Once Upon A Crime | True Crime

Once Upon a Crime is a true crime podcast that researches the crime, criminals and victims to discover the “why” behind some infamous crimes as well as fascinating lesser known cases. Host, Esther Ludlow presents “the story behind the story” you won’t hear anywhere else. Each month a new true crime topic is covered - kidnappings, mass murders, tragic deaths of musical icons, killer kids and deadly duos and more.
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Welcome to Once Upon a Crime!

THE podcast for the true crime addict.

Join me for each episode as I dive in to some of the most fascinating true crime cases told one chapter at a time.

Please subscribe to the show in iTunes, Google Play and Stitcher and tell a friend!

Mar 23, 2020

In 1991, Kurt Cobain released a song on the album Nevermind. Titled "Polly" the song was inspired by a kidnapping and rape of a young girl in Tacoma, Washington.  This is the story of that crime.

Listen to "Polly" by Nirvana here:


"Story Behind the Song - Polly" by Hayley Selfridge on YouTube

"Nirvana's Darkest Song" by The Nerdwriter on YouTube

"Police suspect rapist in serial killings", Tri-City Herald, June 19, 1987.

Links to episodes mentioned: 

The Day the Music Died: Kurt Cobain - Episode #10 -

True Crime Game Changers: Polly Klaas - Episode #21 -


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Mar 9, 2020

A young girl is brutally murdered in New York's Central Park in 1986. Her killer, Robert Chambers, would be dubbed "The Preppy Killer" in the press and his victim's name would be dragged through the mud. This is the real story of "The Preppy Murder" you haven't heard before.  

Listen to "Jenny Was a Friend of Mine" by The Killers here:

Resources used in the research for this episode: 

"East Side Story" by Michael Stone for New York Magazine, June 27, 2008.

"Looking Back at the Preppy Killer Case, More Than 30 Years Later" by Elizabeth Angell for Town and Country Magazine, November 12, 2019. 


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Mar 5, 2020

In 1978, Rodney Alcala won a date on the popular TV show, The Dating Game. What no one knew was that he was a prolific serial killer in the middle of a cross-country murder spree. In this six-part series, co-hosts Tracy Pattin (Hollywood & Crime) and Stephen Lang (Avatar, Don’t Breathe) take listeners on an unbelievable journey into Alcala’s twisting secret life.  He hid behind normal jobs as a typesetter at a prominent newspaper and a summer camp counselor. How did this predatory monster fool employers, prison psychiatrists, and parole boards — all while committing heinous crimes from coast to coast? And how did a one-time appearance as a game show contestant help lead to his capture? From the makers of Dirty John, Dr. Death, and Young Charlie, learn the story of the most famous serial killer you’ve never heard of - The Dating Game Killer.

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Feb 11, 2020

In Kansas in 1958, an 18-year-old kills both of his parents and his only sibling. Was it a case of greed, mental illness, or was Andrews just a "bad seed"?  

#parricide #InColdBlood #TheBrothersKaramazov #deathrow #familyannihilators 


"Lowell Lee Andrews Was 'The Nicest Boy' in Wolcott by Beth Elias for 

"Nicest boy in Wolcott" by David J. Krajicek for, Feb. 21, 2010

"State vs. Andrews", Appeal Record, State of Kansas, Dec. 10, 1960. Retrieved on

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, Modern Library, Reprint Edition, 2013. 


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Music Credits:

Original theme music by

Music from - "March of the Mind" by Kevin MacLeod ( License: CC BY (

Other music:  ,   Licensed under the Creative Commons 0 License.


Feb 4, 2020

In 1975, a rebellious teen enlists her boyfriend to kill her parents in a small, Northern California town. The gruesome crime would be dubbed "The Barbecue Murders" in the press. 


"Kill My Parents: The story of Marlene Olive" by Denise Noe for Crime Library, June 23, 2014

"A Local Murder: Terra Linda was the setting for a real-life 1975 crime" by Jim Wood for Marin Magazine, October 21, 2008


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Other music:,,, - all licensed under the Creative Commons 0 License


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Dec 17, 2019

On this special episode my guest is Jack Luna from Crime Machine Podcast.  We discuss the evidence and theories behind the JonBenet Ramsey Case.


Foreign Faction: Who Really Killed JonBenet? by A. James Kolar, Ventus Publishing, 2012. 

JonBenet Ramsey Case Encyclopedia, 

"The Case of: JonBenet Ramsey". 

Crime Machine Podcast: 


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Dec 3, 2019

On this year-end wrap up episode, I answer listener questions and share updates on cases I've covered in past episodes. 


Detective Trapp: 

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Nov 19, 2019

A young man from a wealthy family is accused of committing two rapes while still in high school. Before he could be tried on these charges he'd flee the jurisdiction and disappear for eight years before finally being brought to justice.


