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[00:00:01]

This is exactly right. On the murder squad, we discuss details of crimes that are often violent in nature. Listener discretion is advised. I'm Billy Jensen. I'm Paul Hols. This is the murder squad. Black transgender women are being murdered in America. It's been an issue in the LGBTQ community for decades, but this year over 20 gender people have been murdered so far, a number that is already dangerously close to the total for all of last year. And seven have been killed since June alone.

[00:00:53]

We're going to look at some of the problems the media causes when covering these cases, the way the communities feel, law enforcement handles the cases, and specifically at how one black transgender woman's murder sparked a day of remembrance, despite the fact that over 20 years later, her murder has never been caught. Our job to find Rita Hester's killer. This is the murder squad. So I was going. It's going all right, Paul. Just looking at some updates, we have another update out of Fort Hood when we updated the Vanesa in case we talked about the deaths occurring around and on Fort Hood, Texas.

[00:01:39]

And on July 17th, there was another 26 year old private major. Märta was found unresponsive near Stillhouse Hollow Lake. The lake is about 15 miles from Fort Hood. As of now, law enforcement has not declared the manner of death or whether this case is a homicide, but there is clearly something going on at Fort Hood that needs to be examined. And we are still getting so many responses from veterans and people that are still active in the military who have talked about how the military continually sweeps things under the rug.

[00:02:19]

And it's it's definitely something that we need to look at and keep on looking at and keep on taking it to, you know, when you have a cluster like what's going on out there that just is suspicious as hell that it needs to be dug into. Yeah, but for now, let's go to Boston.

[00:02:38]

Rita Hester was a black transgender woman, and by all accounts, she was bubbly, supportive and larger than life. She grew up in Hartford, Connecticut, and moved to Boston to find a community more accepting of herself. And she found that community in Boston. She was very much involved in the rock music scene in the area. She also performed with her long braided hair at Drake shows, preferring Whitney Houston songs on the morning of November twenty eight nineteen ninety eight.

[00:03:04]

Thirty four year old Rita had been with her best friend Brenda when the two played racquetball and had made plans to watch figure skating. The next day, Rita left Brenda's at noon. At four p.m., Rita called another friend to say she was going to the Silhouette Lounge to ask the friend to come along. The bar was just around the corner from her Park Avenue apartment in the Austin neighborhood. Rita had actually been there the previous night.

[00:03:31]

Yeah, I actually lived in this neighborhood five years earlier and Park Vale was one of those streets where the house parties would take place. So I remember it was twenty four Park Val, it was seventeen Redesdale. There were always these things that you knew that there were going to be parties there. So this neighborhood is very much a a lot of college kids that go to be you, especially around that time period. It was the rents were pretty cheap and it was a lot of people that were living.

[00:04:01]

You know, if you had a two bedroom apartment, you might have six people or seven people living in there. OK, well, what would you say was a high crime area or was it mostly just kids doing kids stuff, kids doing kid stuff, really not a high crime area? The police would certainly come pretty quick if there was a party that that people were being too loud at. But it was it was very much just sort of kids being kids.

[00:04:24]

Yeah, OK. All right. So the friend was supposed to meet up with Rita around 7:00 p.m. at her apartment. But forty eight minutes earlier and nine one one call was placed at six p.m., law enforcement received a call about a fight inside Rita's apartment. It took seven minutes for officers to be dispatched. And when they entered her apartment, Rita was still alive. She was on the floor and had been stabbed multiple times. Somehow, Rita managed to cling to life until the authorities arrived.

[00:04:53]

The offender had stabbed Rita 20 times in the chest and between the call at six, 12 to the time she reached Beth Israel Hospital, over an hour had gone by and Rita passed away at the hospital from cardiac arrest due to her injuries. When law enforcement looked at the scene, they saw no forced entry. And according to a neighbor, the back door was unlocked. Nothing was missing or stolen, and they had no real clue about who killed Rita.

[00:05:23]

So, Paul, taking a look at this crime scene. The first thing that we're looking at here are the stab wounds, 20 stab wounds to the chest. Yeah, without the photos to to be able to see the distribution of the stab wounds, the fact that she lived for as long as she did. And was stabbed 20 times in the chest, that tells me I don't have a tight cluster of 20 stab wounds right into the heart, but there's just no way she would have survived for as long as she did.

[00:05:54]

It almost sounds more like the stab wounds were potentially distributed throughout the chest. And oftentimes you see that when the victim is still struggling while the offender is stabbing and therefore she's moving relative to the stabs.

