Editor's Note: This transcript was automatically transcribed, so mistakes are inevitable. You can contribute by proofreading the transcript or highlighting the mistakes. Sign up to be amongst the first contributors.
You know, that feeling you get when you're walking to your car alone at night, the one that reminds you to carry your keys between your fingers so you can punch any creeps? It's that unexpected shiver and then the lump in the pit of your stomach and suddenly you're walking like 10 percent faster. It's funny that we only get that worried feeling at night, because if you look at today's crimes, daytime can be just as dangerous. It's the top 10 daytime murders.
Today's criminals heard the slogan Sons Out, Guns Out and really took it the wrong way.
And the only thing more shocking than the level of confidence or carelessness of these people is that some of them have never been caught. Hailu Weirdo's, welcome to the podcast Original Crime Countdown.
I'm Ash, and I'm. Every week we'll highlight 10 fascinating stories of history's most engaging and unsettling crimes, all picked by the podcast Research Gods.
This episode, we're counting down the top ten shocking daytime murders. So have you ever seen something completely bonkers go down in the middle of the daytime?
OK, yes, I have, you know, this story, but I'm going to tell everybody else, what is it? So this one day I was driving in Fall River and you're like, you know. Yeah, yeah. Near the Freetown's state forest, which is like super haunted and creepy on its own surahs. And I was driving behind this car and then the car passed and then another car passed, like this other car that was like way ahead.
And I was like, why is everybody passing this car? Like, what the heck? And then things started flying at me from this car. So I to pass the car and I just kind of like looked at the driver and I was like, oh my God, because her face was like drenched in blood. I forgot about bloody face. There was just blood dripping down this woman's face. And I actually it was really so scary that I called the police.
That was good, though, because I was like, what just happened to this lady? I feel like she shouldn't be driving smart. You saw something. You said something. I don't know what happened. I need to know what happened there. I know because for me, I feel like it solidified that, like, bad things also happened during the day. Yeah, I sure do.
I honestly feel just as unsafe during the day, mostly due to the fact that my skin can't handle even the tiniest amount of sun.
But in general, I also feel unsafe because I'm a true crime broadcaster and I think my head is just constantly on a swivel at all times. And I'm just assuming the worst about every stranger. Yeah, you taught me to be that way, too, did you? Definitely did. While you might be listening to this episode in broad daylight, but get ready because it's about to get dark.
But I'm I'm hilarious as always. Ilina has five unsettling accounts of daytime murders and so do I, but neither of us knows which one the other will have. Let's start the countdown.
Starting off, our list of shocking daytime murders at number 10 is Ken Rex McElroy. In 1981, McElroy was shot to death inside his parked truck in his small hometown of Skidmore, Missouri, despite there being an extraordinary amount of witnesses to the murder. The town remained quiet about what they saw. So that's just weird. It's like what's going on with Ken? What did you see and what you saw?
So, Ken, Rex McElroy was a violent bully who terrorized the town for years.
Oh. So that's why they're like, I didn't see anything I really like. Nope, didn't see a thing. What are you talking about? What murder? He was constantly arrested, but never convicted of any of his crimes.
So I'm assuming he kind of pissed a lot of people off. Sounds like it. He was finally convicted of second degree assault after shooting a grocery store employee and he got a two year sentence, like in the grocery store, I'm assuming. No.
How else would you know that there? I don't know. But the judge without protest from the prosecutor released McElroy on bond pending appeal.
Why, though, and I'm assuming this did not make people happy. Probably not. McElroy was then shot to death while sitting in his truck with dozens of witnesses who weren't willing to say anything about who pulled the trigger. They were like, I didn't see anything, saw nothing. Thank you, though. Did you hear a bird tweet? That's all I got. That's what I heard exactly.
The prosecutor said they did have one name who they believe may have shot MacAvoy, but that person is dead.
Oh, it's too little too late. Went to the grave carrying that secret. To this day, no one has ever been charged or brought to trial. And most likely no one's ever going to because the town is like, OK, I'm sorry, Ken.
