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Hey, Prime members. You can binge eight new episodes of the Mr. Ballon podcast one month early and all episodes ad-free on Amazon Music. Download the Amazon Music app today. On an early June morning in 2012, a successful luxury car salesman slept soundly in his bed inside of his high-rise apartment. The man was a heavy sleeper, so he didn't wake up when somebody walked into his bedroom, walked across the floor, and stood right next to him, just staring down at him while he slept. Almost two days later, the police actually went inside of this sleeping man's apartment, and they would eventually make their way to his bedroom. And when they went inside, they would make a horrifying discovery. But before we get into that story, if you're a fan of the Strange, dark, and mysterious delivered in story format, then you've come to the right podcast because that's all we do, and we upload twice a week, once on Monday and once on Thursday. So if that's of interest to you, please sneak in to the Follow Buttons house and swap out their 70-inch plasma, beautiful 4K HD flat-screen TV with a terrible old 13-inch black and white block TV.


Okay, let's get into today's story.


I'm Ellis Murray.


And in our podcast, Everything to Play For. We take a proper look at the greatest sports stories of all time.


We're talking the juiciest rivalries, the bravest underdogs, the biggest comebacks. We are chucking a bit of context into the mix.


And real deep dive like bottom of the ocean.


Oh, yes. Do you want to do a PhD in Wayne Rooney? Then listen to this podcast.


We are taking those big stories of the names that you know, like Andy Murray and Wayne Rooney and Mo Farah and Arsene and Alex Ferguson.


But hopefully, even if you think you know the stories, Everything to Play For will tell you stuff that you didn't know. Yes.


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I'm Afwa Hush. I'm Peter Frankerpern. In our podcast, Legacy, we explore the lives of some of the biggest characters in history. This season, we're going to be exploring the life of Margaret Thatcher. The first female leader of Britain. Her 11-year premiership completely overhauled British society. The political legacy of Thatcherism is both pervasive but also controversial. So who was the woman behind the policies? Wow, what a titan of modern British history, Peter. It's intimidating, actually. We spent days, days recording this one. Just to cut it down, there is so much that happens over the course of Margaret Thatcher's life that we've had to think really hard about what we can include. And this is, of all the characters as we've done so far, the one who's had most personal impact on my conscious, waking, real-time life. I mean, I lived through her. I was born under her. I'm a Thatcher baby. That's going to be set to dance music. So follow Legacy Now from wherever you get your podcasts. Or binge entire seasons early and ad-free on WNDYRI Plus.


On Monday, June fourth, 2012, 34-year-old Eric Samoa stood between two brand new Jaguar cars on the showroom floor of a luxury car dealership in Bethesda, Maryland. Eric was talking to a potential new car buyer. Eric was this dealerships top salesperson, sometimes pulling in between $10,000 and $20,000 in commission checks every month. Eric was very handsome. He wore a well-fitted black suit and a red tie, and he was tall with a shaved head, brown eyes, and a goatee. Eric smiled at his potential customer, told him a joke, and then put his hand on the guy's shoulder like they were old friends. But pretty quickly, Eric sensed this guy was not actually ready to buy a car just yet. Still, though, Eric had not become the top salesperson at this dealership by giving up at the first sign that the customer is not fully committed. Instead, Eric just continued talking and listening to the guy doing his best to establish a real connection. That way, when this guy came back and was ready to buy a car, he would hopefully come back to Eric. The potential customer walked around one of the Jaguars and told Eric he would definitely think about buying it.


He said he loved how it looked. He just needed to talk to his wife first. Eric said he totally understood, and then he handed the guy his business card and walked him out of the showroom and said he looked forward to meeting with him again. Then Eric turned and walked back across the showroom floor, passed all the polished, perfectly lit cars into a bright carpeted hallway that led to the break room and a few offices. Eric walked into his manager's office and said he was taking off for the day. His manager told him to have a good night, and Eric just grinned because he definitely had a good night planned, and he couldn't wait to get it started. About 15 minutes later, Eric pulled into the parking lot of his high-rise luxury apartment building in Silver City, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, DC. The apartment building was the type of place that catered to young professionals, with a rooftop pool and plenty of bars and restaurants within walking distance. Eric walked into the lobby and took the elevator up to the sixth floor where his place was. Once inside his apartment, He went right to the kitchen and poured himself a drink.


