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  1. All Episodes Talk: Crime And Punishment

    Yeah, I wish they'd gone into more detail here. It seems to me like they originally offered Jessie a deal because they needed one of them to testify against the other. I have to think that the potential fallout from that earlier decision by the court to throw out the military PD's questioning of Jessie made them think the trial against the boyfriend was going to be tough. I know it was reversed on appeal, but maybe the new prosecutor thought it might come up and weaken his case to the jury. It seemed like without that interview, they wouldn't have known to question the boyfriend in Colorado so quickly. Speaking of which...hey neighbor couple, next time you go to the police to tell them about some crazy drug scheme? Maybe mention that the widow has been living with another man the last few months while her husband has been away! Just a thought... Ha! That was my favorite part. "Oh, we're just friends. Sometimes he sleeps on the couch." But you bought a car together?? Yeah, I do that with my casual friends all the time!
  2. The Last Defense: Season One Talk

    Oh, totally agree with you! That black car thing was so silly for two reasons: 1) a car you don't recognize in the neighborhood could be there for approximately 5,000 different reasons and 2) they said the Rowlett PD "didn't follow up on it", as far as they could tell. Were they supposed to investigate every dark-colored car in the state of Texas or something? With a name like "The Last Defense", it doesn't surprise me that they're trying to cast doubt on the conviction, but you raise a good point that they're ignoring (or at least not highlighting) all the other evidence presented at trial that they couldn't find a way to refute.
  3. The Last Defense: Season One Talk

    I thought this was a pretty good "TV show investigates a cold case" kind of thing, but I do think it falls into some of the pitfalls that come with Monday morning quarterbacking an old trial like this. Presenting all theories with the same weight is what really got me in the last Darlie episode. When you don't have the firsthand account of the investigators to balance out all these other tangential sources (some who may have been at the trial, but others who just happen to be psychologists with zero connection to Darlie), it starts to feel skewed towards a skeptical perspective. That's easy to do in this case because we just don't have a ton of information to go off of. Did somebody chloroform Darlie while he killed her sons? Sure, it's possible in that the laws of physics allow for it...but realistically what are the chances that that happened with zero evidence to suggest it? Did some random attacker break in to the Routier home with no weapons even though he intended to kill whomever he found there? It's possible, but that's so exceedingly rare that you have to ask yourself if it's likely. Did some cross-contamination deposit the screen material on the knife in the kitchen, or did one of the parents do it? If this were a standardized test, I'd take choice D -- not enough information to solve. There are always going to be pieces that don't quite fit in any crime investigation. If you think she's guilty, the the sock is that thing you have to throw out. If you think she's innocent, then most of the evidence presented at trial has to be explained by investigator error. Neither way of looking at it is "wrong"; just different ways of interpreting what's being presented. By the same token, saying that there are pieces that don't fit on its own isn't really enough to say that anything went wrong here. The jury heard these forensic experts at trial, and they heard about the sock, and for them it was enough to convict. Sure, you can say they were totally against her for whatever reason, but I'm not willing to condemn them and say they didn't set that aside when coming up with a verdict. I really do think she deserves a new trial, only because the birthday party video strikes me as completely immaterial to whether she was guilty of a crime that happened 8 days prior. Good, solid show, though. I'm looking forward to the next case they tackle.
  4. Yeah, I agree that the state made some missteps, but I could also see how the decision not to DNA test could have been made. Without any sign of an intruder or anything missing from the house, why would they have thought somebody else's DNA would be present? And would 2001 DNA testing have been sensitive enough to pick up anything other than blood the attacker would have had to have shed? Yes, it's too bad we don't have those results now and that the evidence wasn't well-preserved enough to test it now. I'm just saying I think the decision could have been made out of something other than incompetence or malice. But even with DNA results, I don't think we're ever going to know any more than we already do about what happened that night. My personal theory is that Kathleen confronted narcissist Michael Peterson about something (could have been something on his computer, could have been any number of things with this guy), he decides he'll "show her" and does something to precipitate her injuries and eventual death. But of course I can't prove any of that, aside from my observance that everything Michael Peterson seems to do/say is glib and insincere from the 911 call on through 13 hours of documentary footage. I agree with the general discussion on the podcast: The Staircase didn't need 3 more episodes of this except, I guess, to come full circle and complete the story. I just really didn't need to see any more of Michael Peterson's "woe is me" interviews, or really to hear any more of anybody from that family talking about how gosh-darn unfair the justice system is to them as affluent white folks.
  5. S19.E01: Sam & Brad K. 2018.06.05