"Accused Rapist and His Flight Trouble Darien" by Elizabeth Neuffer for The New York Times, Aug 27, 1987

"From Ski Slopes of Europe to a Rape Trial" by George Judson for The New York Times, Jan 31, 1995. 

"Judgment Days" by Bill Hewitt for, Nov 4, 1996.

"Son of Darien" by Susan Cheever for The New York Times, April 27, 1997. 

Vanity Fair Confidential: Fugitive Son, based on reporting by Jennet Conant for Vanity Fair Magazine, first aired on Jan 24, 2017. 


Bombas - for 20% off any purchase between November 18 and December 5, 2019. 


Nov 12, 2019

In this episode I’ll share two separate cases of women who became part of a very small and exclusive club - women who made the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List.  

Nazira Ugalde killed for financial gain and flees to South America.  A young woman in Texas, Brenda Delgado, plans the murder of her romantic rival and disappears soon after being questioned by police.  


"New details emerge about Reno 'Black Widow', Behind the Crime Tape Blog, Nov. 27, 2012

"Fugitive Black Widow wanted in ex-husband's 2008 murder arrested i Peru", by Nina Golgowski for New York Daily News, Jun 5, 2014. 

"Mother of Hygenist at center of deadly love triangle sas her daughter is 'not the jealous type'", by Shekhar Bhatia for, Sep 12, 2015. 

"Duo Behind Killing of Dentist in Murder-for-Hire Plot May be Linked to Drug Cartel", Chicago 5 News, Oct 23, 2015. 

"Brenda Delgado: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know",, Jun 7, 2019. 

"The State of Texas vs Brenda Delgado", Criminal Indictment, October 2, 2018. 


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Podcast Recommendations: 

Crime Machine by Jack Luna and Sam Swenson. 

You can now find us on Stitcher Premium! 


Oct 7, 2019

A free concert took place in northern California in December of 1969 featuring The Rolling Stones.  It would descend into chaos due to poor planning, rampant drug use and the ill-advised use of the Hells Angels as concert security.  


Joel Selvin, Altamont: The Rolling Stones, the Hells Angels and the Inside Story of Rock's Darkest Day, (New York: Harper Collins), 2016. 

Lester Bangs, Reny Brown, John Burks, Sammy Egan, Michael Goodwin, Geoffrey Link, Greil Marcus, John Morthland, Eugene Schoenfeld, Patrick Thomas, and Langdon Winner, Rolling Stone Magazine, "The Rolling Stones Disaster at Altamont: Let It Bleed," January 21, 1970. 

Albert & David Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin, Gimme Shelter (1970), 
Note: Meredith Hunter can be seen in the crowd at timestamp 1:18:50. The attack on him begins at 1:23:26. 

Hello Fresh: and enter ONCE80 at checkout for $80 off your first month of meal kits. 

Away Travel: and use promo code ONCE20 at checkout for $20 off a suitcase. 

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Sep 30, 2019

A woman begins receiving harassing phone calls and letters from a stalker.  It would take years to discover who the anonymous man was, but when he was finally identified a shocking secret would be revealed. 

Several resources were used in the research for this episode including:

Book: Little Girl Fly Away by Gene Stone


'Poet" makes life a living horror for Wichita Woman by Scott Kraft for AP in the Garden City Telegram, Jan 24, 1980

'Poet' strikes again and Wichita police still baffled by Scott Kraft for AP in Garden City Telegram, Feb 21, 1980

Harassed by an Unknown Author of Vicious Rhymes, Ruth Finley Confronts the Stranger Within Herself by Gene Stone for People Magazine, Sept. 5, 1988


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Jul 29, 2019

Susan Polk enters into a relationship with her therapist when she is a young girl. Years later, after 20 years of marriage, she will claim she has been abused by her husband for decades.  After he is found dead in their guest house the question would be, was this a case of self-defense or a cold-blooded murder? 

Several resources were used in the research of this case including:

Court record: The People, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Susan Mae Polk, Defendant and Applellant, Contra Costa County Super. Ct. No. 031668-7, December 13, 2010


A California Murder Raises Troubling Issues by Carol Pogash for The New York Times, September 18, 2005

Obituary of Dr. F. Felix Polk,, November 5, 2002. 

Slaying rips apart a family in Orinda by Jason Dearen for Bay Area News Group, October 10, 2005. 

Convicted Orinda killer Susan Polk denied parole, kicked out of hearing midway through by Nate Gartrell for Bay Area News Group, July 17, 2019.  


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Jul 28, 2019

A mother seeks help for her special needs child, but a church prayer service ends tragically.  

Several resources were used in the research for this episode including:


True Stories of Law and Order by Kevin Dwyer and Jure Fiorillo 


Death by Exorcism by David Krajicek for the New York Daily News, October 8, 2006


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Jul 8, 2019

In the second chapter of the series "Deadly Therapy" a young girl who grows up in an unstable home is placed up for adoption.  Her adoptive mother finds her behavior problematic and has her undergo a new and controversial therapy - with tragic results.  

