Just dropped in to share the audio from last Saturday’s live stream. I hope you enjoy it enough to join me this Saturday (6/27). The show starts at 1pm CST. You can watch on Facebook Live or GetVokl.com.
I’m also approaching 15,000 downloads! When I reach that goal, I will be doing an ask me anything stream! I’ll let you know as I get closer so you can prepare your questions.
Last but not least- I have stickers! If you’d like me to send you a couple just DONATE to the podcast. A $2 donation will get you 2 stickers- see how that works?
This dude was so serious about his horror that he laid out the rules to surviving a scary movie. 1. Stay a virgin 2. No booze or drugs and 3. Never, EVER say, “I’ll be right back”. It’s a good thing that none of us lived through a horror movie, huh?
So- what’s your favorite scary movie? Almost everybody has one. I can say with certainty that my sister’s favorite is The Exorcist. I’ve got a shortlist that includes IT, A Nightmare on Elm Street (the first one), the first installment of Scream, and A Quiet Place. I could name more, but you get the point. Now, my sister and her friends used to “play” exorcist with one another- hence, the whole LaToya Ammons situation from Episode 21. That’s about as close to reenacting a horror film that I’ve seen anyone do.
In the movie Scream, there was a true to life film geek named Randy. This dude was so serious about his horror that he laid out the rules to surviving a scary movie. 1. Stay a virgin 2. No booze or drugs and 3. Never, EVER say, “I’ll be right back”. It’s a good thing that none of us lived through a horror movie, huh?
Unfortunately for some Pocatello, ID students, they would be the unwitting stars of one such nightmare. Today, we discuss “The Scream Murders”.
We’re jumping in the way back and heading to Pocatello. The year is 2006. That year had a few brilliant horror movies released- Slither, The Hills Have Eyes, the third installment of the Final Destination series, and Scary Movie 4. Anyway, this city is in the top 50 small cities in the US. About a third of the population is of the Mormon faith.
September 22, 2006, started like any other Friday at Pocatello High School. Kids were scurrying to classes while making plans for the weekend. Cassie Stoddart was at her locker when her friends Torrie Adamcik and Brian Draper showed up at her locker. These two were Mormons and aspiring filmmakers. Most of the time they documented the day’s events with a camcorder. Today was no different- this morning, they aimed the camera at Cassie and told her to say “Hi”.
Cassie was an exceptional student, artist, and musician. She literally was the definition of the girl next door. As a junior in high school, she had aspirations to study law in college. She was cute and friendly to everyone. She had recently begun dating Matt Beckham. They’d been together a whole 5 months! Well, to parents that’s recent. To teens in love, that’s FOREVER.
That evening, Cassie’s aunt and uncle Frank and Allison Contreras, planned to go out of town for the weekend. They trusted Cassie to house sit for them while they traveled. Cassie and Matt planned to Netflix and chill. Well, maybe Blockbuster and chill? I don’t know- it seems like Netflix has been around forever. Point is, the couple would spend the evening watching movies until Matt’s 10:00 curfew.
At 6 pm, Matt arrived at the Contreras’ dream house. The couple watched a movie- I’ve heard that it was Kill Bill. About an hour later, Torrie and Brian showed up to watch the movie with them. They stuck around for about an hour. They decided they wanted to go to the movies- film geeks.
Now, Matt and Cassie are finally alone again. Matt’s curfew was slowly creeping up on them but before they could really savor the moment- the power goes out. This seems like something straight out of a horror flick. The lights go out. Boyfriend leaves to investigate the problem. Girlfriend is slaughtered by deranged psychopath. Repeat for two hours until we get to final girl against monster.
In this situation, Matt finds the circuit breaker has tripped and resets it. He returns upstairs to find his girlfriend in one piece. Needless to say, this spooked Cassie. She tells Matt that she is now afraid to stay in the house alone. Matt calls his mom and asks if he could stay with Cassie since she was afraid. His mom probably didn’t have to think about it much before she said no. In fact, she came to pick him up shortly after that call. Call it mother’s intuition, but she knew that nothing good could come from them spending the night together.
And now Cassie was all alone in the house her aunt and uncle loved so much. She laid down on the couch and watched TV. Suddenly, the power again goes out. Cassie was afraid to move- she didn’t want to go to the basement to reset the breaker, so she closed her eyes and tried to go to sleep.
Have you ever been asleep and felt like someone was in the room with you? Like you’re being watched? Then you wake up and it’s your creepy boyfriend standing in the shadows staring at you? No? Only me?
Well, Cassie got that feeling. She jumped up off the couch and came face-to-face, not with her boyfriend, but with a shadowy figure with a ghoulish mask on. Who knows how it went down after that. It seems as if she fought for her life but was overpowered. When the ordeal was over, Cassie’s lifeless body was left on the floor. She had been stabbed 29 times- nine of those wounds would have been considered fatal.
I can’t imagine what those last moments must have been like for her. She had to be so afraid and confused. This grotesque figure had ambushed her and extinguished one of Pocatello, Idaho’s brightest stars. She would lay there, alone, until her family returned from their weekend getaway.
On Sunday, when her uncle and his family returned, their 13-year-old daughter rushed into the house to see her cousin Cassie. Instead of being greeted by Cassie’s smiling face, she was confronted with the horrific sight of Cassie’s mangled remains. Upon entering the home, her uncle couldn’t believe his eyes. He rushed to call the police. His beautiful niece was dead.
