266 - Rave After RaveMy Favorite Murder with Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark
- 1,027 views
- 18 Mar 2021
On this week's episode, Karen and Georgia cover the murder of Ruthie Mae McCoy and the life of Detective Jacklean Davis.
See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Hello, hello and welcome to my favorite murder. That's Georgia Hard Start. That's Karen Kilgariff. We're here with you. We are. It's mid-March. It is. Things are kind of daylight savings. My favorite chilling. I know. Me too.
It's just like lift this fog of darkness, I guess literally, literally a letter.
Although I do, you know, I'm an early bird. Oh, that's right. So do you like dark in the morning or dark?
Yes, I do. It's mostly right. It's like going to camp or something. There's like because also then like you're saying there is a fog literal. Yeah. That's out and it makes me feel like I'm just up and out. Yeah.
You're lying alone in the world.
A little time for journaling, time for introspection and a jar, a good journal and a good get it on the page solid.
You know what I do like about waking up early, which I now have a puppy and so I do more often, which I love the idea of it, but I'm definitely like a late sleeper. I had that thing of like when I worked and went to school my whole life, I was like, if you ever get a chance to sleep in your truck and taking it. And so I still do it tonight. I just question you on going to school your whole life.
That's a lie. That's a fucking lie.
How dare you shame me? I like this podcast. Can I point out he's a real rave after radway I was learning and I wake up at eight a.m. for it.
But yeah, I like, I still like naps and sleeping in to me are like if you can do that in your life then you are a rich woman. Yeah true. But waking up early is like I love the idea of getting stuff done. But also when you take your puppy for a walk before eleven, you can pretty much wear whatever the fuck you want and no one questions it.
Like if you go for your walk with your puppy at one o'clock in the afternoon and you're wearing your bathrobe, you there's like a change in this questionable mental image of yourself, your neighborhood's mental image of you.
Exactly. I thought she was classy. Yeah.
Slippers and robe at 2:00 in the afternoon. That's just like that shows my level of depression, right.
Yeah. No, to keep that keep that under nine a.m. if you're going to do that kind of curlers in the hair action out in the streets, don't take that to the streets. That's private. But you know, I'll say in this in the exact same way sometimes if it's early enough, I'll go. I'll put on clothes to to go on to the elliptical machine that are tighter than clothes. I would normally use my new thing and that feels good to me personally.
Privately. Yeah. To do that. Well, like, I know what I'm aiming toward. I know what's for you. I'm looking at myself. Yeah.
But then I'll be like I should go get the mail. Yeah. Because I'm essentially wearing, wearing a like a spandex outfit.
It's like you get the mail in a unitard, just got to slip out real quick and grab them. I was. That's so that kind of gets the heart racing. Tell me this is offensive, but I've coined my look, my pandemic look, which I really hope lasts.
You don't want to leave the house is new mom chic defense.
I'm not a new mom, nor will I probably ever will be. But damn that like fuck it mentality of like I have other things to think about than what if my if I worn these sweatpants for three days and there's cat hair on them, you know, and part of that too is coming into your 40s and 50s where you start to realize who gives a dog.
It's Chrissie's my outfit like you, you truly begin to just release that grip of concern about like the show of the show. And instead it's like to drink it in. Yeah, this is the best I'm doing. That also happens to happen to me very much when I started working like high stress jobs that I was out all the time, I was like, well then the best you're going to get some boot cut jeans. Yeah, a nice pair of clogs and it's the same sweater every day.
That's true. I suppose one could argue that there's like a and I had to put makeup on today for a thing. So there was like this like oh oh yeah.
This is kind of a feeling. So yes. But that doesn't need to be every fucking day, you know.
And also I find you can slop on pretty much anything, but if you have a nice eyeliner mascara combination, I kind of a solid natural lip, but still a pronounced lift.
You're talking my language because, hey, look, if anyone's ever, only ever looking at your kind of, like, bust head, you know, shoulders up anyway unless they stand back and really, like, take you in which they should, which they will.
But, you know, that was always my thinking. We're just like, you know, this is I'm going to work. I'm going to worry about the part that I know for a fact people are going to address and everything else can't be my problem right now.
No, I feel like the pandemic is fast forwarded at us to that point. All like two years. You know how everything is like smoking takes five years off your lives?
Well, the pandemic adds six years of not giving a shit. Yeah. To your life. So it's like I started to feel that comfort of like the a reasonable shoe, you know what I mean? Or just how will anyone ever go back to heels on stage? That's like I have so many things that I'm not getting rid of, even though I'm like I'll never wear that again because of the idea that maybe we'll tour again someday. Yeah. And be like, well, I don't know.
I got a newsflash. We're doing all right. All right. There's people who've been planning it, but. No, I get it's like a special occasion where versus. I just feel like young women put in such an effort these days from from fucking the crown of their head to their perfectly pedicured toenails, and it's like God bless. I mean, do it. Yeah, it makes you feel good. Yes. But you also don't have to, which is an amazing option to realize.
Right, that you're still a hot piece.
You just know that, you know, it's also it's also hot to put on like Budweiser pajama bottoms and a huge sweatshirt and pile your hair into a knot on the top of your head and go to the Redbox machine and ugly hats make your Buchan's shave your face.
So who cares if they're ugly? You're taking care of your skin. I don't know.
But it's interesting. It's interesting to take care of your skin and fight melanoma on a daily basis. It's interesting to do what Mark Zuckerberg did and put a full face of zinc oxide so that you truly look like a mime surfing that makes you go, hey, what's up with that person that's surfing mime? Hey, there's an artists on on parade. You meet them and I bet he evely wealthy.
I think we're all going to be interested in much different things than we ever were before. Prepon them.
Hey, speaking of things we're interested in right now, what are you sure and what are you interested in. Oh you mean these days.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Some wrecks, some hot rasher. Oh I want one true crime update real quick. So I just asked you a question and then cut you off completely. Don't worry about it. We do it. The case of Kristen Smart is heating up. Have you seen this? It's like a twenty year old cold case. Everyone is kind of like we fucking know who did this.
And maybe there's some there's some shady issues. The Cow Polytechnic in San Luis Obispo student who disappeared while she was being walked home by the prime suspect. Yeah. And there was some shoddy work with the police, the campus security, who just said she must have just taken off like at MIT and so didn't report it. That changed the laws of report of campus reporting, reporting to the authorities.
And so the prime suspects family's property is now being investigated and they're bringing cadaver dogs and ground penetrating radar. So I really hope in the next few days we'll have some information about that. And there's also a podcast about the whole case that I really want to listen to that I guess has helped get some attention to this case. And kind of in the same way, I'll be gone in the dark, like revamped, you know, not taking away any of the investigators hard work, but a revamped interest in the case.
And that's called your own backyard. So I really want to check. That's great. Yeah. Your own backyard, the podcast.
So let's all listen. Yeah, for sure. That's very. Yeah, lots and lots of people. Let me know that was happening on Twitter. Thank you always for those updates. And yeah, it's very exciting. People in that area are I think, really, really stoked.
Totally. And congratulations to a podcast for moving the wheels of justice long hopefully if that's. Yeah. If that is the case. Sounds like it. But an actual podcast that I've been listening to and I was trying to find the host's name, I went on, like, truly, you were sitting there waiting as I went on four different pages and could not find it. So I'll I'll I'll write it down when I listen to my next episode.
But it's called The Opportunist and it is a podcast. It's so good. It's a podcast series where they're going to be highlighting normal people who basically stumble upon an opportunity to basically become evil and then choose to do it.
Type O. That is a great idea. It's a great idea. And this first one is pretty mind blowing and it's essentially about an online cult. So it's it's pointing to this new habit that people have of kind of like, you know, it's the the Facebook structure of living vicariously, living on the Internet and living vicariously through the people you meet and the things you read and what you choose to believe and what you're being fed. That's on social media and the Internet.
I think it's mostly Facebook and it is really mind blowing.
And anyway, so I highly recommend are these people accidentally stumbling into, like scams or are they choosing to just completely.
There is there's a woman you have to listen to, but there's a woman who starts this website and she basically has a daily or weekly Internet radio show where she just she is a she it starts out that she's a Christian. Then she starts saying that she is the daughter of God and that she is getting messages from him and messages. Have to do with chem trails, they have to do with aliens, they have to do with the coming apocalypse and this and it's really it's pretty textbook cultish.
But the people there are plenty of people that follow her that are insist it's not. You just have to listen to it because it's that kind of thing where I think this is this age we're getting into where people are like, how how is this happening? How are people getting sucked into these entire belief systems with a person that they've never seen or met before will want answers.
There's people out there who just like for whatever reason, the day to day, you know, unanswered questions of life are too overwhelming and terrifying.
And so people are lonely. They they work a ton.
There's no meaning sometimes in people's lives, which I totally understand.
It's like and they when they find something that resonates because because oftentimes the people that start these things, oftentimes they start with the good intentions of if you are lonely, if you need if you want to worship with other people, like this unifying thing of we're all the same religion or we have the same belief and then it kind of spins out from there.
I'm like, well, how about this one? I believe, too, why don't you take that on as well. I'm reading. So that's called sorry. That's called that's called the opportunist. Just a reminder. Awesome. It's great. I'm reading a true crime book called The Forest City Killer by Vanessa Brown about a serial killer from London, Ontario, from 50 years ago. So like though, I think it's like the 60s and it's she's a really great has Michelle McNamara vibe.