Several resources were used to research this episode including: 

Her Name was Candace by Carla Crowder and Peggy Lowe for Denver Rocky Mountain News, Oct. 29, 2000

Seeking Child’s Love, A Child’s Life is Lost by Barry Siegel for the Los Angeles Times, Feb. 4, 2001

Links from this episode:

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Jul 1, 2019

In this month's series, "Deadly Therapy", I’ll detail cases of people who sought help from experts, but rather than receiving healing and transformation, their journeys came to an abrupt and deadly end.  In this first chapter, you’ll hear how James, Arthur Ray, a self-described success coach and guru required his followers to perform increasingly more extreme mental and physical challenges all in the pursuit of “enlightenment” with deadly results. 

Several resources were used in the research for this episode including: 


The Death Dealer by Matt Stroud in The Verge

Arizona Sweat Lodge: The Inside Story of James Ray's Fatal Retreat by Miguel Sancho and Kimberley Brown for ABC News



Enlighten Us: The Rise and Fall of James Arthur Ray (2016) 


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Jun 24, 2019

Identical twin sisters, Sunny and Gina Han were lifelong rivals.  One sister's jealousy would lead her to plot her twin's murder. 


Several sources were used in the research for this episode including: 

Court Transcripts:

People v. Han, Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division 3, California, Feb. 25, 2000

Opposition of Parole letter from Orange County District Attorney's Office to Office of Governor Jerry Brown, November 20, 2017. 


'Evil Twin' Granted Parole Despite DA's Objections by Nathan Solis for, June 21, 2018.


Jun 22, 2019

On this bonus episode I take you along with me to CrimeCon 2019 in New Orleans and my travels to New York City and Toronto for the Toronto True Crime Film Festival.  

#CrimeCon #NewOrleans #TorontoTrueCrimeFilmFestival #truecrimedocumentaries #NewYorkCity 

Jun 22, 2019

In this bonus episode, I interview Jan Broberg and Skye Borgman about their documentary film "Abducted in Plain Sight" LIVE at CrimeCon 2019 in New Orleans.

#AbductedinPlainSight #truecrimedocumentary #CrimeCon2019


Jun 10, 2019

I continue the story of the Gibbons Sisters - twins who were locked in a battle their entire lives. Neither believed they could survive without the other, but controlled each other so completely they only spoke to or associated with one another.  When they reached adolescence, they knew they had to find some way to break out of this destructive twin bond or both would perish.  Their desperation lead them to commit increasingly antisocial and criminal acts.  This is part two of "The Silent Twins". 

Several resources were used in the research for this episode including: 


Marjorie Wallace, The Silent Twins, (London, Vintage Books 1998). 

BBC: Inside Story, The Silent Twin: Without my Shadow. YouTube, Uploaded by GottaFindPants, Nov 20, 2017. 



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Jun 3, 2019

June and Jennifer Gibbons were identical twins who, from a very young age, were so bonded to one another that they created their own “twin language” to communicate speaking only to one another.  They rejected any other relationships including their own parents and siblings.  Later, they would construct a fantasy world that only they inhabited.  This lead to more serious anti-social behavior that resulted in a shocking crime spree.  

Several resources were used in the research for this episode including: 

Marjorie Wallace, The Silent Twins, (London, Vintage Books 1998). 

BBC: Inside Story, The Silent Twin: Without my Shadow. YouTube, Uploaded by GottaFindPants, Nov 20, 2017. 

Music credits: 

Music from
"Reflections" by Alexander Nakarada (
Licence: CC BY (


May 17, 2019

This bonus episode gives news and announcements for the month of May including information on Season 4. 


Social Media:

Twitter - @uponacrime and @tacoboutcrime

Facebook and Instagram - @onceuponacrimepod

Patreon - 

CrimeCon: - use discount code ONCE19 for 10% off your registration

Toronto True Crime Film Festival - www.torontotruecrimefilmfestival





May 13, 2019

A mother takes justice into her own hands in Jamestown, California in 1993 when she discovers her son has been abused by a child molester.  Some called her a hero, others denounced her actions as vigilantism.  This is Chapter 2 of "Disorder in the Court".

Several resource materials were used for this episode including: 

The Nesler Family's Tragic Past - 

Pushed Over Edge, Mother Chose Own Brand of Justice by Mark Arak, Times Staff Writer, April 11, 1993. 

William Nesler Still a Fugitive by Lloyd Vries for CBS News, July 29, 2004. 

Ellie Nesler's Family Buries their Hero in Angels Camp, by John Holland in The Modesto Bee, January 2, 2009. 



Apr 29, 2019

A summer ball game descends into chaos when a promotional event goes seriously awry.  This is the last chapter in the series "Bad Sports" recounting the Cleveland Indians' "Ten Cent Beer Night" riot. 