Who? Nine. At number nine is the murder of Texas A&M student Charles Sessoms in nineteen twenty six, a riot broke out during halftime at a college football game in Waco, Texas. It was between rivals Baylor University and Texas A&M, resulting in the death of Sessoms. His killer was never identified. The incident went down when the rival students moved on to the field and the attacker hit Sessoms with a wooden chair. That is the weirdest murder ever, right?
So weird. Also, why were you all so mad in the middle of halftime? Yeah, it's like, did you get the wooden chair at a football game? OK, I was going to ask that and I was like, it's not a dumb question. I don't know a lot about football, but I don't know why I wouldn't cheer. Was on the field. Bring your own chair. I don't know. Well, according to historian T.G. Webb, Sessoms did fight back, but the attacker eventually hit him on the side of his head and that killed him.
So he just beat him to death with this, wouldn't chair with a wooden chair. It's like, why are you so hyped at a football game anyway? Yeah. Webb also claims that there was some, like, unofficial cover up as to who the killer was because high ranking officials in Waco didn't want to ruin his future. Oh, we've heard that before. It's like, well, he's a murderer, so I don't really care about his future.
He doesn't have a fear. He threw it away himself. He did when he threw that chair. Right. Webb thinks that the attacker probably intended to hurt Sessoms, obviously, but didn't mean to kill him. So that's why, like, officials didn't really push for any charges at all.
Well, maybe stop beating them with a wooden chair. If you're not trying to kill him, then that won't lead to murder. Well, and it's like that still is assault anyways and it's still murder no matter which way you slice it. Still bad, stupid. Well, the worst part about this case is that there's no evidence of a police investigation into the killing at all. And documents at Texas A&M and the Pinkerton National Detective Agency had the only clues.
And now the whole story is basically a myth or like a legend at Texas A&M.
Let's solve it for real. I want to solve it.
Eight, number eight on our countdown of top ten shocking daytime murders is Marlene Warren, who in 1990 was shot and killed by someone wearing a clown costume while holding balloons and flowers. OK, add that to my list of fears. That's a big fear. I think of everybody. I don't like clowns. Everybody raise their hand. This case remained unsolved until a new break came when the updated DNA testing capabilities which led to the arrest of Sheila King Warren in twenty seventeen.
OK, Sheila was arrested in her home after FBI found a hair in the Chrysler LeBaron getaway car linked to the murder. We love a forensic file and we got to know why, why? Why were you dressed up as a clown? What was happening to you? Just trying to add some, like, drama, I need to know, but make a dramatic. Well, it turns out. Are you ready for the tea? Probably not.
But yes, Marlene's husband, Michael Warren, was having an affair with Sheila Keane, whom he later married when he married her after the woman just to the clown business.
What I'm saying, Michael Warren denied any involvement in the murder because of course it does. But it turns out Sheila was the killer in the clown outfit. Oh, my God. Plot twist of the century. This is like the Long Island Lolita, but worse. But in a clown outfit. Right? It's awful. Investigators also found a picture of Sheila as a clown on Halloween, years after the murder, posing in the restaurant she owned with Michael at the time.
So it's like she was like it was like a little joke. She's like John Wayne Gacy. She's horrific. Prosecutors are re-evaluating whether to seek the death penalty for Sheila.
So are you in trouble? Wow.
Seven. At number seven this week is the murder of Grammy nominated rapper Nipsey Hussle in March twenty nineteen. Nipsy was fatally shot around 3:00 in the afternoon just outside his own clothing store on Slosson Avenue in Los Angeles. Nipsy was pronounced dead from gunshot wounds to his head and his torso. Well, I know there were two other unidentified man shot in the attack, but they survived, which is kind of crazy, huh? Yeah, one of them completely refused treatment and the other one was taken to a hospital and treated.
Isn't it weird that it's like, no, I'm good. No, I'm I'm just going to walk it off. Yeah.
A description of the shooter was put out and Eric Holder was taken into custody as a suspect when somebody recognized him from the description. That's Eric. Police reported that Holder was seen on Sunday afternoon walking up to Hustle and the other men and firing shots at them in the parking lot of Nipsy own store. Why? Well, I'm going to tell you.