Word quickly spread about the murder. Of course, law enforcement wanted to talk to everyone who was in contact with Cassie over the weekend. Cassie’s mom had called Matt on the phone and asked what he had done to her daughter. Real-life is just like every scary movie, the boyfriend is always the first suspect. The police interviewed Matt. They wanted to know everything that had happened during his visit with Cassie, when was the last he talked to her, and where he was in the days following the murder. Matt was very cooperative and even agreed to a polygraph exam. He explained that on Friday he and Cassie watched a movie, Torrie and Brian stopped by for about an hour, and he left shortly after 10 pm. Cassie was very much alive when he left, and when he got in his mom’s car he wasn’t covered in blood. He said he had been trying to catch up with her the next day, but she didn’t answer her phone. He asked Torrie to take him over to the house, but Torrie said he didn’t have enough gas in his car. The polygraph exam determined he was telling the truth.
The next people on the list for interviews were Torrie and Brian. They were questioned separately, but both of their stories were consistent. They were with Matt and Cassie for about an hour. They realized that no one else would stop by, so they left and went to the movies. They both had the ticket stubs to prove what movie they had seen. They hadn’t spoken to Cassie again, but they hung out with Matt on Saturday. Matt wanted to go check on Cassie, but Torrie only had enough gas to get him through the school week. With no evidence to hold them on, the police cut them loose.
Just like in the movie “Scream”, the town was on edge knowing that a killer was lurking among them. Everyone had their ideas about who that murderer could be. They pointed lots of fingers at Matt. Others thought it had to be a deranged stranger just passing through. Still others thought it was Torrie or Brian. Everyone had an idea- some thought of who could have done this to Cassie. Just like in the movie Scream, they would find out that the killer is closer than you think.
After the medical examiner autopsied the body, he determined that Cassie had likely died on Friday night. Like previously stated, someone had stabbed her 29 times in what was a frenzied attack. The M.E. also determined that there were TWO weapons used in the attack. That’s right, some wounds were made with a serrated knife, the others with a smooth knife. This shows law enforcement that there is a strong possibility that there were two assailants involved in this crime.
The investigators went back to their suspects. Matt’s mother was his alibi. She would have noticed blood on his clothing when she picked him up Friday night. We would like to hope that she wouldn’t cover for her son had he done something heinous. But Torrie and Brian? Their alibis were each other. There was no one else who could confirm their whereabouts for the evening in question. The police brought them in again for another round of interviews. They, again, were questioned separately. This time, investigators about the plot of the movie they had seen. Neither of them could remember the plot. When asked about actors in the movie, neither could answer. This is highly suspicious because these two were well known film geeks.
Ask me today about a movie I was so intrigued by that I paid money to see it in a theater. Tell me to describe Avengers: Endgame to you- I’ll be able to tell you damn near frame by frame what went on in that movie and how it ties to the greater Marvel storyline. I’m passionate about sci-fi/ fantasy films. I dissect them. I relate them to the world we are living in. They are almost always representative of some current event, even if they are showing how we overcome a failure of present society. I remember the key plot points because if there is EVER a part two (and in the world we inhabit, there is ALWAYS a part two) I know that these things become more important. In fact, even the sequel to Scream built upon the rules established in the first movie.
These aspiring filmmakers couldn’t remember a film they had watched only days earlier. That’s an enormous problem. That caused the police to want to look into them a little further. And the more they dug, the more they found out about the boys. Torrie and Brian wanted to direct films, but they were very interested in a certain genre. That genre? Horror.
Other students from Pocatello High offered similar observations of the boys’ personalities. Torrie and Brian regularly depicted acts of violence as their camera rolled. They rarely picked up on the discomfort of others as they acted out scenes from their favorite scary movies. Their peers had little doubt that they were capable of murder.
Investigators believed Brian and Torrie were responsible for Cassie’s horrible death. After several interviews, they discovered how right they were.
Brian cracked first. He told the police he was present when Cassie was killed, but didn’t take part in the murder. Law enforcement, aware that there were at least two perpetrators, allowed him to keep talking. He said he and Torrie agreed to prank Cassie and Matt. While at the house earlier that evening, he unlocked a back door. After leaving to “go to the movies”, they returned to the home. Donning their disguises, they hid in the basement. They accessed the circuit breakers, shutting the power out. When Matt came downstairs to reset the breaker, they saw him. They also heard Matt leave when his mom came to pick him up. They knew Cassie was alone.
According to Brian, the plan was to scare the crap out of Cassie. He said Torrie deviated by actually attacking her. After killing her, they disposed of the evidence. Brian was willing to lead officers to the site they had buried the weapons. And so, they went on a little field trip.
Brian led the officers to a site in Black Rock Canyon. He said they’d find the weapons there, but the police found so much more. There were masks, gloves, clothes, knives, and- A VIDEO TAPE! Our film geeks just couldn’t help themselves. They recorded their thoughts before and after Cassie’s death.
After viewing these videos, investigators now had irrefutable evidence that Torrie Adamcik and Brian Draper committed murder. Not only that, but they planned the act days in advance. They chose Cassie to die in the first act of their horror movie. They intended for there to be more victims- including Matt.
