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Due to the graphic nature of this killer's crimes, listener discretion is advised. This episode includes discussions of murder and assault that some people may find offensive. We advise extreme caution for children.


Under 13, it was dim and the grimy motel room the are hung heavy with the smell of gasoline on the bed. Suzanne and Michael Bare Carson hunched over a mess of supplies. They were arming themselves for battle.


Among their tools were soda bottles, a gasoline jug and rags. All the things needed to make Molotov cocktails carefully.


They filled the bottles with gasoline, corked them with rags and packed the bombs into a backpack with their homemade arsenal.


The couple hiked out into the woods until recently. The forest was their home. They knew the people who lived there had shared their food and their drugs had lived in the rundown tree house that stood before them. But now it was a war zone and there was no room for sentiment in war, taking care not to drop any of their weapons.


Michael pulled a bottle from the backpack. He lit the rag and threw it at the wooden building. As the bottle shattered, it burst into flames and ignited the timber. Fire raced along the walls, dancing in Suzanne's eyes. She watched with glee, certain that at last her war had begun.


Hi, I'm Greg Polson.


This is Serial Killers, a podcast original. Every episode we dive into the minds and madness of serial killers. Today, we're finishing our dive into the witch killers Michael and Suzanne Bear.


Carson. I'm here with my co-host, Vanessa Richardson.


Hi, everyone. You can find episodes of Serial Killers and all other podcast originals for free on Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts to stream serial killers for free on Spotify. Just open the app and type serial killers in the search bar. Last time we tracked how a lifetime of visions led Suzanne to create her own perverted form of Islam and how Michael's desire for a cause brought him into Suzanne's orbit. Eventually driven by jealousy and psychosis, Suzanne convinced Michael to help her murder their friend.


Karen Barnes today will follow the murderous couple as they run from their past, begin a misguided campaign to bring their religion to the masses and continue their quest to rid the world of witches.


We've got all that and more coming up.


Stay with us. For years, Suzanne Barnes, sort of follower for her invented religion, perverted form of Islam. Meanwhile, Michael Carson spent much of his life searching for a cause to give his life meaning. So when the two met in 1977, it felt like destiny.


Suzanne told Michael that God had gifted her with visions amounting to divine instruction. However, her psychic ability was actually a symptom of what experts suspect was undiagnosed schizophrenia. In any case, Suzanne's interpretation of these visions as heaven sent messages suggests her desperation to reclaim control and a sense of power rather than anything truly divine.


Vanessa is going to take over and the psychology here and throughout the episode. Please note Vanessa is not a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist, but she has done a lot of research for this show.


Thanks, Greg.


Since childhood, Suzanne's so-called visions caused her to withdraw and feel isolated from society as an adult. Susanne's invented form of religion brought her a sense of control and meaning, and it's likely she wanted to grow her influence over others as well. In a study published in the Journal of Social Issues, researchers Aaron Kay and Richard IBRC found that people with extreme ideologies of external control, such as religious fundamentalism, are motivated by a desire for personal control and a feeling that the world makes sense.


So Susanne's extreme ideological fantasies perhaps reflected a desperate need to feel control over her chaotic mind. Oddly, it seems that her paranoia about witches and an approaching final war might have allowed her to feel powerful at last. And when Michael readily bought into the scheme, she found her true purpose as a leader.


Suzanne wasted little time abusing her newfound power over her lover.


In early 1981, she ordered thirty year old Michael to murder their friend Karen Barnes, telling him that Karen was the most powerful witch in San Francisco.


In reality, Karen's murder was motivated by 39 year old Susanne's jealousy, but eager to be rid of the flirtatious 23 year old Suzanne told Michael it was their duty to kill her. They were warriors of God, after all, and this was what was commanded of them. After brutally bludgeoning and stabbing Karen together, they knew it was time to leave the city, God's chosen warriors are not neither wanted to answer for their crimes, so they hitchhiked north.


Eventually, they made their way to southern Oregon. But with no money and few job prospects, they ventured into the woods, hoping to find shelter after wandering aimlessly for a while. They were delighted to find a vacant cabin to Suzanne and Michael.