Then he headed to his bedroom and changed into black jeans and a black T-shirt, and then he walked out onto a small balcony. He left the door open behind him. Out on his balcony, Eric sipped his drink as he watched the local restaurants and bars down below come to life. Eric loved this part of town, and he loved his apartment, especially because he'd had to work so hard to be able to afford it. Eric was the youngest of four children, born to immigrant parents from Ghana. And when Eric and his siblings were kids, their parents had told them that the United States was filled with opportunity and that in the United States, they could be anything they wanted as long as they worked really hard. Eric had grown up basically believing the American dream was true, that if he put in the work, he would be successful. And looking out from his balcony inside of his upscale neighborhood, Eric felt like he was definitely on the right path. Selling luxury cars had really paid off. He made great money, and he had no intention of slowing down. Just then, Eric heard a knock at his door.


He turned around and walked through his apartment and put his glass down on the coffee table, then opened up the front door and saw a 34-year-old Katrina Benz standing there. Katrina smile, got up on her toes and threw her arms around Eric's neck and gave Eric a big kiss. Then they both went inside, and Katrina curled up on the brown leather couch in front of the TV, and Eric went to the kitchen to pour Katrina a glass of wine, and then he joined her on the couch. Eric Eric and Katrina had been seeing each other for a few months, but they were still keeping things really casual. They had met outside of the apartment building and discovered right away they had a lot in common. Katrina shared Eric's really strong work ethic, and it's what allowed her to become a nurse. They also both loved basketball, and so their relationship consisted of basically hanging out a couple of times a week, watching a basketball game together, and then spending the night together. And that night in particular, they were both really excited because there was this big NBA playoff game And so sitting on the couch, Eric and Katrina talked about who they thought was going to win the game, and then they also talked about how their jobs were going.


But Eric looked a bit distracted. He kept picking up his phone and checking the time. Finally, he just turned and asked Katrina if She was up for going on a quick ride before the game started. Katrina figured he just wanted to go out and maybe pick up some food or something. But no, Eric told her he actually wanted to go meet a guy who he could buy marijuana from. He said the guy lived close and it wouldn't take very long. Katrina was surprised. She knew Eric occasionally smoked weed, but he never asked her to go buy weed with him. Still, she figured it wasn't that big of a deal. They were in a really nice suburb. So how dangerous could this weed dealer really be? So Katrina told him that was fine as long as they got back in time for the start of the game. Eric promised they wouldn't miss a thing. Then he and Katrina left the apartment, went down the elevator, and out to Eric's car. After driving for a few minutes, Eric turned onto a side street in front of a small apartment complex, and he pulled over to the curb and put his car in park.


To Katrina, the street seemed totally empty, but suddenly the back driver's side door opened, and this tall, skinny-looking drug dealer with a scraggly beard slid into the back seat. The dealer quickly handed a paper bag over the seat to Eric, and Eric took the bag, he looked inside, and he saw a ziploc baggy of marijuana, and after he was satisfied, he handed the cash back to the dealer. The dealer then hopped out of the car without a word, closed the door, and disappeared back into the apartment complex. The entire exchange took less than a minute. Eric turned and smiled at Katrina, and then he turned the car back on, and he drove them back to his place just in time to watch the opening tip off of the playoff game. And then, later that night, after the game was over, Eric and Katrina went to bed together. Then, right before Katrina actually went to sleep, she reminded Eric that she had to work early the next day, so pretty likely when he woke up in the morning, she'd be gone. Eric said he totally remembered. Then he kissed Katrina good night, and the couple rolled over, and they both drifted off to sleep.


And hours later, in the early morning of June fifth, 2012, Eric was still asleep in his bed when somebody walked into his bedroom, walked across the floor, and stood right beside him, staring down at him as he slept. The following day, so June sixth, Eric's manager at the luxury car dealership sat in his office trying to get a hold of Eric on the phone. Eric was supposed to work that day, but he hadn't shown up, and his phone kept going to voice mail. Top salespeople like Eric occasionally took what everybody at the dealership called unscheduled days off, but Eric always made sure to let his manager know if he wasn't going to come in, and he hadn't on this day. So the manager walked showroom floor and talked to a couple of other salespeople, but none of them had heard from Eric either. The manager started to get worried, so he went back to his office and he called Eric's emergency contact, who was one of his older sisters. The manager told Eric's sister he didn't want to upset her, but he hadn't seen or heard from Eric that day. Eric's sister was totally frightened by this, and she immediately called Eric.


