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True Crime Brewery

Jill and Dick are a married couple who love to drink beer and discuss true crime. Join them at the quiet end of the bar. Dick will bring along an excellent beer from the region where the crime occurred. He will give us a little beer lesson and review before Jill starts off their true crime discussion. The discussions are well-researched and in depth. Dick is a physician and often shares his medical expertise at Jill's urging.
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Jul 23, 2019

Michelle and Jason Young lived in a suburb outside of Raleigh, North Carolina. They had a two-year-old daughter named Cassidy and Michelle was five months pregnant with their second child. By all accounts, theirs was not a happy marriage. Jason had several affairs and spent a lot of time on the road for business.

On the morning of November 3, 2006, Jason was out of town. He had checked into a Hampton Inn in Huntsville, Virginia 170 miles from Raleigh the night before. At nine that morning, he left a voicemail for Michelle's younger sister, Meredith Fisher, asking her to stop by his house and retrieve some papers for him. When Meredith arrived at the Young’s home, she found Michelle Young brutally murdered in the master bedroom. Little Cassidy was left unharmed.

It didn’t take long for Jason to become the primary suspect in his wife’s murder.  Investigators were able to poke holes in his alibi and put together a strong circumstantial case.  Join us at the quiet end today for His Alibi: The Murder of Michelle Young. This is a tragic story of a young, pregnant mother who was beaten to death in her own home.  Her husband would end up getting two trials but not everyone would be satisfied with the outcome.

Read "Absence of Evidence: An Examination of the Michelle Young Murder Case" by Lynne Blanchard

Read "Murder on Birchleaf Drive: The True Story of the Michelle Young Murder Case" by Steven B. Epstein

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Jul 18, 2019

Jassi Kaur Sidhu was born into a family where women are second class citizens, men are in charge of family honor, and women are blamed if they do anything to tarnish it.

Her birth wasn’t officially registered by her parents until she was over a year old because her parents were much more focused on her brother. Jassi’s mother, Malkiat Kaur, and father, Bakhtaur Singh, were part of a group who moved from the Punjab’s Doaba region of India to the Canadian West Coast. They settled in the Fraser Valley and began farming.

Jassi’s uncle, Surjit Singh Badesha, was the undisputed head of the family. He decided that the family would pool their resources to buy about nine acres of land and operate a blueberry farm. It was a success and they made millions of dollars.

As she grew up, Jassi’s life was simple and revolved around school, prayers and household chores.  She was to be auctioned off to the highest bidder for marriage.

But Jassi fell in love with a Kabaddi player and sometime rickshaw driver.  They married secretly and when the family found out, they hired hitmen.

Join us at the quiet end for the case of the honor killing of Jassi Sidhu.  Her only crime was love and her punishment was a brutal death.

Read "Justice for Jassi"

 

Jul 9, 2019

When 19-year old Jessica O’Grady stopped answering her phone on May 11, 2006, her friends and family worried.  She had left to see her boyfriend late the night before and hadn’t been seen since.

Jessica had recently found out that she was pregnant.  Her boyfriend, Chris Edwards, had another girlfriend, Michelle, who was also pregnant.  Still, Jessica was optimistic.  She loved Chris and wanted to have a family with him.  What she didn’t know was that, to Chris, Jessica was just a fling.  He planned to marry Michelle.  And he didn’t have the resources or the desire to support two children from two different mothers.  Besides, if Michelle found out about Jessica, she might leave him.

As we know, the leading cause of death for a pregnant woman is murder by the father of her unborn child.  As time passed with no sign of her, it seemed possible that Chris had done something to Jessica.  Chris denied seeing Jessica on the night of May 10th, but circumstantial evidence led investigators to Chris’ front door. What they found there was disturbing, but was it enough to prove his guilt?

Join us today at the quiet end for a missing person’s case that turned into what is known as a "no-body case": The Disappearance of Jessica O’Grady.

*We are taking July 15th off, so TCB will return on July 23rd*

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Jul 2, 2019

Kristin Rossum and Greg de Villers were newlyweds who seemed to have a bright future ahead of them. But sometimes things are not what they seem. Beneath the surface, their relationship was poisoned by lies, addiction and betrayal.

