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[00:00:01]

Blood on the Tracks is a new podcast about legendary music producer Phil Spector in the murder of Lana Clarkson. This podcast is hosted by me, Jake Brenin, creator and host of the award winning music and true crime podcast Disgrace Graceland. Season one features 10 episodes told from the perspective of those who knew Phil Spector best, his so-called friends. Just like Phil Spector. This podcast sounds like nothing you've heard before. Blood on the Tracks contains adult content and explicit language.

[00:00:29]

Listen to Blood on the Tracks and the I Heart Radio Apple podcast or wherever you get your podcasts. Hi, I'm Heidi Murkoff, host of What to Expect, a new podcast from My Heart Radio when I first wrote What to Expect When You're Expecting. My mission was simple to help parents know what to expect every step of the way on what to expect will answer your biggest pregnancy and parenting questions about everything from preconception planning to birth plan. Newborns sleep to toddler tantrums.

[00:01:03]

Motherhood is the ultimate sisterhood, but it can be overwhelming if you don't know what to expect. Listen to what to expect on the I Heart radio app, Apple podcast or wherever you get your podcasts. Previously on Happy Face, today, I find out if my worst fears and insecurities are true, if I'm capable of being like my dad, you would never do what your father's done and you could never be what he is. I would like to tell my story, the writer of the letter begins, the exclamation point is all his stories, the labored printing and the odd mixture of capital and lowercase letters.

[00:01:50]

No, no hurt people. But I'm scared of you, Blank. You're not like him because of that. Our universe has a plan for each and every one of us. I wish I could see that and I will. I want to help you feel you got to let me the letter as a happy face at the top of the first page, two tiny circles for an upturn sliver of a moon from now. Have a nice day.

[00:02:17]

Dr. James Fallon is a neuroscientist at the University of California. So here you are. And here's the normal and it turns out you're just completely normal.

[00:02:30]

That's amazing. That's amazing. Yeah. Where the sun don't shine, I wish. The whole night through. You told me once that being the daughter of a serial killer isn't something you grow out of, it's something you grow into because you just can't run it. You can't everybody dies one day when he dies. Those memories will still be there. I don't think about the future with my dad in it. I live my life by my own desires and my own attachments.

[00:03:29]

And I could get everything I want except for getting things. As Arthur Golden writes in Memoirs of a Geisha, after all, when a stone is dropped into a pond, the water continues quivering even after the stone has sunk to the bottom.

[00:03:54]

I'm Lauren Pacheco and this is Happy Face. While having the brain scan last week removes certain doubts from Melissa, the healing is still a process, even simple things like a happy memory of her dad and the smell of house paint as he painted the walls of her childhood home are tainted by his crimes. I remember when we took possession of the house, my dad painting the walls white, and it came to my mind. It came to my mind. This weekend, I, I bought a fixer upper in Ohio, and when I entered the fixer upper, I thought this needs gallery whitewalls.

[00:04:52]

I just see it's beautiful arches. I saw white the walls need to be white, so I started painting the walls white and for hours as I was painting, I saw my dad and the smell of the fresh paint and my dad's care and painting the walls white in this farmhouse is one of those good memories, you know, of my dad taking care of a property.

[00:05:16]

And he's the one who taught me or instilled in me this love for real estate and his love for fixing up properties. And and that's something that I've had to reconcile because a lot of things that I love are rooted back to my dad. Now, every time Melissa looks at white paint, those good memories are overridden by what she learned that Keith used paint to cover over the splattered blood after killing Tanya Bennett. And that's not the first thing that happened, but all my birthday was just a couple of weeks ago and my boyfriend bought me a road bike and I grew up with my dad cycling and he bought me the cycling shoes.

[00:06:04]

And the first thing that went into my mind was Tony Bennett and my dad saying I would wear my cycling shoes. So when I leave a small print and. And I it's so hard because I love these things. Everything I love. I'm troubled, I've tried a run I kicked. I'll never I'll never put those shoes on those cycling shoes and not think of Tawnia, I'll never be able to. I want to. But Melissa, you didn't kill Tanya Burnett.

