Episode 24 – State of Texas v. Kenneth Foster, Jr.

On August 14, 1996, Kenneth Foster, Mauriceo Brown, DeWayne Dillard, and Julius Steen embarked on a series of armed robberies around San Antonio, Texas. Foster drove, while Julius Steen scouted victims from the front passenger seat. The third armed robbery began when the foursome followed a vehicle driven by Mary Patrick into a residential neighborhood. Mary and Michael LaHood, Jr. were returning to the home, where Michael lived with his parents and brothers, Nicholas and Marc. When Brown exited the vehicle armed with a .44 caliber pistol, he wore a scarf across his face. As Brown approached them, Michael told Mary to get into the house. Mary, who fell as she fled, saw Brown pointing a gun at Michael’s head. She heard Brown demand Michael’s keys, money and wallet, immediately followed by a loud bang. Michael died instantly. Join Lisa O’Brien and Michael Carnahan on Tuesday, October 2, 2018, at 8:00 p.m. Central for our interview with Nicholas “Nico” LaHood to learn more about Michael and the impact his death has had on the LaHood family. We’ll also discuss the case against Foster, his controversial death sentence, which was reduced to life in prison by Governor Rick Perry in 2007, three hours before his scheduled execution.

About Nicholas “Nico” LaHood:

Nicholas “Nico” LaHood was born in 1972 in San Antonio, Texas, the second son of Michael LaHood, Sr. and Norma Olivia LaHood. He grew up in San Antonio with his older brother, Michael, Jr., and younger brother, Marc. Mr. LaHood, an attorney and former Bexar County judge, often took young Nico to work with him. As a young man, Nico followed in his father’s footsteps, earning a Juris Doctorate from St. Mary’s School of Law in San Antonio. Nico has worked as a criminal defense attorney, a special prosecutor and is wrapping up one term as the elected District Attorney in Bexar County at the end of this year. He is a Board Member for Child Safe San Antonio, The Bexar County Family Justice Center, and the Rape Crisis Center. He also served as adjunct professor at St. Mary’s University School of Law and teaches at the San Antonio Police Department Academy and the Alamo Area Council of Government’s Police Academy. He has remained in San Antonio, Texas and lives there with his wife and children, Maya, Michael, Leah, and Zaiter.

 

 

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Episode 23 – Murder for Hire

In this episode, we’ll look at a category of cases, rather than a single case. Murder for hire cases are among the most challenging cases to investigate and are difficult to prove in court. Generally, there is very little evidence tying the so-called “trigger man” to the crime and, due to the nature of the crime, there’s usually little or no evidence linking the person who contracted the murder to the crime, or the “trigger man.”   We’ll talk about the murders of Vincent and Margaret Sherry in Biloxi, Mississippi in September, 1987; the murder of Gregg Smart in Derry, New Hampshire in May, 1990; the murders of Patricia and Kevin Whitaker and the attempted murder of Kent Whitaker in Sugar Land, Texas in December, 2003; and the murder of Ernest Smith in New Orleans, Louisiana in April, 2006.  Those cases resulted in successful prosecutions and the parties responsible were convicted. We’ll also talk about several cases that have resulted in acquittals.

In honor of the National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims:

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.

– Mary Elizabeth Frye, 1932

 

Episode 22 – State of Arkansas v. Stacey Johnson

On April 2, 1993, the partially nude body of Carol Heath was found on the living room floor of her duplex apartment in DeQueen, Arkansas. Ms. Heath’s young children were in the apartment at the time of the murder, but were not harmed. On April 14, 1993, police in Albequerque, New Mexico arrested Stacey Johnson after he falsely identified himself. Johnson offered the officers $5,000.00 each to let him go. He also told them that he had killed someone in Arkansas. Johnson was returned to Arkansas, where he faced a capital murder charge. Join Lisa O’Brien and Michael Carnahan on Tuesday, September 18, 2018, at 8:00 p.m. Central for a discussion of the case against Johnson, his trials, post-conviction DNA results and the postponement of his execution date in April, 2017, to pursue additional DNA testing.

Episode 21 – State of Oklahoma v. Wanda Jean Allen (2nd Hour)

On December 1, 1988, Gloria Jean Leathers and her girlfriend, Wanda Jean Allen engaged in a dispute over a check while at a local grocery store. Ms. Leathers decided to move out of the home she shared with Allen and was escorted by police to the residence to retrieve some of her belongings. After another dispute arose over the ownership of property in the house, Ms. Leathers and her mother went to the police station in the Village, Oklahoma, to file a report. Allen followed and, outside the station, begged Ms. Leathers to reconsider her decision to move out. After retrieving a gun from her car, Allen shot Leathers, then fled to Duncan, Oklahoma. Join Lisa O’Brien and Michael Carnahan on Tuesday, September 11, 2018, at 8:00 p.m. Central for a discussion of the case against Allen, her self-defense and diminished capacity claims and her controversial execution on January 11, 2001.