And when he didn't answer, she called her other sister and her other brother to see if they had heard from him. But they, too, had not talked to Eric in at least a couple of days. Eric's sister, the one who the car dealership manager had called, had a really uneasy feeling. Eric talked or texted with at least one of his siblings every single day. Eric's sister felt like this was an actual emergency, and so she took a deep breath and dialed 911. After explaining what was going on with Eric, the 911 operator said that police would send officers by Eric's apartment to do a wellness check on him. Eric's sister thanked the dispatcher, and then she went right to her car and raced across town to Eric's apartment building. A little before 05:00 PM, Eric's sister waited downstairs in the apartment complex lobby while a building manager led two police officers up to Eric's apartment on the sixth floor. One of the officers knocked on Eric's door but got no response, so the building manager unlocked the door and stepped back. At that point, the officer stepped forward, walked inside, and began calling out to see if anybody was home, But again, there was no answer.


So the officers walked across the apartment down a short hallway and came to a closed bedroom door. One of the officers knocked, but there was still no answer, so they opened up the door and walked inside. And there was Eric laying in bed. There was a sheet that was pulled up all the way up to his mouth. The officers walked over and they saw there was a single gunshot wound to Eric's head. Both officers thought it looked like Eric Samoa had taken his own life. The officers quickly went back downstairs, and when they got there, one of them placed his hand on Eric's sister's shoulder. He said he was so sorry, but they had found her brother deceased upstairs in his bed. Eric's sister let out a shriek that echoed off the lobby walls. She started wailing and crying. She could not believe her little brother was gone. About 45 minutes after Eric's body was discovered, Detective Dimitri Ruven, of the Montgomery County Police Department, walked into the lobby of Eric's apartment building. He saw officers standing with two women and a man who were huddled together and crying. Ruven was one of the youngest detectives on the force, but he did have experience, and other cops basically envied him for his seemingly boundless energy.


He waved one of the officers over, and the officer told him the people in the lobby were Eric's siblings. Ruven asked the officer to let them know that he would down shortly to talk to them. Then, Reuben quickly walked across the lobby and took the elevator up to the sixth floor. Reuben walked through Eric's apartment, and he understood why the first officers on the scene had thought Eric killed himself. The door to the apartment had been locked when they arrived, and there was no sign of forced entry, and expensive items like Eric's computer and TV had been left untouched, so this didn't look like a robbery gone wrong. Reuben stepped into the bedroom, and he saw that Eric had a single bullet wound in his head, another sign of a possible suicide. But Ruben searched the entire bedroom and didn't find a gun, so he knew the officers had been wrong. There was no way Eric had shot himself. Someone clearly had shot him. Ruben looked down at Eric's body, and for whatever reason, he felt this instant connection with the guy. He couldn't really explain it. He'd worked a lot of homicide cases, and he always felt sympathy for the victims.


But this was something different. This was more personal. Ruben told himself that the reason for this connection must be because Eric looked to be about the same age as Reuben. It was like, here's this guy with every opportunity in front of him, and somebody took that away from him. And this just made Reuben really upset and angry. It just seemed so wrong. Reuben took out his phone and called the station to let his boss know that this was a homicide, not a suicide, and so he would need an investigative team sent over. And not long after that call, forensics analysts arrived at Eric's apartment and a man sweeping through it, and they would discover a single 380 caliber bullet casing in the bedroom, but there still was no sign of a gun anywhere. They also did a sweep of the apartment for fingerprints and possible DNA samples, but they knew that type of evidence might not get them very far in this case. The fact that there was no sign of forced entry or any struggle meant there was a good chance Eric knew his killer. So the analysts figured they would just find lots of prints of friends or family who were often at Eric's place and so were not suspicious cautious, and any of them could be guilty.


And Ruben knew right now, three of Eric's family members, his sisters and brother, were down in the lobby waiting to talk to him. So Ruben let the forensics team continue their work, and then he headed back downstairs. The elevator doors opened, and Ruben could hear Eric's siblings still crying in the lobby. Reuben walked slowly now, and he heard the sound of his shoes clicking on the concrete floor. He hated this part of the job. Eric's siblings only knew that their brother had found dead in his apartment. They didn't know what happened. So Reuben lowered his head and approached them, and he told them he was so sorry, but their brother had actually been murdered. That sent Eric's brother and sisters into another fit of screaming. Detective Reuben stood with them and let them get as loud and as angry as they wanted. Then eventually, one of Eric's sisters caught her breath and wiped the tears from her eyes, and she looked right at Reuben, and she told him he needed to speak with a woman named Denise Harrington. Reuben asked who Denise was. Eric's sister said Denise was Eric's girlfriend, and she was no good.


