Rank #1: Episode 131
Chris Watts is arrested and charged with murder on August 15th, 2018 in the disappearance of his pregnant wife Shanann and their two children, daughters Bella and Celeste. The caring father and husband was the envy of those who followed their success live online for the world to see. But behind the dramatic weight loss, the anticipated birth of their third child - a son, and Chris and Shanann’s thriving professional careers, a much darker truth remained. Chris wanted a new beginning. A new lease at life. And he was willing to do anything for a fresh start with his new love. He was a monster hiding in plain sight, and his actions horrified an entire nation, bringing new meaning to the classic marital vows, “til death, do us part.” (Part 2 of 2)
Rank #2: Episode 130
On August 13th, 2018, expectant mother Shanann Watts and her daughters Bella and Celeste were reported missing from their home in Frederick, Colorado. As if vanishing into thin air, her vehicle was left locked in the family garage, her purse and wallet remaining on the kitchen counter. Husband and father Christopher Watts was the last to see them alive in the early morning hours, and his claims grew increasingly more bizarre as he spoke openly to the media in the hours and days after their initial disappearance. With every interview given, it became clear that Chris Watts was hiding much more than just their disappearance.
Rank #3: Episode 3
We're joined by Bruce R. Johnson, a local expert on the Belle Gunness story, along with Director/Producer of Belle Gunness: The Movie and The Gunness Mystery, Stephen Ruminski. We also chat with local librarian Mary Hedge about La Porte's unusual relationship with the Gunness case.
Sword and Scale highly encourages you to support our guests. If you're a fan of Sword and Scale, we're certain you'll enjoy The Gunness Mystery on DVD. To order it, please visit http://www.thegunnessmystery.com/. Also, be sure to check out the La Porte County Historical Society's website for all the wicked little details surrounding this story, and if you want to dig deeper there's always our new friend Mary Hedge at The La Porte County Public Library. Also, if you're into that sort of thing, a horrifying collection of photos related to the Belle Gunness case is available at Murderpedia.
If you're interested in the Belle Gunness Story, check out Sword and Scale Staff Writer's profile: Did Belle Get Away With Murder?
Rank #4: Episode 57
In this two-part story we will cover the trial of this cold-blooded killer with special guest Cathy Russon from courtchatter.com, and get to know the man behind this horror show.
Rank #5: Episode 33
The hell he would unleash online is something that would bring many to tears. He would find a way to reach fame, or infamy, one way or another. Whether it be adult films or the slaughter of animals, Luka was destined for stardom. Unfortunately for the Chinese International Student Jun Lin, who would eventually become a victim of his madness, Magnotta would find the International spotlight he was looking for. His crime, would be one so brutal and so bizarre that it would prompt Canada's largest International manhunt, but would they ever catch this killer, who was a virtual phantom, before it was too late?
Rank #6: Episode 5
In this episode of Sword and Scale, we'll delve into Part 1 of a series titled The Massive Cover-Up one of the strangest and most outrageous criminal conspiracy theories ever told, including audio from many of those who witnessed the story unfolding firsthand. We're also delve into all the bizarre side-stories that spin off like fractals into their own mysterious endings.
The show concludes with a viral video that made headlines last week. In keeping with the theme, it is that of a sexual abuse victim named Jamie that decided that if the law wasn't going to help her, perhaps YouTube and the outrage of millions could. You won't want to miss this clip.
Rank #7: Episode 87
Over the course of a normal school day, a mystery unravels. At first there is chaos, confusion and much worry, but soon all of that anxiety melts into a river of loss and agony as friends and family members find out the truth. This first part of a two-part story is sure to keep you riveted, at the edge of your seat, and pulling your hair out waiting for the next part.