[00:06:09]

And so now you have a wider distribution of stab wounds. And it doesn't appear that those stab wounds ended up going after those immediately fatal areas or penetrated the immediately fatal area such as the heart. The aorta was probably more to the side as she's struggling with her offender.

[00:06:29]

Now, describe to us the difference between processing a scene with a live victim versus a dead body, right?

[00:06:40]

Well, this is where you run into a lot of complexities because obviously when she is found alive, the top priority is the life saving measures that need to take place. And so whether it be patrol officers or whether it be paramedics, they're now starting to make sure they do what they can in order to preserve her life. And they don't care anything about preserving the crime scene and nor should they preserving physical evidence. And oftentimes when you have somebody, let's say that their readers may have been laying, let's say, in the family room on the floor, they're now pushing furniture out of the way so they can have more space in order to be able to do life saving measures.

[00:07:28]

If there's a knife near Raita, that knife often is going to be picked up and moved out of the way. So the the the the life saving measures being taken early on in a crime scene like this can completely alter the crime scene and it also can destroy physical evidence. And that's just something that we run into all the time versus walking into a crime scene where there is an obvious dead body. Law enforcement is trained and advises paramedics if they just need that declaration of death, do not disturb anything.

[00:08:06]

You see obvious death, you verify death and you back out, you close the scene down.

[00:08:12]

And so there the the aspects of the crime scene are preserved, as well as the physical evidence. You get more to be able to use as you investigate the case.

[00:08:24]

And it could be something is as you talk about a knife, which would be the most blatant example, but even trying to get out the door, you know, you're going to touch the door handle. You're not going to be like, oh, wait, don't touch the door, handle that kind of thing. Right. And oftentimes and this is where know crime scene investigators, they absolutely. One of the first things they need to do when they arrive at the crime scene is find out what alterations have occurred to that scene, who found the body, what did they do?

[00:08:54]

What did law enforcement do when they entered the scene? What did the paramedics do? And they record that. And so those actions have to be taken into account. But you typically do see.

[00:09:04]

Evidence like shoe prints that will be trampled as people go in and out of the crime scene to be able to preserve the victim's life, fingerprints that were left behind by the offender that are now destroyed because somebody else has now grabbed that door handle, like you said.

[00:09:24]

Yeah, the amount of time it took to respond seven minutes is actually fairly decent.

[00:09:31]

But the hospital, I'm not quite sure why they chose Beth Israel instead of St. Elizabeth's, which is right down the street. They must have had some sort of reason for that because, Beth, Israel, 10 miles in the middle of Boston, traffic and the way those Boston roads are can be a real pain in the ass going from Boston to there. I'm not sure about that, though. Is it possible because I saw it in my jurisdiction, is that there where we would have a lot of gang related shootings on the West End, the hospital that was nearest wasn't anywhere near as capable to deal with the trauma as another hospital that was further away.

[00:10:10]

And we actually saw better survival, even though it took longer to get the victims to the other hospital because those docs knew what they were doing. Sure, sure. Yeah, no. Do you want to go to a trauma center? That's what they usually call it. We used to live when I grew up. It was interesting. I was a kid that used to bang my head all the time and get bloody stitches and things. And we used to go to NASA County Medical Center on Long Island, which was the trauma center.

[00:10:35]

Now, that was right next to the Nassau County jail. And literally, I remember like me being there with my head busted open waiting and a guy and like four prisoners are being walked with cops.

[00:10:47]

And one of the guys recognized my dad from the neighborhood and was just like, hey, I remember the guy's name was Strawbery. That was his nickname. And after a while, my dad was like, yeah, we're not going to that promise. If you just have a cut like that or something where you just need a few stitches, we're going to go to the hospital in Mineola. We're not going to go to that hospital. But you're right, though, and those trauma centers usually are the ones that have the helipad and have the, you know, that are suited for the big trauma.

[00:11:15]

Well, all that head trauma that you experience as a youth really explains a lot of things to me right now.

[00:11:20]

Billy, you know what I went from? There was a time in a period of three days I was back there twice and my dad was really worried, like Child Protective Services were going to take me away because I just I was just a clumsy kid. What can you do? What can you do anyway? So neighbors told Rita's family that they saw two white men leaving her apartment shortly before the nine one one call and at first made friends and family wonder about Rita's boyfriend.