I need to know. Tell me now. Well, so the prosecutors in the case argued that Nipsy and Holder had talked about snitching shortly before the shooting and that was most likely the motive. Oh, that's no good. I know. It's definitely not. We don't love that.
Six. Also on our list at number six is Philip Barton key, the second, Philip, is the son of Francis Scott Key, who wrote our national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner. In eighteen fifty nine, Philip was shot to death in the streets of Washington, D.C. by a man he believed to be a friend, US Congressman Daniel Sickels, who shot Key after learning about the DIA's affair with Sickels, his wife. You have a lot of affairs on your list.
I'm very scandalous. I don't know if you know this. I guess I did it. I don't know if you know this about me. So on February twenty fourth, eighteen fifty nine, the congressman was slipped a note at a dinner party that revealed his wife Teresa was cheating on him with Bill Barton key the second.
So that quickly turned into not so great of a party, which is like passing notes at a dinner party. I can't go do with it what you will fly the capitals quote.
Polite society took notice when Philip and Theresa were together at events, but the congressman was totally oblivious. So he had no idea.
Someone was just like, Hey bro, you better open your eyes a little wider right under your nose.
Philip would hang. This is so scandalous. Slash romantic slash extra. Oh, Philip would hang a string out of the window on Fifteenth Street as a signal to Theresa and leave the door unlocked.
Wait, so it was so it's like leaving a rubber band on the door to be like someone's in here.
Wow. It was like yeah that is scandalous. So romantic. I'm saying Congressman Sickels demanded that his wife confess both verbally and in writing, which I would have been annoyed by. I'd be like, OK, I'll tell you. But I'm not writing anything, not writing anything. You're going to make me do that. He then witnessed Philip walking along Madison Place, signaling for Theresa why Philip extended his hand, thinking their encounter would be friendly.
But the congressman reached for his derringer and fired three shots at him. I mean, I'm upset that murder happened. It's a lot. But that's a law. It's a scandal. It is a big scandal.
So how do you feel about the countdown so far, this is just making me feel even more paranoid about being out in the sunlight and like having friends, apparently having anybody that I could spend, especially in this one.
I know having a husband seems to be a really bad idea. It does. Hi there, it's Ash and. And we want to tell you about podcast's newest series, Medical Murders.
It exposes a dark and disturbing diagnosis that not every doctor wants to extend your life.
Every Wednesday, medical murders introduces you to the worst to the medical community has to offer men and women who took an oath to save lives, but instead use their expertise to develop more sinister specialties.
Join host Alistair Martin as he examines the formative years and motives of history's most infamous killers, dissecting their medical backgrounds with expert analysis and professional insight provided by practicing M.D. Dr. David Keiffer, you'll investigate a wide range of Hanus health care workers like the general practitioner believed to be the most prolific serial killer in modern history, or the dentist who led a double life as a hit man, or even the doctor and gang member who mixed deadly potions for unhappy housewives to use on their husbands.
When it comes to these true crime stories, the only thing the doctor ordered is murder. Follow medical murders free on Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. Five. All right, let's jump back in with number five on the countdown of shocking daytime murders starting off. The second half of our list is the nineteen sixty six Texas Tower shooting on an August morning in nineteen sixty six, a former Marine named Charles Whitman climbed to the twenty eighth floor of a tower on the University of Texas at the Austin campus and began shooting at the crowd, killing 11, including an unborn baby and wounding 30 one more.
This case is so gnarly. This one is really sad. Before this horrible day, there were cries for help. Months earlier, Whitman had told a psychiatrist that he had uncontrollable fits of anger, and he also told a doctor that he was thinking of going up to the tower with a rifle and shooting people. So he literally told somebody that he was going to do this. And the doctor was like, that's fine. The doctor just didn't follow up on the red flag at all.