She was 20 years older than Eric, and his entire family knew Denise was just using Eric for his money. Reuben thanked Eric's siblings for their time, and he said police would follow up with them soon. Then, And he offered his condolences again and headed back upstairs. When he got there, he could tell after hours and hours of searching this apartment, really the only thing investigators had found so far was just that bullet casing. But Reuben felt like this Denise person was a really strong lead, and so it didn't really matter right now that they didn't have much evidence. So Reuben found the phone number for Eric's girlfriend, Denise, gave her a call, and when she picked up, he told her he needed to meet with her to ask some questions about her boyfriend. The day after Eric's body was discovered, members of Reuben's team re-interviewed Eric's brother and sisters and looked into other family members who might have spent time at Eric's apartment. But Reuben himself remained focused on Eric's girlfriend, Denise. Voice. At the station, he led Denise into an interview room, sat across from her at a small wooden table, and handed her a bottle of water.


He thanked Denise for coming in, and then asked her if she understood why she was there. And she just said, I understand there's some questions about Eric. Reuben nodded and then asked her very gently if she knew that Eric had been killed. A look of total shock came across Denise's face, and she just began shaking her head, No. And then just said she couldn't believe it. People loved Eric. Reuben watched Denise very closely. She looked genuinely surprised and upset about this news, but he knew some people were naturally just very good actors. Looking at Denise now, it also struck Reuben how big the age gap was between her and Eric. Eric's family clearly had not approved of a woman 20 years older dating their little brother. But Reuben did not think being older than Eric somehow made Denise more suspicious. Reuben asked Denise if it was strange that she hadn't heard from her boyfriend in the last couple of days before he was killed. But she told him it was not strange that she hadn't heard from Eric because Eric was actually not her boyfriend. Not anymore, anyways. Reuben was confused. Eric's siblings seemed very certain that Denise was seeing Eric and using Eric as far as they were concerned.


But Denise explained that she and Eric had hit a rough patch about a month earlier. She found out he was obviously cheating on her when she noticed text messages coming into his phone from two other women. And so Denise just did not want to be treated that way. And so she had ended it with Eric. Eric, like their relationship was done and she had not talked to him in a while. And Denise said, if somebody close to Eric thought that she, Denise and Eric, were still together, it was probably only because Eric had not told anybody about the breakup. Denise felt like Eric likely wanted his family to think he was settling down and not still going out and seeing a bunch of different women at the same time. Finally, Reuben asked Denise where she was on the night of the murder, and she said she'd been at home and said police could check her phone records that would prove she was telling the truth. Reuben thanked her for her cooperation and said he would be taking her phone now so they could download the information to help corroborate her alibi. And a little later that day, after police had finished downloading the information from her phone, Reuben gave the phone back and let Denise go.


And while Reuben did think Denise was genuinely shocked when she heard the news about Eric, he couldn't help but think, Denise had a clear motive to want to harm Eric. Eric was cheating on her, and a jilted lover almost always had to be considered a viable suspect. But for now, Reuben would just have to wait until his team went through all of that information downloaded off Denise's phone to figure out if she really was a viable suspect. So in the meantime, Reuben headed back up to the sixth floor of Eric's apartment building to talk to some of Eric's neighbors. Reuben knocked on a door that was nearby Eric's apartment, and a guy in his 20s answered. The young man did not look surprised to see a detective standing there. He said he knew Eric pretty well, and he knew Eric had been killed. Then, without being prompted, he told Reuben, the police should really question Eric's girlfriend. Reuben said he'd already met with Denise, but the young man just stared at him, and then he said, no, Eric's girlfriend's name was not Denise, it was Katrina. If you recall, Katrina was the woman who watched basketball with him on the night he was killed.


The neighbor told Reuben that Katrina lived in the apartment building, and he had seen Eric with Katrina a bunch of times. Reuben thanked the young man for his help, and then the door shut, and then Reuben just stood there in the hall thinking. Denise had mentioned during her interview that two women had been texting Eric, which is how she had figured out he was cheating on her, but neither of those two women were named Katrina. And Eric's family had never mentioned anybody named Katrina at all. And so now, Reuben thought he might have a jilted lover in Denise and a secret lover in Katrina to consider as suspects. Reuben really wanted to make sure he was fully prepared before he brought in Katrina for an interview, so he and his team did some digging. They found out Katrina was from Mississippi, and she had come to Maryland a few months earlier to work as a nurse for the National Institutes of Health, a government organization focused on public health research. But much more important than that, at least to Detective Reuben, was that several people in the apartment building saw Eric and Katrina together on the night before Eric was killed.