The decrepit, filthy shack was a holy home, blessed by God, surrounded by nature. They had everything they needed, their healthy stash of drugs and each other. It was peaceful there for a while. But before long, Michael grew anxious about police, tracking them down for the first time.


It seems Michael questioned whether their half-baked religious quest to rid the world of witches was worth going to prison for. But Suzanne dismissed his trepidation, insisting that law would guide them through whatever life through with them.


Her visions were stronger now and for good reason. Not only was she surrounded by the glory of God's creation, she was also ingesting a decent amount of marijuana and hallucinogenic drugs. The stronger vision cemented Suzanne's conviction. Their cause was righteous in their minds.


Suzanne and Michael were bona fide witch hunters tasked with starting a world ending holy war, though it was clear they could accomplish neither goal languishing in the woods of Oregon. But before they could go anywhere, they needed to decide on a plan. They wouldn't spark apocalypse by killing one or two lone witches.


Usually it was Suzanne who pointed out the world's evils to Michael. One of her God given gift, she insisted, was the ability to sense witches. But after four years together, Michael picked up some tricks of his own and zeroed in on their next target.


Having read the Book of Revelation. Michael was convinced that their ultimate enemy was the devil, the master of witches. He also knew that the devil's earthly symbol was 666, and he used that knowledge to deduce that the newly elected president, Ronald Reagan, was the devil walking among them.


Reagan had to die, Michael declared, and it was his destiny to take him down further. Displaying her uncanny gift for prescience, Suzanne told Michael that her visions supported his quest.


It was foretold, but it seems Susanne's direct line to God was fuzzy because Michael wasn't destined to assassinate President Reagan. He wasn't the only one who had the idea, though. In March of 1981, when Michael saw that another man, John Hinckley Jr., failed in his attempt to kill the president, he was outraged.


But while her husband stewed over the botched attempt on the president's life, Suzanne had other things on her mind. After a month in the woods, they were out of money, food and wheat. And as ever, it was Michael's duty to solve Suzanne's problems.


So he decided that Los Angeles would be the best place for him to go. There he could gather supplies that would sustain them for the coming conflict. At first, Suzanne dismissed the plan, not wanting to let Michael out of her sight. But she was forced to admit there wasn't another logical solution.


But as he packed for the journey, Michael worried over the distinct lack of food. As ever, Suzanne had an answer courtesy of her visions. She explained that her diminished supplies were a sign from God that she was to endure a great fast while Michael was away. It would be a holy experience.


So bolstered by Suzanne's faith, Michael set out, intending to return with food and a renewed vigor for his duty hitching rides.


S He made it to Los Angeles in May of 1981 and made a beeline for Venice Beach, which was known for its hippie population and abundance of drugs, though he set out for L.A. with a clear goal of bringing supplies back to Suzanne.


Michael got sidetracked without her guidance. So instead of gathering food and drugs to take back to Oregon, he stole paper and markers to make signs alerting the world to the evils of Ronald Reagan, wanting to present one clear, unified message.


Michael also defaced the Venice Beach public restrooms with phrases like Revolution Now, Death to Reagan and Allahu Akbar Arabic for God is the greatest. He then hung the signs in areas popular with tourists, perhaps hoping they would help spread his message around the world while slapping posters up around Venice.


Michael felt inspiration to strike, and he gathered more scraps of paper to keep track of his thoughts. Before long, he was writing a treatise on his and Susanne's. And in his scribbles, he condemned President Reagan and his administration as well as religions he thought had too much power as a result of deals with the devil. As he wrote, Michael realized what his true destiny was to proselytize to the world and make them see the truth. He would hold Suzanne up as the prophet.


He knew her to be caught up in his newfound calling. It was several days before Michael remembered his wife was starving in the woods. He'd been gone for over a week. And even though God had ordered the fast, it was still a long time to be without food. Panicked, he started north. Along the way, he dug through dumpsters, picking through trash for scraps to bring back to his wife.


Back at the cabin, Suzanne was on the verge of starvation. The lack of food plunged her into a delusional state, which she interpreted as an intensification of her psychic visions. But the things she saw weren't at all pleasant.