Thanks to guest voice actors Lorne and Michael from The True Crime Guys podcast.

Some of the resources used in this episode include: 

Articles: The Night Beer and Violence Bubbled Over in Cleveland by Paul Jackson on

Forty Years Ago, 10-cent Beer Makes Memories by Anthony Castrovince on 

Video: Ten Cent Beer Night - Weird History on 

Other links: 

Our website:




Apr 8, 2019

Ray and Sally McNeil were a married couple who were both accomplished athletes in the sport of professional bodybuilding.  But, a combination of infidelity, abuse and anabolic steroid use would lead to a final, bloody confrontation on Valentine’s Day, 1995. 

Several resources were used in the research for this episode including: 

Court Records:

McNeil v. Middleton, United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, Submitted April 8, 2003, Filed Sept 22, 2003.


Sally McNeil...This is My Story by Leigh Penman for, Nov 4, 2009

The Sally-Ray McNeil Murder by Peter McGough for, Feb 12, 2015. 

Once Upon a Crime website:


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Apr 1, 2019

This month I'll be sharing stories of outrageous crimes that occurred at sporting events or by sports figures.  

First up, a neighborhood ice rink, a pee-wee hockey pick-up game and some unsportsmanlike conduct leads to a confrontation between parents that ends with tragic results. 


Mar 25, 2019

A man starts having vivid memories of a violent crime he believes he may have committed during an alcoholic blackout. 

Several resources were used in the research for this episode including: 

Kevin Dwyer and Jure Fiiorillo, True Stories of Law & Order (New York: Berkley Boulevard Books), 74-82. 

Cox v. Miller, 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Decision, retrieved from, July 17, 2002. 

David Goldnamn Biography, "AA vs DA: The Case of Paul Cox," March 2003, 21. to become a patron and receive podcast merch, bonus episodes and be entered into our monthly drawing. 

Mar 18, 2019

I conclude the story about Eileen Franklin who claimed to have witnessed her friend, 8-year-old Susan Nason's murder in 1969. She would say her memory of the event was only recovered after 20 years.  Her story would begin a debate about the validity of "recovered memories" used in criminal trials.


Click here to subscribe to "Let's Taco 'Bout True Crime"!

Mar 11, 2019

In this series I'll share crime stories that feature a very strange and rare phenomenon - recovered memories of murder.  Is it possible to forget about a murder?  Could a traumatic event, like witnessing a violent crime, cause a person to repress the memory so completely that they, in essence, “forget” they ever saw such a horrific event?

In this first chapter, Eileen Franklin recalls a 20-year-old murder.  She will claim that she witnessed the murder of her best friend, 8-year-old Susan Nason in 1969 and then repressed the memory for years.


Several articles, court records and other materials were used to research this case.  One resource was the book Once Upon a Time by Harry Maclean, published in 1993. 

Feb 26, 2019

A career criminal commits multiple murders plus an attempted murder and continues to be released on parole.  This is the case of Michael Keith Moon. 

Several resources were used in the research for this episode including: 

Michael Hemmingston, San Diego Reader, "Moon Arraigned in Escondido Cold Case," Jan 16, 2008. 

Randy Kalp, The Coast News Group, Rancho Santa Fe, "Convicted felon takes wrap for 31-year-old slaying," Dec 11, 2008. 

Pauline Repard, The San Diego Union-Tribune, "Double murderer paroled to downtown San Diego," March 15, 2015. 


Let's Taco 'Bout True Crime - The Podcast - subscribe on Apple Podcasts.


Feb 19, 2019

In the conclusion of the story of Louise Peete, the convicted murderess is released from prison and, before long, goes on to commit another violent crime. 

Several resources were used in the research for this episode including: 

Dead Woman Walking:Louise Peete by Joan Renner -

Black Widow, Mara Bovsun, Daily News New York, November 18, 2001

She Buried Them All by Bill Walker in Saga: The Magazine for Men, January 1962. 

Feb 13, 2019

I'm pleased to announce my new podcast "Let's Taco 'Bout True Crime"!  Each episode will feature me and a special guest host talking about what's new, hot, and trending in true crime - in a fun and casual format. 

First episode drops on February 19th! 

Subscribe here on Apple Podcasts or search for "Let's Taco 'Bout True Crime" on your favorite podcast platform.  It's rolling out to more podcast platforms as we speak!

Dec 18, 2018

As a special holiday episode Yolanda from Not Perfect or Functional Podcast aka my little sister returns! This time we discuss the ever-debated Darlie Routier case.  

Yolanda's Podcast: or look for it under "Not Perfect or Functional" on iTunes, Stitcher or wherever you listen to podcasts. 


Book: A Killer in My House: The Darlie Routier Story by David Kennedy

Link to DNA results:  Choose "accept" on main page and then enter case number F9639973 to see Darlie Routier's case-related documents. 

Video: "The Wrong Man?" (says 20/20 Full Episode, but it's not that show). 

