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Episode 51: Money Tree (9.23.2016)
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When Axton Betz-Hamilton was 11 years old, her parents’ identities were stolen, but at that time consumer protection services for identity theft victims were basically non-existent. So the family dealt with the consequences as best they could. But when Axton got to college, she realized that her identity had...

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Episode 50: This is Criminal (9.9.2016)
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To celebrate Criminal’s 50th episode, we check in with some of our most memorable guests including Fran Schindler from Episode 17: “Final Exit,” Dan Stevenson from Episode 15: “He’s Neutral,” Corporal Scott Foster from Episode 29: “Officer Talon,” and Marian Tolan from Episode 18: “695-BGK.” We’re very excited to announce that we’re taking the show...

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Episode 49: The Editor (8.26.2016)
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In November of 1988, Robin Woods was sentenced to sixteen years in the notoriously harsh Maryland Correctional Institution. In prison, Robin found himself using a dictionary to work his way through a book for the first time in his life. It was a Mario Puzo novel. While many inmates...

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Episode 48: Eight Years (8.12.2016)
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2008 was an exciting time to be a Harry Potter fan. The final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, had been released. Movies were on the way. And author Melissa Anelli was at the center of it all, running a popular fan site called The Leaky Caldron and working on a book,...

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Episode 47: Brownie Lady (7.15.2016)
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Shortly after Meridy Volz moved from Milwaukee to San Francisco, she received a phone call from a friend asking her to take over a small bakery business.  Meridy agreed to run the bakery, but she only wanted to sell one thing: pot brownies. Her brownies were a massive success,...

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Episode 46: Tiger (7.1.2016)
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There are more tigers in captivity in America than wild tigers in the entire world. The exact number of captive tigers in this country isn’t known, because many of them live in people’s backyards or unaccredited zoos, and the legality of their ownership varies widely by state and even by circumstance. We travelled...

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Episode 45: Just Mercy (6.17.2016)
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As a law student, Bryan Stevenson was sent to a maximum security prison to meet a man on death row. The man told Stevenson he’d never met an African-American lawyer, and the two of them talked for hours. It was a day that changed Stevenson’s life. He’s spent the...

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Episode 44: One Eyed Joe (6.3.2016)
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Not only was John Frankford a famous horse thief, he was also a notoriously good escape artist. People thought no jail was strong enough to keep him, but then in 1895 he was sentenced to Philadelphia’s Eastern State Penitentiary. At Eastern State, Frankford became the victim of a strange practice that carried implications for both...

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Episode 43: 39 Shots (5.20.2016)
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In 1979, a group of labor organizers protested outside a Ku Klux Klan screening of the 1915 white supremacist film, The Birth of a Nation. Nelson Johnson and Signe Waller-Foxworth remember shouting at armed Klansmen and burning a confederate flag, until eventually police forced the KKK inside and the standoff ended without violence....

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Episode 42: The Finger (5.6.2016)
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People have been giving each other “the finger” since Ancient Greece. The first documented use is said to be a photograph from 1886 in which the pitcher for the Boston Beaneaters extends his middle finger to the camera (ostensibly to the rival New York Giants). Even though it’s been...

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Episode 41: Open Case (4.15.2016)
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Since 1965, there’s been an unsolved murder in Houston, Texas. The main suspect managed to disappear and police were never able to find him. The case is still considered open. In 1997, a couple of accountants decided to look into the murders, and were able to uncover evidence that...

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EPISODE 40: PAPPY (4.1.2016)
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When it comes to the bourbon Pappy Van Winkle, it doesn’t matter who you are or how much money you have — you can’t get it unless you’re exceptionally lucky or willing to break the law. The Pappy frenzy has law enforcement, bartenders, and even the Van Winkle family...

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Episode 39: Either/Or (3.18.2016)
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In 1983, three men were prepared to plead guilty to a violent sexual assault in Anderson, South Carolina. Defense attorneys did not want their clients to go before a jury, and arranged a plea deal. This left the sentencing in the hands of the judge, who gave the assailants...

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Episode 38: Jolly Jane (3.4.2016)
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Jane Toppan was born in Massachusetts in 1857. She attended the Cambridge Nursing School, and established a successful private nursing career in Boston. Said to be cheerful, funny and excellent with her patients, nothing about “Jolly Jane” suggested she could be “the most notorious woman poisoner of modern times.”...

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Episode 37: Hastings (2.19.2016)
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In 2010, an eighth-grader brought a loaded gun to a middle school in Hastings, Minnesota. We speak with two students and the principal about the minutes and hours in lockdown. Read Jake Bullington’s essay, “Yeah, I’m Afraid of Guns.” Music in this episode: “Middle,” “Pool,” and “Shower Scene” by MADS.  “Three Colors”...

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Episode 36: Perfect Specimen (2.5.2016)
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The 500-year-old Treaty Oak in Austin, Texas was once called “the most perfect specimen of a North American tree.” But in 1989, Austin’s city forester realized that the Treaty Oak didn’t look so good, and began to wonder whether someone had intentionally tried to kill it. Music in this...

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