Podcasts, Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday – Audio freebie

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish blog.

Today’s topic:  All About Audio freebie —  aka top ten audiobooks you should listen to, 10 books I want to listen to on audio,10 bands you should check out, 10 podcasts you should be listening to, 10 of my all time favorite albums, 10 songs I love, really whatever you can come up with.

I don’t listen to audiobooks so I’m going with:

Podcasts you should be listening to

Undisclosed: The State vs. Joey Watkins.  Undisclosed is hosted by Rabia Chaudry, the woman who brought Adnan Syed’s story to Sarah Koenig.  The team has taken on a new case, the case of Joey Watkins, who was convicted on murder on very little evidence.  It’s a very interesting case.

Truth & Justice.  Another podcast that spawned after the first season of Serial, and hosted by Bob Ruff, T&J is now tackling two cases in the incredibly corrupt Tyler, Texas area.  Bob also gives us updates on Adnan’s case as they arise.  Bob is an incredibly compassionate man and is a good storyteller.

Crime Writers On.  A Serial spin-off.  Notice a trend??  CWO covers Serial, other podcasts, pop culture, fiction, true crime, you name it.  Very entertaining podcast.  They spent a majority of a recent episode talking about Stranger Things, so I love them even more now.

Serial.  Obviously, my love of podcasts started from Serial.  While I didn’t love season 2 as much as season 1, I still love Sarah’s storytelling style.

Real Crime Profile.  Hosted by Jim Clemente, former FBI Profiler, Laura Richards, former Scotland Yard profiler and advocate for domestic abuse victims, RCP is a deep dive into crimes.  They have discussed cases like OJ Simpson, Oscar Pistorius and now JonBenet Ramsey.  Incredibly interesting.

Breakdown.  This podcast is a little different in that it only airs when there is new details about the cases they are covering.  They covered the case of Justin Chapman, who was accused of murdering his neighbor in a fire and Justin Harris, who is being tried for murder, after leaving his young son in a hot car all day, where he later died.  Not as polished as other podcasts, but the content is very interesting.

Criminal.  Hosted by Phoebe Judge, who has a Sarah Koenig type voice, Criminal is short stories told about more obscure crimes (stealing wood from protected trees, blackmarket bourbon).  They are all short stories but incredibly interesting.

Actual Innocence.  Stories of people convicted then released from jail after being proven innocent.  A newer podcast, but it’s told by the person who did the jail time, with occasional narration by the host.

Limetown.  The only non-crime podcast I listen to.  This is so outside my normal realm, but I love this podcast.  In fact, at first, I didn’t know if it was real or fiction.  Told beautifully by it’s fictional host, it’s a great mystery.  Can’t wait for the next season.

Which podcasts do you like?  Always looking for true crime recs (though Sword & Scale is too dark for me).

Happy listening.



Chasing Justice by Kerry Max Cook

Goodreads Summary

Kerry Max Cook was born in Germany, & spent much of his youth on army bases. He chasing justicereturned to the US with his family in 1972 to live in Texas. In 1977, at the age of 19, he was arrested & wrongly convicted of capital murder, a crime for which he would spend the next 20 years on death row, only to be cleared of all charges in 1999.


2 1/2 out of 5 stars


I’m going to say right off the bat that I only read this book because of the Truth & Justice podcast.  Bob (the host) asked us to read it relating to a case he’ll be discussing.  I hope the case we’re discussing is good because this book was BORING.

Kerry Max Cook was convicted of rape and murder in Tyler, Texas in 1978.  He maintained his innocence the entire time.  There were SO many plot holes in this book.  Here are a few examples:

  • One of the witnesses against Kerry claimed he was a homosexual and a pervert.  Many people claimed this. Mr. Cook NEVER addressed these claims.  Was he homosexual?  It was a question never answered.
  • Doyle Wayne. Kerry’s brother, who he “spoke” to frequently.  I don’t know if there was mental illness there, but something was off and it was never addressed.
  • Kerry’s alibi.  He maintained his innocence but NEVER said what he was doing or where he was at the time of the murder.

This book was so detail heavy.  I skipped through a lot of detail because it was both cumbersome and boring.  There were so many “characters” that it was hard to keep up with it and very confusing.

