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.
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.
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.
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.