She's a she owns a bookstore, her and her husband on a bookstore. And she also is some I guess there's like people who are experts at rare writings. So they're able to like they take old weird like letters and stuff and are able to figure out their historical worth and their monetary worth just by understanding the vernacular and the language and stuff like that. So she's totally like that alone is so fucking fascinating. But she's also obsessed with true crime.
And so and she gets a lot of characters coming in the bookstore. And they all she suddenly finds the serial killer that she'd never heard about before. She's from London, Ontario. She had never heard about it. And suddenly everyone has a story about it from back then. And so she just it's like I got it right. I got to write the book. I think I read this book, too. I think we got it in the mail.
It's great publishing company. So it's called the Forest City Killer, and I highly recommend it. Awesome. What about TV? Are you still in your Sopranos mode? Oh, yeah. An episode. A night probably too, because it's so good. The mother in that should have won all the awards. Yeah. Tony Soprano. See what's her name. Nancy, God dammit. Now I can only think of Nancy Spungen. That actress's name. Steven Nancy.
Yeah, I just started I just started looking at Google, Steven, because you said Steven, Steven, Nancy, Steven sinensis sopranos wikipedias so massive.
There's a separate page for casting. I got it, Nancy. Lou, March and march in March. March and the march end merchant. Brilliant. She's the greatest. Watch it for her alone.
She's just so good.
And she's been in tons of stuff. She's in so many eighties movies school. She's been an actress since like the fifties I think.
Sure I so I just finished a series or a Four Seasons. I think I started talking about this in the first season four years ago called Casual on on Hulu.
And yes, I love that show so good. There were times I was like, I fucking hate these characters. They're all like kind of insufferable during certain seasons. But then you realize that you're like you care about them and their lives. And of course, the actors are so great. Michaela Watkins is a Mikaela Watkins.
Yeah, but it amazing. Mikaela Watkins, Michaela Watkins.
She's just I love watching her act.
And you end up like she's caring about these people and they make so many mistakes and you you still want them to win.
And so I watch it all through the season. What's it called the end finale. Season. Series finale. Thank you. Sorry. So this year I just watched the series finale and like I almost cried. It was it was really.
Yeah. That's a truly great show. I watched that a couple of years ago. I feel like it was when I was first got Hulu and then I was like, what's this? And the first I was like, Oh, that guy's cute. And then I was like, It's Megalo Watkins, you got to watch this, because she is I feel like she is one of those people who I watched her come up as like she is the hilarious sister in law and things she.
He gets this kind of like a supporting role, and in this she is she's so such a great actress and so hilarious and great to carry it. It's like it's her in that her in the act or the player brother or her brother. There are some combination lot, I guess, but they all still deserve these happy lives. And you're like rooting for them.
So we're all flawed. We're all one. We're all flawed. That's just one of us casual on Hulu Check.
And it's like one of those ones that like if I be eating lunch by myself, I would like just turn on an episode, you know what I mean? But like, I kept yes. Kept wanting to watch.
It's real good, snappy, realistic dialog to totally I like I like when stuff like that is it's funny in the realest way. Yeah. I have just finished bingeing the flight attendant on HBO.
Now I need to write. I loved it. Yes. There are people like I feel like people were recommending it in a hedgie way or like it's fun or it's kooky or whatever. I was like, this is fucking great. It's directed beautifully. It's Kaley Cuoco is the lead and she's unbelievably great and compelling and a great actress. My good friend, the great Scottish actress Michelle Gomez plays the villain and she is the greatest. I love watching her act.
Yeah, it's such a good show. Everyone in it. The casting is like perfection.
It's great. I need it. This is what I need also.
It's just like it's a bunch of stuff happens. It's a really good piece. It's kind of crazy and it like it's that kind of thing when you lay there and it's just like it entertains you in every way.
Yeah, those will be my new one. Each time I need an episode show lunchtime.
I don't know what it is about lunchtime or it's like I don't want to sit on my computer all fucking day. I want like a break. But I, but I'm a I'm a latchkey kid so I have to watch something on the TV while I eat from three to eight.
Yeah, that's right. So I'll sit and put something on and it's like the little little break, you know what I mean.
So absolutely. I don't know. Yeah. I guess in my mind it was like everyone has a lunchtime show, right.
There's just me, my newer thing lately, the beginning, a pandemic. It was like anything goes, do whatever you want all day long, figure like just slap whatever together.
Fortunately, you have a lot of time to figure it out. Yes, you can, you can test out any you can do any kind of a pattern of a schedule, you know, since like the holidays I've been trying to do get up early, drink the coffee, get the exercise out of the way, you know, answer emails like kind of have I actually realize I love structure, I, I always rebel against it because I know one can tell me what to do.
But then I sit there going, yeah, but I can like can relax, relax and just do the things. It's super easy. Stop making drama out of something that's just a just an email like Redesdale and answer at the end.
But I think that was but you and I were overwhelmed in the beginning. We had so many emails and so many things were supposed to be doing and we were all alone in trying to figure it out.
All I felt like transferring to Zoom somehow made it that we had more meetings than before, you know what I mean? Yeah. Yeah. More meetings now than we ever did. Well, you also have a way Biggerstaff for exactly right. And a lot more going on. So that's why is this is this bragging?
This is brag about how fucking hard running on network is. Gorner. I love it. We love it. We're the luckiest. What was I going to say? Hold on.
What are you saying? Is it about emails, emails and getting things done? Structure.
Oh, your thank you on this tip. And you and I both do.
This is I, my therapist has been telling us and I'll get this wrong, but I'll make it sound right is that procrastination is actually it gives you a little bit of an adrenaline rush when you finally get the stuff done that you are addicted to it in a way where it's it's like you get you get a little high off procrastination, which is why it's so hard to change that pattern of procrastination is because you're actually getting something out of it.
I think it's like when you think of your brain as like a reward system, it makes so much sense that you become this animal who who who who gets something out of putting, I don't know, get something out of putting things off. And that's totally you and I thrive at last minute deadlines. We're really good at that. And I think, like, end up putting out some great content. Well, also there the thing that I've always known and this this has to do with.
You know, being a comic like the high that I would get doing stand up comedy, it's so scary and it's so high pressure that then when I go into other things, I need I need that pressure still, because I'm because I've already had kind of like this other kind of high. And so, yeah, any time I have a writing job, that's a pretty chill thing until you have a deadline and then it becomes this bizarre dance of like, how much are you going to push this deadline?
How the whole thing of it is it's a distraction kind of soap opera, like you're creating the adrenaline that you that you thrive in just by putting it off.
Also creating a distraction from things that like, you know, for me, when I actually write, you're putting real things into what you write. And so sometimes it's difficult and painful. So instead, you're just kind of like, oh, I can't do it right this second, right? When actually you're just like, just do it. Just barfed up. Who cares? Totally but totally. But I care, I guess. Do you want me to read you a quote, please?
A real good quote that sometimes I'd leave this same notebook in front of me on this desk. So I'm here. It's the same notebook for all the Zoome calls for all my therapy appointments, for random podcasts that I'm listening to. And this is oh, this was when I was listening to that Insecure in love book that I've been listening to that's so good. And it's so more it's so much more than just attachment theory and all that kind of stuff.
It's just kind of like how to how to be better at having relationships and be confident and self compassionate. Yeah, here's a quote from that that the author quoted, and it's from August Wilson, the playwright confront the dark parts of yourself and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing.
Use the pain as fuel, as a reminder of your strength, while someone right that in fancy calligraphy and put it in a frame for me and love it.
How about a cross stitch? How about a beautiful cross stitch of that? And that was actually about turning in an assignment that August Wilson had.
No, that's not true. Well, we just gave her, what, an assignment? An art assignment. So, yes, let's see who does it last? Whoever does it last understood the project, the skippers will do it.
Laughs Should we talk about business? I even looked at this piece of paper. Oh, there's a merge explosion taking place.
The my favorite murder merch store today, the tons is like, hey, I'm going to order some merch off your store.
Do you want anything like what he's getting? There's a new Elvis design, Saint Elvis. Yeah. And so he's going to get to sing Elvis shirt. Very sweet.
He likes you. I think that guy likes you. Likes I think he likes you.
You should text him right out of style. I text him.
Oh my God. Text him right now. Just see what he does. OK, so we have a fucking spring twenty twenty one merch explosion. Do you see what that first things that stay out of the woods j I can't be j stay out of the woods. It's so funny.
Sometimes I like I'll get one word wrong. What was the other one.
Oh what was the fuck you on. Oh here's the thing.
Fuck you fuck. You got room which is so much more aggressive than there's a big fight here so fuck you.
That's, that's not much, that's just something you can yell hanging out your car window like.
So we have to stay out of the woods. Nope. We have to stay out of the forest design that I, I love so much. It's so like charming. It's very cottage car actually.
It's so cottage Corby's. He's made it. Bees designed it, bees made it. There's a new fuck politeness design that's so cool. And like 70s looking back and we, we brought back the toxic masculinity design. So there's new shirts that you can get in like new colors and options. And, you know, of course there's Kruse's always. Oh sure. Go go over there if you feel like it. If you have any leftover money from your stimulus check.