In the darkness of the woods, the devil and his servants have visited Suzanne, toying with her already tenuous grip to sanity. Ghosts and witches appeared to torment her before the devil himself arrived to possess the 39 year old. By the time Michael returned two weeks after he left.


Suzanne was shouting incoherently, screaming at people and monsters he couldn't see. But with some food, she came back to reality, and the couple shared their recent experiences with each other.


Michael was excited to share his newfound calling with Suzanne and filled her in on his plan to evangelize Islam throughout Los Angeles and hopefully the world. All great religions needed a scribe, he told her, and he was theirs. He was committed to the task of writing and distributing a manifesto that would surely change the world.


This is what would at last incite the holy war, he declared. Their mission of hunting, which is remained unchanged. But now he knew they needed to preach their message as they went.


It was also clear it was a clarity of purpose the couple had lacked until that moment, and it propelled them forward with a fresh supply of food and motivated to carry out their twisted mission. They were ready to march into war. Coming up, the assassins claim their second victim.


Hi, it's Greg, if you're looking to add some more fun to your feed, subscribe to Podcast Network's new show, Incredible Feats. Every weekday, comedian Dan Cummins, who you might recognize from the hit podcast Time Sock, explores an unbelievable account of physical strength, mental focus or bizarre behavior. Don't miss the story of the man who broke the sound barrier while skydiving from the edge of space, or the harrowing tale of a 17 year old girl who survived alone in a rainforest for 11 days after her plane broke apart midair.


Or the ultra marathoner whose rare genetic condition lets him run for days without stopping. Incredible feat spotlights mind blowing achievements of everyone from world class athletes and record breakers to scientists, architects, artists and more such incredible feats and follow free on Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. Now back to the story. In May of 1981, 39 year old Susanne and 30 year old Michael Ben Carson were living a relatively quiet life in Oregon, sheltering in a battered shack in the state's south.


They bided their time thinking long and hard about the war.


Suzanne prophesied it's possible the pair might have faded into obscurity, wasting away in the woods while Michael wrote a rambling document about their religion. But as they were living in a home that didn't belong to them, it was only a matter of time before they had to leave.


And in the summer of 1981, Suzanne and Michael received a sign from God that it was time to move on. That sign came in the form of a park ranger ordering them off the land, proving that their God was in no way subtle.


So taking the hint from above, the couple packed their things and hitchhiked to the Southwest since their only source of income was selling weed Suzanne.


Had Michael visit their weed growing acquaintances in Northern California, he begged them for a stash to take on their journey, promising he'd pay them back later. Then in the latter half of 1981.


The couple traveled through Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado selling marijuana.


While Michael worked on his manifesto, Michael wrote down everything he knew about their religion, which mostly came from Suzanne. So the fledgling text included descriptions of Suzanne's visions and her instructions on how to best kill witches, as well as ramblings about the current world order.


World governments and religions were under the control of the devil. Michael wrote, And the only way to affect change was through holy war and apocalypse. The Apocalypse. The pair decided, would come in the form of a nuclear holocaust. So the book acted as an instructional text on how to set off that event.


Mostly, the instructions took the form of a list of assassination targets whose deaths would surely trigger a massive world war.


The lineup included British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Pope John Paul, the second late night host Johnny Carson and, of course, President Ronald Reagan.


Michael and Suzanne zeroed in on those targets because they believed them to be at odds with their religious agenda. It was a familiar move that many religious fundamentalists and terrorists have used to drive engagement to their ideals. In an article in the Political Psychology Journal, Dr Valmiki Volkan argues that people develop their sense of self in relation to their perceived enemies and allies. The more that a person feels their political or religious beliefs are being threatened, the more they'll fixate on their enemies.


By calling for the elimination of world leaders and other prominent figures, it's possible that Michael and Suzanne hoped to defend their beliefs, consolidate their power and spread their ideas even further.


Then again, it's also possible that the pair weren't possessed of the forethought needed for that kind of planning.


Maybe they were just making things up as they went along with their resounding calls to action, rounding out their vision, the manifesto was complete around the same time, in early 1982, the pair ran out of money and decided that the best thing to do was to head back to California copies of their manuscript under their arms.