That's not even a red flag. That's just a confession of a desire to commit mass murder before it even happened. Like here. This is what I plan to do. You kind of failed to follow up on that. Yeah. Hours before the shooting, Charles Whitman had killed his own mother and his wife. Why? They always killed the mom and the wife. I know the first person shot on campus was Clare Wilson James. She was a pregnant incoming freshman and she survived, but her unborn baby and her boyfriend, Tom Eckmann, were killed.
Oh, that's just a nightmare. Isn't that the saddest thing about to start your freshman year and you're like in love starting a family and that happens.
And now you have to live with that. Exactly. The nightmare lasted for ninety six minutes. That's a long time. Ninety six. What is that, like an hour and a half and then some.
That's that's a long time. It was also like super hot and hazy that day. So it made everything worse. And it added to the confusion during the shooting because people just didn't understand what was happening. Yeah, it's just bullets raining from the sky, essentially. Right. The total death count was 16, including his wife and mother who were killed in their homes, three individuals, as Whitman made his way to the observation deck and 11 shot by his sniper rifles.
And a seventeenth victim actually died in 2001 from injuries sustained from the attack. Whoa. Right. That's crazy.
Whitman was eventually shot to death by police. All right. So it's like it's also this is bananas. Classes were only canceled for a day for cleanup purposes and then business just resumed as usual. OK, like, don't process don't process this huge trauma process. The trauma, it didn't allow anybody any grievance or, like we said, any time to deal with the trauma that they just went through.
Yeah, that doesn't create problems later on. And then you can't get an absence in your class or you're back at this horrible place the next day. That's terrible. Like two days later. But still, Austin didn't want to be seen the way that Dallas was after the Kennedy assassination. And people kind of credit that is the reason that the incident really went like largely unrecognized for the last 50 years. It's true because that's one of those cases that I've known about it forever.
But when you mention it, people like who, right?
You're like, how does somebody know that that was a huge deal?
Seriously. For. Landing at number four this week is one of the Zodiac's victims, Cecilia Shepherd, during an early evening in September. Nineteen sixty nine, while still daylight, Cecilia and Bryan Hartnell were brutally stabbed by the Zodiac Killer as they relaxed by Lake Baraza. Cecilia later died from her injuries, but Brian survived.
This is like one of the saddest souls to really sad ones in a row.
Yeah, so what might have saved Brian Hartnell was lying still and not really fighting, just kind of going compliant a little bit. After six stabs, he might have appeared dead to Zodiac so that it kind of just stopped.
I stabbed him six times. He stopped fighting. So I'm just going to move on. Cecilia started screaming while Brian was being stabbed, and then Zodiac went after her and stabbed her 10 times.
My God, I can't even imagine because you're sitting there watching him being stabbed and you're thinking that she probably thought he was dead. Yeah, absolutely. The Zodiac called the police after the murder to claim responsibility and reported the location of Cecilia and Brian's bodies, which that's like a BTK move. I hate the Zodiac so much. That's where BTK got that for sure. Definitely. The phone the Zodiac used to call the police was left off the hook just to be creepy.
That is really creepy.
And then you just see it like just swinging in the distance exactly what I think. Right. And you hear like somebody going hello in a tumbleweed goes by.
Yeah. Always a tumbleweed because science was not as advanced as today.
Detectives could really do little to track the killer at this point. Brian, though, was able to give a description of the killer and he said exactly what had happened. So that's also you have a witness.
He said he tried to keep a conversation going at first with the Zodiac, who claimed he had just escaped from a prison and just needed money in their car. But that was a lie. He lied like a liar.
And across the killer's chest was the now infamous and lame circle with a cross through it, the symbol of the Zodiac killer.
Can you imagine that he put on a fucking uniform? It's like, really? You made a shirt. Stupid. Come on.
Number three on our list of shocking daytime murders is Frieda Ward in January, eighteen ninety two, as she walked through Memphis, 17 year old Frita had her throat slashed by her 19 year old ex-girlfriend, Alice Mitchell, who had been jilted by Frieda after their families found out about the nature of their relationship. That's an overreaction. And you're just walking through the streets. Yikes. You're just going for a stroll. So Alison Freeda met at prep school and their relationship kind of became more than just friends.