Kristin was a toxicologist at the medical examiner’s office.  She may have appeared to be professional and loyal, but she was, in truth, a methamphetamine addict involved in a long-term sexual affair with her boss. She was also in a position with unlimited access to dangerous drugs. 

When Greg died of a drug overdose, his family and friends pressured the police to investigate his death as a homicide.  Kristin claimed that Greg learned about her affair and killed himself.  Investigators believed she killed Greg because she was afraid he was going to expose her affair and her drug use.

Kristin Rossum was an unlikely killer, but her husband’s death was suspicious.  Questions about the scene and the events leading up to Greg’s death showed a long history of deceit by Kristin and revealed the possibility that she and her lover had plotted together to kill to him.

Join us at the quiet end today for Heart Stopper: The Death of Greg de Villers, the story of a complex murder plot fueled by drug addiction and a clandestine love affair.

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Jun 25, 2019

John David Smith married his second wife, Fran, in 1990. While confined to her home recovering from a broken hip, Fran disappeared from her New Jersey home in 1991. Fran’s daughter DeDe and sister Sherrie called the house, frantically trying to reach Fran, but there was no answer.  Then DeDe called John at work. He claimed that Fran had packed her bags and left him, but how could she have done that when she couldn’t even walk?

John had been lying to everyone.  Fran’s family members found all of Fran’s belongings still in the house.  Then they discovered that John had been married before. Back in 1970, John Smith’s first wife Janice Hartman had disappeared just days after divorcing him. Now Smith had two missing wives.

Join us at the quiet end for the story of two missing wives and a man with some very dark secrets.  His secrets would only be revealed after his brother came forward with a secret from 20 years ago.

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Jun 19, 2019

Suspicions turned to college student Christopher Porco soon after his parents, Peter and Joan Porco, were attacked with an ax in the middle of the night back in 2004. It seemed unimaginable.  Christopher came from a stable, middle-class family.  He did well in high school, scoring 1400 on his SATs.  But Christopher had dark secrets.

Once Christopher was in college, he created a false image of himself as a trust fund kid, buying rounds of drinks for his friends, designer clothes, and a customized jeep.  He financed this lifestyle with thefts and forged student loans.

But Christopher was failing his classes and his lies were catching up with him.  Once Peter and Joan learned that Christopher had forged his father’s name on a $30,000 loan, they were shocked and angered.  Both parents attempted to reason with him, but things had already gone too far.  When Peter failed to show up for work one Monday in November, he was found dead of massive head injuries inside his home. Joan was still alive, but barely. 

The case against Christopher Porco was circumstantial but strong.  Today at the quiet end, we’re talking about a brutal murder and attempted murder planned and perpetrated by a most unlikely suspect. At the heart of this case is the love of a mother for her son and the power of denial.

Jun 18, 2019

Child molester and killer Westley Allan Dodd is remembered as one of the most evil men in modern history.  What I find interesting about this case is how early in his life Dodd began to have his sick urges and how his behavior progressed from exposing himself to murder- virtually unchecked.

After his murder convictions, Dodd revealed that he had been molesting young children since the age of 13.  In his final interviews, he admitted that there was no treatment for him and, if set free, he would offend again.  He then declined an appeal, becoming the first person to be hanged in the United States since 1965.

At the quiet end today, Doctor Dick and I will go over the childhood and crimes of this predator as we try to make sense of how this kind of human being is constructed. Also, what can we as a society do to protect children? 

It has been a long-held belief that pedophiles are untreatable and must be kept away from our children, but is there a way to prevent pedophilia, or at the very least, make early diagnoses before anyone is hurt?

Jun 11, 2019

When he was 19, Chuck Riley met 15-year-old Marlene Olive while dealing drugs at her high school. He developed a crush on her and they eventually became boyfriend and girlfriend. Marlene controlled their relationship and Chuck did anything to please her.

Marlene had a deeply troubled home life.  Her mother, Naomi, suffered from alcoholism and mental illness. Marlene and Naomi fought constantly.  Marlene rebelled at an early age with heavy drug use, delinquency, self-harming behaviors, shoplifting, and promiscuity. 