Along with seeking converts to their way of thinking, the pair were on the hunt for a new income source. And as had been their habit for the past year, they likely followed the drug supply chain, hoping to kill two birds with one stone hitchhiking through California.


They were picked up by a local driver who kindly offered them a place to stay on his property. The man, Patrick, enjoyed the odd couples company so much that he agreed to take marijuana in lieu of rent. Deep in the woods, the tree house stood near makeshift structures and tents in something of a commune.


Michael and Suzanne were delighted with the setup. Not only did they have a place to stay, but Patrick seemed like an ideal new disciple. If they could bring him into the fold when he dropped them off at the cabin. They invited him to stay a while and enjoy the evening.


But that night, as the three agents smoked around the fire, Suzanne felt a shift. Patrick, she decided, was getting too close for comfort. Just like Karen. He was trying to come between her and Michael and she couldn't allow that to happen.


She abandoned her plans to convert Patrick and instead became aggressive towards their friendly host. She screamed at him to leave them alone, ordering him off his own property, bewildered by her behavior.


Michael asked Suzanne what was wrong. That was when she told them the truth.


Patrick was a witch. The next morning, Patrick returned to tell his guests to leave. But as they'd already given him payment for their month, Michael and Suzanne refused. After Susanne's erratic behavior, it seems likely Patrick was too scared to press the issue.


So Michael and Suzanne stayed on for a couple of weeks and settled into the quirky community in the woods. They peddled the last of their weed to the locals in exchange for other essentials, but didn't make any friends. Suzanne was just too aggressive and bizarre.


Like always, Susanne's aggression stemmed from her paranoid belief that evil was all around her during their time living in the Big Sur woods. She confided in Michael. Everyone around them was a witch.


So when Patrick and a friend of his returned to order them to leave, they didn't put up much resistance surrounded by servants of the devil. They could never be happy here. They left, but plan to come back the next day.


Michael and Suzanne used what little money they had to buy supplies from a gas station, gasoline, rags and soda bottles in a dingy motel room. They made Molotov cocktails and readied themselves to burn the witches in the fading light.


The pair returned to the woods, moving quietly through the brush. It was dark by the time they made it to the cabin, but it wouldn't be for long. Michael lit the first bomb and tossed it at the tree house. Within seconds, flames danced through the wooden structure while Suzanne crackled with delight.


Their next target was Patrick's cabin, a short walk away, frustrated that the door was locked so he couldn't get in to rob the place. Michael set fire to the cabins porch and moved on. As he wandered through the trees, he stopped into an empty tent and poked around. Inside, he found a 38 caliber pistol and pocketed it.


Satisfied with the carnage, Michael and Suzanne retreated, tossing one last bomb into the tent of a particularly nasty which they were proud of their efforts.


Sure, they had struck a great blow as warriors of God. It was sure to send a signal to witches along the coast that skilled hunters were on their tails.


But in reality, Michael and Suzanne didn't manage to harm anyone with their sneak attack. The fires destroyed several structures on Patrick's property, but no people, witches or otherwise, were hurt.


Still confident they were on the right path. Michael and Suzanne continued their journey through California, eventually arriving in Humboldt County in the spring of 1982. The area was populated with doomsday preppers and more than a few marijuana plantations, which seemed like a perfect fit for the bear Carsons in this peaceful slice of paradise.


They found work and accommodation on a cannabis farm, but there were other people living and working on the property, and Michael and Suzanne didn't play well with others. The intensive labor in West Coast heat shortened everyone's views, and the newcomers were quickly at odds with all of their new colleagues.


Unsurprisingly, their co-workers described the couple as lunatics and troublemakers, as the pair always seemed out for a fight. Suzanne took umbrage with the community's farming techniques and secular lifestyle, as well as anything else that annoyed her, though no one seemed to like the couple.


They were tolerated, but things took a turn for the worse when 26 year old Clark Stephens arrived at the plantation. Clark was a friend and recent business partner of the farm's owner and ruffled feathers as soon as he got there.


Predictably, Michael and Suzanne were particularly annoyed by Clark, who they found arrogant. He was also from Los Angeles, a city infested with witches, according to Susanne. Therefore, he represented the corruption and evils of the modern world.