    Oof, that was a tough watch, but I'm so glad they both got clean and were building new, healthy patterns of supporting each other in sobriety. There's a lot of family baggage there for both of them, and I was so glad the family members listened to Jeff Double-V when he told them to take off so they could let cooler heads prevail. I can't even imagine how Brad must have felt to have his family fall apart in his teens. I hope he's been able to start working through that and come up with some good strategies for dealing with those emotions. I was really touched by his interaction with his sister, both when she confided in him about her health and then with his going to visit her in the hospital after her procedure. Sometimes in the edited down shows we miss out on the bits of humanity that find their way through the addiction. Kind of a good reminder that there really is a good person underneath all the chemical dependency/lying/stealing, etc. that Intervention shows.
  6. Yeah, I can understand that point of view, but I don't think they just stopped there and didn't move the ball forward after that. I don't have firsthand knowledge, but I'm going to guess they continue to research and refine their findings to the present day. This is an area of expertise that has had many contributors over the years beyond those two guys. And believe me, if I never hear any more from John Douglas the rest of my life, I would be perfectly happy :) But it's not just a theory that you can look at somebody's behavior and make some other determinations about them. Take websites that collect personal data to target advertisements. Companies spend a bunch of money on this data because they can build a profile of a person's interest and buying habits based on what that person clicks on. Sure, those ads don't always appeal to that user, but sometimes they get pretty close. Not perfect, but still worth the money to the company who's trying to get you to buy whatever they're selling. I'm certainly not trying to argue that they're always dead-on or that they never need refinement midstream (I'm pretty sure somebody runs out of a room saying "the profile wasn't quite right!!" at about minute 47 of many episodes of Criminal Minds!). But I also do think they have the potential to provide some value to a criminal investigation, which is why dismissing them altogether as an investigative tool isn't something I'm willing to do.
  7. I know I'm biased because I have an interest in psychology, but I'm not so quick to dismiss the value of profiling. Yes, they usually include broad statements, so they're not going to lead you to, say, this group of 20 possible people over here. But they still might help you put together how a crime took place or where the perpetrator might hang out, etc. that would be better than just saying "well, hell, this guy could be anywhere!!" In some cases, maybe all you have is who the victim is and how that person was killed. Starting from there, I think a profile could start to generate some potential areas for investigation. I mean, point taken that they're not exactly dead-on or based on any hard science, but I think they're a better tool than, say, polygraphs or bite mark analysis. I think dismissing them out of hand as useless might be a mistake. I mean, just because we now know how faulty eyewitness testimony can be doesn't mean the police should stop interviewing people who witnessed a crime.
  8. S31.E42: Murder On Red River