Booked just five days after slaying Cassie, the villains faced first degree murder charges. In the coming months, the young men went to trial separately. During trial, Brian stated the Columbine shooters, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris inspired him and Torrie. The movie “Scream” also influenced them. In 2007, both were convicted and sentenced to life in prison with no possibility for parole. They both appealed the decision, only to have their sentences upheld.
In 2010, the Stoddart family filed a civil lawsuit against the Idaho School District. They claimed that the school was negligent and should have known that Draper and Adamcik posed a threat to others. Both the civil court and the State Supreme Court dismissed the case, saying the actions of the killers were not foreseeable.
Over the years, a remorseful Brian has acknowledged the pain he caused and accepts his sentence. Torrie and his parents continue to downplay his involvement, despite evidence that points directly at him. In one video, even he looks surprised when his mother and father insist he is innocent.
The Supreme Court issued a ruling that mandatory life sentences without parole are unconstitutional for juvenile offenders. This requires states to re-examine hundreds of cases- including Adamcik and Draper in Idaho. For now, both are still held at the Idaho State Correctional Facility.
That there’s no motive for the would-be crime spree of two 16-year-olds is not at all surprising. In the movie “Scream”, the antagonists admit that having no motive is scarier.
In this collaborative episode, we document black history and current events with the voices of those who have lived through it.
As podcasters, we have a platform and duty to speak up and call out injustice. In light of the murder of George Floyd, we have come together in solidarity to use our platform to speak up against racial injustice and amplify the voices of black podcasters that deserve more recognition. Racism is prevalent in all industries; from the media who under-report on black victims to the justice system which routinely fails black victims. In this collaborative episode, we document black history and current events with the voices of those who have lived through it.
Written by: CrimeLapse, Morbidology, Sinister Silhouettes, Bruh Issa Murder, Handcuffed Podcast, True Crime? Never Heard of it, Blood and Firewater, Hard Truths Podcast, Noir True Crime Files and All Things Eeerie
Produced by: CrimeLapse and Morbidology
Graphics by: Death by Champagne
Thanks to: Reverie: True Crime Podcast, Evidence of a Crime, All Things Eeerie, It’s Murder Up North, The True Crime Witch, Writing About Crime, Death by Champagne, Murder She Spoke, Murder and More, Always Time for True Crime, Malice, Hometown Homicide, Brew Crime, Our True Crime Podcast
Today, Barack Obama gave us the cornerstone to affecting actual change.
If we want our criminal justice system, and American society at large, to operate on a higher ethical code, then we have to model that code ourselves.
We have discussed the problem ad nauseam. Today is about offering solutions. We are at a crossroads- the public has overwhelmingly signaled that WE WANT CHANGE! The old system of racism and profiling is old news. It’s one thing to desire equality and something else entirely to achieve it. Today, Barack Obama gave us the cornerstone to affecting actual change. Some of us knew this and just needed a reminder. For others, this will be the first time you hear how we move forward AFTER the protests. This will be work- nothing good ever comes easy. After seeing the national and global response to these most recent injustices, I know you are up for it. Let me know how YOU will be actively implementing change in your judiciary.
What must happen for “the powers that be” to recognize the utter disgust and contempt black parents feel for you right now? For years, we have been begging for checks and balances in law enforcement. For years, we have proven that the system is HEAVILY skewed against Blacks and other POCs. For years, we have watched our sons and daughters be gunned down, choked, attacked, and harassed. Simply for being.
Simply for being.
Today, stunned, I watched another young black man who had been subdued die at the hands of police. This time it was Minneapolis. Not to be confused with Indianapolis earlier this month. Or Texas a few weeks ago. Or wherever it may happen tomorrow. This one in Minneapolis has left me completely speechless.
In the (now viral) cell phone footage, the world witnessed an officer with his knee on his suspect’s neck as bystanders pleaded with him to just put the guy in the car. The suspect-turned-victim was handcuffed. There were multiple officers present. The man wasn’t a threat. And now he’s dead.
In the meantime, officer so-and-so gets a paid vacation while his peers “investigate” the murder. The media has a field day, digging up details of the victim’s criminal misdeeds. Social media gets another public lynching to pass around like coronavirus- you get a hashtag, and you get a hashtag. And this man’s family gets to plan a funeral.
Somehow, law enforcement is able to apprehend mass shooters, allow admitted murderers walk the streets for MONTHS, and keep serial killers alive for decades. Unfortunately, they haven’t yet mastered the art of NOT executing black men on video. I assume no amount of training will ensure that fear and deeply ingrained prejudices won’t cloud the vision of these officers. At this juncture, it’s impossible for black people to identify the good guys from the bad ones.
Black parents are put in the precarious position of being the only people who care about their children. How do we explain to our young ones that society sees their life as expendable? In the midst of a pandemic, our kids see a white woman threaten a black man with the police FOR NOTHING! Black America sits in shock, knowing she may as well have shot him herself. That’s what we have to teach our children- that a crying white woman is a death sentence for you.
This is no different than my great-grandparents begging to be free from slavery. Or my father begging to be seen as a human being. Now, we have to fight for our children to be seen as anything but a threat. We are watching a generation of men and women whose dreams will never be realized. Who won’t get an opportunity to look back on this era and tell their own children how far America has come. Who won’t get a chance to make better decisions.