That's my favorite murder, Dotcom. I then just go to the store. You know how websites work.
You're not you know how our website works. You're not even talking about it for five years. Five years. Oh, and speaking of us, well, you're on the website. If you go to if you are in the fan call and join the fan, call it what you get you. It's forty bucks a year and you get much like. Lows of March and exclusive offers on it, and you also get a lot of videos and stuff like that and extras, and one of those are videos that we're doing now of low stakes advice that we get from the fan coats.
We answer on video and we have a lot of fun with them. So you can head over to the forum, the forum, submit your low stakes advice questions and answer other people's questions if you want. And then perhaps we'll answer your questions on a future fan called Exclusive Video.
Do you have just a problem, not a huge problem with your taxes or anything? You do.
I mean, we all have some big problems, but just take those little little things are bugging you.
That's what we can help you with and not much else.
And please, no questions about fire safety if we can't. Did you see the the drawing?
Someone sent us a picture of the drawing, and she basically was she did it the day that that that our Minnesota came out. We were talking there was even more stories about do not. Yes. But it says fire instead of flower on the front of the bank, posted it on our Instagram.
So, just so good that it's so funny. It's hilarious and it's very true. Now we have to like now it's basically we have to continually tell reverse the information that we gave and tell people that flower. Yes. It does not belong on a grease fire because it will catch on fire because apparently that's what flour does. People listen to us. I put it up on Instagram and I wrote, this is going to stick with us, isn't it?
Because it's got to. Well, if we keep talking about it, it is.
Well, if I just tell it to shut up, it won't. But, man, that art was good. I was really impressed. The person just dropped everything she was doing and made some hilarious art for us. Also, someone did that. I wanted to tell you and show you. I don't know if you saw this. It was when we were talking about, um, here it is, an artist named Brini. She did the art of the Praying Mantis, and it says Burn Burbank.
Anything can happen. It's ah, it's a Burbank baby. And then it's a. Did you see that? Yeah. See you have Jay postering or relistening Mantus. So it's Burbank, baby. Anything can happen. So good. Um, should we do exactly right in this corner. Sure. I think we got we got it. We found this out in a meeting and freaked out that, um, that's messed up. The Saorview podcast, the guest this week is Wyclef Jean, an incredible musician.
I just think that's the coolest guess, isn't it? Get it? Yes.
Well, it's right up there with I said no gifts has search parties generally. That was it when I was going to I mean, is America's sweetheart. So, yeah. I mean, there's there's some great guests happening this week on the Exactly Right podcast.
And it's possible the board Paul Hose's birthday this week, they. Happy birthday, Paul. Check out murder squad. I want it. I want to tell you what Bridger did for his one. Was it one year? I said no gifts anniversary. So he has. He he has. And I said no gifts account on Instagram that I highly recommend you follow. It's just funny because he's funny, but he always posts photos of, like, what he got as a gift that week.
So he has this video that he posted of showing all the beautiful gifts and he's placing them one by one into a big metal trash bin.
And then he sets everything on fire.
Steven. And you said we could if we could. And that's for his birthday. That's for his one year birthday. I said, look at him. Just he puts on gloves, throws a match. I'm sure you feel so. He did. And I was a little offended because I was like, what happened? I got you some really nice shit.
And then it's just him laughing over a burning trash can in slow motion. And I just it blew my mind. It was like, oh, you're a genius, a comedy genius.
Let's be sure we'll post it on the episodes. Instagram, right? Is that what I'm thinking? Yes. Yeah. How how funny. It's like the most thoughtful gifts everyone got one by one.
He's lighting on fire. Yeah. That's because he cares to show. He cares. All right, should we get started? Should we tell each other some stories? I think your first right. OK. It's true. It's me, OK? Yeah. Yeah. I actually had J texted you today because I became absolutely convinced that you were also doing this same story this week, because last week when we talked about Samantha and her hammer, the viral video where Samantha Hasso went through, she found that she could take her medicine cabinet off of her apartment, bathroom wall and go through it.
And she did it, which is horrifying.
Like you're so disappointed in her for just not smart. Anyone could have fucking been in there in any corner. There was no lighting. There was she was being cute. But imagine having to get back out. I just don't like it. Squatters do it. Squatter rights are real. Stop doing things for the gram, everybody. So, so. But underneath that thread, which I got sent, I would say one hundred and twenty six times on Twitter.
Thanks everybody for gathering underneath the threat of that which I always love to see. I love people's reactions.
I love to read people being hilarious and what just I knew there would be a varied group of reactions, but then a very interesting thing happened, which I really liked.
And also I saw it in the thread there. But then also listener named Melissa. Her Twitter handle is at Sea Mouse run as e mouse run on Twitter. She sent this this article as well. But under the thread of that, an article was posted from nineteen ninety seven from the Chicago reader called. They came in through the bathroom mirror. A murder in the project. No bye bye reporter.
Steve, it's either Biggera or Bajirao and everybody was saying this is like you're like everybody's freaking out about how creepy this, you know, funny Tic-Tac is. It really it really happened. It could be. And so the alternative of what you went through, the option? Well, this is it's basically the other direction. And this is like basically this is the thing you're fearing about. What's happening to her has happened to someone in real life already, is what I'm telling you.
And so I'm now going to tell you about the murder of Ruthie Mae McCoy.
Almost all of this is based on this Steve Majoras or Bogucz, a Chicago reader article from 1987, the majority of it. But there's also information that was from a different article that the same reporter wrote that was kind of a follow up and also information from a Reddit thread of unsolved mysteries and a Wikipedia page. So. I'm going to read you we'll start with the second paragraph of the of this Chicago Reader article by Steve O0 O'Gara Rithy Mayor McCoy, 52, went through much of her life afraid she was hounded by paranoia.
Her fears weren't soothed by her dwelling place the last four years, a high rise building in the near South Side Chicago Housing Authority project known as ABLA, where the van dropped her off this Wednesday afternoon, April. Twenty second, she lived in one of the seven 15 storey brown y shaped towers, hers named, named, named the Grace Abbott homes. The most dangerous buildings in ABLA. A claustrophobic in a closet might be more at ease than a paranoid like McCoy in an Abbott high rise, the buildings featured dark, malfunctioning elevators, pitch black stairwells and cocaine and PCP addicts on nearly every floor.
Fiends are really lurking in the shadows here in these towers. You're crazy if you're not always looking over your shoulder. McCoy lived at the end of a corridor on the 11th floor of the building at fourteen forty West 13th Street today. So that's that's how that article starts. And I will basically try to sum the rest of it up for you because it is an unbelievable and very dense story.
But basically feeling just the first paragraph is chilling. So here's how it starts at eight forty five on the night of April 22nd. Nineteen eighty seven, Chicago's 911 dispatch gets a call from a 52 year old woman named Ruthie Mae McCoy. She lives in the near west neighborhood of Chicago in a public housing complex called Abdellah in the Grace Abbott Homes High Rise Building in apartment 11 09. And she's calling to report something unbelievable that's happening in her bathroom. In a panic voice, she tells the dispatcher, quote, Some people next door are totally tearing this down, you know, and quote, Ruthie's disjointed sentences make it hard for the dispatcher to understand what's actually going on.
He asks her if people are trying to break in and she replies, yeah, they throwed the cabinet down. I'm in the projects. I'm on the other side. You can reach can reach my bathroom. They want to come through the bathroom. Unsure of how to categorize this report, the dispatcher sends police to respond to a, quote, disturbance with a neighbor. The police are so slow in responding that 911 one dispatch gets two more calls, one at nine oh two and another at nine for almost twenty minutes after the first 911 call, both from neighbors of Ruthie's reporting.
They've just heard gunshots in apartment 11, 09. I got so when the cops arrive at about ten after nine for police officers, bang on Ruthie's door and announce themselves, but no one answers. One of the officers tells dispatch, we think there may be someone in there holding somebody. The officers have dispatch call back on the number Ruth called in from and they listen from the hallway as her phone rings and rings. But no one ever picks it up.
One of the officers radios, two others that are standing outside of the building and tells them to go down to the housing office. That's a block away to get the spare key to Ruth's apartment. When they come back with it, the key doesn't fit. So then they discuss breaking into Ruth's apartment, but instead they decide to knock on her neighbor's doors to try to gather more info, info about what's going on. The apartment next door, 11 08 is vacant.
The neighbors across the hall don't answer, and the neighbors down the hall don't have much information to share except for that Ruth, quote, always answers her door. One officer report reportedly tells dispatch there's no answer. So I don't know if maybe she answer to the wrong person or what. But even with that grave suspicion and two separate reports of gunshots being heard at eight forty eight thirty eight minutes after trying to contact Ruth, the police give up and leave the scene.
She was calling in distress from her house and there were gunshots being reported. Like, you just have to break the door down at that point and you have no way to confirm with her that that the emergency is over. That doesn't make any sense.
Yeah, it does.
If you live in the projects. Right. Essentially is what we're going to find out. Right. A neighbor named Deborah Lezley who lives down the hall, sees Ruth every morning when she drops by Deborah's apartment to say hi on her way out for the day. And she also drops by when she comes back home on her way back to her apartment. But on Wednesday, April twenty third. Deborah doesn't get any visits from Ruthie. So with the cops banging on the door the night before, Deborah is very worried.