As the mother-daughter relationship imploded, Marlene sought out Chuck’s help to kill Naomi.  When Marlene’s parents stood together to reign in Marlene’s behavior, her father was added to her hit list. 

Join us at the quiet end today for California Parricide, the story of a vicious double murder which many people should have seen coming but no one ever imagined would actually happen.

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Jun 4, 2019

Peter Bergna picked up his wife Rinette from the airport and drove up Slide Mountain near their home to talk about their marital problems. According to Peter, the brakes on his truck malfunctioned, causing the truck to crash through a guardrail and nosedive off an 800-foot cliff.  Peter was lucky. He had somehow been expelled from the driver’s side window and landed without serious injury on the upper slope of the mountain. Rinette was not so lucky. Her broken body was found inside the crushed truck hundreds of feet below.

Peter was the only one left alive who knew what had happened between the airport and the crash. Police attention turned to him first because of his odd behavior at the scene and then after a forensic analysis of the crash was done. Reports of infidelity and verbal abuse strengthened suspicions.

Our quiet end case today is Rock Bottom: The Death of Rinette Bergna.  Did Peter plot the murder of his wife, and if he did, would prosecutors be able to convict him of the crime?

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May 28, 2019

The murder of Andrew Bagby was an event of terrible shock and grief for the loved ones he left behind, especially his mother and father.  Andrew was David and Kate Bagby’s only child.  He was well-liked with a promising future as a family physician. 

In 1999, Andrew began dating medical intern Shirley Turner.  When he tried to end things with Shirley, she responded badly.  Andrew believed he had ended the relationship for good in November, 2001.  But Shirley phoned him obsessively and drove 16 hours to show up unannounced at his door.

Andrew agreed to meet her after work on November 5, 2001.  The following day, his body was found face down in a parking lot.  He had been shot five times.

There was strong evidence against Shirley in Andrew’s murder.  But David and Kate Bagby’s nightmare, which had begun with the murder of their son, would end with the death of their one-year-old grandson, Zachary. To add to their misery, it was clear to them that Zachary’s death was preventable.  Zachary was in his mother’s care when he shouldn’t have been. Why did the Newfoundland Social Service system allow this tragedy to happen?

Join us at the quiet end today for the tragic story of two cold-blooded murders, one entirely preventable, in A Failure to Protect: The Story of Andrew Bagby & Zachary Turner.

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May 21, 2019

Jack Unterweger’s lust for violence was insatiable. His first known murder victim was Margret Schafer, an 18-year-old German girl. Unterweger would tell a jury that, at the moment of her killing, he had seen his mother reflected in her face and he acted out of a lifetime of rage. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. But in jail, Unterweger read voraciously and he began to write poetry, short stories, plays, and an autobiography. 

After over 15 years in prison, Unterweger was released based on the belief that writing his life story, and the self-reflection it required, had reformed him. Not only was he a famous author, he was also Austria’s most high-profile “rehabilitated” offender. 

But Unterweger had everyone fooled. As he interviewed police in the role of a journalist, he had already resumed his life as a serial killer.  Unterweger sexually assaulted and brutally murdered prostitutes in Vienna, Los Angeles, and Prague as he spoke on talk shows and worked to get his books made into Hollywood movies.

Join us at the quiet end today for The Devil Himself: Jack Unterweger. It’s the shocking story of an international serial killer who was hiding in plain sight.

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May 14, 2019

Apparently hard-working and intelligent mother of two and registered nurse, Kristen Gilbert, was living the life of a middle-class soccer mom. She had a good job, a loving husband, and two children. She seemed a lot like the other Massachusetts suburbanites in her neighborhood, but she held sinister secrets that eventually bubbled to the surface.

Beneath the façade of an ordinary working mother, Kristen lived a life of duplicity. Before her 30th birthday, she was arrested on suspicion of serial murder: injecting patients at the hospital where she worked with lethal doses of epinephrine. 

These were vulnerable victims and Kristen’s motives were a mystery, perhaps even to herself.  It may have been as simple as a need for attention and excitement. 

When a healthcare professional takes a life, it’s a special kind of evil.  Trained and relied upon to protect and restore health and virtually holding their patients’ lives in their hands, a nurse who kills betrays the most basic trust while preying on the sick.