At the end of the (very long) day, we hold a lot of power. Yes, white people, you are part of this “we”. Are you really as tired of Black people facing death with every encounter with the police? Are you? Do you agree that even a criminal deserves their day in court? Is that a right that is only reserved for YOUR children?
If you can’t tell- I’m the mother of a Black son. He’s 6’5” and 220 pounds. He is dark as midnight. His life matters to me. I want him to live a long and prosperous life. Mostly, I don’t want him to die.
(Drunken Rant) What can we do while black? We can’t eat ice cream in our home, play video games IN OUR HOMES, drive, exercise, shop, buy skittles, listen to music, go to work- what the fuck is safe to do while black? I’ve got a son, several nephews, brothers, cousins, friends- and I TRULY worry about their safety. Why? Simply put- because of white fear. Trust me- I’m scared shitless of white folks. Y’all say the word, and we are DONE. I almost feel like I can communicate with damn near anyone else- any other ethnicity- except white folks. If I speak so that I can be heard, I’m “angry”. If I say I matter, you remind me that everybody matters. If I don’t straighten my hair, I’m too “ethnic”. So what do you want us to do? Die? This is why I cover ALL crimes on my podcast- if you point a finger at me, there are three more pointing at you. Criminals come in all colors, not just shades of black. And even if any one of these victims was a criminal, as long as Ed Kemper, Gary Ridgway, Dennis Rader, and the rest of the serial killer lineup are alive they deserve their day in court! But instead we are burying our INNOCENTS.
Remember being a kid? In Gary, when I was a child, there were no buses that took us to Webster Elementary School.
If parents didn’t drop us off or pick us up, we endured the 15 to 20-minute walk with other children in the neighborhood. Of course, this was the late 70s early 80s. We all knew about stranger danger but rarely had to put those lessons into practical use. Rain, sleet, snow- we dressed for the elements and trudged back and forth to school. We never even gave a thought to NOT making it home.
The complexion of things began to change for us in 1984- but that’s another story for another time. I’ve been teasing it and I will eventually tell it. I just wanted to jump in the way back machine and take you with me. Today’s story starts off like so many. A normal, mundane afternoon that suddenly turned into the stuff of nightmares.
It was November 18, 1993, in St. Ann, Missouri. Angie Housman was nine-years-old. Like every day, she was excited to get home when she hopped off the bus after school. She lived about 5 minutes from the bus stop. Some days, she would run just to get home faster. Unfortunately for her, she would never make it to her home. There was a monster lurking, and he was one depraved and lucky son-of-a-bitch. Today we will discuss the heartbreaking case of Angie and how the police never gave up on bringing her killer to justice.
Thirty minutes after Angie’s normal arrival time, her mom and step-father began to grow concerned. It wouldn’t take her this long to get home even if she stopped and chatted with friends or neighbors along the way. This wouldn’t be completely out of the ordinary-the stopping and talking. Angie was known as a friendly child who was quick to make new friends. While this is an admirable trait, could it have also made her vulnerable to potential predators?
Just like my neighborhood, there were certain parents that lived close enough to the route children took to and from the bus stop who would serve as lookouts. They watched the kids and looked out for anyone who didn’t belong in the area. Two days earlier, a parent had complained to the police about a strange man loitering about. On this day, as luck would have it, none of those parents were at their usual posts. One was catching up on housework, the other caring for her sick parent. Angie was definitely on the bus and had gotten off on her usual stop. It was as though after that she just vanished.
Once a couple of hours passed with no sign of Angie, her parents, Ron and Diane Bone had sounded the alarm. The St. Ann police began to search for the second-grader. They called in help from the St. Louis Major Case Squad and the FBI when they determined that they were likely dealing with an abduction. These authorities, along with help from the community, began to look for evidence that would lead to her safe return.
There were appeals to the public and the abductor from the Bones. It was hoped that the kidnapper would see their tears and spare their child. Sadly, that would not be the case. On November 27, 9 days after her disappearance, two deer hunters stumbled upon a horrific sight. They called in the St. Charles County police about a body found at the August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area. Nothing could prepare the officers for what they were about to see. In fact, I’m finding it very hard to describe the scene to you.
The child was nude and had duct tape wound around her entire face except for her nose. Her clothes and winter coat was neatly folded near her, along with her backpack. Her body showed signs of having been sexually abused and tortured by her abductor. She had been savagely beaten and starved over the week she had been missing. She was chained to a tree with her hands cuffed behind her back. The most awful part of this is that she had only been deceased for a matter of hours. This baby had survived these atrocities- having food and water withheld from her and the horrific sexual and physical abuse- only to die of exposure to the elements.
It goes without saying that this was the worst crime committed against a child in the area. Parents became extra vigilant over their children. St. Ann was on high alert. Then, the unimaginable happened.
On December 9, 1993, the body of 10-year-old Cassidy Senter was found by pedestrians in an alley in Hazelwood, which is very close to St. Ann. The child was wrapped in two comforters and a pink curtain. Her jacket and sweater were pulled above her chest. Her jeans were pulled down over her ankles, inside out. A sheet was looped around each of her ankles and then tied in the middle to hold the ankles together. Near her body were distinct tire impressions made by a U-Haul truck.