Rank #8: Episode 133
Three vicious murders in rural Northeastern Maine stun the small city of Amity’s 238 residents. A missing truck, three innocent victims killed with surgical precision, and a crime scene just a few miles West of the US/Canadian border leave detectives with few clues. Like a trained assassin creeping through the Maine thicket, 20-year-old Thayne Ormsby commits one of the state’s most heinous triple homicides, all apparently - by mistake. A tale of vigilante justice gone horribly wrong when the truth is finally revealed.
Rank #9: Episode 4
We also examine how common child abductions are in the United States and cover some of the week's most eye-catching headlines.
Rank #10: Episode 64
Rank #11: Episode 80
This is part two of the two part story of Phillip Markoff, a young and handsome Med student from New England, who came to be known as The Craigslist Killer.
Rank #12: Episode 34
Magnotta's evil wasn't limited to humanity, he also tortured animals. The kind of animals that are so adorable, innocent, and unable to defend themselves that it literablly makes you sink to even think about it. But Magnotta wanted fame, so he wasn't content with having you think about it. He wanted you to see it, as many did, including young children who will undoubtedly be scarred for the rest of their lives.
Rank #13: Episode 62
When her mother Barbara and her father Buddy, and ex-WW2 POW, get involved the online attacks turn deadly. Jenelle uses a fake identity to coerce her own father into killing innocent people, simply because of her jealousy and bitterness to the outside world.
We're joined this week by Assistant District Attorney Dennis Brooks, author of the book Too Pretty To Live: The Catfishing Murders of East Tennessee.
Rank #14: Episode 132
On July 17th, 2016, Cara Beckerle went up to the bedroom of her 19-year-old daughter, Aleah, to check on her. When she opened the door, the bed was empty, and Aleah’s wheelchair was sitting next to it.
Aleah could not have left of her own free will, as she was incapable of moving on her own due to physical disabilities, and she was nonverbal due to mental disabilities. She was also prone to seizures and had to take daily medication for them. That medication was also still in her room.
What happened to Aleah Beckerle?
Rank #15: Episode 100
For our landmark hundredth episode we cover a story that has all the elements our listeners love to hear. A graphic and gory case of body parts being found
scattered across a roadway, and the unbelievable tale of how the case then unfolds from there will leave you scratching your head.
Rank #16: Episode 75
None of of the Gainesville Ripper story makes much sense, but it made an entire university of 30,000+ students panic and leave their studies and futures behind, for the sake of their personal safety.
This story also challenges our ideas of what crime-journalism is and should be. "Guilty until proven innocent?" ...that's not a well-recognized concept these days. And the media and public are quick to judge those on the periphery of the story as well. Sometimes their judgements are right, but sometimes they can equally be misguided.
Rank #17: Episode 49
Rank #18: Episode 63
This is the story of Martin Macneill, and his late wife Michelle.
Rank #19: Episode 45
As with all unspeakable acts such as this we are interested in finding out why this occurred, so we take a closer look at Joseph McEnroe's life and family. Somewhere along the way, despite this hateable man's atrocity, we end up finding out he was actually a human being that and pity begins to take the place of hate. A product of the horrible home life due to a mother who was desperate for male companionship and unfit to care for her 4 illegitimate children, McEnroe ended up having to pick up the slack and take on most of the household responsibilities while he was still just a child. This along with his social awkwardness and speech impediment are all ingredients that made up the disaster he would become as an adult.
Rank #20: Episode 88
When a 14 year old boy named Philip Chism goes missing in the middle of a school day, his mother thinks the worst and calls 911. Little does she know, that her son isn't the only missing person from Danvers High School that day. A 24-year-old math teacher is missing also. She is Phillip's teacher which raises some immediate questions, but after finally solving a mishap with the school's 140-camera security system, police are able to come up with a theory as to what happened that day. Another big clue, of course, is the body in the woods. Colleen E. Ritzer was a 24-year-old math teacher at Danvers High School. She had a warm smile and love of teaching. Some of her friends would later say that she was "born to do this job." However, no one could have imaged the darkness that would shroud the school on that particular day, and when all is said and done we are all left with the nagging question of "why?"