Hello, I'm Emily. And I'm Anna, and we're the hosts of Terrible Famous, the show that takes you inside the lives of our biggest celebrities. And just a warning, our latest season will feature a lot of accents. Can I just check what accent we can-I can't tell this story without going all in. Okay, I'm scared to ask, but can you give us a clue? Why I'm Ant. Oh, Ant and or Deck? I'm afraid not, and it's not Alan Sheerer either. I am talking about a young woman, plumped from obscurity, who rose to become the Nation's Sweetheart. A woman who's had a lot of surnames? And has ditched them all to become just Sheryl. Love it. Girls are Loud fans, strap in. We're going to follow Sheryl from her Girlband glory days, getting together with Ashley Cole, and the many scandals and humiliations that followed, not to mention a near-death experience. She's been through a lot. And she has needed every ounce of her northern grit to see her through. I promise you it's going to be an emotional roller coaster. Follow Terrible Famous wherever you listen to podcasts or listen early and ad-free on WNDYRI Plus on Apple Podcasts or the WNDYRI app.


Some stories were never meant to be heard. Beneath the visible world of parliament's politicians and civil servants lies an invisible state filled with secret operatives playing to very different rules. From WNDYRI, I'm Indra Vana And this is the Spy Who. This month, we open the file on Nour Anayat Khan, the spy who wouldn't lie. When Germany invades France, Nour and her family are forced to flee to Britain. But Nour decides she can't just sit out the war, so she accepts one of the most dangerous spy missions of World War II, a job that will put her deep into enemy territory. Follow the Spy Who now wherever you listen to podcasts. Or you can binge the full season of The Spy Who Wouldn't Lie early and ad-free with WNDYRI Plus.


A couple of days after Eric was killed, Detective Reuben found himself back in an interview room talking to a woman he thought was Eric's girlfriend. And just like he had done with Denise, he started the interview by asking Katrina if she knew why she was there. And Katrina, who had a confused look on her face, told him that she understood she was here to help with some investigation, but she hadn't been given any more details than that. She figured it might have something to do with where she worked, but she didn't know. At this point, Reuben told her point blank that her boyfriend Eric, had been found murdered in his apartment and that she was the last person anybody had seen him with. Immediately, a look of complete disbelief came across her face, and as she pulled her legs up onto her seat and grabbed her knees with her arms and began rocking back and forth, She began saying to Reuben that, Why would anybody want to do this? Everybody loves Eric. And then she asked Reuben, Is it possible that this was not Eric? But Reuben said, No, this was definitely Eric, and he is definitely deceased.


At this, Katrina clutched her knees even tighter, and then she looked up at Reuben with a very sad look on her face, and she said she just felt so guilty. For the past couple of days, she'd been furious at Eric because he had not been responding to any of her text messages. And so she thought he was just being a for some reason, but now she knew why he wasn't responding. It was because he was dead. That realization was like too much for Katrina to handle. And for a minute, it seemed like she might have a total breakdown. But then she stopped rocking in her chair and she put her feet on the floor and she leaned forward. It was like something had just clicked in her mind. She told Reuben that something really strange had happened on that last night that she was with Eric. Reuben leaned in and asked Katrina to please walk him through everything she could remember about that night. Night. Katrina took a deep breath, and then she began speaking. She said she and Eric had met up to watch basketball, but they left his apartment so Eric could go buy some weed.


Then after Eric got his weed, the couple went back to Eric's apartment. They watched the game, They had sex, and then they went to sleep. None of this seemed very out of the ordinary to Reuben, and he was about to say as much. But Katrina said, Hold on, the weird part happened the next morning. She said the next morning when she woke up around 5:00 AM because she had to get up really early for work, she had looked over and Eric was not in the bed. Then she heard voices coming from some other room. She thought maybe Eric was on the phone, so she just got dressed, grabbed her things, and walked out of the bedroom. And the drug dealer who had sold Eric the marijuana the night before was standing right there. Katrina said this totally freaked her out. Doing a quick weed deal in the car was one thing, but having a drug dealer in the apartment at 5:00 AM seemed wrong to her. And being a nurse for a government organization, she did not want to be associated with any drug dealers. But that wasn't all. Katrina said when she looked at this dealer, this tall, skinny guy with a scraggly beard, he seemed really agitated.


And when Katrina told Eric she was leaving, the dealer turned and looked at her and walked over, grabbed her arm, and basically rushed her out of the apartment, and then shut the door behind her. Reuben got Katrina to give him as many details as she could about the dealer and about the location where he had sold Eric Marijuana the night before. And after taking all that down, Reuben stopped for a second because he thought of something. He asked Katrina, Why didn't you check in on Eric later in the day or really at any point over the next couple of days when he wasn't responding to her text messages? Like the last thing you saw was Eric alone in his apartment with this sketchy drug dealer who rushes you out the door and shuts the door behind you. You said the drug dealer seemed agitated. So what? You just figured everything was fine and you just didn't think to follow up? Katrina could see how suspicious it seemed. But she explained to Reuben that her relationship with Eric was very casual. They basically were not a girlfriend and boyfriend. They were not a couple. They were just hooking up periodically, and that was it.