In the end, DNA evidence proved that Kerry was not the killer, and it was the person he thought it was all along.

I would skip this book.

Happy reading.


Serial Dynasty

Episode 15 of the Serial Dynasty was, in my opinion, one of the best episodes yet.  Bob thanked Ann for the debate last week, and thanked listeners for all their emails and tweets, etc., about the episode.

Bob then shifted his focused by simply stating that Adnan is innocent.  Bob said that beyond a doubt, Adnan, if tried again with all the new evidence brought to light by the Undisclosed podcast, would not be convicted of murdering Hae Min Lee.  Bob also stated that the case against Adnan disappears without Jay’s testimony, and I couldn’t agree more.  It’s amazing to me that 12 people believed Jay’s story, which changed multiple times.  Bob also stated that he doesn’t believe any of Jay’s testimony, and because he believes Adnan is innocent, the tone of show will change.  Going forward, it will be the mission of this show to find true killer of Hae Min Lee.

Bob wanted to discuss Undisclosed episode 9, called Charm City.  At first, Bob admitted he was disappointed in the show, stating that it hadn’t brought forward any new evidence.  Personally, it made me sad.  Then Bob listened again, and found the episode full of evidence not he had not considered.  The episode highlighted the corruption in the Baltimore Police Department, and we heard lots of detective’s name that we have heard in the past.  We heard about the detectives ignoring confessions and ignoring evidence, and it seems that sadly, there are lots of “Adnan’s” in prison in Maryland.  We heard the names Ritz and MacGillivary several times during this episode.

Bob stated that the problem in Baltimore lies above the detectives.  Those in power care only about statistics and image.  If you’ve watched “The Wire”, you saw this first hand.  The mayor was corrupt, and was constantly pressuring the police commissioner and his deputy to lower the crime rate.  As a sidebar about the Wire – it was depicted that a Lt. “legalized” drugs – by allowing drug dealers to sell in one location – as to lower the crime rate in a location that had high numbers in the past.  His idea worked – and then the mayor caught wind and all hell broke loose.  The Lt’s plan had lowered the crime rate, but at a cost.  This was how much pressure was put on the police to lower crime rates.  If you haven’t watched the Wire, I’d highly recommend.  End sidebar.

Bob noted that there seems to be a real issue in Baltimore, especially with crime clearance rates. Detectives have to clear cases or they will be demoted.  It’s not about justice, but about results, which is pretty clear in the way the detectives narrowed in on Adnan from the beginning.  Bob then applauded the Undisclosed team for bringing these cases to our attention.  Bob noted that Detectives Ritz & MacGillivary have been busted many times for improperly handling cases – he wondered how many times were they not caught?

Bob then posed this question – ask yourself this – do you believe Ritz & MacGillivary could have coerced “made up” testimony out of Jay?  For me, the answer in hell yes.  Bob then said something that surprised the shit out of me by saying that he now believes Jays testimony was coerced.   Bob reread all the transcripts, and truly believes that one of two things got the ball rolling to Adnan’s detriment – either Adnan asking Hae for the ride, or possibly Eneahy group report.  The cultural memo provided motive; a Muslim “man” doing an honor killing – which is ludicrous. The detectives convinced themselves about the honor killing theory.  There was NO evidence against Adnan – nothing.  There were two calls made from an area near Leakin park, which the Undisclosed team refuted with AT&T.  Jen was called multiple times during the day Hae went missing; we know Jay had Adnan’s phone that day.  It’s possible that Jay was in some other trouble.

Maybe the detectives threatened Jay with a murder charge.  Maybe they leaned on Jay; threatened to charge him with murder if he didn’t go along with their story.  Maybe the detectives told Jay they had a mountain of evidence against Adnan.  Bob then something equally surprising – that he’s feel sorry for Jay.  I have to say, that in a way, I feel sorry for him too.  The detectives consistently made Jay look like an idiot – by having him change his story, over and over, and most of his story was nonsensical (the trunk pop location changing, for example).