It wasn't long before disagreements between Michael and Clark devolved into screaming matches. Unlike many of the farm's other workers, Clark was as stubborn as Michael and refused to back down.


At one stage, Clark insulted Suzanne while her husband wasn't around, which infuriated her. She rushed to tell Michael about Clark's blatant disrespect, claiming that by insulting a woman, Clark spat on their Islam adjacent faith.


She told Michael that it was his duty to defend her honor and reminded him that God gave them a gun. For this very reason. It was a test, she insisted, with the proper weapon to use against their enemy. There was no acceptable excuse for inaction.


So one morning in May 1982, Michael stuck his pistol in the back of his jeans as he headed out to work early in the day. The couple bumped into Clark out on the farm, telling him they needed to talk.


They led him to a secluded corner of the property when they were out of earshot of the rest of the workers.


Michael pointed the gun at Clark. The excitement of the moment was too much for Suzanne, who cackled and screamed, urging her husband on. He obeyed her orders and squeeze the trigger several times with their enemy motionless at their feet, Suzanne insisted on burning the body. It was the only way to ensure a witch was really dead prepared. As ever, Suzanne produced a can of kerosene and splashed it on Clark's bloody corpse with glee. They dropped a lit match and watched the flames consume his flesh when the body would burn.


No longer. They cover the remains in fertilizer and turned to leave. They spent two nervous days working as if nothing was wrong. But eventually their anxiety got the best of them, and they packed their few possessions and ran.


The couple laid low in a nearby town that evening, and when Dawn came, they headed for the freeway to hitch a ride. But before they could convince a driver to give them a lift, a police car pulled up beside them while walking down the road somewhere in the woods of Northern California, trying to decide where to go next.


A police car pulled up beside them. The trooper behind the wheel wanted directions to a local farm, the same plantation where they just murdered. Clerk panicked but hoping to buy themselves time. The couple gave the cop incorrect directions and watched him drive off. Sirens blaring Sure, they'd be caught if they stayed on the roads.


Michael and Suzanne opted to head into the woods on foot. They camped under the stars that night, perhaps hoping the next morning would bring the perfect chance to slip away from Humboldt County.


But to their horror, they awoke to the sounds of authorities combing through the woods. The search party was looking for a lost hiker, but the killer couple were sure the cops were after them stricken. Michael and Suzanne bolted in different directions, not stopping to pick up their bags. Desperate to escape, Suzanne ran deeper into the woods until the uniformed searchers were out of sight while Michael ran back toward the road.


Within minutes, search dogs sniffed out their discarded backpacks. Inside, investigators found marijuana bullets, a stolen ID and the rambling religious manuscript bearing the author's name, Michael Bare.


There was little of note in the photocopied pages except for the extensive list of assassination targets. After the attempt on the president's life the previous year, the cops weren't taking any chances and reported the find to higher authorities.


Whoever he was, Michael Baer was now a national security threat.


Up next, the witch hunters become the hunted. Now back to the story. After murdering Clark Stevens in May 1982, 31 year old Michael and 40 year old Suzanne Carson thought the authorities were hot on their tails after a chance encounter with a search party. The two split up to make a hasty escape, but they left behind their backpacks, allowing police to discover their disturbing manifesto containing a list of world leaders they wanted to assassinate.


Though police logged the fingerprints pulled from the manuscript, they couldn't find any record of the texts. Author Michael Baer. It turns out Michael never legally changed his name from James Carson. It seems he believed Susanne's proclamation of his new name was official enough.


But despite the confusion, Michael's true identity was becoming clearer. Across town, a dog discovered Clark Stevens charred remains and police were called in. Michael's name came up a lot during police interviews with the farm's workers, and he quickly shot to the top of a short list of suspects. However, while investigators thought they were closing in on Clark's murderer, Michael was already in Los Angeles, hundreds of miles from Humboldt County. He breathed easy.


Sure, he'd escaped suspicion he might have felt relaxed as he walked through Alhambra in the city's east. But his piece wasn't to last without warning. Police swarmed the 31 year old, ordering him to put his hands up as he was bundled into the back of a cop car.


