-10-01
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4: Rosa Jimenez

In 2005 Rosa Jimenez was sentenced to life for the murder of a three-year-old child in her care. Twenty-year-old Rosa was babysitting twenty-one-month-old Bryan Gutierrez at her house when he came into the kitchen choking. Bryan was choking on a paper towel and at Rosa?s trial experts said it was impossible for him to get it lodged in there himself. A re-trial for Rosa has been granted, but the process will take months or years and she has developed stage four kidney disease and is starting dialysis this month. The DA can release her now but they won?t. Rosa has been in prison for seventeen years.

Learn more about Rosa's case and how to help:
https://www.innocenceproject.org/free-rosa-jimenez/?p2asource=pc_09242020

For more information and a complete list of sources for this episode, visit:
www.unjustandunsolved.com
2020-09-24
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3: Jamie Snow

March 31, 1991 Easter Sunday. Eighteen-year-old Bill Little was shot dead while working at the Clark Gas Station in Bloomington, Illinois. Almost a decade later, despite no physical evidence, a solid alibi, and passing a lie detector test, Jamie Snow was arrested and convicted of the murder of Bill Little. Jamie was sentenced to life without parole and has been in prison for almost 20 years. But recent investigations have shown that the witness testimony, the only evidence used to convict Jamie, was coerced. And new leads turn up suspects who could be the real killer.

Learn more about Jamie's case and how to help: FreeJamieSnow.com

For more information and a complete list of sources for this episode, visit:
www.unjustandunsolved.com
2020-09-17
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2: Jermaine Smothers

In 1996 Jermaine Smothers was sentenced to 29 years to life for the murder of Ernesto Flores. He was convicted despite passing a polygraph examination prior to trial and despite the exceedingly unreliable eyewitnesses who claimed that they saw him shoot Flores. In fact, multiple people there that night admitted to knowing who the real shooter was. In 2001 detective Kelly Deveney was investigating another case when she stumbled upon evidence of Jermaine?s innocence as well as witnesses who said they lied during his trial. She has been helping to overturn his conviction since. Jermaine has been in prison for 24 years.

Learn more about Jermaine's case and how to help:
Freejermaine.org

For more information and a complete list of sources for this episode, visit www.unjustandunsolved.com
2020-09-10
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1: Ronnie Long

In 1976 Concord, NC, a man broke into the home of a prominent white widow and violently beat and raped her. Ronnie Long, a 20-year-old black man, was given consecutive life sentences for rape and burglary. In a mostly segregated town, Ronnie was convicted by an all white jury, with no evidence linking him to the crime, an alibi, and only a shaky witness ID from the survivor. Since then, it was revealed that the prosecution witheld exculpatory evidence for Ronnie. There is also DNA evidence Ronnie is trying to get tested to prove who the real attacker was. Ronnie, now 64, has spent 44 years in prison; however, major updates happened during this case while we were reporting it.

Learn more about Ronnie's case and how to help:
https://freeronnielongnow.org/

For more information and a complete list of sources for this episode, visit www.unjustandunsolved.com
2020-09-10
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PREVIEW: Unjust and Unsolved

From journalist Maggie Freleng and the Obsessed Network

The Innocence Project estimates that there are currently over 20,000 innocent people locked away in US prisons. These cases remain unsolved. Each week, Investigative Journalist Maggie Freleng tells the story of one of those people and takes a deep dive into the crime they were convicted of. Through her original interviews with the convicted, their lawyers, families, and friends, Freleng chronicles each inmate?s fight for exoneration and their hope that justice can still be served.

This preview features portions of Maggie's interview with J.J. Velasquez whose story will be featured in Season 1.

Full episodes of "Unjust and Unsolved" premiere on September 10, 2020
2020-08-14
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