[00:11:46]

The two had been seeing each other off and on for years, but her family and friends could only remember his first name, which is Bobby. He was a white guy with blond hair. Now, Brenda told NBC News that Bobby was Rita's, quote, main guy, but she was also seeing some other men. Rita never gave her best friend too many details about the relationship. Bobby didn't really go to places with Rita. And after her murder, nobody could find Bobby.

[00:12:14]

So obviously. You know, whenever we see a murder, you're going to go to the people that are closest to them, the idea that they were two men leaving is different. But, you know, the boyfriend is always going to be a somebody that you want to talk to, not necessarily a person of interest. Right. You initially have to start because that boyfriend most certainly has knowledge about Rita that could potentially lead to solving the case.

[00:12:42]

But you also have to evaluate the boyfriend as a potential person who was involved in her homicide. But there was another lead the night before Rita's murder.

[00:12:54]

She was with friends at the Silhouette Lounge where she was supposed to return the night she was killed on November 27th. The night before she was killed, Rita was hanging around two foreign men at the bar. One friend who didn't want to be named for safety reasons, said the men were Australian. But her best friend, Brenda, recalled that they were Brazilian wherever they were from. The friend, who didn't want to be named, said she got a bad vibe off of them, a vibe she conveyed to police through email and phone conversations with the Boston Police Department.

[00:13:27]

So let me tell you something about this, I've been in a silhouette lounge, I've been to the we're also going to talk about the Bottle Cafe, which we called the Model Cafe.

[00:13:37]

It's very this is not an area where tourists would go. This is not like we're in New York City. This isn't even really like her in around Faneuil Hall in Boston.

[00:13:49]

You need a reason to go to Allston, especially back in nineteen ninety eight. It wasn't like in your travel guide to go, hey, go. And this was an EP also when, you know, sort of cool neighborhood dive bars were a thing back then, they weren't. So for somebody to be there, Boston did have I will say this, having gone to Boston University, there was a very large international population. There was a lot of people that went there from other from other countries.

[00:14:18]

They very well could have had. And this is this is very important that I want people to to think about. They could have had friends coming in and staying with them and that sort of thing. But it's not really the kind of place that somebody would there weren't really even that many hotels around there. You know, it's not really someplace there's no Airbnb back then. It's not someplace that is that that a somebody would just ramble into there was a reason why somebody would be there.

[00:14:42]

And it was because they knew somebody from the neighborhood. So so some some sort of local connection. Absolutely. OK.

[00:14:53]

Rita has also gotten into an altercation a few weeks before her murder, before taking a trip to Greece. She had gone out to the model cafe. Is that model or model?

[00:15:02]

We I think it's supposed to be model, but we would call it the model as if we were like, you call Target Tajai.

[00:15:09]

OK, seriously, how do you want me to say it? Then they say model, model. OK, don't have to be a hipster. This is pretty hipster thing before, very hipster.

[00:15:19]

But yeah, I got it.

[00:15:21]

Before taking a trip to Greece, she had gone out to the model cafe that night. She punched someone in the face. All of her friends agreed it was something Rita would have done to protect her friend. Yeah, and Rita, if by all accounts and I've read so much about Rita, especially having been when I went back to be the the editor of the alternative newspaper there in Boston and looked into this case, by all accounts, to you, she was just such a cool person and.

[00:15:54]

You know, this is one of those things where it looks like she was she was protecting a friend and this happened, but, you know, the amount of by looking at it the way that the police were put to you this way, let's start with her.

[00:16:16]

And when I got to Boston in two thousand five, I was very excited to be working at a newspaper in a large city and I was running a newspaper, a large city. I was like, all right, I have all these new cases. I just come from Long Island. I had worked a bunch of Long Island unsolved murder cases. Now I'm here in Boston. Let me look at these unsolved murder cases in Boston. And I start looking at them.

[00:16:42]

And I looked at like the Korina Homer case and and Molly Bish, which is a little bit outside of Boston. And then I certainly saw Ritas case. And what I kept on seeing over and over again was that the police department was not very good. And as I started opening up, peeling back the layers of the onion, I saw how the police department wasn't only not clearing their murders, they were arresting people and then then being sued because because they were getting the wrong arrest, they were getting the wrong convictions and arresting the wrong people.

[00:17:20]

So I actually had worked on a story with with one of our writers and we called it and put it on the on the cover. It was called the worst homicide squad in America because it was them versus San Francisco in terms of who had some of the worst clearance rates. But they also had this added thing of how many millions of dollars that they were that they were giving away because of their their wrongful arrests and wrongful prosecution.