Michael felt sure it was all over. Somehow they'd found him. Still, he wasn't going to make it easier for them. During a quick pat down, the arresting officers somehow missed the pistol tucked into his pants, thinking quickly. Michael pulled the gun out and hid it in the back of the police cruiser.


Once at the station, he gave a fake name and posed for a photograph before he was led into an interrogation room to await questioning.


When detectives arrived to interview him at last, it was clear they had no idea about Michael's actual crimes. He'd been arrested in a hunt for a rape suspect. Able to answer truthfully on this point, Michael asserted his innocence of the crime, but otherwise stayed quiet.


It didn't take long for the victim to rule Michael out as their attacker. And with that, he was free to go.


Realizing that it was a mistake to come to L.A., Michael hitched a ride out of the city as fast as he could.


Once again, the police were one step behind Michael. While he escaped Los Angeles, an officer found the gun he'd hidden in the patrol car, realizing it had been a mistake to let him go. The LAPD sent out a statewide all points bulletin, only they sent it out using the fake name Michael gave at the station, Richard Errata.


Six hundred miles away in Humboldt County, officers recognized that name from the stolen I.D. they pulled from Michael's backpack. Working in tandem. The two police departments matched the ballistics from Clark Stevens murder to Michael's gun. But by the time the results came back, Michael was in the wind.


In fact, Michael was on his way to meet Suzanne at a prearranged spot in Sonora, about 100 miles east of San Francisco, only a week after they made their frantic split. Michael and Suzanne were reunited.


It might have seemed like a good time to lay low and let the heat die down, but Suzanne never met a good idea she liked. So she insisted that her visions were signaling the beginning of the holy war. They couldn't fear capture, she told Michael. Not now that they had the chance to usher in the end times.


It seems that with their recent close calls, the couple worried they'd never get the chance to complete their grand plan. They were prophets of that. They were sure if they were going to bring about holy war, it had to be now. And if that made them martyrs, so be it. Waiting for things to happen wasn't their style. So they hit the road once again, Suzanne Psychic Compass directed them to the city of Portland.


But after staying with a friend for a few weeks, they achieved nothing of note. Sensing the city wasn't the right place for them, the couple stole a 38 caliber pistol and fled something, pulled them back to California by the end of 1982. So seven months after Clark Stevens murder, they returned. And now, after losing the gun in L.A., Michael is armed once more, ready to pull the trigger on Susanne's order as 1983 dawned. The couple wandered hopelessly down a highway near Bakersfield on January 11th, car after car blew right by the couple, wanting nothing to do with the unwashed, crazed looking pair until that is, a truck made a sudden U-turn to head back their way.


When the car approached, Suzanne whispered to Michael that the driver, 30 year old John Helliar, was a. Which they needed to kill, they'd had few chances lately, but now Allah rewarded their patients by delivering a demon right to them.


Often the witches Suzanne chose were strangers with whom they crossed paths. In this case, John was generous, offering not only to drive them to his destination of Santa Rosa, but to let them crash at his friend's place. Yet this act of kindness did nothing to dispel Susanne's random hatred. So, unsurprisingly, criminal psychologist Dr. Eric Hickey described Suzanne and Michael's crimes as spontaneous and opportunistic. Unlike other serial killers, they weren't predators in the traditional sense, Susanne's shifting criteria for what defined A which made their attacks impossible to anticipate.


And on that cool January day, something about John Hellier sparked Susanne's vitriol. Before she even met him, she decided he had to die. Squeezed into John's truck, Suzanne and Michael weren't shy about berating their driver. They nitpicked his music choices and driving style little things that irked them. But when John's leg brushed against Susanne's on the seat, she knew he deserved to die. But not yet. First, the couple happily accepted the offer of a place to stay.


The following morning, Suzanne was ready to kill. They'd only driven a short way when her eyes flashed to Michael, which he knew was the sign to attack. He reached across the seat and yanked the steering wheel hard to the right.


John struggled to regain control of the vehicle, but put his hands up when Michael pulled out his gun.


When the truck came to a stop on the shoulder, John leapt out in a desperate attempt to escape, not willing to let this witch go.


Michael and Suzanne gave chase while Michael paced, aiming the gun at John. Suzanne snuck up behind their victim, pulling a knife from her bag. John's eyes were still trained on the pistol in Michael's hand when Suzanne slipped the knife into his back.