[00:06:51]

I know.

[00:06:53]

Maybe it's a question of going back to those memories and just trying to take the good from them. You cannot take responsibility for your father's actions.

[00:07:13]

For Keith's family, shaking off guilt isn't easy. Here's Melissa's mother, Rose, talking about it as well. Everybody assumes you are guilty by association just because you knew them, because I was his wife. I knew everything that he did. I knew he murdered those women I knew. And I had no clue. He had a second wife. Over the years, accusations have come in that Melissa wants attention for her father's crimes, people attack her on social media or flood the comment sections on Web sites.

[00:07:51]

Even her own father has accused her of trying to profit off of his murders in his letters to her.

[00:07:57]

But the truth is, Melissa's whole career has been a way to atone for her father's sins. And that's true of her whole family. One of her siblings is a nurse. Another has enlisted to protect the country. Her mother spends her days trying to resettle families in desperate situations. And Melissa, of course, is working to speak out for victims and give them a voice. What's interesting is that as much as the family has tried to distance themselves from Keith's horrific crimes, Keith is also constantly reminding the public that they are his own.

[00:08:32]

It's important to him. No one else takes credit for them. Here's reporter Phil Stafford talking about it. Have you written to my father since our conversation?

[00:08:43]

No, I haven't been in touch with him for years. I've done a number of things since then. But, you know, to say the least, we're dealing with a split personality here, someone driven by some pretty serious unconscious compulsion.

[00:08:58]

So that's one side of it. And the other side of it was every once in a while, this monster from the unconscious would break through.

[00:09:07]

At one point, Keith was allegedly offered the opportunity to give false testimony against Phil in exchange for favorable treatment in prison. And to his credit, driven by some strange moral code, he refused. There's also the chance that someone who's mentally unusual was obviously he was might also have been interested in just playing more games and keeping people in the air. He did confess to murders that he didn't commit. So he was playing fast and loose with the truth at some point trying to get more attention, which I think is one of the deeper reasons behind some of these killings, just getting attention, getting recognition as some sort of person that he felt had been denied him all his life.

[00:09:57]

When you met Jasperson, you had read those letters. So was there that moment of authenticity that you knew he was the author and what did that feel like? Because I can imagine that those letters were terrifying to read.

[00:10:13]

I knew from my own research that he had to be the guy. I mean, there were times when I was talking with him, when he was talking to me about what he had done. I had those skin crawling moments, that's for sure, when he talked about killing one of the truckstop whores in the cab of his truck and he watched it from 20 feet above. That's when I realized that this is a very strange person. And regardless of everything Melissa has undertaken and tried to prove that a very strange person will always be her father.

[00:10:52]

Well, how I even started my whole beginning was when my daughter asked me a question, she got off the school bus, she was learning about genealogy in the family tree, and there were being basic, of course, the family tree is going up to your grandparents. So she filled out her dad's side, you know, say, I'm sorry, Nana, Papa. And then on my side, grandma rose me. And then you realize there's a missing grandfather here.

[00:11:22]

She said, you know, Mom, everybody has a daddy. Where's your daddy? And I wasn't expecting that she was six a kindergarten. It just took me back. I thought, how am I going to answer this for her? And so I said, yes, I have a daddy who lives in Salem. And I laughed at that. And I gave her the name to put just the first name to put in. I don't want the last name from there.

[00:11:45]

I went to the libraries. I went everywhere just scouring for information about how do I reconcile this for myself so that I can tell my child this in a way that she can understand without terrifying her. And I didn't want to be public because at this point I had nobody knew I had a business. Nobody knew who my father was. We had bought our house.

[00:12:12]

Our first home daughter was happy and well adjusted in kindergarten. None of my friends knew. My church groups didn't know. But I kept thinking about my daughter's question. What do you want your children to take away from your journey of finding out that I'm not a psychopath liberated me to as a parent because my son was scared and I think my son was asking a very complex question. We asked, like, is it a choice or is it something that you are?