So she calls the police for a wellness check. And six officers, along with a few Chicago Housing Authority security guards, show up to check on Ruthie again. They knock and knock, but again, no one answers. And the police start talking about breaking down the door. But Chicago Housing Authority security guards stop them. They warn the police might face a lawsuit from the tenant for an unlawful break in and the police would not would be responsible for immediately replacing a broken down door, which can be like it's got to be 50 bucks.
Right? It's like deciding that's not worth the trouble.
The police leave Ruthie's apartment without any real investigation again. So now, Deborah, Lezley is sure something's terribly wrong. She waits till the next day before she can get any help. She calls the project office. And at one o'clock on Friday, April 24th, someone from the office arrives with a carpenter who drills through the lock in Ruthie's door. And once the doors opened inside, they find Ruthie's body lying on her side, on her bedroom, on the bedroom floor, in a pool of blood.
There are papers and coins scattered around the room and four bullet holes are in her body. There's one in her left shoulder, one in her left thigh, a third in her abdomen on the right side, and a fourth that's going through her upper right arm. And that bullet cut through her chest and into her pulmonary vein. And at four thirty five p.m. on Friday, April 24th, she's pronounced dead from internal bleeding. So we'll tell you a little bit about Ruthie Mae McCoy.
She was born in Hughes, Arkansas, in thirty five, one of eight children hoping to find more job opportunities. The McCoy family moved to Chicago's South Side neighborhood, but of course, its works hard to come by there to. Ruthie's dad eventually finds work loading coal for distribution around the city. But the pay isn't very good and the family struggles even harder. In Chicago, Ruthie goes to Phillips High School for about a year before dropping out in 10th grade, presumably to help with such a big family and by working and by taking care of her siblings.
But in her 20s, Ruthie's behavior starts to change. Relatives notice that she talks to herself and experiences sudden fits of rage. And of course, this wasn't a time when mental illness was talked about or widely known. So there's a chance her family did not know even what was going on with her. And even if they did, they didn't have the resources to get her any proper treatment. So Ruthie's mental illness goes undiagnosed and untreated as she gets older.
She works as a Laundromat attendant and a housekeeper, as well as holding down other odd jobs. But her declining mental health makes it tough for her to keep any job for a sustained period of time. And in between jobs, she relies on government assistance to get by. Ruthie's mother is a devout Baptist. She raises her children in the church, and Ruthie's brother Haywood grows up to become a preacher. And he attributes all of these problems to her stepping out of God.
He prays for Ruthie's health, but says for God to intervene, quote, People have got to want help. So when she's twenty seven, Ruthie gets pregnant, although she never marries. In 1962, at age 27, she gives birth to her only child, a daughter named Vernita. So Ruthie cares for Vinita as best she can, but her untreated mental health issues make it the already difficult job of being a single mother. Even tougher, Ruth is hospitalized several times and Vernita is placed in rotating care, the rotating care of relatives and friends.
And although doctors sometimes prescribe her medication, Ruthie doesn't always take it. Or if she does, she gets taking it and then she runs out and she can't afford to get any refills and her problems just start over again. As a child, Vernita remembers seeing her mother talk to herself and curse at strangers, but she never understood why. So Ruthian Vernita spend the next 20 years living in a series of low income apartments on the south and west side of Chicago.
When VirnetX is in her early 20s, she becomes a mother herself. But a year later, in 1983, she gets arrested on an aggravated battery charge and is sentenced to a short stint in Cook County jail. So while VirnetX is in jail, Ruth has left to take care of her one year old grandchild in their Humboldt Park apartment basement apartment until the day that it floods.
And they're forced out of a unable to afford another move because you know how expensive it is trying to get a new apartment first, last, whatever else is involved. You have to have a big chunk of cash usually. So Ruthe applies for emergency housing. Chicago Housing Authority housing. So we'll talk about the Chicago Housing Authority a little tiny bit. The ABLA Homes is one of Chicago's public housing projects that's located in the near West Side neighborhood. These letters stand for each of the four developments of the complex.
So there the Jane Addams Homes, Robert Brooks Homes, Lumis Courts and Grace Abbott homes. The first of these for the Jane Addams Homes is built in 1938 under Roosevelt Public Works Administration program. And the last the Grace Abbot homes where Ruthie would eventually live is built in 1955. Only the Brooks homes remain standing today. They provide three hundred and thirty low income housing units. But at its height the Abbey L.A. had three thousand five hundred and ninety six units and housed as many as seventeen thousand residents during the 80s.
Grace about homes, which was made up of two, three, two storey row homes and then seven high rise buildings. It's the home to roughly 30 600 people, all of whom are black. Most of them are below the age of 18. Tons of young people. Yeah.
According to a 1980 census, the average yearly income for families in Grace Abbott is forty five hundred dollars a year. Oh, my gosh. The only moderately wealthy residents here are the drug dealers. So there's a drug dealing gang called the paymasters that are a prominent force in Gray Sabbat. They take they often will take over empty units so they can operate anonymous anonymously. And if anyone reports them to the to the police, they're known to respond by pouring gas on the snitches front door and setting it on fire.
Wow. So violent crime is rampant in Abdellah. And in 1986, the city of Chicago has a violent crime rate. The whole city of about twenty two point nine crimes per 1000 residents. The ablaze rate sits at forty seven point eight violent crimes per 1000 residents. So the Grace Abbott is the Grace Abbott. High rises have a reputation for being the most dangerous buildings in all of those projects. So in his 1987 reader, Chicago Reader article, reporter Steve Fujairah cites in 1972 study of New York City high rises conducted by housing expert Oscar Newman.
And Newman's big takeaway is that high rises are the worst kind of buildings that you can use for public housing because they promote anonymity, which makes it easy basically for shady characters to hide. And it's difficult to build a strong community in a in a setup like that. A Chicago historian and architecture expert named Devro Bolie Jr. describes Grace Abbott Homes directly in his 1978 book on Chicago Public Housing The Poor House saying, quote, More than any project built in Chicago to that date, which was 1955, the overall feeling of Abbott homes is forbidding and the human scale completely lost.
So, of course, Ruthie is well aware of the ABA's reputation. So in May of 1983, in need of a new place to live within Chicago's public housing program really tries her hardest to avoid winding up in one of those high rises. She writes the two letters first asking to be placed near her family in the South Side's Wentworth Gardens. And the second letter just asking to be placed anywhere but in a high rise. Despite her efforts, Ruthie is placed in Apartment 11 and nine in Grace Abbott Homes, Weishaupt high rise building and also just feels like calling the police from there, even if they were on it.
What takes it seems like it's like a maze, you know, to even get to that front door or her front door, which seems like a well, is not just a maze in the building itself, but actually this this series of buildings and the way things are set up. Originally it was designed. They took out all the streets and it was designed. They they replaced it with these garden areas, thinking that that would encourage like encourage the people that lived there to sit outside and socialize and, like, build a community.
But of course, instead, what it made it incredibly difficult for, like first responders to get inside or people you had you did have to know your way around it to get in. It made it even more isolated. Wow.
So. From 1983 to 1985, which was their first two years at Abla, Ruthe shared her apartment with her daughter, Vernita Freney, and his two children and her boyfriend, his boyfriend, Lewis Butler. They all got along great at first because they love spending time with her grandkids. But Ruthie and Lewis start to butt heads because Lewis reminds Ruthie of learned his father and she accuses him of running around on her daughter. By 1985, Vernita Lewis and the kids move out of the apartment.
So now Ruthie's alone there. Yeah, and she she's alone with her mental illness as well. So and now she's this you know, she's upset. She misses her family. She misses her grandkids. And this she starts it starts affecting the way she treats her neighbors because there's kids everywhere and she's always in arguments with kids. She thinks their music's too loud. She thinks they're being a nuisance. It's always it's very upsetting to her to basically have these kids around, but not her grandkids.
She starts carrying a stick around that she threatens the kids with when things get out of hand. And, of course, they make fun of her. She has a reputation for being strange, of course, with the mental illness issues. And police respond to these incidents more than one occasion, but nothing serious ever comes of it. They know her not as a violent person, but just someone who's argumentative. On top of all that, as you know, the article, the chunk of the article that I read to you, living alone in such a dangerous place is just ramping up.
Ruthie's paranoia about being mugged or even worse, shows that it's likely, you know, she becomes obsessed with locks.
She has her locks changed on her door twice. She also develops a habit of turning her neighbors doorknobs and reprimanding anyone who leaves their door unlocked out.
Smart. Yeah, she is the original lock your fucking door. If she does the same with cars in the neighborhood, setting off car alarms when she tests whether or not the car doors are locked.
So add it is the thing of like you're you already have like even if you just lived in anywhere, you would already have this. If this was your mental illness, you already have this paranoia, but then you have great reason to be paranoid. So her behavior grows stranger and stranger.
Over time, of course, neighbors noticed that she makes snow angels in the dead of winter. She also is in the middle of the hottest summer. She'll be wearing thick layers. Her weight fluctuates, fluctuates to extreme degrees. But the first truly serious situation arises on August 10th, 1986, when Ruthe brings VirnetX, his oldest child, Bobby, who was four years old at the time, to the E.R. at Rush Presbyterian St. Luke's Medical Center. And Bobby has deep cuts on his face, his arms and his legs, she reports Bobby fell down the stairs while she was babysitting him.