Episode 21 – State of Oklahoma v. Wanda Jean Allen

Episode 21 – 09/11/2001 – #NeverForget (1st Hour)

On the morning of September 11, 2001, 19 men hijacked four commercial planes as part of a coordinated attack on the United States. Two of those planes were flown into the North and South Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. The third plane struck the U.S. Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. The fourth plane failed to reach its intended target and was crashed by the hijackers in a field outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

There were 2,977 people killed that day, including 412 first responders in New York City. The New York Fire Department lost its Chief, Fire Commissioner, Fire Marshall, 16 Battalion Chiefs, 23 Captains, 44 Lieutenants. New York Fire Department Chaplain. The New York Police Department lost 23 members and the Port Authority Police lost 38 members, including K-9 Sirius. Nine EMS members were also killed assisting with evacuation of the towers and the area surrounding them. New York City lost 2,194 people in the initial attacks and eventual collapse of the World Trade Center.

Fire Department Chaplain Fr. Mychal Judge was the first identified victim. He responded to the North Tower and was killed by debris from the South Tower collapse at 9:59 a.m. PAPD K-9 Sirius was in his kennel in the Port Authority’s office in the South Tower and died in the collapse of the South Tower. Kevin Pfeifer died when the North Tower collapsed at 10:28 a.m. He was a lieutenant with the New York Fire Department and the only brother of Battalion Chief Joseph Pfeifer, the first Battalion Chief to respond to the World Trade Center that morning. Chief Pfeifer was on a routine call when he witnessed the first plane as it flew into the North Tower.

David Angell and his wife were on American Airlines Flight 11, returning to California after visiting Cape Cod. Peter and Sue Kim Hanson and their daughter, Christine, were on United Flight 175, traveling to Los Angeles to visit Sue Kim’s family. Leslie Whittington, Charles Falkenberg and their daughters, Zoe and Dana, were on American Airlines Flight 77, starting the first leg of their journey to Australia, where Charles was scheduled to take a position as a temporary professor at Australian National University. Linda Gronlund and Joe DeLuca were on United Flight 93, traveling to San Francisco for a vacation together in Napa Valley. At the Pentagon, Lt. General Timothy Maude, was working as the U.S. Army’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel and was at a meeting when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the west side of the Pentagon.

#NeverForget

 

Episode 21 – 09/11/2001

Episode 20 – State of Maryland v. Adnan Syed

On the afternoon of January 13, 1999, Hae Min Lee disappeared after leaving Woodlawn High School, where she was a popular athlete and scholar. Police looking for her questioned several people, including her current boyfriend, Don C., and ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed. Hae’s body was found partially buried in a shallow grave in Leakin Park, in Baltimore City, Maryland. Three days later, on February 12, an anonymous tip led police to put Adnan Syed at the top of their suspect list. On February 27, 1999, Jay Wilds, an acquaintance of Syed, was interviewed by police and, early on the morning of February 28, 1999, led police to Hae’s missing vehicle. Syed was arrested and charged with first degree murder. The case has been the topic of multiple podcasts, including Serial in 2014 and Undisclosed in 2015, which raised questions about the investigation and Syed’s conviction and have alleged that Syed is actually innocent. Join Lisa O’Brien and Michael Carnahan on Tuesday, September 4, 2018, at 8:00 p.m. Central for a discussion of the facts surrounding Hae’s disappearance, the investigation, the evidence against Syed, the issues raised by Syed during his post-conviction challenges and the appeal by the State of Maryland challenging the 2016 decision to grant Syed’s request for a new trial.

 

 

Episode 19 – State of California v. Scott Lee Peterson

Laci Peterson and her unborn son, Conner, disappeared on Christmas Eve, 2002. The community in Modesto, California rallied, organizing search parties and tip lines in hopes of finding Laci and her baby. Her husband Scott’s attempts to avoid the media were unsuccessful and, shortly after Laci’s disappearance, Amber Frey contacted investigators and revealed that she’d been involved in an affair with Scott since November, 2002. Over the next several weeks, Amber secretly recorded her phone calls with Scott, including a call Scott placed while at a vigil for Laci that was held on New Year’s Eve. In April, 2003, Conner and Laci’s bodies washed up on a beach in Richmond, California, in the same area of the San Francisco Bay where Scott was fishing on December 24, 2002. When Scott was arrested near San Diego, his dark hair was brassy blonde and he’d grown a goatee and mustache. He was carrying $15,000.00 in cash, a knife, three cell phones, Viagra pills, camping equipment, clothing, his brother’s driver’s license and directions to Amber Frey’s place of employment.  We’ll discuss the evidence against Scott Peterson, the defense claims and the status of his appeals.