[00:12:51]

He wants to know more about his grandfather. My dad and I had to keep telling him, you're nothing like him. You're nothing like him. As both Leroy and Don Findlay made a huge impact on the Happy Face team and he stayed in contact with both Melissa and me, is it Don or the Leroy?

[00:13:35]

Well, you know what? After talking to you, I started telling people my real name. Really?

[00:13:42]

Yes, ma'am. Why did you start doing that? Someone pointed out to me that, well, if Leroy's really healed, why don't you just start introducing people who don't know you as who you are? Because I'm back to where I was before it happened and I saw myself changing. I felt it in my energy. People who were there, like, something's different about you. So this whole thing was like because of meeting Melissa amazingly lifted off my shoulders because she answered the questions that I needed answered.

[00:14:21]

And God, the universe has rewarded me in so many ways. He's like, I put you through hell, you have come out smelling like carnations. Now it's time for you to be rewarded.

[00:14:37]

So I've turned it into a whole different person, but at the same time, I'm still same spirit and soul.

[00:14:43]

So it sounds like you went back to your former name, but you've gotten a new life.

[00:14:48]

Yes, ma'am. And it would seem that Don had left a huge impression on Melissa as well. You're in my thoughts last night, actually, when I went to this floating restaurant on the water and I thought, oh, the last time I was here was a puffins with Don. And I remember the whole experience and how intense that felt leading up to that moment. I was terrified, absolutely terrified to meet up with you because I didn't know I didn't know what you would think of me.

[00:15:23]

And I've already dealt with so many people having preconceived notions of me and criticizing me. And I'm not saying this to feel sorry for myself, but I had enough already on my plate. I didn't need you know, I know what you mean.

[00:15:38]

On some level, Don, I think Melissa's biggest fear was that 20 years ago when she read your words in the newspaper. Yeah. She knew that you were speaking the truth. She knew that you saw through everything. And the narrative that she'd been fed by her father all those years was not the truth. So her fear in facing you was that you would look in her face and you would see the face of her father and that you would blame her for his horrible crimes.

[00:16:12]

And I fully understand that because. People, like I said, don't know how to take me and everybody in society always prejudges everybody and assumes that they know about everybody, but they don't know about themselves. And now Melissa learned that none of it's true. Everybody has assumptions. Everybody's going to come up with their own ideas, but it's only us as individuals that we can do for ourselves.

[00:16:38]

I'm trying to word this the right way, but we all know I'm the stoner yogi, so they understand it's cool. If they don't. That's their problem, Melissa, because they're not the ones having to live in our body or walk our shoes.

[00:17:02]

As we set out to make this series, we wanted to give Melissa the tools and opportunity to understand and confront her dad, the man she hadn't seen in so many years, but still had such control over her and her life choices.

[00:17:18]

What Melissa ultimately got, though, was actually much better a release from Keith's manipulation and the confidence to create her own narrative.

[00:17:28]

In the end, it was Melissa's choice not to confront Keith.

[00:17:32]

She knew she didn't need to see him or read his letters or let him invade her life anymore. And that realization set her free on so many levels.

[00:17:44]

And it was a direct result of her meeting with Don on trying to find words of what the experience was. I think that I have found that meeting to be a sacred meeting and I felt like it was a crossroads moment in my life, that was a gift.

[00:18:07]

I thought you would blame me and see my father and me. And I said I wanted to go to this doctor to find out if I am right, biologically hard wired to be like my dad. And you said, well, your brain may be, but your your heart isn't.

[00:18:22]

I said you may have his blood, but you don't have his heart, mind or soul because you wouldn't do what you do for others. So when you told me that you were going to go to the doctors and get that checked out, I believe I told you that you're not. And I never got the answer to see if I was correct or wrong.

[00:18:49]

Well, you are correct. My brain is perfectly normal and not hard wired to be a psychopath. And what gave me the courage to go do that was actually your statement to me after that, though, I mean, it is like history just erased. Like there is this pressure that I always felt walking around this world feeling like I have to prove myself. That's a lot of energy to take into every encounter. And it's unconscious at this point. It's been decades.