But the health care workers there find Ruthie's behavior odd, of course. So they start to start to suspect that maybe she pushed Bobby down the stairs.
So they call the Department of Children and Family Services. Ruthie is outraged. Of course, the E.R. staff has to restrain her until Vernita arrives or Vernita takes Bobby home. And there is no they you know, she basically explains what's going on. There's no interference with the DCF. Yes. But she before she leaves, she signs papers committing her mother to the Illinois State Psychiatric Institute for evaluation and for treatment.
But it is and it's worth noting here that it's very common. It's a very common thing that we're all definitely hearing about more and more in these days in the white community of how racist health care, health care workers can beat black people where the worst is assumed. You come in with your grandchild and you're so worried, you know, whatever, and suddenly it's you're the one that did it. And you can imagine how infuriating that would be to to someone who's worried about the grandchild.
Yeah. So even though this seems like it's it's, you know, like kind of like a bottom for her at Espie, Ruthie is diagnosed with residual type schizophrenia and this variation is a bit more subtle, but sees consistent behavioral problems like social isolation, talking to yourself, acute superstitious ness and degressive speech patterns and, of course, paranoia. Wow. So Ruthie's discharged on September 19th, 1986, but she receives periodic treatment at Mt. Sinai State funded psychiatric center.
And this center serves a lot of other Abullah residents, some of whom have specific mental health issues and some who just seek refuge from the stress of life in the projects. It provides community support services for ruthe such as group therapy, arts and crafts, community meals and GED classes.
Yeah, and so we're pretty skeptical at first because she's consumed by years of feeling, unable to trust her neighbors, but she eventually warms up. And by early 1987, she finds real community at Mount Sinai. She goes to the center three times a week. She participates in group therapy and arts and crafts sessions, and soon she enrolled in the GED program. On her first day, she tests about a seventh grade level, but in a few short months she climbs up to a ninth grade level.
And her teacher, Linda Norman, describes Ruthie as an alert bright student. So Ruthie then becomes kind of a mother figure at Mount Sinai. There's a lot of young women there in like in these group sessions who are talking about these boyfriends. They live with them. They complain about, you know, wanting them to stay around. So they give them money. They you know, they want these relationships. And Ruthie tells all of them, I know men like this stay away from them.
You don't need them. Like she really enjoys that part of being able to, you know, in all her toughness, give the advice, give kind of very loving, motherly advice. According to a staffer named Sandy Siegel, Ruthie is warm and considerate and very well-liked in this group. So for the first time in her life, Ruth McCoy's mental illness is being treated and she's getting support services that she badly has needed for years and years. And she's finding a place in her community and things are starting to look up.
And now we come to Wednesday, April twenty second, which starts out like a normal day for Ruthie. She heads out to Mount Sinai in the morning, popping in to her neighbor, neighbor, Debra's apartment on the way out to say hi. She gets on the van that takes her to the treatment center. She spends the day involved in her regular slate of activities. And then toward the end of the day, she discusses her housing situation with Sandy Siegel and she tells her, I need help getting an apartment somewhere else.
I got to get out of there. And basically, she she now can get out because in September of 86, she applied for Supplemental Security Income. And in February of 87, she found out that she got it. So she got her monthly income now doubles instead of one hundred and fifty four dollars a month. She's now getting three hundred and forty dollars a month. And she then also gets back pay from when she applied in September. So she gets a check for almost two thousand dollars share.
So she plans to use most of the check for the deposit for a new apartment. But in the meantime, she uses it to buy a nice winter, like a good winter coat, and then, of course, some small household necessities that up until then she'd been forced to do without. So it's all it things are looking up for her. But her neighbors take notice of that eye on the van ride home that day. Ruthie tells the woman that was seated next to her.
Someone has threatened my life, but they're not sure if it's a real if it's real if it's paranoia or what. So would the woman suggest that Ruthie tell Mount Sinai employee the next time that she's there? But Ruthie shuts that down, saying that she doesn't want to get anyone else involved. But around nine o'clock the same night, Ruthie's fears will prove to be very valid. So after police discover Ruthie's body in apartment 11 09, they searched the place for clues.
And aside from a small change scattered on the floor, there's no money to be found anywhere. When Vanina arrives to speak with police, she tells them about the big check that her mother just got had just gotten and cash, even saying that she kept the cash in her apartment. And now that cash has gone along with Ruthie's 19 inch TV and her cane backed rocking chair. So Renita looks around the apartment and notices Ruthie's phone is missing also.
Eighty seven, so to her, her landline is gone, but when police got to the apartment the night of the attack, you remember they could hear the phone ringing, which means whoever broke in and murdered Ruthie was either still in the apartment when the police were standing outside or they came back after the police. My God, I have fucking goosebumps.
So which is just.
Yeah, it's just insanely tragic and frustrating that they were just right there and something really could have been done, especially if she died of internal bleeding, which can be.
You know, Robert might have been able to be helped.
Yeah, one of the officers, Detective Luser, checks the bathroom and notices the medicine cabinet is missing, revealing a cavity in the wall with easy access to the pipes, which is an intentional design so that plumbers can easily service any issues that arise in the building. And the other side, he can see the back of the medicine cabinet in apartment 11, 08. What they don't find in these apartment are fingerprints or any of the they find one bullet casing.
They don't find three of the four. So without much physical evidence, police questioned neighbors and they also discovered that apartment 11 Oades rent has been paid through May. But the people who stay there aren't on the lease. And one of these people is a young man named Tim Brown. And he says that the woman leasing 11 08 is an old friend who isn't staying there anymore. So she gave him the keys. And Brown claims to have spent the day of April twenty second in Apartment 11, 08, with this friend named Corey Flournoy.
And they spent that night partying on the far west side of town. Police then questioned Flournoy, who gives the same story about partying on the far west side. But the guys tripped themselves up when they give different accounts of where they slept that night. In a written statement, Tim Brown gives a new account of the events of April 22nd. He explains that he and Corey were hanging out in 11, 08, when three more friends came over Ronald Coleman, Edward Turner and John Hondros and Coleman heard of a new trick that some people in the building were using to rob adjacent apartments.
They found out that they could take off the medicine cabinets and get into what's called the pipe chase, which is the space between the walls and those passageways, even though they're only one and a half to two feet wide, are big enough for someone to slip through either to get into the next door apartment or to use an escape as an escape route. If someone is coming into the bathroom to get away in the walls, people in the wall.
I don't want that. It's horrifying.
And, yeah, it's it's horrifying, but it just makes all of it so much scary and so much crazier and that kind of thing where when she called 911, when she couldn't, she was saying, yeah, she couldn't, she didn't get it. She couldn't explain it. And the people talking to her, it sounded like just crazy ranting. Totally. And it was a complete reality in this building.
So so essentially, Brown, Coleman and Florini say they left the apartment and that's when Turner and Hondros decided to break into 11 09. So Brown, who claims he remained in 11 08, he can hear a woman call out who's there. Then he hears gunshots and sees Turner and Hondros leave 11 09, Turner holding a TV and Hondros holding the rocking chair. And he says they came back later to collect the shell casings. So armed with all this information, the police search for Edward Turner and John Hondros, they find Turner first a day later in his nearby Rome apartment, and a month and a half later, they find Hondros in his ninth floor, Grace Abbott apartment.
Both suspects suspects remain in custody until the trial. So the trial begins in March. Twenty seventh of nineteen ninety. So almost three years later, yeah, there's no media coverage of this. Murder is not does not make the Tribune. It doesn't make the Sun-Times. No one hears about it. So the only person in the courtroom who comes in Ruthe support is her brother Willie, who testifies for the prosecution talking about Ruthie's life and her character. And because the crime scene had been tampered with in the days between the murder and the discovery of her body, the prosecution has to rely on witness testimony to prove the case.
But there's so many different accounts of the events and all the different people involved, and they're all conflicting and changing information. It's hard to tell what's true and what's not. It takes three years from the date of Ruthie's murder for the trial to begin and then the trial itself last two years. But in the end, there isn't sufficient evidence to convict anybody of the crime. And both Hondros and Turner are found not guilty.
My God. In nineteen eighty eight, Vernita sues for the wrongful death of her mother. She argues that the design flaw of the building allowed for her mother's death.
Yeah, that it was extremely preventable, had made the medicine cabinets more permanent fixtures. It's unclear if she ever won that case back so that information might be out there. It's just that couldn't find it. But the the the problem is the Chicago Housing Authority, especially in the beginning, they they everything slowly became about saving money. Right. So originally the plan was every building was supposed to have three janitors. It all came down to one. There's they would they would skimp on every single thing.
They wouldn't fix anything. Of course, lights would go out in the hallways. They would you know, they would never be replaced. Or there was a janitor who went. He wanted to remain anonymous. So his name wasn't in the article, but he was talking about how you had to, like, go and get, you know, from the housing authority.
You had to go get the light bulbs and then you'd put them in and people would take the home because people needed things like light bulbs and like that, or people were smoking out of the light bulbs like, you know. So basically, it was just easier. And like everyone just had to adapt to this thing of like that's why all the hallways are dark, even though there's no exterior lighting. It's not like there's windows. So in these hallways, they even had like daylight.