Bob also believes that Urick was involved early on.  I’ve believed this all along.  Bob also believes that Jay’s tears and apology were real – he knew he was sending an innocent man to jail.  Bob stated he believes that Urick and Ann Benaroya were following Serial closely – and told Jay NOT to speak to Sarah Koenig.  Jay’s interview was published first – and the burial time was changed, likely due to the lividity evidence.  Then Urick’s interview comes out, and again, he makes Jay look like an idiot.

Bob ended the episode by saying going forward, he’s going to shift his attention to the suspects, since he believes Adnan is innocent.  Next week he’s talking about Roy Davis, so jump on google and see what you can dig up on him and send it to Bob at theories@serialdynasty.com.

Keep up the good work, Bob.


My Two Cents on this week’s Serial Dynasty

This week’s Serial Dynasty featured an interview with Ann Brocklehurst, a self-described journalist, private investigator and feminist.  She agreed to come on the show and have a “debate” with Bob – she believes Adnan is guilty, while Bob believes Adnan is innocent.

I’m going to say this right now – I believe that Adnan is innocent.  I believe this based on the evidence I’ve heard on three different podcasts.  This is not my personal belief or personal feeling, this is based on evidence.

Below are Ann’s 12 reasons why she is sure, beyond sure, that Adnan is guilty.  I will applaud Bob for his decorum and professionalism during this interview.  I actually gave up about an hour in because Ann was pissing me off with her personal views, which were not based on any evidence.  I decided to go back and finish the interview.  Ann’s points are in italics below.  The rest are my thoughts. I will also note that for a journalist, there are a LOT of spelling mistakes below, which I am not correcting.  Just saying….