[00:19:21]

So it's just well left this void like this open space. And I felt it all of a sudden these wonderful things in the world just started to pour into that space. And yes, yes. I didn't know I was going to meet you this summer. I didn't know that the universe had this in store for me and I didn't know that I was worthy of this gift.

[00:19:47]

You don't have to say no more. I am so happy. I really am. I'm not scared of my dad anymore. The lies that he's told me, I believe them. And I allowed him to shape me and put me in this place, this box. And I was terrified of him because everybody believed his narrative always. And so I couldn't outrun even his lies. And now he could say whatever he wanted to say and. I would be fine.

[00:20:23]

During that conversation, Melissa brought up the fact that my dad, my father had taken very seriously ill, she expressed her sentiments and almost envy that he had the benefit of being surrounded by his loving, proud family during this painful time and the sharp contrast to her own reality.

[00:20:47]

You know, Lauren, sitting across from me and her dad right now is in the hospital or in care. And Lauren and I have had quite an opposite of upbringing and the love that she has for her father and the care that she has for her father and that he has for her makes it so that she's right now currently in the most intense grief and pain. And that her father, surrounded by beautiful daughters, a beautiful family that loves him and my dad will never get that because he didn't deserve that.

[00:21:27]

He didn't create the life that her dad created. And that's what I know. You know what, I bet you there's going to come a day where my dad passes away, I won't even know it. I won't even know my dad died because all these years will have passed and I didn't say a word to him and he never said a word to me, to be honest, I initially cringed and immediately felt protective of my privacy. Then my dad died the next day.

[00:22:02]

Now that I've had the time to reflect, I realize Melissa was also grieving with me and for her father, Keith didn't just murder eight women.

[00:22:14]

He killed the man Melissa thought she knew and the father she dearly loved. Melissa's dad died when she was 15, and she's still grieving that loss.

[00:22:26]

In that moment of mentioning my dad, she clearly expressed empathy and remorse, confirming she's truly the antithesis of a psychopath. But from Melissa's mom, Rose, even her life with Keith was filled with the sort of grief she struggled to articulate and understand, you know, an intimate partner.

[00:22:50]

You hold each other and cuddle each other. It's like, OK, I'm like, go watch TV.

[00:22:57]

It was it was robotic, yeah, or did you feel used? No, I just because I mean, I never had man, I don't know why.

[00:23:07]

It's like a friend. Yeah. How women are. I thought that was the norm. The norm. You must have been so lonely. I was extremely lonely. Matter of fact, I would go to church and I knew my life was out of balance, but I just couldn't figure out why it was out of balance. But then I used to have a neighbor when we lived in Zillah and there was a little old couple and sometimes they would sit out in the patio and play cards and they had their little lights on, you know.

[00:23:38]

And I sit there and I listen to their conversation because they are so close. And I just thought that's what a relationship should be like, that you enjoy each other when you're even that old.

[00:23:50]

And they'd laugh and they would just crack up jokes between them.

[00:23:54]

And I thought, that's what it is. That's what I you know, that's what it's supposed to be like. Melissa and Don were initially linked by Keith, but they're both determined to transcend his effects on their lives.

[00:24:23]

Our guest now is to pass on the words of survival. And that when you do make it through the tough times that are put in front of you that are out of your control, if you handle them in the right way, you will be rewarded. Whether you believe in God, the universe, aliens, birds, Egyptian cats, you will be rewarded. And we are proof of that because both of us have lived in deep, dark places. I just you know, for me, it really is humbling to watch.

[00:25:04]

It is the triumph of good over evil, ultimately.

[00:25:08]

I mean, I really hope we can help not just each other grow further in our lives and stay connected, but to help other people. And I did tell you, you will love and you will care, so I said those words, but I didn't believe them. One hundred percent, I had to tell myself that stuff for years to get through it. And when I met Melissa, all those words were proven right. Does any of that make sense?

