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Episode 56: Don’t Let Me See You In The Whirl (12.2.2016)
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Since 1938, a weekly African-American owned newspaper called The Evening Whirl has covered crime in St. Louis with a style all its own, using alliteration and rhyme, and often omitting the usual crime-reporting words like “accused” or “alleged.” The paper has been widely criticized for its casual approach to fact-checking and...

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Episode 55: The Shell Game (11.18.2016)
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  The Magic Castle in Hollywood has been a private club for magicians since 1963, and its walls are lined with portraits of magicians past and present. Among them is a portrait of one of the earliest American organized crime bosses and conmen, Jefferson Randolph “Soapy” Smith. And though...

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Episode 54: Melinda and Clarence (11.4.2016)
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SPOILER WARNING: Please listen to Episode 53: Melinda and Judy before you listen to this one. Melinda Dawson found out on the same day in 1998 that her adoptive mother had been killed and that her husband Clarence was being charged with the murder. Clarence was convicted in 1999...

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Episode 53: Melinda and Judy (10.21.2016)
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When Melinda Dawson was seven years old, she learned that she was adopted under mysterious circumstances. As she got older and had children of her own, she tried to learn something about her biological parents. And when she went to the county courthouse and asked to see a copy...

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Episode 52: The Checklist (10.7.2016)
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SPOILER WARNING: Please listen to Episode 51: Money Tree before you listen to this one. While working on our last episode, we became curious about the nature of psychopathy — how it is defined, and what to do if someone close to you meets the criteria. We spoke with Dr. Ronald Schouten,...

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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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