[00:17:46]

So, you know, it was not a good situation to be in if you were a a murder victim in Boston at this time, even more so if you are a transgender woman.

[00:18:00]

Yeah. So in Rita's case, evaluating. The suspect pool. Most certainly, victimology is huge and understanding that Rita had multiple men in her life. It also appears that she had at least an altercation in one occasion, provide some investigative leads. But we also know that merely being transgender. Can cause somebody to become a victim, just merely being a transgender woman can cause somebody to be a victim. This is a hate crime and we know that there are individuals out there that will kill.

[00:18:45]

The Boston Police Department doesn't consider this a cold case, but it remains unsolved with very little movement. This case wasn't the first transgender murder in Boston. Reider in the community knew about another case from the area that was actually pretty recent. To that crime in Brookline, Massachusetts, twenty three year old Chanel had lost her job at NYNEX in the sales department due to transphobia. After weeks of harassment, 9X was at the YellowPages.

[00:19:15]

She was unable to find work and she turned to sex work, mostly out of a club called Playland. And there she met a man named William Palmer. The two met on November 19th, nineteen ninety five, and according to reports, Shanelle found Palmer somewhat appealing and they were going to hang out and it wasn't going to be a business transaction. They were just they were just going to hang out. The two first went through channels apartment to take drugs.

[00:19:40]

They took crack cocaine and then around three or three thirty a.m., they went to Palmer's apartment. Around 5:00 a.m., Palmer's roommates heard a struggle. An unknown voice was shouting supposedly religious phrases, and Palmer was trying to quiet that person down. The roommates continued to hear screams and pounding on the wall, one described the pounding to be so intense they thought the wall would break. Then the unknown voice was muffled. And it was quiet. The roommate knocked on the door to ask Palmer if he was all right and his response, while sort of blocking the view of the room, he said, quote, I've got a crazy bitch in here, but I've got it under control and quote.

[00:20:23]

Then the roommates tried to go back to sleep, now, four hours later, Palmer told his roommates that they had a problem. He called his lawyer who couldn't see him until that afternoon. It was only after that meeting that his attorney would call law enforcement to tell them they would find a dead body at his apartment. Police arrived and discovered Chanel murdered inside. She had been beaten and strangled. The coroner said she had bruised face and lips. The brain was badly swollen, the neck muscles were bruised and there was hemorrhaging in the eyes.

[00:20:52]

And while the evidence against Palmer was damning, his attorney argued trans panic, a bullshit defense, but one he was allowed to make. His attorney said it was the shock of finding out that Chanel was trans that drove him to kill. But this was a bullshit claim on top of another bullshit claim because the prosecution brought in six other transgender women to testify about their encounters with Palmer. Still, the LGBTQ community saw the writing on the wall. Rita Hester, our victim from the top of the episode, was quoted in a local newspaper saying, I'm afraid of what will happen if Palmer gets off lightly.

[00:21:29]

Ill just give people a message that it's OK to do this. This is a message we cannot afford to send.

[00:21:35]

And how chilling are those words? Because Palmer did get off lightly. His trial concluded with a two year prison sentence for assault and battery. Just two years, not murder, not manslaughter, two years for assault and battery.

[00:21:54]

What was what was the the argument there? I'm not getting that at all. There's a dead body in his apartment.

[00:22:03]

What do you know what they. Was it a defense, like a self-defense argument?

[00:22:09]

No, the defense was transphobia. The defense was he was shocked to find out that Chanel Pickett was a transgender woman. And because of that shock, he killed her and the jury. And the trial is in nineteen ninety seven. And the jury. Found that that was OK to kill someone. Wow, so this is obviously a hate crime, even his defense of trans panic is a hate crime, but he was able to use that because federally. The LGBTQ community was not protected and crimes against them were not considered part of were not considered hate crimes until two thousand nine.

[00:22:58]

Yeah, and the crazy thing is just think about that case with Palmer in which let's say he is in a room with a a woman and she ends up saying no because he makes sexual advances against her and then he goes off on her and kills her.

[00:23:20]

He would be prosecuted very differently than under this situation where he is now in a room and is arguing, I found out I was with transgender and that touched me off and that's why I killed that person. I don't see how you can justify treating those two victims differently than the way that they did in the Palmer case. Absolutely, yeah, and, you know, even in nineteen ninety seven. In. We're talking about Boston. It's it's considered one of this is a white perpetrator.