It was just dark hallway like, oh, they and just completely abandoned, like the budgeting. Everything is just they they ghettoized this. As with that kind of neglect, the level of neglect is unbelievable. OK, so but sorry because I know this is so long, but it's just there's so much to the story. So according to the autopsy report, it's unlikely that Ruthe would have survived the attack even if she had been rushed to the hospital that night because one of the bullets hit her pulmonary vein but had the police, but had the first police officers on the scene, taken the initiative to enter her apartment, or if they had the proper spare key for the apartment, the culprits could have been caught at the time.
There would be no mystery surrounding the death and that it would have been a murder that was actually prosecuted, brought to justice. Fuck yeah. When reporter Steve Bidjara questions the officer's decision to walk away from Ruthie's apartment the night of April 22nd, this is going to shock you. They get defensive. Captain Raymond Riseley tells Brujeria he believes that most of the 911 calls that they get from the projects are hoaxes.
Do you still have to fucking look into them? I mean, what else are you doing? Is it is it not why you get paid? That's why some of them aren't. And you need to handle those.
What about that? When asked if there are any statistics to support that claim that they're hoaxes, Riseley says that they don't need a formal study. They know they're hoaxes based on, quote, the experience of the officers who regularly work those beats. We could drag this stuff out in a study, but it would be kind of expensive. Oh, everything you just said was only Ruthie's brother, William McCoy does his best not to let his anger at the whole situation get to him.
After Turner's and Honda Hondas acquittals, Woolie expresses his frustration. Frehley, quote, Justice does not proceed the way that it should. If that had been a white woman had been killed like that with two black guys charged, they would have been convicted. If that would have been a white woman that called the police like my sister did. You know they would have gone into her apartment. You know, it the whole system we're living in is corrupt. Wow.
Here's a a quote from that reader article. Quote, As for the police officers failure to enter McCoy's apartment, well, some nine one one stories are just more significant than others. The death of Nancy Clay, a white suburban white collar worker in a loop, high rise blaze in May. And indications that the 911 one system had failed her prompted weeks of media coverage, a city council investigation, a council hearing featuring testimony by the fire commissioner broadcast live on public radio and several proposed ordinances.
The performance of the police in the McCoy case didn't even merit a departmental investigation and quote, So this article was written in nineteen eighty seven and the horror movie Candyman was released in nineteen ninety two. So that. A horror movie is based on a short story by Clive Barker about a grad student researching urban legends, including one about the Candyman, who, if you say his name, into the bathroom mirror five times, he comes through it and kills you.
The grad student is white. The Candyman is black. Right. And there's there's kind of proof that basically they got the idea from Steve Bogucz 1987 article that basically went over like the details of living in these projects and how incredibly violent and incredibly frightening they were. And so here's one of the last quotes from Steve Rogers article. Quote, Robert Ebert gave the movie, Oh, this is sorry. This is another article actually that's about the connection of this movie to this story.
Quote, Roger Ebert gave the movie Three Stars, Urban legends tap our deepest fears. He observed one of the most subterranean involves the call for help that is laughed at or ignored.
And quote, for Roberte Roger Ebert. Ebert may not have realized that in the projects it was hardly a deep fear that calls for her help would be neglected. It was simply expected. If you want to know more about life in in these projects, there are two books that Steve Bougere recommends once called High Rise Stories, a collection of interviews from former project residents and another one by an author named Alex Kotlowitz. That's from nineteen ninety two and it's called There Are No Children Here, An Account of Life in the Horner Homes.
And that is the real life horror story of the murder of Ruthie Mae McCoy.
Oh my God, I feel like I got hit by a bus. That's like. Have yeah, it's just the detail, the details of something like that, where you think, oh, it's like, yeah, from the outside, it's like I remember seeing the picture underneath the thread and the drawing from the reader. Article nineteen eighty seven is like, you know, it's almost like skeleton hands coming out of the back of the mirror. Yeah. Which is of course horrifying and scary and, and like a horror movie.
And then you read the article and you realize that the people in these places, a lot of them were living in a horror movie.
And the fact that I mean, just zero follow up on the protocol of anyone, anyone of authority involved from the from the housing projects not having the right key and then the officers not following up that night to get the correct key, whether or not they wanted to break the door down or not to the nine one one operator.
Yeah, it's just that there's no nobody cared. Nobody cared. Nobody cared. It really is like, you know, the big banner you put on it. I think in discussions with people who really know what they're talking about is like this is an example of systemic oppression. Right? This is that example of if you have to live in these buildings and then this is what you have to live with. And then when you live in a place like that, why wouldn't you want to get high?
Why wouldn't you want to escape? That was like this, the idea that these things kind of feed into each other. And then from the outside, there are people who feel justified in saying, oh, they're like that kind of they're doing it to themselves or they don't matter as much because that's your that's your place in life.
And United States, if it's your choice. Right. As if it's your choice and and and not that that's this very rigged system. Totally. Yeah.
There's actually a documentary, it's a it's a documentary called The Prewett. I go I go the route, I go Mith from 2011. That is so excellent. And it's examines the development and failure of a 1950s housing housing estate in St. Louis. So St. Louis. But it's so similar in and the reason they were built, the people they put into it and just threw them away.
And you know what? What happens when you house people in that situation and take away street names and, you know, don't, you know, don't take care of the building? So it's called the Prewett I go myth and I highly recommend it. It's so incredible. It looks like it's on Pluto for free.
I feel like if you don't know what it's like and that was like, you know, documentary footage of that time, it's really excellent. Fucking great job. I'm so glad you covered that. I know.
Me too. All right, well, I have a story for you. Good, good. It takes place in New Orleans in a similar time period. This is the story. Someone suggested this to me on Twitter and I had never heard of it. It's the story of Jacqueline Davis, who was the first black woman to serve as a homicide detective in New Orleans. Whoa.
I know. OK, awesome. That's nice. This will take a little screwing up word, I think. Well, OK. Some shit went down. Really.
I can't imagine that there was corruption involved, if you can believe it. But this is a strong female lead for Women's History Month, and this woman is incredible. So I'm really excited to tell her story. I got information from the website called The Appeal, an article by Ethan Brown, which was really helpful.
Viona Levy Dog Article by Shana Prince with a Z, an article by Michael Perlstein, The Clarion Herald Dawg article, an Ebony article about her from nineteen ninety one that was done by Roxann Brown and some other places on the Internet. There's not a ton of information or there's like repeating stories, but I feel like this woman's story is incredible. So Jacqueline Davis was born on February six, 1957 in Cleveland, Ohio, when she was just three years old.
Her father, who was a delivery driver, died in a car accident while on his runs and her mother was also injured. So unfortunately, her mom kind of had a nervous breakdown after this. And so she ended up mismanaging the lawsuit against her father's employer, as well as the inheritance he left behind.
Because of this, Jacqueline and her younger brother were sent to New Orleans so they could move in with their great aunt, Mabel Walker and her husband, Willie, who was a merchant marine. So they lived in a shotgun home in the historically black central city neighborhood. So here's a little fun fact. Mabel Walker, the great aunt, was known as Madea and across the street, their neighbor. No, I swear to God, was Tyler Perry.
I like that's all I know. And I never saw any article that said that, like, that was the connection. I didn't really look up, if that's what he he's ever said that.
But her fucking nickname was Madea. And it sounds like she was just like big character.
Oh, wow. That's that's I didn't realize we were going to kick this story off with some Madea origin story.
I thought, like, it had a good luck. Yeah. So fuckin amazing. And and that takes place in New Orleans, too, right? Yeah, because Tyler Perry is from there in the in the home. Madea tried to provide the children with a normal loving household. Sounds like she was a very caring caregiver. But here's the thing on the side. She was kind of a madam of sorts for the merchant Marines that came through town with her husband when he was in and out of port and they would board at his house, at their house.
So Madea also worked at a nearby bar called Shadowland, and the spa kind of had a violent reputation, as did the neighborhood. And it was during one of those violent altercations that Jacklin witnessed that kind of made up her mind of that fact that she wanted to be a cop when she grew up. What happened was she witnessed a man brutally assaulting a woman near the bar. And she says she remembers watching as the man punched and bit the woman. But then to her surprise, the woman starts fighting back and ended up beating the crap out of her attacker.
And then the cops showed up and she was like, oh, this is trouble. And it turned out that the woman in question was a detective and not just detective, a detective, but a black detective. So her mind was blown. It was in the 70s, you know, and women accounted for roughly two percent of the police officers and people of color made up around six percent of police officers. So this was like an anomaly. And from that moment on, Jackie vowed to work in the police force.
She said, quote, I just became not obsessed that every time I saw this woman, her name was Gail Miller, a.k.a. Kristy Love. I was just in awe. She says this policewoman inspired me because I wasn't a weakling. I was a loner and I was a loner because I stuttered and people used to make fun of me so I would never talk. And this woman, I mean, she just did something to me. I just had never had a black woman to look up.
You know, I had always, unfortunately, been told I wasn't going to be nothing. Oh, I love that this becomes her like inspiration. Mm hmm. So despite media trying to create a happy, supportive home, it sounds like Jaclyn's life was pretty chaotic.
