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Sword and Scale

Sword and Scale

The Sword and Scale true-crime podcast is an immersive audio experience covering the underworld of criminal activity and the demented minds that perform the most despicable and unthinkable actions, proving that the worst monsters are very real. We cover true-crime stories, high-profile trials, unsolved murders and missing persons cases.

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Episode 119

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.

2018-08-05
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Episode 118

When you have a problem, you hire someone to fix it.  That's what you do.  Sometimes you don't have the benefit of Yelp reviews though...

2018-07-22
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Introducing The Vanished

In this special bonus trailer, welcome Marissa Jones from The Vanished to talk about her show, her craft and her passion for the victims' families she works with. Subscribe to The Vanished on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn or anywhere you listen to podcasts or visit wondery.fm/scale

2018-07-02
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Episode 117

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. 

2018-06-17
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Episode 116

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?

2018-06-04
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Episode 115

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.

2018-05-20
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Episode 114

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..

2018-05-12
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Episode 113

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.  

2018-04-29
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Episode 112

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.

2018-04-14
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Episode 111

What exactly is "God's Plan?"  Do you know?  Some people think they do.   Jonathan Hearn and Sabrina Limon thought "God's Plan" included having an illicit affair and killing Sabrina's husband.

2018-04-01
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Episode 110

Part 2 of the Natalie Bollinger Murder...

2018-03-17
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Episode 109

A teenage girl is stalked by a homeless man and suddenly goes missing two weeks later.

WARNING: This is part one of a two-part episode. Part two will be available on 3/18 on the regular feed or you can get it now for just $5 on Patreon.com/SwordAndScale. Do yourself a favor and DO NOT Google this story. It will ruin the story for you. Trust us.

2018-03-04
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Episode 108

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.

2018-02-18
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Episode 107

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.

2018-02-04
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Episode 106

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...

2018-01-21
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Episode 105

CENTAUR... you have awoken. Don't let them kill you.

Final episode of 2017 and Season 4. Enjoy...

2017-12-10
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Episode 104

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.

2017-11-27
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Episode 103

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.

2017-11-12
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Episode 102

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.

2017-10-30
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Sword and Scale PLUS Episode 17 Preview

A volatile wannabe gangster, a rural farm and four missing young men... the events that lead investigators to a 12½-foot-deep makeshift grave in Bucks County, Pennsylvania are so bizarre that they hardly make any sense.

2017-10-21
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Episode 101

We conclude with Part 2 of the Scrivo Murder Case, a story which deals with elements of mental illness, grief and the relationship between a mother and a son.

2017-10-15
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Episode 100

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.

2017-10-01
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Episode 99

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.

2017-09-16
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Episode 98

"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.

2017-09-03
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Episode 97

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.

2017-08-20
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Episode 96

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.

2017-08-06
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Episode 95

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.

2017-07-23
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Episode 94

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. 

2017-07-09
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Episode 93

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.

2017-07-02
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Episode 92

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.

2017-06-19
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Episode 91

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.

2017-06-04
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Episode 90

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?"

2017-05-21
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Episode 89

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...

2017-05-07
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Episode 88

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?"

2017-04-24
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Episode 87

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.

2017-04-08
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Episode 86

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."

2017-03-26
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Episode 85

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.

2017-03-12
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Episode 84

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.

2017-02-26
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Episode 83

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.
2017-02-13
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Episode 82

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.
2016-12-17
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Episode 81

This is the PARTAY episode! People love parties. Some people love parties so much that they're willing to do just about anything to have one. Tyler Hadley loved parties this much.
2016-12-01
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Episode 80

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.
2016-11-20
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Episode 79

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... 6dv7nye5
2016-11-05
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Episode 78

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.
2016-10-23
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Episode 77

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.
2016-10-09
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Episode 76

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.
2016-09-25
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Episode 75

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.
2016-09-12
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Episode 74

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. This episode was brought to you by Blue Apron. Get three delicious free meals with free delivery today by visiting BlueApron.com/Monsters.
2016-08-28
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Episode 73

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.
2016-08-14
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Episode 72

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.
2016-08-01
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En liten tjänst av I'm With Friends. Finns även på engelska.
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