And so Katrina said she just was worried that if she really aggressively followed up trying to get in touch with Eric and went over to his place to check on him, that that might come off to Eric like she was this really obsessed girlfriend, and she just didn't want that. And then over the course of a couple of days, when Eric did not get in touch with her, she got mad at him. Why is he not getting in touch with her? And so it just led to this silence. Reuben nodded and then thanked Katrina for coming in and told her he would be in touch if he needed more information from her. Not long after Katrina left, Reuben's team worked to track down that drug dealer. And with Katrina's description of him and the exact location of where Eric purchased that marijuana from him, it didn't take them very long to find this guy. His name was William Woodfork, and he quickly became the focus of Reuben's investigation. A couple of days after the interview with Katrina, Reuben sat back down inside the interview room with William Woodfork. William was tall and lanky with a patchy beard, just like Katrina had described, and he was very, very nervous seeming.


He was having a really hard time sitting still. Police had not told William why he was here, and so Reuben figured William was likely very worried about getting busted for dealing drugs. But Reuben acted like he didn't notice, and he just casually reached into a folder and pulled out a photo of Eric, and he placed it on the table in front of William, and he said to William, This man right here in this photo is a guy named Eric, and he was just murdered. And then Reuben asked William, How long have you known Eric? William looked down at the photo, and after staring for a second, he just shook his head and said he'd never met the guy. Reuben smiled a very knowing smile and then told William it was not a good idea to be lying to the police. I mean, this is a homicide investigation. This is about as serious as it gets. Reuben told William he had Eric's phone records, so he knew William had texted Eric the night before Eric got murdered. Immediately, William hung his head and stared at the floor and then began backtracking. He admitted to Reuben that actually he had sold Eric weed a few times, including on that past Monday night.


At this point, Reuben stopped smiling and he immediately asked William, Okay, fine. You sold him weed on Monday. Why did you go to Eric's apartment early on Tuesday morning at around 5:00 05:00 AM. William immediately looked up and told Reuben he was not some big-time drug dealer, out settling scores. He's like, I had nothing to do with Eric getting killed. But Reuben was not about to take the word of someone who had literally just lied to his face. And with the phone records and William admitting he saw Eric the night before the murder, Reuben felt like he had more than enough evidence to pursue this lead further. So not long after that meeting, Reuben secured a warrant to search William's apartment. And when they did search his apartment in the week following Eric's murder, police would find a 380 caliber handgun, the same type of handgun that had been used to kill Eric. And so Detective Reuben was pretty much positive he had just found Eric's killer. But later that week, when the ballistics report on William's gun came back, it showed the ammunition used in his gun did not match the bullet casing that was found in Eric's bedroom, meaning this gun was not the murder weapon.


Reuben was not willing to totally eliminate William as a suspect. It just seemed too coincidental that this guy would happen to have a.80 caliber handgun in his apartment. But it could be just a bizarre coincidence. And without more compelling evidence, he knew any case brought against William would not hold up in court. And so suddenly, Reuben felt like this investigation had just stalled in a major way. Investigators went from believing they had their killer right back to having no idea who they were even looking for. And And at the same time, Reuben began getting daily calls from Eric's sisters, but he had no new information to share with them. And Reuben told other investigators that he felt like he was letting Eric's family down. Weeks passed without any new leads coming in, and then several months went by, and pretty soon this case became much less of a priority for the department. But Reuben refused to let the case just go cold. In fact, he put a photo of Eric on his desk to remind him of the job he still needed to do. And he continued to talk to Eric Eric's sisters almost every day, and he promised them as long as he was on the force, he would never stop looking for their brother's killer.


In May of 2013, almost a year after Eric's murder, Detective Reuven continued his investigation, but almost no new evidence had surfaced, and so he was basically running out of ideas. Reuven poured over Eric's case files whenever he could, looking for anything that he might have just overlooked. And there was one piece of evidence, or really a missing piece of evidence, that had always bothered him. The gun that had been used to kill Eric had never been found. So now, Reuben decided to try something he knew was a total long shot, but he felt like he had nothing to lose. Police often confiscated guns as evidence in investigations, and they occasionally received guns that people had simply found and turned into them. So Reuben reached out to every police department in the county and asked for a list of all the.80 caliber handguns they had received in the past year, either confiscated as evidence or turned into them by a Good Samaritan. The other departments all cooperated, and soon Reuben ended up with this list of 60 380 caliber handguns. And then, Reuven began the painstaking work of tracking down the history of each of those 60 guns, and the first 58 guns led him nowhere.