[00:24:03]

A black victim, it's considered Boston is definitely one of the more racially divided cities in the country and. Also, the way that that that the media was dealing with transgender women back then, even the the the LGBTQ newspaper, which is called Bay Windows, even they were were misidentified people. And it was it was what was happening at the time. And even even a paper like that, we're not just talking about like the Herald.

[00:24:41]

Yeah, I'm just having a hard time of being convicted of assault and battery when the the injuries obviously were lethal, even even in a moment of rage. You're still committing a murder, you know, there may not be malice aforethought, it may not be first degree, but there is still murder minimally. There's a manslaughter component here. So assault and battery, somebody dropped the ball on the prosecution side there. Absolutely.

[00:25:10]

So Chanel's case did not see justice served, but she wasn't even the most recent victim in the Boston area before Rita's murder.

[00:25:23]

Today's episode is sponsored by a new documentary podcast called Smoke Screen Fake Priest from Neon Hum Media Smoke Screen.

[00:25:31]

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[00:25:39]

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[00:25:59]

Only once did law enforcement officially charge him with crimes related to his church, but he managed to essentially win the case. He's now free and working on his next con. Host Alex Schoeman, a news reporter from the Midwest, has been chasing Father Ryan's story for years. The craziest part is that Alex also gets an exclusive sit down interview with Ryan himself, and in it he reveals a shocking secret.

[00:26:23]

Subscribe and follow fake priest. Now to find out the shocking secret to listen to the show, just search for smoke screen fake priest in Apple podcast, stitcher and wherever you listen. On September 11th, nineteen ninety eight, which was two months earlier, Monique Thomas's body was discovered in her apartment. She was next to her bed under a pile of clothing. Her hands and feet were bound with an electrical cord and she had been confiscated. There was a large kitchen knife on the bed and law enforcement found fingerprints and DNA from a bloodstain on Monique's bed.

[00:27:00]

Inside the apartment, items were missing, including three rings that Monique regularly wore along with her credit cards, and her car was not at her residence. Paul, you're looking at this scene now. You walk into a crime scene where a victim, hands and feet are tied. She's been strangled. There's a knife there and you also have blood, but you also have a lot of things missing. So what are you looking at now? Are you looking at both the personal and robbery?

[00:27:37]

Are you hearing more towards robbery? Where are you going with this?

[00:27:41]

You know, with what was done to her?

[00:27:45]

Her hands and feet were bound, asphyxiated. Looks sounds like she was stabbed. That's that's the cause of death, though. We don't have any information as to the number of stab wounds, et cetera. You know, it appears that the offender is interacting with her and is expressing emotions towards whatever is in his mind about her. Now, she does have some minor items missing, three rings, which I start questioning. The three rings that she regularly wore.

[00:28:17]

Are those souvenirs? Do we have a fantasy motivated killer? But the fact that credit cards are also taken tends to indicate that there's a monetary component to this.

[00:28:26]

So. The the theft aspect may be secondary with what I'm reading into what the offender did to to her, sounds like that was more his interest, more his goal, and that secondarily, he took advantage of her now being dead by grabbing a few of the rings and a few of the credit cards. Now, with law enforcement noting the stolen items, they put out an alert for Monique's belongings. Two weeks later, a man was seen driving Monique's car in Manchester, New Hampshire.

[00:29:00]

The man, George Stallings, had the keys to Monique's car in her apartment. He was arrested when they dug deeper into Starling's. They discovered he had been using Monique's credit cards and bank account. A friend of Starling's came forward and said he'd confessed to strangling a person and leaving them under a pile of clothes. Then his DNA and fingerprints came back as a match to those at the crime scene. Unlike William Palmer, George Stallings didn't go to trial.

[00:29:27]

On June six, 2000, Stallings pleaded guilty to Monique's murder. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. At his latest parole hearing in September twenty eighteen, he claimed he had only meant to rob Monique and he wasn't granted parole.

[00:29:46]

But you're looking at these two cases.

[00:29:51]

Which which, you know, we've got Chanel. We've got Monique, why are these cases different? I we were looking, trying to find a picture of Stallings, his inmate look up, has no photo or no race or ethnicity listed, but we do know that Palmer was white. So we know that a a white guy killed a black transgender woman and murdered her and got two years.

[00:30:21]

And Stallings, we're not sure if he was black or white, but he's got life in prison with the possibility of parole. Yeah, you know, and you hope that the justice system isn't so black and white, so to speak, but unfortunately we've seen examples where things like this happen.