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Nov 20, 2018

Thank you to listener Alexandre Guglielmelli from Brazil for this case suggestion! In 2002, a wealthy couple is found murdered in their home in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Their own daughter soon becomes a suspect and the case becomes a media sensation in Brazil. 


Several resources were used in the research for this episode including:

Murder in Brazil #5 - The von Richthofen Case, 

Rogerio Pagnan, UOL, Sao Paulo, "Suzane Richthofen, Sentenced for Murdering her Parents to Marry Female Prisoner," Oct 29, 2014. 

The Creepy Case of Suzane von Richthofen: The Evil Blonde. YouTube, uploaded by Brief Case, May 27, 2018,


Oct 8, 2018

A house with a dark history is purchased by a young couple in 1975.  They soon begin experiencing unexplained and terrifying events inside the home.  Was it a result of their imaginations run wild? A hoax? Or the after effects of a horrific multiple homicide committed there? 

#Amityville #AmityvilleHorror #DeFeoMurders #RonaldDeFeo 

112 Ocean Avenue, Amityville, New York - photographed on the night of the DeFeo family murders. 


Audio Clip from documentary My Amityville Horror (2013) directed by Eric Walter.  Click here to rent or purchase.  



Sep 17, 2018

A series of fast food restaurant robberies take place in Nashville, Tennessee in 1997.  The accused, Paul Dennis Reid, would claim that his early history of brain damage was to blame. 

Photos from top left (clockwise): Tennessee map, Paul Dennis Reid, Baskin Robbins restaurant, McDonald's restaurant, the Nashville skyline, Captain D's restaurant


Several resources were used in the research for this episode including:

State of Tennessee v. Paul Dennis Reid, Court of Criminal Appeals Decision, retrieved from, October 2, 2002. 

It Takes a Killer: The Fast Food Killer, Oxygen Channel, YouTube, uploaded by dolly hostetter, Feb 12, 2017,

Aug 13, 2018

In this second chapter of "Written in Blood" I detail cases of two writers who became wife killers - and then hid their crime from the public.  

#domesticviolence #authors #writers 


For Domestic Violence resources and help:

In the U.S.: 1-800-799-7233

In the U.K.: 0808 2000 247

In Australia: 1800-737-732


Social Media links:

Aug 6, 2018

In this series I detail crimes committed by authors or writers.  First up, two authors who became literary celebrities despite their criminal history....or even because of it. 

#JackHenryAbbott #IsseiSagawa #NormanMailer #GaryGilmore #TheExecutionersSong #Japan #cannibalism 

Several resources were used in the research for this episode including: 

Sewell Chan, The New York Times, "Mailer and the Murderer," Nov 12, 2007. 

Bruce Jackson, Buffalo Report, "Jack Henry Abbott, 58," Mar 1 2002. 

M.A. Farber, The New York Times, "Freedom for Convict-Author: Complex and Conflicting Tale," 1981. 

Katherine Ramsland,, "The Cannibal Celebrity: Issei Sagawa,". 

Julian Ryall, Post Magazine, "Poetic Justice: is the Japanese cannibal finally paying a price?," Dec 7, 2013. 

Social Media Links:


Jul 23, 2018

Diane Whipple lost her life on January 26, 2001 after she was attacked by two dangerous dogs. You'll hear about the public outcry after this horrible incident and how the owners, Robert Noel and Marjorie Knoller, made matters worse by insisting they had no responsibility for Whipple's death. This is part two of The Pacific Heights Dog Mauling Case. 

Photo: Diane Whipple

Photo: One of the two Presa Canarios involved in the attack is removed from the Pacific Heights apartment building.


Book: Red Zone: The Behind the Scenes Story of the San Francisco Dog Mauling by Aphrodite Jones

Article:  "Mad Dogs and Lawyers" by Evan Wright, Rolling Stone Magazine, February 28, 2002. 

Jul 16, 2018

A fatal dog mauling case shocked the San Francisco Bay Area and the world in early 2001.  When the details were revealed about the dogs and their owners the story took a bizarre twist.

Join me for part one of this two-part episode as I detail the tragic death of a young, lacrosse coach and the strange and unusual backstory that lead to her demise. 


Book: Red Zone: The Behind the Scenes Story of the San Francisco Dog Mauling by Aphrodite Jones

Article: Mad Dogs and Lawyers by Evan Wright, Rolling Stone Magazine, February 28, 2002. 


Jun 28, 2018

On this bonus episode I discuss the 4-part documentary series "Dead North" that premiered on A&E in late May. 

My special co-host is my brother, Tony.  

Ways to watch:

Today's sponsors: - Use offer code ONCE to get $75 off your order. for a 60-day free trial for all C200 models. and use offer code OUAC to get $45 off your first month.