Join us at the quiet end today for Murder by Nurse: The Victims of Kristen Gilbert.

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May 7, 2019

After suffering for years in an abusive marriage, Helle Crafts filed for divorce in the summer of 1986. Soon afterward, she disappeared. Her friends filed a missing person’s report, but her husband, Richard Crafts, gave various stories that Helle was off visiting relatives or that she just needed some time alone.

Police suspected foul play, but with no body, it was impossible to prove that a homicide had even occurred. Police did learn, however, that Richard Crafts had purchased several items, including new carpeting, bedding, and a large freezer, around the time of Helle’s disappearance. He had also rented a wood chipper.

A witness came forward, claiming that he had seen a man using a wood chipper on a bridge over a lake near the Crafts’ home.  That is when the search for Helle took a very disturbing turn.

Join us at the quiet end today as we discuss a horrific crime often referred to as the "wood chipper case.” Investigators, along with Dr. Henry Lee, the Director of Connecticut’s Forensic Science Laboratory at the time, worked together to solve what Richard Crafts had considered his perfect crime. I chose this case because it serves to broaden awareness of domestic violence and because it is chock a block full of interesting forensics from a pre-DNA era.

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Apr 16, 2019

Middle-aged mother of two Susan Fassett was an unlikely victim in a love triangle that ended in her murder.  Married to a cop and a member of the church choir, Susan had a reputation as an honest, upstanding person.  After her death, the secrets revealed about her life came as a shock to most.

The biggest shock of all was that Susan was involved with a man commonly referred to as the scum of the earth. Fred Andros, a mean, homely, and amoral man, extorted money, frequented prostitutes, and somehow lured Susan into his web of corruption.

Join us at the quiet end today for a story of corruption, sex, and murder: A Secret Life: The Plot to Kill Susan Fassett.

Apr 9, 2019

A Florida woman saw the state patrol car's lights flashing behind her and wondered why she was being stopped. She didn't think she was speeding, she later told investigators, but she pulled her car onto the southbound shoulder of Interstate 95 and waited as Trooper Tim Harris approached her car.

Trooper Harris asked her to get out of her car.  Then he saw that she was obviously pregnant. He gave her a warning ticket for driving 6 miles over the speed limit and let her go. Police would later speculate that the woman's pregnancy saved her life.

The next woman pulled over by Trooper Harris would not live to see another day.  Lorraine Hendricks’ car was found abandoned on the highway and detectives suspected that someone she trusted was involved in her disappearance.

Trooper Harris was seen as trustworthy. He had been with the Florida Highway Patrol for eight years. Before that, he had worked for local police departments, earning several commendations. He was married with two young children. But a closer look would expose a troubled man.

Join us today for A Darker Shade of Blue, the terrifying story of a man who was called upon to serve and protect but turned into a dangerous predator.

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Apr 2, 2019

To say that Stella Nickell had a rough upbringing would be an understatement. She had a childhood of poverty, neglect, and abuse. At 16, she gave birth to a daughter, Cynthia. In the next 12 years, she had numerous failed relationships, a failed marriage, and spent time in jail. In early 1974, when she was 32, she met Bruce Nickell and they married.

One summer day in 1986, Bruce came home with a headache and took four Excedrin capsules. Stella said that her husband walked out on the back deck and suddenly collapsed. He was taken by helicopter to a Seattle hospital where he died. Doctors said Bruce died from emphysema, but Stella said that never made sense.

Almost two weeks later, Stella heard about the death of 40-year old Sue Snow. News reports said that the woman had died after swallowing cyanide-laced Excedrin. Stella immediately called the police to report that Bruce, too, had taken Excedrin right before he died.

Police initially focused on Sue Snow’s husband Paul Webking for her murder. But the call from Stella Nickell led to the conclusion that Sue Snow was not the only person killed by the poisoned headache medicine. Excedrin capsules were recalled and an investigation for murders by product tampering began.

Join us at the quiet end today for a discussion of the Seattle Cyanide Murders.  There is no doubt that it is a heartless act to kill a spouse, but what kind of a person kills at random?