[00:30:46]

Well, and I have a question. What do we think that part of it may have been? Because they could prove that he had used her bank accounts and credit card statements.

[00:30:55]

So it was then, even though it seems to be in this is a very personal murder, they were able to say that it was during the commission of a crime because of the robbery.

[00:31:04]

And that's why maybe a robbery under special circumstances kind of thing. Yeah, it's still so I mean, that's that's a I mean, possibly, but that's really, really reaching for me. I mean, you have a dead woman in your apartment.

[00:31:23]

No, I know what I mean. But it's just like.

[00:31:26]

Yeah, it's just the I mean, I don't want I don't want I don't want to get into a a racist judge's mindset, if that's what it is. I mean. Yeah.

[00:31:36]

And that it look like Stallings actually pleaded guilty. So he's he's being advised by his attorney, you know, they've got a good case against you in Chanel's case.

[00:31:49]

This this went this was a jury conviction, right? Yes, yeah. The jury in Chanel's case had to be given the option to find to find a verdict on assault and battery. So. There may be part of the difference there is now what was presented in front of the jury to substantiate the charges of of murder or of manslaughter versus assault battery. It almost it almost sounds like that jury was given the option to find guilty to assault and battery and to acquit on murder and or manslaughter.

[00:32:34]

The media often miss gender's or dead names, transgender victims, even to find details on Monique's case, a solved case, we had to use a different name for Monique in our searches.

[00:32:46]

In Rita's case, when her death was first reported, she was listed as John Doe and the media still referred to her as him, even though her family called her Rita. Unfortunately, this hasn't completely changed oftentimes, especially if the victim's identity is unknown, the report lists the person by their anatomy and it may not be the way the community or even their families know them. And this is not only hugely offensive and wrong, but it really hampers investigations.

[00:33:16]

And that's one of the reasons why Ogg's, like the Transito Task Force, are such an important resource. It was created to research cold cases in which the subject may have been transgender or gender variant. And it has an interactive map showing Tranz dough's from around the country giving information about each case. These issues are one of the reasons Gwendolyn Smith became invested in Rita Hester's case, it inspired her to first start a website Remembering Our Dead. The project allowed the LGBTQ community to report on those from their community with the respect and dignity they deserve and are entitled to.

[00:33:55]

A year after Rita Hester's death, Smith founded the Transgender Day of Remembrance in honor of Rita. It's held on November 20th of each year, both the growing number of cases this year alone, we couldn't wait until November 20th. On June 9th, Rhia Milton was shot several times and Liberty Falls, Ohio.

[00:34:14]

In June, the day before the remains of Dominique Remi Pheles were found in Philadelphia. Both cases saw the respect of law enforcement's missed gender and did name them.

[00:34:26]

Now, these two cases occurred under different circumstances where I was murdered during a robbery and two people have been arrested. Dumex remains were located floating in the water at Martyrdoms Garden and Community Boathouse. She had been stabbed multiple times and her legs were severed. The suspected murderer is named acting atin Jones. The police have an arrest warrant for him, but do not believe he's in the city of Philadelphia. And as of this recording, he's not been located. Law enforcement is asking for the public's help in locating him and information on Dominic's murder.

[00:35:01]

And we will have information about him up on our website. On June 30th, twenty two year old Mersea Mack was shot in the parking lot of an apartment building in Dallas. No suspect has been identified. There is also 17 year old Braila Stone from North Little Rock, Arkansas. Bradley's body was discovered inside a vehicle on a walking path in Sherwood, Arkansas, on June. Twenty fifth. Law enforcement has released a cause of death, but they do consider it a homicide.

[00:35:29]

Yeah, and with Braila Stone's case. A person that. A person posted something online claiming that he killed her and there is a some people tox screen captures of a deleted video and it showed a pile of hundred dollar bills and it said five K in red text. And in the comments, the poster then said zipped him for five K and that it was money well spent. We're not sure if that was related to it or not, but they're definitely looking into that, almost as if that person is indicating that they either hired somebody for five K to kill Braila or they themselves earned five K to kill Braila.

[00:36:18]

Yeah, if they said if they said five K well spent, it sounds like they were the ones that spent the money, but it was someone called the the name was Tappan's season and when and they kind of laid out all of these hundred dollar bills and twenty dollar bills and said five K with a little like kind of a smiley face emoji with, with, with jazz hands kind of thing, which is, you know, whenever you see something like that, you've got to check it out, you've got to check it out.