One time, a man who was staying over in their front room raped her when she was very young. And when she told her Amadiya about it, she says her Amadei grab her shotgun and fucking took off looking for the guy. And Jaclyn says she never found out what happened to him, but said, quote, If you knew Mable Walker. Davis says she was also, unfortunately, sexually abused by her great uncle who began molesting her at age nine.
And it went on for five years until he became sick and died when she was 14 years old. Hmm. I know. So she definitely went through a lot as a child.
But meanwhile, she excelled in school and then she got pregnant when she was just 15. She gave birth in 1974 and named her daughter Christina. And then when she was 17, Midia passed away and Jackie was still able to finish school, high school, and she headed to college at the University of New Orleans, where she studied chemistry.
But being unable to afford child care, she was forced to drop out. So she then worked menial jobs for a while to make ends meet. But by the time she was 20, she was homeless and had to live in her car with her daughter. They used a Burger King bathroom to freshen up and she said, quote, That's when I decided to turn things around. I couldn't put my daughter through that.
So she was finally ready to pursue her childhood dream of joining the police force. It took her five attempts to pass the test to become an officer, but she finally did in 1979. And she chose the New Orleans Police Department's urban squad as her first assignment. So this meant she had to patrol the major housing projects in both the city and the West Bank, the area across the Mississippi River on its western banks. She says she was assigned to public housing since the drug dealers.
They had this scheme going where they use women as like they're like middle man because they were less suspicious for drugs and weapons, because they were stealthier.
But it made it so that having a female officer on patrol there, it was easier and more comfortable to search those women.
And they kind of cooperated a little more with a woman detective. So she went on to be assigned to different districts around the vice squad, including the French Quarter and the in the early 80s, which was just a treacherous, dangerous time in New Orleans, the street level sex work was rampant and it jaclyn's soft spoken this and small demeanor. She was just five foot three. It made it so she didn't have this intimidating, you know, typical cop presence.
She was more affable and having grown up in a home where sex work was the norm, she wasn't judgmental and she had this special ability to deal with the issues that arise in that profession. She said, quote, I knew about prostitutes and pimps having lived with them most of my life. And that ability to get people to open up and talk, especially in these gritty our neighborhoods, got her attention from her superiors. She moved over to narcotics and was eventually assigned to the rape investigation unit, where she solved a hundred percent of her cases and was able to provide treatment to each and every victim.
You know, she says that working on rape cases felt like therapy to her after having been a victim herself. And the Ebony article I spoke about, she said, quote, It made me stronger and able to deal with what happened to me. She said she was instrumental in arresting serial rapist David Fleury, who terrorized New Orleans in the mid 1980s and was eventually given a mandatory life sentence on each of two counts of aggravated rape. So she just like has these cases that she's clearing where other officers can't.
She is finally transferred to what is known as the most elite of all the units homicide, where there was just one other woman on the team at the time who was white and there was only at the time for.
And there was only at the time, out of 24 officers, only four were black. And so she was the first black woman to serve as a homicide detective in New Orleans, which is extraordinary. Davis says about the other female officer, quote, They accepted her, but they didn't accept me because for one thing, I was black. I'm a dark skinned black woman. And then I was arrogant. I knew I was good at what I did.
She was like, yeah, she should have known that.
And this gets so I mean, this get the dark. Her colleagues tormented her. You know, they would smash family photos on her desk. They'd post photos of Aunt Jemima and her work area. They even place a dog shit in her desk drawer. They would fuck with her ability to perform her job by telling. So Tipster's would call in and there were much needed tipsters on her big cases and they'd say to them, she doesn't work here anymore and like, hang up on them.
And then they would rip her case files to shreds. Jesus Christ. You know, so like, if you ever.
Yeah, I mean, it's the thing of like, yes, you've gotten here, but you've had to work ten times harder than anyone else at it, which means you're ten times better at your job. Yes.
And she already had like a perfect record. It's I bet you that made the dumb racist ones really pissed off. Absolutely.
And it's already such a nasty environment.
And then it's like how, you know, how dare you how dare you excel these fragile, fragile male egos that are so easy to smash or if I can do it, it got so bad that her supervisor and mentor from the time David Morales started having to keep her files in the trunk of his car.
For her, it's nonsensical because it's like get rid of that.
Yeah. And it's like you have this hope that you join the police force because you want to do good. And like I said, so it boggles the mind.
He said, quote, As bad as it got, she never complained. She just wanted to be accepted and she would take whatever they did to her. She persevered, and despite the aggression she endured, her track record was stellar, she solved eighty eight out of ninety murder cases assigned to her in the nineteen nineties Jesus all and she's in her mid thirties at this point.
David Morales said she, quote, was the best I ever saw at solving a murder case and that her instincts were spot on and she had a knack to get normally reluctant witnesses to talk, and therefore she was able to regularly crack cases other detectives had given up on. Wow. On one murder case where the perpetrator found out that she was the detective assigned to the case, turned himself in saying, quote, I figured you'd catch up to me anyway.
Whoa. No, it's just like the running running.
And they turn and look around behind them like this for forget it, forget it. New Orleans was a notoriously dangerous place at the time, as I'm sure you can imagine. In fact, between August 1986 and December 1986, there was a gunman on a killing spree. He committed eight murders and oftentimes the assailants he targeted were couples, which is just, you know, you think you're safe when you're in a couple walking down the street and you're not.
And he also committed several rapes and armed robberies.
So Jacqueline pursued leads that other officers had blown off and ignored, including looking into a witness who always happened to be on the scene of these crimes and have had a habit of approaching the homicide detective to like give his statement. And she notices that she said this guy would commit the murders and stay on the scene and go up to the homicide officer and pretend to be a witness of the murder he committed. She says, quote, And the detectives took him to the homicide office and took a statement from him, first of all, that they were all saying, well, serial killers aren't black, so it's not him totally blowing him off.
They had him in their sights and they just blew him off when she, you know, she pointed him out. She said the detectives took him up to the homicide office and took a statement statement from him as a witness. Well, I wind up getting the case, wind up clearing the case and making a name for myself that a lot of the detectives started getting pretty much upset about.
So, yeah, she's clearing these cases and they're mad because they it. Yeah. And but also doing it in that smart way where clearly it's like it's that thing where it's all of her or her past becomes this huge advantage. Right. Because she's seen a bunch of shit and she's lived through a bunch of shit and she's been there. So it's that that kind of thing of like it. She's she has a sense about things because she's she's like of the of the world of that and can see through that kind of stuff.
Yeah. Love it so much.
And it is like, yeah, you're right. It's like these other people are seeing the world through their shades and you know, through what their experiences instead of what life is really like and like not judging people because they've been in those situations before.
So it's just it's and also and you should everyone should try it.
But it's also called just fucking paying attention, which a lot of people say they do and pretend to do. But I actually don't do. But when you have, you know, like are in situations where you kind of like are on your own, like a kid that essentially was orphaned, you have to you have to pay very close attention. And like, you have to anticipate things like she just was so wise, it sounds like. Yeah, totally.
You know, she loved that. Yeah. She was getting a ton of attention for how good she was at her job. She won awards. She was invited to speak across the country. She was featured in a ton of articles like in Parade, Ebony, Essence, Reader's Digest and Jet in the early nineties, just to name a few. And at one point it was seemed inevitable that her life would be turned into a movie. And in fact, Quincy Jones and Whoopi Goldberg at one time were competing to make a movie of her life.
So, yeah. So again, dangerous, violent time in New Orleans during the year. During nineteen ninety four alone, there were four hundred and twenty four recorded homicides. Mayor Marc Morial said, quote, The city's soul is in jeopardy.
One murder victim was nine year old James Darby, who had just written then-President Bill Clinton a letter begging him to help stop the violence in his city.
He wrote, he's nine years old. He wrote, quote, People is dead. And I think that somebody might kill me. So would you please stop the people from getting I ask you nicely to stop it.
I know you can do it. Ten days later, on Mother's Day, he was in a park in New Orleans when he was shot and killed by a stray bullet that had been fired by a 15 year old who was trying to settle a score with a rival. And I think that got headlines. Jacqueline was promoted from homicide detective to a position in internal affairs, which was a very sensitive position because it put her in charge of investigating complaints against fellow officers.
So they already have a grudge against her. I mean, this is like doubling down on that. Yeah, she slipped up on one case when she gave conflicting, contradictory accounts at a civil service hearing against an officer regarding her surveillance of that officer. Basically, when she was asked if she saw her colleague who was accused of protecting and using cocaine with a known drug dealer at a residence, she said she didn't. But later she contradicted herself and said that she had seen him.
It seems like it was just a slip up. And in fact, she had immediately corrected herself.
And her boss insisted, quote, This is not perjury. It's just a discrepancy and a statement. But she was still suspended from the New Orleans Police Department for perjury for 30 days. So it definitely seems like they tried, you know, if it had been someone else, someone that hadn't been so, you know, had had so many enemies, she would have been fine. But because it was her, they wanted retaliation. Yes, of course.
So over the next eight years, Jacqueline was shuffled around to different districts, worked a lot of night shifts. And though she continued to earn departmental commendations because of her excellent work, the hype around her started to die down. And I'm sure the hype rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, too, because they thought they deserved it somehow or they had these big egos or they were just jealous. Yeah, exactly. The hype around surrounding her started to die down, which she says she was a little relieved about.