There was decomposition on the upper portion of her body and at least four tears to the scalp along with multiple fractures in the skull. She had bruises on her chin, right cheek, right shoulder, breast bone, abdomen, each side of her chest wall, and at the base of her neck. Numerous other bruises were found over her body.
The condition of Cassidy’s scalp indicated that she was alive when she received many of her injuries. The physician who performed the autopsy determined that there were at least five blows to her head and that the blows were significant enough to have caused death within half an hour.
In less than one month, two girls, about the same age, were presumably sexually assaulted and murdered. This made many people question whether there was a serial killer operating in their community. St. Ann police worked with the Hazelwood authorities to see if these two crimes were connected.
In Feb. 1994, the police in Hazelwood made an arrest in the Cassidy Senter case. Unlike the Housman case, on December 1, Cassidy had been seen by multiple people after school. She also had a personal alarm that she carried with her and her neighbor, Michael Goldbeck made sure it was working that day. She went off to visit with friends. Later, she stopped at the home of Cassandra Quinn to play with her children. Quinn’s brother, Thomas Brooks, answered the door. When little Cassidy asked if his nephews were home, he snatched her into the house.
Once inside, she fell down the steps to the basement which activated her alarm. Brooks threw it out into the yard. He then asked her to remove her clothes. Cassidy tried to escape and screamed at the top of her lungs. When he realized that she wouldn’t be compliant, Brooks beat her about the head and body with a slat from a bed.
It is said that his sister knew the body was in her home. She didn’t want to know anything about it and told him to dispose of it. A MOTHER. That is actually as fucking sick as her pedophile brother, in my opinion. Neighbors tipped off the police when they noticed a U-Haul backing out of her drive. Neighbors had also found the baby’s alarm nearby. In 1994, Brooks was convicted of his crime and sentenced to death. Unfortunately, this piece of shit checked out early. He died in prison in 2000.
The police were unable to establish any link between Brooks and the Angie Housman murder. The evidence just didn’t match. They continued to work the case but even though there were some strange leads, it grew cold.
One of the weird leads came from a teacher at Angie’s school. The day prior to Angie’s disappearance she told this teacher that she was going to visit the countryside with a relative. Even stranger is the reports that soon came in regarding Angie meeting an older gentleman (wanting to start a friendship) and this unidentified perv accepted the offer and told her to call him “Uncle.” This became a huge lead in the case of Angie’s abduction and murder, but the investigation quickly turned dry in relation to this tip.
Another crazy tip was said to come from a boy named “David”. On Thanksgiving in 1993- two days before Angie’s remains were found- 13-year-old David announced that he had a dream and knew where she would be located. Then, he went on to predict her location and HOW she’d be found. This definitely got back to law enforcement and “David” repeated his story. He was able to lead them to the approximate area where she was found.
The police figured that he knew a little too much for him to not be involved. They took fingerprints and hair samples from the boy and sent them to the FBI crime lab. All tests came back negative. David was quickly dismissed as a person of interest.
Other suspects that were investigated and cleared include:
Bryant Squires who, on his death-bed in 1996, confessed to several murders. He also implicated a “friend” of his. His nurses told police that Squires claimed Angie as one of his victims. Squires never named the friend although he had been known to keep company with Nathan Williams- also a convicted murderer and child molester. Apparently, it could not have been Williams who was an accomplice because he was serving time in prison at the time of Angie’s murder. Investigators followed this lead and determined that their evidence didn’t point to Squires.
Also, Texan Gary Stufflebean, became a suspect after he was linked to the sexual abuse and attempted abduction of an 11-year-old girl in Maryland Heights on Nov. 8, 1993. He pleaded guilty in that case. There was nothing to tie him to Angie.
In March 1994, John Wayne Parsons, a confessed child molester arrested in Bradenton, Fla., had newspaper clippings about Angie’s death in his possession. Parsons, however, was cleared of the killing.
Another 9-year-old girl was kidnapped and slain in Arlington, Texas, in January 1996. Again, no connection to Angie.
It’s hard to imagine that many creeps were out there then and that even more operate today! And, how do these pieces of shit find tag team partners? How do you realize that “Hey- this guy’s just as big a piece of garbage as me! Did we just become best friends?”
And so it went on, tips came in and were dismissed. The case grew colder and colder. The poor Bone family went on with no answers. One year. Five years. A decade. Two decades. The evidence of Angie’s gruesome death sat in an evidence locker. It seemed that despite their hardest work, the investigators continued to come up short. UNTIL-
Yeah- y’all knew there had to be light at the end of the tunnel. I can’t bring this baby back to life. The next best thing is reporting on JUSTICE. In November 2018, sources outside the prosecutor’s office told the media that evidence from the case was being processed in the FBI lab in Quantico, Virginia. That included DNA from a pea sized sample found in Angie’s panties.
By June 2019, the results came back and revealed that there could only be one person in 58 trillion (about 7 times the population of the entire planet) that contributed the sample. I still must mention that he has not been convicted of this crime and in the US one is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. That said, a one in 58 trillion DNA match would be all the evidence I’d need. That person is currently sitting in a North Carolina prison for unrelated crimes. The sadistic fuck had been named- he was Earl Webster Cox. Sucker.