May 21, 2018

In this special episode I give a wrap-up of CrimeCon - all the true crime celebrity sightings, the true crime podcast rockstars I got to hang out with, and all the inside gossip and info.  I also discuss a couple of cases related to what I learned in CrimeCon sessions this year. I'll talk about the Patsy Ramsey 911 call, Ted Bundy and Jodi Arias. 

Shout outs to many, many podcasts including Southern Fried True Crime, Trace Evidence, InSight, True Crime Fan Club, The Fall Line, Minds of Madness, Misconduct, Crime and Precedents, Undisclosed, Red Wing Audio Drama, and many, many more. 

With The Manks (Josh Mankiewicz, Dateline)


The Netflix series I referenced is "Manhunt: Unabomber".  

The CBS special I referenced was "The Case of Jon Benet Ramsey".  You can find it at


Canidae Pet Food: for a free sample & special offers.

FabFitFun: and use offer code ONCE for $10 off your first subscription box.

TalkSpace: for $45 off your first month.


May 7, 2018

One intersection in Beverly Hills has been the site of many events from airplane crashes, car accidents, and murders. Could it be a coincidence or is the area cursed? 

Photo: The intersection of Sunset Blvd, North Linden and North Whittier Drive in Beverly Hills, known as "The Beverly Hills Bermuda Triangle". 

#beverlyhills #bermudatriangle #howardhughes #hollywood #bugsysiegel #ronnichasen 

A.J. Benza: Fame is a Bitch - Subscribe on ITunes


Apr 23, 2018

A woman takes revenge for hundreds of raped and murdered women in Juarez, Mexico by targeting city bus drivers.

Photo: Pink crosses spring up around Juarez with the words "Ni una mas" or "not one more" after hundreds of women are murdered beginning in 1993.


For more information about women's organizations in Juarez:

Book: The Daughters of Juarez: A True Story of Serial Murder South of the Border by Teresa Rodriguez

Paper: The Femicide Machine by Sergio Gonzalez Rodriguez, published by Semiotext (c) with support from Mexico's National Fund for Culture and the Arts 2011-2013.




Apr 9, 2018

A hijacking on a bus unfolds live on television in central Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June of 2000. 

#hijacking #hostagecrisis #Brazil 


Documentary: Bus 174 (2002) directed by Jose Padilha

Podcast Recommendations:

Trace Evidence

Not Perfect or Functional


Mar 26, 2018

A 16-year-old boy from a well-to-do Fort Worth family commits a quadruple vehicular homicide.  His attorneys will argue that his overprivileged upbringing resulted in him not knowing how to discern right from wrong. The term "affluenza" was coined to describe defendants like Ethan Couch - wealthy, spoiled and held unaccountable for their bad behavior. 


I'll also describe how this same defense was used in 1924 to defend the wealthy teenaged murderers Leopold and Loeb. 

#LeopoldandLoeb #CrimeoftheCentury #EthanCouch #Affluenza 

Several resources were used in the research for this episode including: 

Manny Fernandez, Richard Perez-Pena and Azam Ahmed, The New York Times, "Ethan Couch, 'Affluenza' Teenager, Had Last Party Before Fleeing," Dec 29, 2015. 

Michael J. Mooney, D Magazine, "The Worst Parents Ever," May 2015.  

American Experience, PBS Television, "The Perfect Crime: Leopold and Loeb". 


Mar 12, 2018

Supervisor Dan White murders San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk in 1978. His defense would claim "diminished capacity" to keep him from being sentenced to death. The media dubbed this "The Twinkie Defense". But, what really caused Dan White to become a double murderer?

From L to R: Supervisor Harvey Milk, Mayor George Moscone, Dan White


Several resources were used in the research for this episode including: 

John Geluardi, SF Weekly, "Dan White's motive more about betrayal than homophobia," Jan 30, 2008.

Carol Pogash,, "Myth of the 'Twinkie Defense', Nov 23, 2003. 



Mar 6, 2018

Three cases are outlined where a person commits murder and then blames the crime on sleepwalking. 

First up, Albert Tirrell murders his mistress in 1846 claiming he was in a trance-like state at the time. Kenneth Parks travels 23 km to commit a murder - all while asleep, he claimed. Finally, another man tries to use the sleepwalking defense after killing his wife in Phoenix, Arizona in 1997.

Several resources were used in the research for this episode including: 

Karen Abbott,, "The Case of the Sleepwalking Killer," April 30, 2012.

 Paul Rubin,, "A Killer Sleep Disorder," Nov 19, 1998. 

True Crime Truant, "Scott Falater: Sleepwalking Killer Gets a Wakeup Call," July 20, 2017. 

Berit Brogaard and Kristian Marlow, Psychology Today, "Sleep Driving and Sleep Killing: The Kenneth Parks Case," Dec 13, 2012. 


Jan 30, 2018

A teenage hitchhiker is picked up by a violent rapist in Northern California in 1978. The attack upon her would horrify the public and Lawrence Singleton would serve as a terrifying warning about accepting rides from strangers. 

