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.
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.
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?
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.
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?