They were lovers, lovers. So Alice came up with this plan where she would pass off as a man and they would be able to get married. And she even gave Frieda a ring. Oh, this is making me sad. I know it starts off as a very sweet love story. In February of eighteen ninety one, they even got engaged. Oh, no. That's so exciting. It is. And I'm really sad because I know how it ends.
I know. So Frida's family then moves to a different town, which is that's like the worst StarCrossed lovers star crossed lovers. There it is. But they did keep in touch and they wrote like love letters back and forth. Eventually, though, Frita sister figured them out and she forbade them from seeing each other. Her sister, the worst sister ever. I guess you can't tell me what to do. I feel like you suck away. Stop reading my mail.
No way. Frieda told Alice she intended to obey your sister and that's when Alice snapped. Oh yeah. Alice trial began on July 18th. Eighteen ninety two. And of course her defense entered a plea of insanity, which honestly you might as well roll the dice on that. Right. The trial revealed the public's reaction to homosexuality, which was outcry. It's like they thought the relationships between two upper class white woman was insane. Oh, of course.
On the witness stand, Alice described the murder without remorse at all. She and she said that she cut Frieda's throat because she couldn't have her. If I can't have you, nobody will. You know the old slogan, that old chestnut on July 30th, Alice Mitchell really was declared insane by the jury after only twenty minutes of deliberation and she was sent to an asylum. I don't think she was insane. I think she was just angry. I agree with you.
That last one was crazy, wasn't it? I can't believe this. We're already almost done. I know and I know who number two is, but I'm really excited to see what number one is. Well, I'm going to surprise you. Is it crazy? It's the number two is one that you're going to be like, oh, my God. Well, let's hear it as it's one that I was looking for the whole time. And then when I saw it in mine, I was like, good job.
Whoop. There it is. Good job. House research, God's.
To the runner up spot on our countdown of shocking daytime murders, number two this week is fashion designer Gianni Versace in Miami on the morning of July 15th. Nineteen ninety seven, Andrew Cunanan shot and killed Versace on the front steps of the Mogul? S Beach mansion. We literally just did an episode on this. And I remember this happening like I remember this being a huge thing. I don't because you are one, correct.
But I do remember the special, which was Worldone. I remember that one from last year.
Andrew Cunanan was a California native who once funded a luxurious lifestyle from his relationships with older, wealthier gay men in sex work. He was just doing his thing. Yeah, he was like, all right, Andrew. Right. When his access to money and the lifestyle he thought he deserved started drying up, that's when things started going south for him.
Because money problems always leads to Moyra. Yeah. And he was like, I'm used to getting this. I want it now. So I love that. He just thought he deserved this last course. He could get a job exactly.
Before heading to Miami and killing Versace. Cunnane and went on a killing spree. He murdered ex lovers and random strangers whose vehicles he stole. And I think a lot of people think that he was just joking.
But no, he killed a ton of other people for that.
The murders before Versace put him on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list. Cunanan is motive to kill Versace is still like nobody really knows. Right, since they didn't really know each other from what we can see. And although they may have briefly met at some point or known each other, but it wasn't like you could point to like, oh, there's the connection. Well, it was like he said that and he was like super duper unreliable. Like, think me.
He's like, I know of Gianni Versace.
We probably didn't. Andrew No.
So after the shooting, Cunanan was basically boxed into Miami Beach by police and FBI and then he just went into hiding.
And again, I remember this like vividly. It was like a manhunt. Police finally located the stolen truck that Cunanan drove into Miami along with his clothes, a fake passport and newspaper clippings detailing his murders. So he was one of those that like to do the little scrapbook. You just like to look at his stocks to look back on it. Didn't like look at that. That's gross. Really gross.
On July twenty third nineteen ninety seven, Cunanan s body was found in a luxury houseboat where he had been hiding. He shot himself. I just had like a flashback to those. Remember those E countdowns. Yes, I swear I saw this one. I was like way too young I'm sure, but I just had a little flashback to that.