According to ksdk.com, Cox was born and raised in St. Louis and joined the Air Force in 1975. Five years later, he was court-martialed and served a sentence at Fort Leavenworth for sex offenses involving young children he babysat while stationed at an Air Force base in Frankfurt, Germany.
Cox was free on parole in 1985, which was revoked in 1992 after he was again arrested and charged with sexual abuse of a child. He left Fort Leavenworth again at the end of 1992 and moved back to the St. Louis area. Get this- even with his very disturbing history, this guy was NEVER on the authorities radar. No one would have connected him to the crime. The worst part is he lived just three blocks away from Angie and her family. Talk about too close for comfort.
Also, According to court documents, Cox was involved in a child pornography network starting in 1997. While living in Colorado, he was caught in an FBI sting operation where an agent posed as a 14-year-old girl online. He pleaded guilty in 2003 to trying to entice a minor across state lines for sexual activity, and to charges for the 45,000 images of child pornography FBI agents found on his home computer.
Cox has been in federal custody ever since. Though he had finished serving his sentences by 2011, federal authorities had held onto him, deeming the pedophile as a “sexually dangerous person,” according to court papers quoted by KMOV.
On June 5, 2019, St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Lohmar announced charges at a press conference at the St. Charles County Police Department. He was flanked by a dozen or more experts, investigators and scientists who have been involved over the years. Cox has been charged with first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping, and sodomy. It has been stated that there is reason to believe that Cox didn’t act alone. It makes me wonder if that death bed confession made by Bryant Squires could hold credence.
Still unknown, for instance, is where Cox kept Angie during her nine days in captivity, and whether he had assistance in concealing her whereabouts.
According to a June 7, 2019, New York Daily News article, Cox could additionally be implicated in at least one other case. He was accused of molesting two 7-year-old girls in 1989, but the charges were dropped. The prosecutor’s office in St. Louis County is considering new charges against Cox for that case.
After 25 years, little Angie Housman’s killer is finally caught up in the wheels of justice. May he be torn to pieces. It is remarkable that the evidence was well-preserved enough to be an integral part of bringing this pervert to justice. Hopefully, as science and technology continue to advance, more stories like this can be told. Even more optimistically, maybe knowing that they are a genealogy test away from being apprehended will persuade a would be murderer from committing the act. Sadly, Angie’s mom did not live long enough to learn the identity of the beast who took her baby away. She passed away three years ago after fighting cancer.
And that’s the tragic case of Angie Housman. One of the things I want each member of my audience to do is research just how many sexual predators live in their area. The results may be staggering. Let that number make you commit to holding your children and grandchildren close. Be present and alert- even for simple things like getting off the school bus. Create an army with other parents. Force a predator to think twice about operating on your block.
Because a lot of these stories are so tough to get through, I thought it would be different if each week I leave you with something to think about. It may be pop culture, random musings, quotes from famous people or what have you. If you want to participate send me anything on social media or to TCbyTB@gmail.com. I will share responses as they come in. This week’s something to think about is this:
Were there ever any black people on Friends? It’s hard to believe that there wouldn’t be. I really wasn’t a fan because we had “Living Single” which was Friends only before Friends, but I digress. I just don’t recall there being any black folks where they lived. In the early 2000s. Like none. Or I could be all wrong, so Friends fans- straighten me out. I promise I won’t just Google the answer.
On that note- please don’t forget to subscribe on your favorite podcatcher. I also need some new reviews on Apple Podcasts. Lastly, share the show with a friend. Or if you hate the show, share it with an enemy. Just share it okay? Thanks for hanging out, and until next week- stay the hell outta the shadows.
Q: When was Aretha Franklin NOT Aretha Franklin?
A: When she was Vickie Jones!
Music. It soothes the soul and tames the savage beast. Tell me if you’ve ever been in the funkiest of funky moods until “your jam” came on. Can I get a witness? Or if you have ever felt as if your life and the life of your favorite artist (through their music) somehow ran parallel? Please don’t mistake what I’m talking about with stalking and being delusional, I mean do you sometimes FEEL the sentiment coming through the song? For me, one such artist is Mary J. Blige. We are just about the same age.
After gaining some popularity, she began to hit fame’s rough patches. This was right around the time I was rising like a phoenix from some of the nonsense that I had been through. I couldn’t help but root for Mary because in a way it was like I was rooting on myself. She turned the corner on a lot of her issues in the early 2000’s- right about the time I was getting up on my feet. I matured with Mary. We were alike in many, many ways, except I can’t sing a lick!
Well, today’s story is kind of similar to that feeling of familiarity with a rising star. Set in the 1960s, the journey begins at a time of civil unrest in the United States. The Black population, mostly descendants of slaves, continued to face persecution and discrimination. A lot has been overcome since then, although we still have quite a bit of work to do. But this is a story of a people rising above inequality by any means necessary. This is about women using their God-given talent as a means to bring the nation together. It’s about kidnapping. It’s about fraud. And it’s about redemption. Spoiler alert- nobody dies but one woman learns what it means to live.