 

Episode 18 – State of Florida v. Casey Marie Anthony

On June 16, 2008, Casey Anthony left her parents’ home in Orlando, Florida with her daughter, Caylee. Caylee’s grandfather, George, was the last person, other than Casey to see her that day. For 31 days, Casey lied to her mother about where she and Caylee were, who they were with and what they were doing. On July 15, 2008, Cindy Anthony tracked her daughter down and demanded that Casey take her to Caylee. Eventually, Casey told her brother that Caylee had been kidnaped by a fictional “nanny.” In response to Cindy Anthony’s frantic call, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department began their investigation by taking Casey around Orlando to places she claimed the babysitter had lived. The next day, investigators returned, bringing Casey to her office at Universal Studios. After leading investigators on a second wild goose chase, Casey finally admitted that she hadn’t worked there since shortly after Caylee’s birth in 2005. In spite of blunt statements from investigators, Casey continued telling the kidnaping story. She was arrested and jailed, yet continued claiming that her daughter had been kidnaped by a non-existent “nanny.” When Caylee’s body was found in December, 2008 in a wooded area a half mile from the Anthony residence, Casey was charged with first degree murder. Join Lisa O’Brien and Michael Carnahan on Tuesday, August 21, 2018, at 8:00 p.m. Central for a discussion of the facts surrounding Caylee’s disappearance, the evidence against Casey Anthony, the controversial verdict that resulted in her acquittal of all charges arising from Caylee’s death and the change in the law in Florida and other states that were spurred by this tragedy.

Episode 18 – State of Florida v. Casey Marie Anthony

Episodes 16 & 17 – Updates (Parts 1 & 2)

During Clear and Convincing’s first update episodes, we discussed new developments in some of the cases covered since we launched in February, 2018. In Part 1, we discussed past episodes and guests and the issues raised in the direct appeals filed by Jodi Arias and Dalia Dippolito. Gary Meece joined us for the remainder of the episode for a discussion of the West Memphis Three case and the lack of any meaningful presentation of exculpatory evidence in any court as we approach the 7th Anniversary of the Alford pleas entered on August 19, 2011.

Episode 16 – Updates (Part 1)

In Part 2, we discussed new developments and information in other cases, among them the appellate court denial of Dalia Dippolito’s motions to review the denial of appellate bond by the trial court, the U.S. Supreme Court’s denial of the DNA testing writ and new post-conviction claims raised by Rodney Reed and the status of Jeffrey MacDonald’s appeal to the U.S. Fourth Circuit. We also talked about the request for additional information from counsel for Kevin Cooper from the Office of Governor Brown and the status of Christopher Young allegations of racial bias in his clemency case. Finally, we wrapped up with a discussion of the status of DNA testing on behalf of Larry Swearingen and Hank Skinner’s appeal to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals arising from the denial of a new trial based on DNA testing results.

We then discussed new cases we’ll be covering over the next several weeks, including Casey Anthony, Scott Peterson, Adnan Syed, Wanda Jean Allen, Stacey Johnson, Betty Broderick and Kenneth Foster, Jr. Future episodes will include general topics, including Murder for Hire, Law of Parties/Felony Murder and Premeditation/Deliberation.

Episode 17 – Updates (Part 2)

Episode 15 – State of Texas v. Henry Watkins Skinner

On December 31, 1993, Twila Busby and her sons, Elwin Caler and Randy Busby, were murdered in their home in Pampa, Texas. Twila was strangled and then bludgeoned with an axe handle. Elwin and Randy were stabbed to death. Twila’s live-in boyfriend, Hank Skinner, was in the house, but claimed he was passed out on the couch at the time of the murders. At around midnight, Elwin stumbled out of the house and collapsed on a neighbor’s porch. Instead of summoning help, Skinner, wearing blood-stained clothes and socks, left the house and walked 3-1/2 to 4 blocks to the trailer of a former girlfriend and his NA sponsor, Andrea Reed. In spite of pre-trial DNA test results that bolstered the state’s case against him, Skinner has waged a 25 year campaign to obtain additional DNA testing that he claims would exonerate him. Join Lisa O’Brien and Michael Carnahan on Tuesday, July 31, 2018, at 8:00 p.m. Central for a discussion of the case against Skinner, his failed post-conviction challenges and the results of post-conviction DNA testing.

 

Episode 15 – State of Texas v. Henry Watkins Skinner