I could see it. And that brings us to the number one spot on our countdown of the top ten shocking daytime murders, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It had to be it had to be in the early afternoon. On November 22nd, 1963, JFK was shot while riding in a presidential motorcade through Dallas, Texas, a national tragedy that has been the center of conspiracy theories for decades. I don't remember this one because I was not born yet.
No, not in 1990. Are you sure? Finally, one I wasn't born for. There you go. So Texas Governor John Connally was also shot, but he recovered. So the official story is that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone when he shot Kennedy at twelve thirty pm from a window of a nearby book depository. Do you think he acted with somebody else? I don't know. I know I put my tin foil hat on real quick. OK, well, the president's motorcade rushed him to Parkland Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 1:00 p.m. So not very long afterward.
No, not at all. Less than an hour after the shooting, Oswald shot and killed a policeman who tried to stop him because he was like, oh, you match the description of the guy they just said shot JFK. And he was like, oh, I'll just shoot you because I didn't do that. Except that, of course I didn't do that. Why would you say that? The president's body was placed on Air Force One before the plane took off.
Lyndon B. Johnson took the oath of office. And then on November 24th, Oswald was brought to the basement of the Dallas police headquarters on his way to a more secure county jail because they were like, we really got to lock you in tight, quote unquote. Secure. Yes, secure. Well, that didn't really work because as he came into the room, Jack Ruby emerged from the crowd and fatally wounded him with just a single shot from a concealed thirty eight revolver.
Why did he do that? Not a supercenter finds out. Well, Ruby had connections to organized crime as well as Dallas policemen. And there were rumors that he was trying to silence Oswald from a bigger plot reveal. That's exactly what he was trying to do. Weird to in the video of the JFK assassination is one of the scariest things you'll ever watch.
Well, and then like Jackie O. Just because Jackie, she wasn't just sitting there. She crawls onto the back of a car and gathers his skull off the back of the car. And then she put it together in that outfit. Like, how long? It's really insane. It's awful. It's so sad.
Watch. So horrible. Do you agree with all the rankings, you know what's crazy? I didn't even think of JFK. Really? Yeah, that is a shocking daytime murder.
It's so shocking and it honestly is the number one shock. I would say it had to be number one. I thought of one that was left off or give it to me, Brenda Spencer. Oh, I hate Mondays girl.
She lived across the street from a school and she shot into the schoolyard in the morning because she didn't like Mondays.
That was a spooky case. Spooky. That's a crazy one. It could have been on here somewhere. Yeah. Come on. Podcast. We got some. I thought you were going to get them. I did. And I was these all were really good. They really were. Other than what they were like, really good. Yeah.
And I knew that Charles Whitman was going to be on here because I immediately thought of him because it was a crazy one.
But it's one that's like kind of hidden in the annals of history. When I got that, I was like, oh yeah. Right. Oh, yeah. Oh, yes. Thanks for listening. We'll be back next week with another great episode. Remember to follow Crime Countdown on Spotify to get a brand new episode delivered. Every week you can find all episodes of Crime Countdown and all other precast originals for free on Spotify. Spotify has all your favorite music and podcasts all in one place.
They're making it easier to listen to whatever you want to hear for free on your phone, computer or smart speaker. And if you can't get enough of these creepy crimes, check out our After Crime Countdown podcast playlist on Spotify, where we've handpicked even more episodes about this week's stories that we think you'll enjoy.
And if you like this show, follow app podcast on Facebook and Instagram and app podcast network on Twitter.
And if you like us, follow Morbid on Instagram at Morbid Podcast and on Twitter at a morbid podcast. We hope you do. Bye bye.
Crime Countdown was created by Max Cutler and as a podcast studio's original, it is executive produced by Max Cutler.
Sound Design by Kevin MacAlpine, produced by Jon Cohen, Jonathan Rateliff and Kristen Acevedo. Crime Countdown starts Ash Kelly and Elena Urca. Killer nurses, deranged doctors, mad scientists, don't forget to check out the new forecast, original series, Medical Murders every Wednesday meet the worst the medical community has to offer men and women who took an oath to save lives, but instead use their expertise to develop more sinister specialties, follow medical murders free on Spotify or wherever you get your podcast.