But when he began looking into the 59th gun on the list, he thought he might have found something promising. That gun had been found discarded on the side of the road on the Capitol Beltway, one of the busiest streets in Washington, DC. The man who had handed this gun over to police had been sitting in bumper to bumper traffic and just happened to look over and see the gun lying on the side of the road. And that spot on the Beltway was not very far from Eric's apartment. But there was another detail in this report about this 59th gun that gave Reuven the biggest jolt of energy he'd felt in almost a year. The man who found this gun had found it just two days after Eric's murder. Using the 59th gun serial number, Detective Reuven tracked down the weapon's original owner, but that man told Reuven he'd actually sold the gun at a pond shop years earlier. And so Reuven found that pond shop and got their sales records for the gun, and from there, Reuben started tracking down every one of the gun's previous owners, and there were quite a few of them.


And this process dragged on for weeks and weeks. But finally, right around the actual one year anniversary of Eric's death, Reuben talked to a man who had sold this 59th gun to a pawn shop just a few months before Eric was killed. And so Reuben felt like there was a legitimate chance that whoever had bought the gun from this latest pawn shop was the killer. Now, the pawn shop was nowhere near Reuben's police station, but he decided he would take a trip there, hoping all of his work would pay off. So on a hot and humid June day, Detective Reuben, along with several other officers, walked into the pawn shop on the outskirts of a small rural town. Reuben thought it was the place someone would never find unless they already knew it existed. The Pawn Shop owner greeted Reuben from behind the counter in a very thick Southern drawl, and he asked how he could help. Reuben told the owner he was looking for sales records on a particular gun, and then he gave the owner the serial number of the gun. But the owner right away just sobbed and said he was really sorry, but he couldn't do that.


He'd stored those sales records in diaper boxes out in a shed behind the shop. And earlier that year, rats had gotten into the shed and started gnawing away at all the diaper boxes. The owner was worried he would lose the records to the rats, and he knew losing gun sale records could get him in big trouble with the federal government. So he handed over all those records inside of the chewed-up diaper boxes to the Bureau of alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and explosives, or the ATF. The ATF is a United States government agency that primarily monitors firearms trafficking. Reuben just stood there and stared at the Pawn Shop owner. He felt like laughing at how absurd this was. He never imagined diaper boxes and rats would play a role in his homicide investigation, but here he was. And so ultimately, Reuben thanked the owner and then left the Pawn Shop and headed back to Montgomery County, Maryland, to the police station. And once he got there, he called an ATF agent that he knew and told him what had happened. Reuben offered to go to ATF storage and personally dig through all the chewed-up diaper boxes himself, but the agent assured him the ATF would find whatever he needed.


And on June 12, 2013, so over a year after Eric's murder, Reuben got a call at his desk from that ATF agent, and the agent told Reuben that they had just tracked down all those diaper boxes, and they had found the specific report Reuben was looking for, and so he was faxing the report over right now. Reuben thanked the agent and hung up the phone, but as soon as he did, he felt so nervous. It was like every muscle in his body was getting tense. He knew if this report that he was about to read didn't give him any new information, he would have no idea what to do next. And so as he was thinking about this, he looked over at the photo of Eric on his desk and just held his breath. The fax machine near his desk started printing out the report. Reuben got up, walked over to the machine, grabbed the report, and began to read through it. And as he did, Reuben felt like a huge weight had been lifted off his shoulders. After more than a year of investigating this case and weeks and weeks of tracking down gun owners all over the place, Reuben knew, based on this report, that he could call Eric's siblings right now and tell them he had found their brother's killer.


Based on records from the ATF and evidence collected over the course of a year, here is a reconstruction of what police believe happened to Eric Samoa in the early morning hours of June fifth, 2012. The killer was standing at the foot of Eric's bed, watching him sleep. They'd been standing there for a few minutes just staring, but they knew now it was time to act. So they reached into their bag that was slung over their shoulder and pulled out a 380 caliber handgun. The killer then walked forward until they were right next to Eric, trying to be as quiet as possible. They didn't know what Eric would do if he suddenly woke up. And so at this point, the killer leaned over Eric until they were so close to him, they could actually feel Eric's breath on their cheek. Then they slowly pulled up their gun and aimed it basically point blank at Eric's forehead, and then they fired. The bullet lodged inside of Eric's brain, and he died without ever waking up. The killer quickly tossed the gun into their bag and then pulled the bedsheet up to Eric's mouth to try to cover up some of the blood.