Mary Vincent soon after her attack by Larry Singleton.

Mary Vincent testifies at Singleton's murder trial in 1998.


Music on today's episode is by St. Patrick. You can purchase the music on iTunes at this link or on the website

Several resources were used in the research for this episode including: 

Paul Dean, The Los Angeles Times, "Mary Vincent Speaks Out: 'He Destroyed Everything About Me'," Feb 25, 1997. 

People v. Singleton, Court of Appeals Decision, Fourth District, Div I, California, Nov 20, 1980. 

Jacqui Morice Crawford, I Survived, Mary/Brooke/Sharene (2009). 




Dec 19, 2017

I continue my discussion of the Laci Peterson case with my co-host, Yolanda of the Not Perfect or Functional Podcast. In this episode we take a deep dive into the background and psychology of Scott Peterson and what we believe contributed to his crime.

Holiday Greetings in this episode from:

The True Crime Guys

The Fall Line

Hillbilly Horror Stories

Not Perfect or Functional

Happy Holidays! 

Dec 12, 2017

We're talking Black Friday Madness, Grinchy burglars, and more true crime holiday craziness on this special holiday edition episode.  

Hear holiday greetings from some of my pod friends including Canadian True Crime, True Crime Garage, Southern Fried True Crime, Insight Podcast, True Crime Island, Murder Road Trip, The Cleaning of John Doe, Killifornia Dreaming and Done Disappeared.



Dec 5, 2017

We kick our true crime holiday season with stores of Santas who go bad.

#Christmascrime #badsantas #historicalcrime


Nov 28, 2017

Two cousins from a prominent and wealthy family seek revenge on their own relatives and turn to murder.



Books: Bitter Blood: A True Story of Southern Family Pride, Madness and Multiple Murder by Jerry Bledsoe

Movies/Television: In the Best of Families: Marriage, Pride and Madness (Also known as "Bitter Blood") starring Harry Hamlin and Kelly McGillis (1994)






Oct 23, 2017

As a special treat I'll share a couple of creepy urban legends...with a twist. These tales are actually based on true crime stories.

Son of Sam, The Zodiac Killer, 3x Killer, The Watcher

Podcast Recommendations:

Murder Road Trip

They Walk Among Us

Ticklish Business



Oct 2, 2017

In our last chapter of "With Friends Like These" four young people are gunned down in Clear Lake City, Texas. A bullied girl had been taken under their wing - did their kindness cost them their lives?

Marcus Precella, Tiffany Rowell, Adelbert Sanchez and Rachel Koloroutis

Christine Paolilla


Book: Never See Them Again by M. William Phelps


Sep 11, 2017

A group of teens conspire to kill a young man - the best friend of one of the conspirators - in Hollywood, Florida in 1993. 

Bobby Kent was proud of his muscles and sometimes used them to bully his friends.

The 7 conspirators (clockwise from top left):

Marty Puccio, Ali Willis, Donny Semenec, Heather Swallers,

Derek Dzvirko, Derek Kaufman, Lisa Connelly


Book: Bully: A True Story of High School Revenge by Jim Schutze

Movie (based on this case): Bully

Link to Survey:


Sep 4, 2017

Our new series "With Friends Like These" I detail cases where friends turn upon friends - and become deadly. The first is a case of high school jealousy. Kirsten Costas is attacked by a classmate in Orinda, California.

Kirsten Costas (left) and Bernadette Protti (right) were classmates at Miramonte High School in Orinda, California. Bernadette became obsessed with Kirsten and wanted to be included in her circle of popular girls.

Recommendations for other true crime podcasts:

Kiwi Crimes (New Zealand Crimes)

Canadian True Crime

S'laughter (UK Crimes)

Aug 28, 2017

Marie Hilley poisons her husband to death and attempts to kill her daughter in Alabama. When her crime is discovered she goes on the run. What she does next is one of the most bizarre tales of true crime in U.S. history.



Book: Poisoned Blood by Philip E. Ginsburg

Television show: American Monster - Alabama Murder Mystery 





Aug 21, 2017

The story of Marie Hilley's life is one of the most strange and bizarre true crime cases I've encountered. There are so many twists and turns in this case that I've split it into two parts.

Frank and Marie Hilley early in their marriage.


Once Upon a Crime Podcast Fan Page on Facebook

Aug 7, 2017

A rare phenomenon causes a mother to make her children ill for her own selfish gain. Chapter 1 of "Sick and Murdered".

Laurie Williamson is wheeled into court to face charges (she claimed to be paralyzed).


Podcasts featuring the Dee Dee & Gypsy Blanchard Case -

Generation Why - Episode 234

Sword and Scale - Episode 49

Documentary: Mommy Dead and Dearest


Jul 31, 2017

Part 2 of "Murder in the Hamptons" tells of the ugly and costly divorce of Ted and Generosa Ammon and how hate a resentment boiled over to murder.