Delighted with her role in the attack, Suzanne darted away, leaving Michael a clear shot. But he hesitated and John seized his chance. John ran around the car trying to keep it between himself and his attackers. For around ten minutes, the three chased each other around the truck.


All the while, onlookers slowed to see what was happening before driving off during the standoff, Suzanne managed to stab John a few more times before Michael finally pulled the trigger, with Suzanne egging him on. He shot John several times.


By then, one of the passing drivers had managed to alert police about the situation. As Michael and Suzanne stood glowingly over John's lifeless form, the distant sound of sirens pierced the freeway buzz hearing the cops, Suzanne dragged John's body off the side of the road, then rushed back to the truck.


As soon as Michael flung himself into the passenger seat, she peeled out, perhaps sending up a prayer that they'd escaped capture once again.


But the cops were hot on their heels. They found John Heliers body within minutes, and police radios across the city announced that the killers were driving a stolen vehicle. The chase lasted the length of two counties before patrol cars finally closed in on the witch killers. Distracted by the blaring sirens and flashing lights, Susanne lost control of the truck and crashed into a ditch. In desperation, Suzanne and Michael abandoned the useless car and darted into the nearby woods. However, they didn't make it far past the tree line before they were at last apprehended in the aftermath of their arrest.


The truth about Michael and Susanne's identities came to light. In addition to charges for John Heliers murder, they were also tied to Clark Stevens slaying the previous year.


As the case pressed on into spring of 1983, Susan refused to cooperate with her lawyer or say anything at their pretrial hearings. For his part, it seems Michael was disappointed with the lack of press attention he and Suzanne received. Perhaps he hoped their arrest would draw people to their cause, but he had no such luck when things didn't move the way he wanted.


Michael took drastic action. In March of 1983, he brokered a deal. He confessed to the 1981 murder of Karen Barnes, which police hadn't yet tied the couple to an exchange. He demanded the chance to speak to the media at a press conference. Negotiations took weeks, but terms were eventually agreed upon. Michael and Suzanne would get their moment in the spotlight.


So in April of 1983, journalists from Santa Rosa. And San Francisco gathered at the jail to attend the promised press conference. No one knew quite what to expect, but they hoped there might be enough for a small story or two.


But as things got going, Michael showed no signs of letting the event end early. He rambled about his and Suzanne's religion, its complexities and the need for a holy war. He spoke of the evils of witches and of Susanne's psychic visions.


Michael spoke for at least six hours, detailing the entirety of their faith and the brutal details of each murder. It's unclear how much footage from the conference was released to the public, but it seems the witch hunters felt they'd finally receive the attention they deserved.


Suzanne sat quietly next to Michael, a silent observer. In the end, she had led him to this moment. He had found a cause to champion. Theirs was a perfect match, despite their public confession.


The couple pleaded not guilty to Karen's murder. When I went to trial in June 1984, claiming self-defense when a jury returned a guilty verdict, Michael yelled down with the queen repeatedly. Meanwhile, Suzanne stood up and screamed, What is my crime to be beautiful?


To be an artist for the crimes of murder, not beauty or art. Suzanne and Michael were tried two more times and sentenced to three life sentences each. A jury of their peers declared them guilty, but that wasn't enough to convince the killer couple they were wrong.


Their plan to rid the world of evil was just they maintained it was right. It was God's will. But it seems more likely that their God willed Suzanne and Michael to die behind bars. They remain in their separate prisons to this day. She has no one to lead. He has no cause to champion.


They're just alone. Thanks again for tuning in to serial killers will be back soon with a new episode.


For more information on Michael and Suzanne Carson, amongst the many sources we used we found Cry for war, the story of Suzanne and Michael Carson by Richard Reynolds. Extremely helpful to our research.


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Serial Killers was created by Max Cuddler and is a podcast studio's original. Executive producers include Max and Ron Cuddler Sound Design by Nick Johnson with production assistance by Ron Shapiro, Carly Madden and Joshua Kern. This episode of Serial Killers was written by Isabella Minichiello with writing assistants by Abigail Canon and stars Greg Polson and Vanessa Richardson.


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