  • Adnan has no explanation whatsoever as to how he landed in this position. Yes, I know Deirdre Enright said innocent people often can’t help their case. But she was talking about not being able to find a body in a field as opposed to having no idea whatsoever why your buddy Jay might want to frame you for murder. People who work with killers will also tell you that this vaguey-vague “someone must have framed me but I don’t know why” explanation is a pretty common one among the guilty.
  • I’m sorry, how does this prove Adnan is guilty?  He has no idea how he landed in this position because he is INNOCENT and didn’t kill Hae.  I find this entire statement asinine and not based on any evidence.  Saying that him not knowing how he got in this position makes him guilty is just plain stupid.
  • Jay has no reason for framing Adnan nor does anyone else let alone Roy Sharonnie Davis or Ronald Lee Moore, who, between the two of them, probably have the combined IQ of a cactus plant.
  • Jay has good reason to frame Adnan – his grandmother’s house was being used to make drugs, and many people in his family were part of this drug business.  Framing Adnan took the heat of off Jay and kept the cops away from Granny’s house.  Roy Davis killed a Woodlawn student not long before Hae was killed.  It’s certainly possible that it was him or Ronald Lee Moore.  But we don’t know.  Why?  Because the corrupt cops working this case never processed ANY DNA evidence.
  • Adnan should remember what happened on that very un-normal day. He was called by police the same day his ex-girlfriend disappeared. He was interviewed by police two weeks later. The whole “I can’t remember that normal day six weeks ago” schtick is total BS. And Koenig was a sucker for believing it. There is no good explanation for why Adnan has no alibi. He was aware the day Hae went missing something was seriously wrong.
  • Let’s be clear about something – Adnan found out Hae was missing in the evening, after 6 pm.  Missing.  Adnan had no idea where Hae was.  As far as he knew, she could have run off with her NEW boyfriend, Don.  I don’t find that incriminating.  Ann pointed out several times during the interview that her memory was “fuzzy”.  Why is ok for Ann to be fuzzy about past events but not Adnan?  And let’s not forget the fact that Adnan was high that day.  Several people have indicated that he and Jay were smoking pot.  And he was a teenage boy.  Have you met one of them, Ann?  I tell my 16 year old son something and he forgets five minutes later.  Adnan had moved on from Hae – he was with Nisha.  Of course that day was not significant for him.
  • Adnan has consistently lied about how people reacted to Hae’s disppearance, claiming it was no big deal, which is completely implausible. Hae had a new a boyfriend, a class trip to France booked, and university to look forward to. There was no way she’d take off to California in the middle of her senior year.
  • This is simply not true, and I’d love the see the evidence to back this claim up.  As soon as Friday, January 15, Adnan became concerned when Hae did not show up to a party.  Ann forgets that the Woodlawn students were out of school the rest of that week, so Adnan would really have no way to know anything about Hae’s disappearance.  In all the episodes of Serial, Undisclosed, and Serial Dynasty I’ve listened to, I’ve never heard anyone make this claim.  Which leads me to believe this is Ann’s thought.  Which means nothing.
  • Adnan’s good friend Imran appears to have been actively trying to discourage Hae’s California friends from looking for her a week after her disappearance, when, according to Adnan, no one was concerned she was gone.
  • In my opinion, Bob obliterated Ann on this one, proving that she was talking about a different Imran.  She stuttered with her response, after a LONG pause.  Not sure what this has to do with Adnan anyway.  What difference does it make what Imran’s doing to Adnan?  Another senseless, Ann based point.
  • Adnan had no reason for lending Jay his car. The idea that he was concerned about Jay getting a birthday present for Stephanie is laughable.
  • Hey Ann, did you miss the many times it was mentioned Jay DID NOT OWN A CAR???????  Of course it would make sense for Adnan to loan Jay his car to buy a gift for Adnan’s very good friend Stephanie.  In fact, several people pointed out that Adnan had lent Jay his car on a few occasions.  So because you’ve decided Jay had no reason to borrow the car makes Adnan guilty?  Please.
  • Adnan lied about asking Hae for a ride, contradicting the testimony of Krista and Debbie.
  • Nope, another lie on Ann’s part, and another point she was hit by Bob.  Several people testified that they heard Adnan ask for a ride and they heard Hae say no, that she had something to do. Read the documents on Undisclosed.
  • Adnan wrote “I’m going to kill” on a break-up note from Hae telling him to back off. (If you think that’s no biggie, let me know how you feel about it when you see your daughters writing a note like that and then discover the recipient’s decorated it with “I’m going to kill.”)
  • While I will admit it was a stupid thing to write, this really doesn’t prove anything.  It’s been talked about on Undisclosed and I feel it was put to rest.
  • Adnan exhibited other stalkery behaviour towards Hae. She hid from him at school and wrote in her diary that he was possessive.
  • Ann mentioned the fact that the French teacher was told Hae was not coming to a lab because she was hiding from Adnan, because they’d had a fight.  Pretty much everyone else disputes what Ann says here – that Adnan was not a stalker or possessive of Hae.  To me, this is typical teenage girl drama.  And it sounds like Hae was close to this teacher.
  • Adnan never tried to contact Hae after January 13th even though he called her three times the night before.
  • Um, Ann, NEITHER DID DON, her current boyfriend.  Adnan called Hae the night before, yes, but only spoke to her once, to give her his new cell number.  I find it more odd that Don never reached out to her than Adnan.  And again, they were not in school for almost a week after Hae’s disappearance due to weather/end of semester.  I’ll concede it’s weird he never called her.
  • There is no explanation for the Nisha call other than an improbable butt dial.
  • In my opinion, it’s been proven on Undisclosed that the Nisha call could not have been placed by Adnan, based on the time of the come and get me call.  I believe that Jay called Nisha by mistake on Adnan’s cell phone, which Jay had in his possession the entire day.
  • Adnan’s cell phone records place him in Leakin Park burying Hae’s body.
  • Nope, they do not.  Undisclosed got documentation from AT&T that incoming calls cannot be used to determine location.  And the lividity evidence proves that there is NO WAY Hae could have been buried at 7pm.

In conclusion, nothing Ann notes is enough to prove guilt.  She stated that she believes Jay.  That’s the first clue.  Jay lied repeatedly throughout this case, and at the end of the interview, Ann said “Oh Jay, why can’t you just get your story straight?”  This is someone we’re supposed to believe?  I was also appalled when Ann stated that Sarah Koenig has Hae’s pager records.  Where is she getting this information from?  Nobody has Hae’s pager records. I never heard Sarah or anyone else say this.  Just lies.

I believe that Bob won the debate and did a fantastic job of disproving pretty much everything Ann said.  Good job, Bob.