[00:36:56]

I mean, most certainly could be just somebody who's wanting to get some attention and has no association with the case whatsoever. Or it could be the actual killer on July 1st.

[00:37:06]

Thirty two year old Shaki Peters was slain in Amite City, Louisiana, on July 3rd. Twenty seven year old DeBrie Black was found shot. And Pompano Beach, Florida. There isn't much to go on in the media for either case, although law enforcement has said they have a person of interest for Shakey's case. There is another case out of Louisiana, but it hasn't been ruled a homicide. Over the July 4th weekend, the body of Dreya McCarty was discovered in Baton Rouge.

[00:37:35]

Law enforcement has released no details on the case after the death of Dreya and Shaky, the organization Louisiana Transit advocates stated that local and state leaders must speak out against these killings, against the ongoing systemic devaluation of trans people that pervades our media and politics, and against the institutional racism that places almost all of this burden on trans women of color as we mourn the loss of Shaki Andrea. We must double down our efforts to ensure that all trans people across the state have access to safety.

[00:38:08]

That makes seven black transgender murders in less than a month in America. Think about that seven. Which brings us to our weekly assignment. We need to find Acte attend Jones, we need to find the killer, Barry Black and Marcy Mack, and while we're looking at them, too, I know that local newsrooms are hurting with layoffs, but we need to bug them. There was very little that we could find out about these cases, we need to get loud.

[00:38:42]

Ask your local newsrooms, your local newspapers, the local television stations, ask them on social media why they aren't digging deeper into these cases.

[00:38:52]

And we also want you to visit the Transdev task force. Citizen detectives have had some of the best results identifying cases. We want you to see if you could find some of their identities. And from the case at the top of the show, we need to find Rita Hesters killer, nearly twenty two years is too long to wait for justice. Transgender Remembrance Day was created in her memory. Just think of the impact it would have in the press if a suspect could be identified.

[00:39:22]

So as far for the rules now, these are cases with Ritas case, there's going to be a lot of digging for back then, if anybody remembers.

[00:39:32]

I think some of the the best leads obviously are this this sort of on again, off again boyfriend that she had, as well as these two men that she might have met at the silhouette that people got bad vibes out of. And there was also two white men that were seen leaving the apartment, may have been Australian, may have been Brazilian, anything along those lines. So anybody that was living or knew people in Austin from that from that time period, anybody that remembers and that was the thing with Austin, you know, people would just show up at parties, hey, this is my friend.

[00:40:03]

He's from Australia. OK, OK. Is that sort of thing.

[00:40:05]

It's that kind of digging that's going to take it, what with these these more recent cases, finding the killer, Barry Black, finding the killer of Mercy Mac, there is going to be we know a lot of citizen detectives are going to be digging into social media profile, is going to be digging into check ins at different bars. Again, we will say please don't name names in public. Send them to us. We will forward them to authorities.

[00:40:31]

We will stay on it. Don't dock's each other be nice to each other. And that gets us to the weekly distraction.

[00:40:41]

Paul, I am finally having my sort of last. Taco Bell potatoes meal is going to be coming up a little soon, I'm going to order everything that is being that is being discontinued and going to have a very solid meal. But I'm going to let you go first, though, in terms of the distraction this week.

[00:41:07]

OK, you know, I my distraction, it's been a hell of a day, actually, Kyra.

[00:41:16]

As you know, my my yellow lab is just getting out of emergency surgery.

[00:41:22]

Cora, who doesn't seem to pay any attention to the typical wildlife that we have around here, such as deer and bunny rabbits, decided to go chase down a bear and the bear turned on her and attacked her and she was injured.

[00:41:42]

But she is going she's going to be OK. No, OK.

[00:41:47]

So she's got some stitches to her forehead. She had a claw that kind of ripped her skin on her side and then she was bit on the tail. And the vet is saying the bite to the tail of everything that she had done to her was the most serious because the bite went down to the bone. But she should be OK, you know, but this is this is Cora Yetto is.

[00:42:10]

And I think in Cora's mind, she's she's the protector. And it's very possible the bear had some cubs that was protecting. And you can't fault the bear. But, of course, you know, concerned about Cora at this moment in time.

[00:42:28]

And she obviously is going to have to be controlled better to prevent her from running after beasts that can kill her.

[00:42:36]

Cheese. I'm so sorry. Did she did you see her running after?