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Mar 26, 2019

In 2012, Harold and Toni Henthorn celebrated their 12th wedding anniversary with a hiking trip in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park. Toni plummeted off of a 100-foot cliff and died a horrible death. Harold told police that his wife was busy taking photos and must have slipped. He didn't see exactly what had happened because he was using his cell phone at the time.

It could have been a tragic accident. After all, Harold was a respected member of the community, a loving husband, and a devoted father to their daughter. He worked as a fund raiser for churches, charities and non-profit groups. At least, that's what he told everyone.

But maybe things weren’t what they appeared to be. Friends and family thought they knew him, but facts surfaced that painted a new picture of Harold Henthorn. Harold had no job and no income.  He also had a shady history, including a first wife who had also died in a freak accident.

Harold’s history, along with his ever changing narrative of Toni’s death, led to a murder investigation.  Life insurance, years of deceit, and inappropriate behavior were gathered to create a strong circumstantial case against him.

In today’s episode, Over the Edge, we look back at the lives of Sandra Lynn Henthorn and Toni Henthorn, two wives whose final moments were likely filled with fear and violence, murdered by the man who claimed to love them.

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Mar 19, 2019

The case of physician Michael Swango not only exposed the dark side of a man who had taken an oath to do no harm, it also opened our eyes to a professional environment where doctors accepted the word of fellow physicians over that of nurses and patients—even as evidence of gross misbehavior piled up.

Michael grew up in Quincy, Illinois and graduated as valedictorian at the Quincy Catholic Boys High School. He served in the Marine Corps, receiving an honorable discharge in 1980. He then attended Quincy College followed by Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.

His troubles were first noticed in medical school. Although he was a brilliant student, he preferred to work as an ambulance attendant rather than concentrate on studying. Even at that young age, he had an odd fascination with dying patients.  Michael Swango’s patients often ended up "coding," or suffering life-threatening emergencies. Several died unexpectedly.

Join us at the quiet end today for a true story that actually is stranger than fiction: Taking Lives: The Crimes of Dr. Michael Swango.

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Mar 12, 2019

Baptist minister Matt Baker presented himself to the world as a man of God, a family man who set an example for his faithful parishioners.  But when his wife Kari was found dead in their bed of an apparent suicide, questions about who he really was emerged.  Kari Baker’s mother and aunts would become the catalysts to investigate Matt Baker’s deceptions and lies, working with police to expose him as a narcissistic bully and a lifelong sexual predator.

What they uncovered would open up suspicions of his involvement in not only one, but two, family deaths. But it took years to get justice for his wife and safety for his daughters. This story is a striking example of the power of love and determination and a victory of the truth over Matt Baker's carefully constructed life of hypocrisy.

Join us at the quiet end today for Ungodly: The Murder of Kari Baker.

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Mar 5, 2019

Between the ages of 17 and 24, Keli Lane had two abortions and gave birth to three babies, all without the knowledge of her mother Sandra or her police officer father Robert. Not only that, but her five pregnancies occurred while Keli was playing water polo at a national level and spent most of her time in a swim suit.

Keli’s 4th child, Tegan Lane, born in 1996, went home with Keli two days after her birth.  Keli was at a friend’s wedding that evening and not a word was spoken about her newborn daughter.  Tegan was never seen again.

Investigators believe that Keli killed Tegan, disposing of her body before her family and friends could learn of the infant’s existence.  Keli claims that she gave Tegan to her biological father and he disappeared with the baby.  Keli’s supporters appear to believe her story, but what is the likelihood that this man and Tegan would not be found?  More mysterious, perhaps, are the reasons for Keli’s multiple hidden pregnancies and overall strange behavior.

Today’s story is one of the oddest we have covered.  There are gaping holes in Keli Lane’s story, but also, there is no physical evidence that Tegan is dead. Join us today for a true mystery from Australia, Where is Tegan Lane?

Feb 26, 2019

In 1971, 13-year old Charlie Brandt shot his pregnant mother to death before turning the gun on his father and sister.  In the years that followed, he seemed to move forward and live a normal life with college, marriage, and a career.  Charlie and his wife Teri were a close, fun-loving couple--the kind of couple others envy.

Then, in 2004, a hidden life was revealed. Charlie was not who he appeared to be.  There was a darkness no one had seen. But there had been signs.