    Yes! Just because two events happen the same night doesn't mean there's any relation. I was actually cheering on that Boston guy whenever he was interacting with the folks down in Texas. I get that the local team (and the filmmaker) are very dedicated and really want to solve the case, but they are making some pretty big leaps there. First, they say that the mud on her body is only found at the bottom of the river at two locations. That information is based on what some fishermen told them (not like, say, a scientist). So they're already assuming that she entered the water at the place with mud on the bottom and that the fishermen are right about the entirety of the Red River. From there, they assume that a fire that happened 200 yards from the river is related, despite having found zero evidence that she was even there after an extensive investigation. Somebody really need to throw some water on that theory real quick. Again, understandable that they let their minds go there, but there's really not any proof that any of this happened. And this is all assuming she was murdered in the first place. She was broke, back at home, didn't seem to have a plan for her life worked out. I'm not saying she wasn't killed, but I could see a defense team introducing reasonable doubt by suggesting it could have been an accident or suicide. There's just not enough evidence here to ever convict anybody, let alone lead them to a killer at this point. I mean, they showed that sad little wheely cart of like 4 boxes and 2 binders as everything they have to start with. It's really too bad, but getting the family's hopes up isn't helping them heal. And that brother-in-law who wants to create one of those 5-part ID specials on this? To me, that doesn't feel like something that will either a) draw out a confession from somebody who's gotten away with this for 15 years or b) honor the memory of a cherished family member.
  9. Oh man, that's so awesome that the segment has been found. Maybe this news will trigger a new wave of residual checks headed your way! And Dan, thank you so much for saving us from the early Unsolved Mysteries episodes where the "actual family members and police officials have participated in recreating the events." Let's leave the acting to the professionals!
  10. Great discussion on the podcast as usual. It made me super-excited for the Netflix debut of Evil Genius, and I promised myself I wouldn't binge it all on Friday. But then two episodes became three, and then I definitely watched the fourth one over breakfast on Saturday! It really did seem kind of anticlimactic to me once all the pieces started coming together because they kept showing all the pictures and connecting them with lines. Big high point towards the end, though, with the reveal from Wells' friend and her role in the series of events. On the whole, I enjoyed going for the journey discovering all the players and their roles. But you know, we're dealing with a large gang of lying lairs who lie, so it almost seemed naive that the filmmakers weren't more skeptical of all the stories that were flying around. Marjorie is clearly very smart, but also clearly a few sandwiches short of a picnic! I'm not saying she's definitely lying, but what incentive does she have to tell the truth during recitation number 200 of "the facts"? Yes, they confront her a little bit towards the end, but I felt like they propelled the story forward on the wings of whatever she had chosen to reveal leading up to that. I prefer when a documentary (or documentary series) allows the viewer to draw conclusions or critically evaluate what's presented along with the program. Here, the film presents such a strong case for how they think it definitely went down that it's hard to argue with it. That's it's right, of course, but I wouldn't have minded some more questioning or critical examination of the evidence (particularly because one of the filmmakers is making the choice to insert himself into the proceedings). I'd still say it's worth a watch, but I'm more tempted to go on a Google frenzy now to try and fill in the blanks.
  11. I grew up in this area (you can see the Peterson house from my grandparents' house), and the owl theory was never convincing to me. There can be owls in that part of Durham, but I can't construct the sequence of events that would lead to one fatally attacking somebody all while that person's spouse is like 50 feet away by the pool hearing nothing. Not that owl attacks never happen, but it seems rare enough to me that we'd see some other evidence around that would lead to that conclusion. That plus the Ratliff "accidental death", which I think does factor in, makes me lean towards Peterson's guilt. This was a guy who was happy to spend well beyond the family's means with no prospect of getting out of that debt any time soon, and I can see how he might be desperate enough to try anything to maintain life in that fancy house with the nice things. If you look at the e-mails he exchanges with the sex worker he wanted to hire, he spends a fair amount of time bragging about how smart he is and how wealthy he is. The appearance of superiority is very important to him. But I also think he didn't get a fair trial the first time around. All the malfeasance by the prosecution's experts was really a shame, and the fact that it was exposed may be the only positive thing to come out of this whole affair. In addition to that, it's interesting to go back and look at how forensics like blood spatter analysis was looked at as recently as 2001-2002. I mean, half of the "evidence" from that kind of thing comes from the theatrics of how it's displayed for the jury (Henry Lee coughing on the poster board, etc.). I don't think there's any way to get to the bottom of the exact events of that night at this point.
  12. S31.E33: Missing Marsha

    Heh, sounds like I'm squarely in the minority on this one, but I really didn't see what solid evidence there was against the husband. Or at the very least, I didn't see much evidence against him that would have held up for a jury to convict him. I was glad they decided to drop the charges and not go forward with the case. Marsha isn't exactly socially connected. It takes 6 weeks for anybody to even seem all that concerned that she's missing, and even then it's just because she hadn't made a hair appointment. So it's not like it's out of the realm of possibility that she might have decided to leave on her own. And the best evidence they have in the case file against her husband is some receipts for a drop cloth and some gorilla tape? For somebody who had a home repair business and probably saved that receipt for those 6 weeks so he could expense it? I'm not saying it's impossible that he did something horrible to Marsha, but aside from the one documented lie about the cell phone, there's not too much there really. So it's one of those frustrating cases where "I think there's a good chance you did it" isn't enough for the law to actually impose punishment.
  13. Very well-said! I find myself laughing the hardest at Jonathan's comments. Like in the fireman episode where the dance instructor says "And what would a waltz be without a twirl?" (or something), and Jonathan just immediately says "Not any world I want to live in!" HA! But behind the one-liners, I think there's a lot of caring and good feelings under there. There was one episode where he was working with a father and his daughters on making some homemade exfoliating scrub, and he seemed to recognize that the value for the guy was just spending time with his children. Using his prescribed "specialty" of beauty care to accomplish something more meaningful for the guy is a really nice way to build a bridge between him and somebody who's quite a bit different from him. And that's what I really appreciate about this new Fab 5. They don't have to have the client walk away from this experience with all of this new knowledge, but they're making connections and drawing people out. The makeover stuff is the tool, but the self-confidence and new perspective are the real changes that will make a difference for these guys.
  14. All Episodes Talk: Crime And Punishment

    I think (if I'm remembering correctly) they said that he was just supposed to find some information taped to that utility pole. I don't think he thought he was going to a meeting with anybody and was then surprised when he saw McDavid crouching in the bushes with his bicycle light. I mean, still dumb to go out there, but he may have felt safer if he thought that he'd just be grabbing a packet of information.