[00:25:41]

Absolutely, absolutely. The most telling change in dawn was evident when confronted with the idea of being face to face with Keith present day. If I met him in person. I would hope. That my power and my strength would hold me back and I would say. You lose me and your daughter win, but in honestly action at this very moment. My anger side still would want to put him in some kind of other pain, but not kill him.

[00:26:20]

You know, I'm not trying to be mean or angry, but my good side would say we win. You lose. I think that part is stronger than my angry part, so I wouldn't do that, is what I feel in my heart. You know, I'll be honest, I really haven't even thought about, you know, I used to think about the guy and so forth. He ain't even in the back of my mind anymore, like he's not living rent free in your brain anymore.

[00:26:53]

He's not controlling your thoughts. And that's all part of, I think, your acceptance of yourself and going back to Don and letting Leroy go. Right.

[00:27:05]

That's a great metaphor. I don't know how I didn't come up with it, but, yeah, I am able to be more free than I've ever been.

[00:27:15]

Now. What Melissa ultimately regained through the journey through DAUn, through everything, was to regain control of her own story without Keith.

[00:27:34]

At points you thought that you needed answers from your dad, how do you feel now?

[00:27:42]

Yeah, I thought that I could ask my dad really honest questions and that he would give really honest answers.

[00:27:49]

But through this journey, I found that he doesn't tell honest. He tells his own narrative, and that changes depending on what he wants from you, and even if I was to meet with him, he would spin me a tale.

[00:28:08]

I don't need any more of his narrative. That's control. So has this journey given you the narrative back?

[00:28:19]

Yeah, it's giving me the freedom to tell my own story to myself, like who I really am, who I intuitively thought I was like this identity is really about our self beliefs and we operate our lives by the beliefs we carry about who we are.

[00:28:34]

And for so many years, I operate in my life with the story I told myself, which is I'm the daughter of a serial killer, therefore I am bad.

[00:28:46]

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. I am part of that tree. And now that's no longer my story. I'm Melissa Moore, a mother. A woman, and that's what I am.

[00:29:04]

There's no tag line like I don't want to carry a serial killer, like I don't it's just Northmoor, just like your Lauren, you have a banner behind you.

[00:29:17]

You know, that's that's liberating.

[00:29:21]

You know, it's liberating as sensational and at times surreal as Melissa's story has been.

[00:29:31]

There's something very universal about her journey. It's really about the triumph of the human spirit over fear, shame and ultimately grief.

[00:29:42]

In the end, it's about hope, the hope that good can triumph over evil or at least lessen its sting. Oh, hey, can it be another way to punish me, a thousand lights, light years, five dark years wander slowly by my broken voice. It calls to me. Reveals what? No, I'll never meet. I'll drift in words. Well, to see way out until I'm history. Oh.

[00:30:35]

Oh, oh, oh. Happy faces, a production of HowStuffWorks executive producers are Melissa Moore, Lauren Bright, Pachuco Mangoush ticket, her and Will Peerson, supervising producer as Noel Brown, music by Clare Campbell, Paige Campbell and hope for a golden summer story. Ed is married on audio editing by Chandler Mays and Noel Brown, assistant editor is Taylor Coyne. Special thanks to Phil Stanford, the publishers of The Oregonian newspaper and the Carlyle family who.

[00:31:11]

Baby, love my baby, love. Hi, I'm Heidi Murkoff, host of What to Expect, a new podcast from My Heart Radio. When I first wrote What to Expect When You're Expecting I was pregnant with my daughter Emma, and my mission was simple to help parents know what to expect every step of the way. That mission has grown a lot, but it hasn't changed. Fast forward now, Amasa Mom. Hey, guys. We're teaming up to answer your biggest pregnancy and parenting questions from breastfeeding to sleep.

[00:31:46]

Good tackling tantrum. Motherhood is the ultimate sisterhood, but it can be overwhelming if you don't know what to expect. Listen to what to expect on the I Heart radio app, Apple podcast or wherever you get your podcast. Šamaš are you ready, Mom? I was born ready.