It seems like she was kind of an introvert, although she have this big, bright smile and was like seemed so welcoming. So Kristina, her daughter or only child, she had grown up and become a successful woman. She was a high school teacher with a master's degree in physics, and she now had a child of her own. It was Jaclyn's beloved grandson, Colin.
So this was normal for officers. I don't know if it now happens as well. But in their time off in July of 2001, Jacqueline was hired to work as an off duty security guard for a private party at the Sheraton Hotel in New Orleans on Canal Street downtown. So it is like a high end affair. It was held in connection with the Essence Festival and after working the four day event.
So it's it's blurry.
But Jackie got into a verbal altercation with the promoters because they refused to pay for the security detail, the agreed amount, and that included her and her other officers payment, including her partner, Lieutenant Sam Lee.
So this promotors wouldn't pay. Finally, finally, they reached an agreement about the payment. And Jackie was like, OK, but I'm getting a sign receipt just to make sure that everyone knows there was no funny business, there was nothing weird going on. She gets a signed receipt before leaving the hotel with their payment.
And, you know, it's signed by one of the promoters, this dude named Tim Crockett. So despite it being settled, the promoters took the issue to the New Orleans PD and filed a complaint against Jackie and her partner.
They said that's Jackie. And Samuel demanded double the agreement price and intimidated them with their guns. And despite Jackie not being named in the original complaint, both Jackie and Samuel went to trial in August 2002. Oh, whoa. Yeah. So they took the word over this promoter of the promoters over there, their own police, which, of course, everyone should be looked into. It's not like, you know.
But this is a person who has like a stellar record and has busted her ass and done it all and still is like the second anyone comes in and goes, she may have fucked up. It's like, well, then get like that thing where it's like how how much more can you give. Yeah. What would this be like if it were a white man, you know.
And she had a receipt which they lost her fuckin attorneys lost that receipt that she gave them.
They were prosecuted by U.S. Attorney Sal Paracon. Jurors were never able to hear her side of the events, including, of course, her unwavering argument that she was innocent because her attorney didn't want. To testify since it would give prosecutors an opportunity to question her about that way back perjury charge, so it's almost like, yeah, you got a slap on the wrist way back then, but it's going to haunt you forever and it's going to come back and bite you in the ass, you know, so, like, it just sucks.
That was from 1994 and it's 2002 at this point, you know, and they would still be able to question her integrity. So and they lost the fucking signed receipt. So the acting U.S. attorney, Jim Letten, admitted that Davis's role in the case was not equal to her partner, Liese, a fact which then led them to offer her a generous plea bargain for her testimony against Lee, who was, of course, her friend, which she refused despite the fact that she said they threatened to add a tax evasion charge if she didn't cooperate.
Wow. Yeah, but she sounds completely illegal.
Ultimately, Jacqueline Davis was indicted in federal court on extortion and conspiracy and ordered to pay two thousand dollars in restitution and was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison.
No way. Yeah. So one of the most celebrated cops in the history of the New Orleans PD, who broke down barriers as the first black woman to become a New Orleans homicide detective, had a near perfect record of solving cases after 21 years of experience. Davis, now 45 years old, was sent to federal prison and suspended from the police force. Her daughter broke down in sobs at hearing her mother's verdict. She left behind her daughter and seven year old grandson, Colin, who told her that he wanted to grow up to be a police officer just like her mom.
After she was locked up, it emerged that Tim Crockett, the promoter who would file charges against them, had a history of extorting money, having given a bad check to a nightclub in New Orleans just a month before the incident with Jackie. And that charge was dropped when Crockett made those payments a couple of weeks after Jackie's trial.
So the prosecuting attorney must have known during the trial about those bad checks and never. It's called the Brady violation, essentially. He had a bunch of other lawsuits against him going due to financial disputes, some of which resulted in judgments against him and his company. And none of that was disclosed at the trial, even though it sounds like it's inevitable that they knew about it.
Yeah, both Lee and Davis filed for acquittals. They were unsuccessful. Jackie served a three month sentence and it sounds like she was put in general lockup. And so she was like, I'm a police officer. That's really dangerous for me. But a lot of the women in prison with her had heard about her and read about her. And they were like, we got your back the whole time. Really?
Yeah, I was I genuinely was worse. I know. Yeah, this is bad.
They're like they got you your legit says, yeah, I love that much.
It says so much if you're a police officer in prison and they're like, you're cool. Yes. Yeah. She was a legend. So she served her 30 month sentence. It drained her bank account. All the legal fees, her telephone and electricity were turned off. Her car was repossessed, and she was forced to move into a halfway house in New Orleans. So she's a celebrated figure. And this fall from grace is so dramatic and awful. Push, push from grace.
From grace. That's right. Her 20 year career as a police officer was over quote.
She said, quote, It was like all the pain I hadn't heard in my life finally caught up to me. I realized that I had been using my job as an officer as therapy, and suddenly that was all taken away from me. She took a job at the law office of her post conviction attorney Laurie White.
So meanwhile, Sal Paracon, the man that Jackie says fuckin destroyed her life, the prosecuting attorney would remain a successful prosecutor for many years.
Jackie would maintain that a guilty verdict was due to his misconduct due to the fact that he knew of Crockett's history of extortion and didn't disclose it at the trial. And in fact, in 2011, she was fucking right, proved to be right. There were there are multiple claims and lawsuits, it turned out, filed against him regarding his misconduct, including racist comments he made about people of color using multiple pseudonyms online.
Investigations of Paracon gross misconduct led to him being disbarred, and his commentary led to a defamation suit. He had posted more than 2600 comments. And Nola Dotcom, the website of the New Orleans Times-Picayune between November 2007 and March 2012. Twenty six hundred comments using my different fake user accounts between one hundred and two hundred comments related to matters being prosecuted by his office at the time that he posted.
So she's fucking piece of shit corruption.
Nerka know he even allegedly admitted to intentionally not disclosing Tim Crockett's previous offenses to win the case. Holy shit, I saw that in one article. I don't know. I said allegedly. So I'm not totally sure on that. I just like the idea that some some hacker, whoever they hired got in there. It was just like it's like, oh, it's this guy.
In addition to being disbarred, his online comments forced a federal judge to overturn the conviction of the cops who shot unarmed civilians on the Danziger Bridge in the aftermath of Katrina. And they later received much reduced sentences and it derailed the investigation. And then it also derailed an investigation into crooked landfill businesses and the Jefferson Parish.
So he he just caused a lot of harm to the criminal justice, to the criminal justice system, completely corrupted. His office and the people of his city. That's right. So in the end, he argued that the court should consider mitigation, consider in mitigation. This is his excuse. It's almost like the Ambien excuse that he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder as the result of his experiences during his former career as a police officer and FBI agent.
So he was like, give me leniency. I have post-traumatic stress.
I was racist online because I have PTSD. Yeah, I was racist and did so many, obviously.
You know, legally wrong activities for 10 years, because I had PTSD and sandbagged very highly decorated cops totally to jail because totally and so that's his story. And I think it's ongoing right now.
But to end on a more positive note, in 2013, Jaclyn's grandson, Collin, graduated from the prestigious high school St. Augustine, or he was a drum major and participated in the future business leaders of America and out of one hundred and eight students in his class.
He graduated 25th. Well, yeah, he was selected as a 2013 Louisiana scholar of the Horatio Alger Association, which helped him go on to study psychology at Xavier University of Louisiana. His grandmother, Jacqueline Davis, paid for his high school tuition and provided a loving home for him while his mother lived in Texas after Hurricane Hurricane Katrina about his mother and grandmother.
He said, quote, I was raised by them. Everything I've learned, I've gotten mostly from them. I cherish the women in my life and I plan on repaying them for all the hard work they've done for me.
So fucking sweet boy. Jacqueline later seemed relieved when she said in an interview that her grandson, of course, who has a child, wanted to someday join the New Orleans Police Department.
And later the feds said that he instead went into education. Oh, wow. That's really giving back. And I couldn't find any more information about him, but I thought that was really sweet. When she was interviewed last summer by Ethan Brown for the appeal, she was speaking about the coronavirus. But I think it's apropos of this story in her life. She said, quote, Everyone that I loved and continued to love, I say this I will meet you in the afterlife.
I have no regrets. God could take me tomorrow. I have lived my life. And that's the story, the heroic story of Jacqueline Davis, the first black woman to serve as a homicide detective in New Orleans.
Whoa, how bad ass is she?
Like, miraculously, right. That's such a good story. I love that detail.
She really. She went up against all of it and took those hits like she just she that's an unbelievable story.
Yeah, I feel like I feel like she needs more recognition and more articles written about her and, you know.
Yes, and more people to sing her praises, because what an incredible an incredible story. Great job. Thank you, Don. All right. Well, you know, thank you for listening.
We appreciate you guys so much. This is the fucking coolest thing we get to do in our lives. And thank you.
Thank you for your constant support, your constant interaction, and always letting us know every cool news story. Good. I mean, like these suggestions are from the listeners. And that's that's the coolest thing is is finding out a story that when somebody posts it to you and goes, you have to read this, you won't believe it. And then you actually that's the experience you have and you're just like, yes, thank you. So thank you to both of the listeners who suggested both of the stories.
That's right. And thanks, everyone, for listening.
Stay sexy and don't get murdered again by Elvis.
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