Then the killer ran out of the bedroom, slamming the door shut behind them. They opened up the front door, they locked the door knob and then closed it, and then they ran down the hallway to the elevator. As the elevator was making its way down, the killer took several steadying breaths, doing their best to look as calm as possible. When the elevator When the weiter doors opened, the killer walked across the lobby, went out to the parking lot, got in their car, and began driving towards Washington, DC. Now, it was still dark out, and the killer saw headlights up ahead from a line cars driving towards the city. And so since they didn't want to get caught in traffic, the killer just hit the gas and whipped down the road. The killer reached the Capitol Beltway in DC before traffic got too bad. And at this point, they rolled their window down, reached into their bag in the passenger seat, grabbed the murder weapon and threw it out the window. The first chance they had, the killer turned around and sped back across the Maryland border. About 30 minutes after fleeing Eric's apartment, the killer walked back into Eric's apartment building, except this time, when they got in the elevator, they did not go up to the sixth floor.


They went up to a lower floor. And then once they got to that floor, they got out of the elevator, walked down the hall, and went inside of their own apartment. And once they were inside, they showered, put on a nurse's uniform, and went right back downstairs to go to work. Katrina Ben, Eric's basketball-loving casual romantic partner, was Eric Eric's killer. It would turn out, Katrina wanted a lot more out of her relationship with Eric. She did not like the idea of it being casual. And the week before the murder, Eric had blown off Katrina on a night they were supposed to hook up. Katrina knew Eric was out with actually another woman, and she told him she was not okay with that. But Eric was just not ready to be in a fully committed relationship with Katrina. In fact, he didn't even want his family to meet her. So Katrina started to feel Eric was only using her for sex, and it made her really angry. So angry that she decided she would kill him. When Katrina first arrived at Eric's apartment to watch the basketball game, she had the gun with her, but she just wasn't sure if this night was going to be the night that she actually followed through.


But Eric's impromptu drug deal gave Katrina potential cover. She could make up a story and say the dealer had shown up at Eric's apartment and seemed really suspicious, and basically make it seem like the drug dealer had killed Eric. However, the dealer, William Wood fork, had nothing to do with the murder. He had never even been to Eric's apartment. It took Detective Reuben tracking down the gun that was used to kill Eric and delving into the gun's history to finally discover Katrina was the killer because he had traced the gun back to a pond shop in a small rural town in Mississippi that just happened to be Katrina's hometown. Now, at this point, Reuben was very sure Katrina was the killer. However, he needed a receipt that showed she was the one who bought this gun last. But when he went to the pond shop in Mississippi, those sales records were in that shed getting destroyed by rats, and so they had been shipped to the ATF. But Reuben was able to get those records from the ATF, and as soon as he looked through them, he saw right there, Katrina's name was on the record.


She had bought the murder weapon. She definitely was the killer. And so, Katrina would be arrested at her parents house in Mississippi, and she would be found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison, plus an additional 20 years with no chance for parole. To this day, Eric's family say it was Reuven's patience and determination that ultimately got justice for their little brother and gave the family some sense of closure. Thank you for listening to the Mr. Balland podcast. If you enjoyed today's stories and you're looking for more strange, dark, and mysterious content, be sure to check out all of our studio's podcasts. They are this one, of course, Mr. Balin podcast, and we also have Mr. Balin's Medical mysteries, we have Bedtime Stories, and also Run Full. To find those other podcasts, all you have to do is search for Balin Studios wherever you listen to your podcasts. To watch hundreds more stories just like the ones you heard today, head over to our YouTube channel, which is just called Mr. Balin. So that's going to do it. I really appreciate your support. Until next time. See you. Hey, Prime members, you can binge eight new episodes of the Mr.


Ballen podcast one month early, and all episodes ad-free on Amazon Music. Download the Amazon Music app today. And before Before you go, please tell us about yourself by completing a short survey at wondry. Com/survey. If you're listening to this podcast, then chances are good you are a fan of the Strange, Dark, and Mysterious. And if that's the case, then I've got some good news. We just launched a brand new Strange, Dark, and Mysterious podcast called Mr. Balin's Medical mysteries. And as the name suggests, it's a show about medical mysteries, a genre that many fans have been asking us to dive into for years. And we finally decided to take the plunge and the show is awesome. In this free weekly show, we explore bizarre unheard of diseases, strange medical mishaps, unexplainable deaths, and everything in between. Each story is totally true and totally terrifying. Go follow Mr. Balin's Medical mysteries wherever you get your podcasts. And if you're a prime member, you can listen early and ad-free on Amazon Music.