Charlie loved to fish and he was known to his fellow fishermen as an expert with a knife.  But Charlie’s expertise went beyond the world of filleting fish.  After his death, Charlie would be investigated as a prolific serial killer, victimizing women along the Florida coast.  He had a sexual obsession with his niece that would end with her brutal murder.

Join us at the quiet end for a fascinating story of a killer undercover: The Hidden Life of Charlie Brandt.

Feb 19, 2019

The case we’re talking about today, more than any in recent history, illustrates that we don’t always know the people close to us as well as we think we do.  We’re talking about the case of a family annihilator: Chris Watts.

In August of 2018, Chris murdered his pregnant wife and his two preschool-aged daughters.  Then he loaded their lifeless bodies into his truck and dumped them at a work site.  He was seen later that morning by co-workers and all of them would report that Chris acted normal, as if nothing abnormal had happened.

Investigators believe that Chris’s motivation for the murders was his desire to start a new life with his mistress.  This seems true enough, but it’s difficult to believe that this was the sole motive for the crimes. As we delve into the lives of Chris and Shanann Watts, deeper issues are exposed that most likely played a role in the murders.  There were serious financial problems and there was friction between Shanann and her in-laws.  Aspects of the couple’s relationship reveal that Chris may have been full of rage and resentment for Shanann.

Join us at the quiet end today for Portrait of a Family Annihilator: The Watts Family Murders. 

Feb 12, 2019

Julie Miller met Dennis Bulloch through a newspaper ad and fell hard for him. He seemed like the answer to all of her problems. As a successful executive approaching her 30th birthday, Julie was ready to get married. Dennis seemed like the all-American guy—good-looking and described as soft-hearted and sensitive by former girlfriends.

Just four months into their marriage, emergency responders were called out to a fire at the Bulloch’s home. Amid the charred debris, they found a body duct-taped to a rocking chair, the face burned beyond recognition.

This is a case that took place before Match.com or Tinder.  Julie was attractive and successful in her career but she was socially immature.  And she was lonely.  She wanted someone to spend her life with and to perhaps start a family of her own.

Dennis Bulloch seemed to check all the boxes for her, but he had a dark side she didn’t see.  If there were signs or clues to a darker side of Dennis, Julie may have overlooked them, because, more than anything, she wanted to be married. We’ll talk about this, as well as the histories of Julie and Dennis, in Happily Never After: The Murder of Julie Miller Bulloch.

 

Feb 5, 2019

Mick Philpott lived off of welfare benefits.  He had been unfaithful and violent towards women throughout his adult life. His reckless and selfish plan to frame an ex-girlfriend for leaving him would result in the death of six innocent children.

A father of 17 children, Philpott lived with two women and once appeared on a daytime talk show to demand a bigger government house for his oversized family.

But beyond the caricature of a welfare parasite, Philpott exposed a much more dangerous stereotype: a control freak whose violence toward women went on for more than thirty years. For Philpott, women were his domestic, sexual, and childbearing slaves and his children were evidence of his virility. This was a man who knew no shame and used everyone, even his own children, to get what he wanted.  Join us today for Shameless: Mick Philpott.

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Jan 30, 2019

Cherica Adams was joyful and magnetic. She was a beautiful 24-year-old who had worked as an exotic dancer and was establishing a career in real estate. She had done some acting, too, and appeared briefly in the movie House Party 3. Cherica became pregnant and appeared to have accepted that she would be a single mother. The father of her baby, professional football player Rae Carruth, was not happy about the baby to be and wanted her to get an abortion. With Cherica, as with his first child’s mother, Carruth did not embrace his role as a parent.


Carruth’s aversion to having children was no secret. In fact, he was very vocal about it. He reportedly joked about killing his children so he wouldn’t have to pay the mothers any money for their support.

 

The moments following the shooting that took Cherica’s life are immortalized in her 911 call. She’d been shot four times. She was crying, struggling to speak with the 911 operator, with her life leaving her body as she bled from her wounds.

 

The facts are shocking. This was a murder for hire, a plan by a cold-blooded man to kill his girlfriend and his unborn son. Cherica would speak for herself in court, through the 911 call recording and notes she wrote in the hospital. But justice in this case came with more difficulty than you might expect.

 

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