On July 17th, 1889, the residents of Clayton County, Iowa woke up to news of the worst crime in their history. A Civil War veteran and his young wife had been murdered in their bed in a grisly attack. Their two children escaped to raise the alarm. But something was off. There were no suspects. There were no clues. To quote the local newspaper, the whole thing was “surrounded in a veil of mystery.”
Dan Stevenson has lived in Oakland’s Eastlake neighborhood for 40 years. He says crime has been an issue for as long as he can remember, but he isn’t one to call the police on drug dealers or sex workers. He’s a pretty “live and let live” kind of guy. Or he was. Before he finally got fed up and took matters into his own hands.
In June 2014, authorities released information about a massive child pornography ring being conducted in North Carolina. Four suspects had already been arrested, and the police were asking the public for help finding a fifth suspect. But they didn’t need to look very hard — the suspect was about to turn himself in, almost by accident.
Raymond Chandler is often called the greatest American crime novelist, famous for murder mysteries like The Big Sleep and Farewell, My Lovely. He’s the subject of several biographies, and his correspondence and manuscripts are archived at Oxford. But something very, very important to Chandler had gotten lost. No one noticed until a pair of Chandler’s biggest fans, newlyweds in their seventies, got on the case.
In 1999, most of America’s tech hysteria centered around Y2K. But at that same time, a teenager in Canada was messing around in chat rooms, meeting hackers, and learning tricks. At 15, he decided to put his knowledge to the test. To push up against the Internet’s limits, and in some places, break them. He managed to pull off something no one had ever seen before.
In 1977, a mild-mannered aeronautical engineer sideswiped a parked car in Compton, CA. He stopped his car to see the damage, and all of a sudden a man opened his car door, jumped in the car and said, “I’m about to save your life.” What happened next would torture him for the rest of his life.
Working as a reporter for a TV station in New Hampshire, Kevin Flynn was covering the capture and arrest of a female serial killer named Sheila LaBarre. As he grew more and more obsessed with LaBarre’s story, Flynn decided to write her a letter. She wrote back. Their correspondence became flirtatious, and eventually he went to visit her in person.
What does it mean when a woman commits a crime and attributes her actions to PMS? How can the scientific community study severe premenstrual symptoms without perpetuating the utterly unscientific idea that menstruating women aren’t mentally competent or liable for crimes they commit?
In March 1964, a 35-year-old African American woman named Johnnie Mae Chappell was walking along the side of the road in Jacksonville, Florida. At the same time, four white men were driving around listening to the race riots on the radio. They had a gun on the dashboard. As they passed Chappell, one of the men leaned out the car window and shot her. As the police investigated her death, evidence began to mysteriously disappear, making it impossible to punish the men who admitted to committing the crime.
Crime victims are often put under the same scrutiny as the accused. Not only for their version of events, but sometimes for how they look and talk, too. We meet a man whose trial hurt worse than his assault.
On April 13, 2014, former KKK member Frazier Glenn Cross pulled into a Jewish Community Center and ambushed a grandfather and grandson, killing both. He then killed another woman a short distance away. What does the family left behind do when they are thrust into a national spotlight? How do they figure out what to disclose and what should be private?
Music: “The Captain” by The Knife, “From Off to On” by The Knife, “Toxic” by Yael Naim, “It Never Changes to Stop” by The Books.
Every year for the past few years, tens of thousand of flytraps have gone missing – from the wild, from gardens, from nurseries. And, really, nobody knows where they go. What’s cropped up in rural North Carolina is essentially a Venus Flytrap crime ring — with lackies, middle men, and a mysterious end buyer who’s perpetuating the market.
Music: “Worksong” by Grails, “Crosscheck” by Zach Miskin * Todd Reynolds, “Jaguar” by Mogwai, “Emily Escapes” by John Lurie, “A Simple Way To Go Faster Than Light That Does Not Work,” by Tortoise, “Moonglow” by Django Reinhardt, “Feelin’ Bad Blues” by Ry Cooder
There are plenty of things we don’t share with our mothers. Dark, sad things. Unless of course, you’re both in the business of death.
Music: “Pearl’s Dream” by Brokeback, “Psychotic Reaction” by Count Five, “Back to Hold You” by The Pacific Ocean, “Everywhere Down Here” by Brokeback, “David” by Labradford, and “Leave My Dreaming” by Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci.
With the advent of the Inkjet printer, counterfeiting money became as simple as a trip to Staples. By the year 2000, there were 72 million of these homemade dollars in circulation. The real question is… who was behind them all?
Music: “Wedding Song No. 2″ by Aerial M, “A Simple Way to Go Faster Than Light That Does Not Work” by Tortoise, “Sandcastles” by The Dylan Group, “Arrival Lounge” by Sonogram, “Mohan” by Lucrecia Dalt, “Arundel” by Papa M.
For nearly a century we’ve been trying to read someone’s truthfulness by the way they act — through machine, or our own intuition. The police, the FBI and the CIA have tried. But the fact is… most of those efforts just don’t work.
Music: “Overcast” by Jessica Bailidd, “With John Mornand and Assisted By Brian Hoffa” by Labradford, “Skrag Theme” by Aerial M, “Years of the Dragon” by yMusic, “Zinc” by Bill Ryan and Grand Valley State New Music Ensemble, and “Lights on Water” by Pan American.
In 2001, a woman was found dead in a pool of her own blood. Her husband was convicted of her murder. But a curious neighbor had a different theory… one that brings new meaning to man vs. beast.
Music: “Alien Observer” by Grouper, “Cities” by Maserati, “C” by Labradford, “Super Hate” by Pele, “Kalimera” by Maserati, “Tchaikovsky and Solitude” by Miniature Tigers, “Irene” by Caribou, “Les Chers Leaders” by Marvin Jouno, and “To Mama” by Mother Falcon.