In 1967, we found two 27-year-old women on separate trajectories in life. Both became mothers at a very young age. Both married young and experienced violence at the hands of their husbands. Both were brought up in the Baptist church. And both had AMAZING singing voices. The similarities kind of end there, because one of these women was Aretha Franklin. This year, with her Baptist minister father’s full support, Aretha would make the jump to secular music. By 1969, she was a world-renowned artist, sold millions of records, and had already won four Grammys.
The subject of our story is the OTHER woman, Mary Jane Jones. I gave you the cliff notes version of Mary Jane’s life story but now I’ll fill in some blanks. She got married at 19 and soon after had a son. This wasn’t the abusive situation- in fact, it may have been a fairytale life for Mary had her husband not passed away. After life handed her this enormous heartache, she soon married again. This wouldn’t be a fairytale either- her new husband was a raging alcoholic with whom she had three more children. Eventually, Mary Jane and her children escaped their abuser leaving her to care and provide for the kids on her own.
Mary had less than a high school education and finding work to support her family didn’t come easily. But, she was a woman of faith. Raised to use her dynamic voice to praise God, for six years she was able to tour with her church choir, led by the Reverend Billie Lee. She and her children survived on government assistance and donations the choir received while traveling.
It became obvious that she would have to supplement her income somehow. She began performing Motown hits in local nightclubs under the stage name “Vickie Jones”. For each night, she received $10. That’s equivalent to about $80 per day in 2020. That is just about twice the amount United States citizens received as coronavirus relief aid recently. Once. Wasn’t much then and it’s not much now. But it was something and last Mary checked, something was better than nothing.
Mary Jane had to use the stage name so she wouldn’t jeopardize her standing with the church. Those Motown hits were considered the devil’s music. It was thought that the money and fame that came along with secular music was a satanic payoff to get people to turn their backs on God. She also disguised herself with wigs and heavy makeup as part of her onstage persona.
Her favorite artist at the time was Aretha Franklin. They were the same age, and like I previously described, their life-stories were similar. Mary Jane scoured the pages of popular Black magazines like Ebony and Jet to learn the trending fashion, makeup, and entertainment news.
It was in these magazines that she got an up-close and personal look at Aretha. She would recreate the various looks for her performances. Mary Jane would also open and close her set with Aretha’s hits. It has been said that Mary Jane indeed sounded remarkably similar to Aretha.
In the 1960s, very few people had the opportunity to see the hitmakers in full color. Most homes still had old black & white televisions that were far from high definition. When Mary Jane would appear at the Pink Garter nightclub, the audience would be just drunk enough to mistake her for Aretha. Nobody sang that mix of blues and gospel like Aretha- except maybe Mary Jane.
At the Pink Garter, Mary Jane performed alongside a James Brown impersonator named Lavell Hardy. Hardy made $200 a night with his act. He was awestruck by Mary Jane’s performances even stating, “She’s identical from head-to-toe. She’s got the complexion. She’s got the looks. She’s got the height. She’s got the tears. She’s got everything.”
After following her act at several nightclubs, Lavell asked Mary Jane to tour with him in Florida. Mary Jane refused. She had children to care for and, furthermore, couldn’t afford a bus ticket. Then Lavell held out his carrot- she would be opening for Aretha Franklin and would be paid $1000 for 6 shows. That’s equal to about $7200 in 2020. Needless to say, Mary Jane made arrangements for her mother to take care of her kids and borrowed money from anyone she could for a ticket to Florida. That salary would change her family’s life and she would be able to meet her musical inspiration, Aretha. She left Mary Jane behind. When she boarded that bus she was Vickie.
After hours of travel, Vickie arrived at the venue in Melbourne, Florida. Marquees announced “Aretha Franklin Performing Tonight”. When she met with Lavell, wondering when she could see Aretha, he dropped a nuclear-sized bomb on her. SHE was Aretha. He had tricked her into coming all this way to IMPERSONATE Aretha Franklin.
Vickie was shocked and understandably pissed that she had been lured away from her family under false pretenses. She refused to perform. Lavell reminded her that she was miles away from home. He also threatened to feed her to the gators if she didn’t cooperate. Vickie would sing as if her life depended on it because it did.
Because of the times, the ruse worked! Vickie sounded so much like Aretha Franklin that, to concert attendees who had never seen her in person, no one doubted their ears. Fake Aretha would finish her sets and rush offstage to her dressing room. Then, it was likely off to the next city to do it all over again.
Between shows, Vickie was locked in hotel rooms. She was fed two hamburgers a day. In the meantime, Lavell Hardy was booking more shows. She was held there, far away from her family, against her will. Even in the 60s, Florida was still Florida. She didn’t dare call the police for help. Just a few months earlier, Florida police had shot and killed three Black residents when a rally turned into a riot. Some things never change.
Lavell booked a 1400 seat venue in Fort Myers called the High Hat Room. The show sold out quickly, even with tickets costing $5.50 a pop (equal to about 40 bucks in today’s money). This was too many people to fool- Vickie wanted to tell the truth, but Lavell continued to threaten her into silence. The packed house saw Fake Aretha and some felt like something wasn’t right. There was something about the look. But when the band started and Vickie belted out “Since You’ve Been Gone” the audience shook away all doubt. That HAD to be Ms. Franklin!
This was Vickie’s dream. To sing in front of a packed house of adoring fans. But she realized that this was a counterfeit version. These people weren’t there to see Vickie Jones, they were there to see Aretha Franklin. This wasn’t HER dream. It was Aretha’s- and here she was stealing it from her.