[00:42:42]

I wasn't I wasn't with her. My wife took her hiking in an open space, kind of a known trail area, and there was some rustling and initially core was under control and then she just darted and tunnel vision. And then the next time she was seen, she was literally in a fight with this bear.

[00:43:04]

Your wife was OK. The bear didn't come near her. No. Everybody there was three women that were out hiking and they all start screaming and running away. And then Cora and another dog end up following her, you know, so she was able to actually walk out out of the canyon, you know. And, you know, I might have a photo of her injury on her side, you know, and the vet, of course, was concerned that a possibly punctured into her thoracic cavity, you know, maybe into a lung.

[00:43:35]

But it appears that it's more superficial and that the skin is just kind of torn, torn and hanging.

[00:43:41]

But, you know, this just underscores, you know, Colorado, the wildlife is real here. And you have to be head on a swivel at all times.

[00:43:53]

You know that, actually. So I've been I've been going back and forth between my place and L.A. and that and Phoenix where Luna is. And I think this could definitely be my distraction because I've been playing I'm in Phoenix right now. I've been playing with Luna a lot.

[00:44:08]

And she does this this thing that we have, this sort of giant chair that we call the cuddle chair and it's got three pillows on it and it looks like something from the nineteen seventies, like a like a UFO type of thing.

[00:44:21]

And we used to tell her she's not allowed us, she can stay on the other couches. That's not that couch because it's like it's fabric and things.

[00:44:29]

But I've noticed every day when I wake up a pillow is moved. Now there's no hair on the couch at all. I'm doing a little a little investigating.

[00:44:41]

There's no hair on the couch, but a pillow is moved and there's a little bit of slobber on the corner end of the pillow and it's moved to the to the middle of the couch, OK?

[00:44:50]

And then I put it back and then the next day rolls around, go to sleep, wake up. It's back again. It's to the middle of it. And I think this is what she does. And this has happened six days straight. And I think this is what she does. She just goes by and then just moves it just to mess with me the up just to talk you. Yeah.

[00:45:09]

So it's Aluna. It's messy. It's definitely Loda.

[00:45:14]

Oh, you think it's my son. It could be my son, but I don't think so. Now you're going to. I will investigate. That's a good you know what?

[00:45:20]

I will have to do a DNA test on the saliva the same time, you know, to mess with me.

[00:45:31]

My son would do that as well. OK, everyone, thank you so much for listening. We'd really like to get to the bottom of these cases and we're really going to be continue to dig deeper into them. Please subscribe. Please leave us a review that. Would be lovely. And buy some merch if you're not going out to your bars yet, spend some money on some merch, that would be fun and follow us on Social at Paul Hols, at Paul Dirtballs, at Billy Jensen on Instagram and Twitter.

[00:46:06]

Now, now, Billy, I know you've been in the social media realm for a long time, and you're the one that I blame for getting me into social media, because you're the one that convinced me right after that first crime call. And I was at to open up a Twitter account. I'm now, you know, experiencing social media and it's in its fullest. And it appears that I have an individual or individuals that are deciding to impersonate me on Instagram by opening up fake accounts and scraping off photos that they can find of me online and then starting to contact people in part to see if they can scam them out of money.

[00:46:48]

And I did learn about this. I've reported it to Instagram. I've also reported it to some other entities that I won't name right now. But I just want everybody to be aware that that is going on. It is not me. My account on Instagram is at Paul Hols.

[00:47:11]

So, yes, you know, it's it's it's the it's the world of social media. Yes. So one of our listeners contacted me and said and sent me a screenshot and the person, whoever was impersonating you asked her for a favor. She said, what's your favor? And he said he wanted a prepaid card. And she said, oh, no, the real Paul wouldn't ask that. And then he said, OK. And then he said, yes, I wouldn't ask of it if it wasn't if I wasn't in need of it.

[00:47:45]

And then she said, go ask the guy you do your pod with. So I so I need to be asking Billy for some money. Exactly. So whatever. Yes. Whatever you are in need, we will open up the cash box for that.

[00:48:00]

I just thought that was a very funny response. Yeah. The deep pockets over there, Billy. And until then, keep digging and don't be an already. Jensen and holds the murder squad is produced by Exactly Right Media and Bench Clearing Productions senior producer Paul Kotowski, engineer Steven Rae Morris, music Tom Bribable executive producers. Karen Kilgariff, Georgia. Howard Stark. Danielle Cramer.