Clockwise from top: Greg & Alexa Ammon, The East Hampton beach house, Danny Pelosi, Ted Ammon, Generosa Ammon

Check out this independent podcast! The Noir Factory Podcast

Book: Almost Paradise: The East Hampton Murder of Ted Ammon by Kieren Crowley

Jul 24, 2017

A love story turn into a murder when a multi-millionaire finds himself in an ugly and vicious divorce.

The Ammon family in happier times.

Thanks for sharing independent podcasts! This week's recommendations:

Murder Dictionary - Join Kelly & Brianna as they discover true crime cases from A-Z focusing on a new type of crime for each letter of the alphabet. You'll laugh, you'll scream, you'll come back for more!




Jul 17, 2017

Edmond Safra was a billionaire banker who lived in a highly secure penthouse in Monaco. So, how did attackers get in - or was the story all a fabrication by an insecure employee? This is the strange and tragic story with many questions yet to be answered.

La Leopolda, one of the most opulent villas on the French Riviera was just one of  the residences owned by the vastly wealthy couple, Edmond & Lily Safra.

Thanks for supporting independent podcasts!

Find me on Twitter @uponacrime

and on Facebook and Instagram @onceuponacrimepod

Don't forget - tell a friend about his podcast this month and show them how to subscribe!

Jul 10, 2017

The new series details cases of the rich who were targeted for their wealth. In our first chapter a young man's greed prompts him to plot a heinous crime.

The Ewell family from L to R: Dana, Glee, Tiffany and Dale



Jun 26, 2017

Two couples collide on a deserted island in the South Seas. Only one would leave the island alive. 


Mac & Muff Graham on the Sea Wind, Duane Buck Walker, Stephanie Stearns

Book: And the Sea Will Tell - Vincent Bugliosi

Video: The FBI Files: Season 1: Deadly Paradise 


May 15, 2017

Part 2 tells about the investigation, interrogation, arrest and trial of Jodi Arias for the murder of Travis Alexander. This is Chapter 3 of "A Woman Scorned"

Jodi Arias was on the stand for 18 days during her trial.

May 9, 2017

A young woman who felt spurned by her on-again-off again lover and realizaing she couldn’t have him for herself, decides to take deadly revenge. This case became one of the most sensationalized trials on record.  

Chapter 2 of "A Woman Scorned" is the murder of Travis Alexander by Jodi Arias.




May 2, 2017

In 1989, Betty Broderick guns down her ex-husband and his new wife. Did her cheating husband cause her to snap or did she commit cold-blood, premeditated murder?

This is Chapter 1 of our new series "A Woman Scorned". 

            Betty and Dan Broderick on their wedding day in 1969. Their love would not last forever.



Twitter: @UponaCrime



Apr 25, 2017

A divorced dad takes revenge out on his ex-wife by attempting to murder his own son.

A 1988 television movie titled "David" detailed the terrible crime Charles Rothenberg committed on his 6-year-old son.


Show links:

Apr 18, 2017

A woman reports her car stolen with her 2 young sons inside. After a 9 day search, the unthinkable would be discovered.

Michael and Alex Smith went missing on October 25, 1994.






Apr 3, 2017

Three children are shot on a lonely road one night in 1983. Was it the work of a violent stranger or was it even more horrifying? Could their own mother be to blame?

Diane Downs and her children - Danny, Christie and Cheryl.

#truecrimepodcast #truecrime #dianedowns



Feb 7, 2017

A young girl infatuated with an older, married man sets out to eliminate her rival - his wife of 15 years. But, the story is soon discovered to be more sordid than originally thought.


Jan 31, 2017

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Massachusetts is robbed of over a half a billion dollars of rare art in 1990.

Image: Thieves smash and grab over a half billion dollars of art at the Isabella  Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990.



Jan 24, 2017

A young aspiring writer shoots pop art icon Andy Warhol in 1968.

Valerie Solanas, just after shooting Andy Warhol, June 3, 1968.



Book: Valerie Solanas: The Defiant Life of the Woman Who Wrote SCUM (and Shot Andy Warhol) by Breanne Fahs

Movie: I Shot Andy Warhol

Jan 17, 2017

The great artist Caravaggio lives an unparalleled life as a painter of masterpieces and as a mercurial and violent young man who became a convicted murderer before the age of 35.

true crime artists murderers historical crime


Book: Caravaggio: A Life Sacred and Profane by Andrew Graham-Dixon 

Facebook & Instagram: @OnceUponACrimePod Twitter: @UponACrime    

Jul 13, 2016

A bonus episode partially recorded at The Warfield Theater in San Francisco, CA. Making a Murderer's Dean Strang and Jerry Buting on their speaking tour "A Conversation on Justice".

To subscribe to Once Upon a Crime on iTunes, click here.

To subscribe to Once Upon a Crime on Stitcher, click here.

Our Twitter feed is here. 

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