It could have been Stockholm Syndrome that kept Vickie cooperating city after city. She may have subconsciously enjoyed being the center of attention. It didn’t matter much, because soon the jig was going to be up. See, while Fake Aretha was touring Florida, Real Aretha was heading there to wait out her divorce from her abuser, Ted White. While there she received some much-needed therapy and even booked a few shows. In today’s internet age, Lavell would have known that Real Aretha was heading their way. He may have been able to get a head start out of Florida. Twitter and Instagram were nearly 40 years away, though. Lavell had booked a 4200 seat venue for “Aretha Franklin” while the real Aretha was booking her own concert in Florida.
Just like all the shows prior to this one, the one in Ocala, Florida sold out. This was the biggest venue yet. I’m sure Lavell was licking his chops, thinking of the huge payday he’d receive at the end of the night. I say that “he’d” receive because Vickie didn’t get one dime of the money that was swindled from unsuspecting audiences. Lavell figured that if he gave her money she may attempt to get back to Virginia- back to her kids. So, he didn’t give her anything but two hamburgers a day and enough threats to keep her compliant.
What Lavell didn’t count on was Aretha’s team getting word that “she” would be performing in Ocala. Her attorneys reached out to authorities, some of whom had tickets to that evening’s show. When “Fake Aretha” and her small entourage arrived at Southeastern Livestock Pavilion they were greeted not by legions of fans but by police, who quickly took the pair into custody.
The world was finding out about the fraud these people had perpetrated in the name of Aretha Franklin. To be honest, I’m not sure how they pulled it off for so long. Vickie didn’t look enough like Aretha to fool all these people. SOMEBODY had to know that she was fake- but money talks, right? Lavell was trying to fast talk his way out of ending up in prison. He didn’t see what the big deal was. Vickie didn’t tarnish Aretha’s reputation- she actually represented Re-Re well!
While Lavell attempted to con the authorities, Vickie was singing a different song. She had no money, so she couldn’t hire an attorney. She pleaded her case with the prosecutor of Marion County, Gus Musleh. She told him of the threats, of being locked in those grimy hotel rooms, and of those god-awful hamburgers. She didn’t want to pretend to be Aretha Franklin- she loved Aretha! She only wanted to get back home to her family.
Lavell had $7000 on his person at the time of his arrest. He hired an attorney who assured Gus Musleh that Lavell had learned his lesson. See, this attorney took Lavell for every cent he had. The courts let him go under the condition that he get the fuck out of Florida.
Gus now had to figure out what to do with Vickie. He listened to her story about basically being kidnapped. The lady didn’t have any cash, unlike her “manager”- and I use that term very loosely. She had no way to get back to her children in Virginia. Still, he wanted to know how she fooled so many people.
Gus asked her to sing right there in his office. And sing she did. She felt as if she were singing for her freedom, and her voice reverberated through the courthouse. Everyone within earshot was mesmerized by her song. And Gus let her go. He was 100% convinced that the voice he heard was Aretha Franklin’s even though he KNEW it wasn’t.
Aretha herself held no ill will towards Vickie. She wanted Lavell to pay for forcing this young woman, so much like herself, to participate in the charade. This didn’t happen in the court of law, but Lavell was now seen as just a washed up James Brown impersonator. Just like that his career was over.
When Vickie left the courtroom, there were throngs of people waiting for her on the courthouse lawn. Among them was Ray Green- a white guy- who was an attorney and entrepreneur. He signed her on the spot and gave her $500 to get back home to West Petersburg. Vickie was soon reunited with her family having survived her ordeal.
Oh, yeah- I promised fraud, kidnapping, and redemption. There was redemption. See, Vickie went on to tour various cities, singing for huge crowds that were there to see HER. She was accompanied by Duke Ellington and his band. There’s even a picture of her and Duke on the cover of Jet Magazine.
She once admired the style and beauty of Aretha Franklin on its pages, now she was on the cover! She traveled on planes instead of buses. She ate steak instead of hamburgers, She even had her own impersonator who was quickly caught. Just like Aretha, she forgave the young singer.
She was able to send thousands of dollars back to her family. Unfortunately, her mother had sent her children to their father when she became unable to care for them any longer. He hadn’t changed one bit. He told the kids that their mama wasn’t coming back for them. Once Vickie found out what he had been filling their heads with, she left the limelight. She wanted to rescue her babies.
This time, she left Vickie Jones behind. She returned to West Petersburg as Mary Jane Jones, mother of four. She had the memories and the stories- good and bad- and no one could ever take that away from her.
That’s it, that’s all for That Time Aretha Franklin Wasn’t Aretha Franklin. Please- let me know what you thought about today’s episode. I’m dying to hear from you! You can send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org! You know I’m tcbytb on all of the things including the website, tcbytb.com. I’m looking for art- do I have any artists out there? If so, sketch me a pic. I’d love to see what you come up with and I may feature it on a t-shirt or coffee cup. As always, rate and review the show on Apple Podcasts- those reviews really help the podcast get discovered and they make the host feel good! Next episode we’ll get back to murder and mayhem so get your minds right. I thank you all for hanging out with me and until next week- stay outta the shadows. Peace.