The news on the coronavirus is unsettling and things may get worse, leading to considerable disruptions in our daily lives. Lots of folks may end up finding themselves working remotely or with some unanticipated downtime. If the happens and you have an extra hour or so, give the In The Dark Podcast a listen. I was never one for podcasts until fairly recently. Full disclosure – my kids shamed me into giving podcasts a listen. And I am grateful they did.
In the Dark, in my humble opinion, represents the absolute best of the true crime genre. The show is produced by American Public Media and narrated by Madeleine Baran. It is produced by Sandra Freemark. Thus far there are only two seasons. Season One focuses on the kidnapping of 11 year old Jacob Wetterling from St. Joseph, Minnesota back in 1989. Baran and her crew essentially open a second investigation into Jacob’s disappearance. That investigation uncovers some unusual criminal activity near St. Joseph shortly before Jacob was kidnapped. Additionally, Baran and her team assess the efforts made by police personnel in the critical hours after Jacob’s kidnapping. Baran’s efforts raise a number of very disturbing questions about how this tragic case was investigated. Warning: a number of the episodes in Season One contain very wrenching details that are difficult to hear. Be advised.
Season Two does a very deep, detailed dive into a very unusual murder prosecution. On July 16, 1996, four people were murdered in a small furniture store in Winona, Mississippi. Curtis Flowers was arrested for the murders and ultimately stood trial. Doug Evans served as the prosecutor. Flowers was convicted but the conviction was overturned by the Mississippi Supreme Court for prosecutorial misconduct. Evans was tried again by Evans and convicted. That conviction was also overturned by the Mississippi Supreme Court. Baran than follows the case as Evans doggedly pursues Flowers for two decades – ultimately trying him six times – in an effort to put him on Death Row. Season Two is a fascinating analysis of Southern “Justice” involving systematic exclusion of African American jurors; alleged jail house confessions [later recanted]; “misplaced” exculpatory evidence and mysterious house fires – and that is only a small sample of the many unusual components of this case. As the episodes unfold, it becomes increasingly clear that Flowers likely did not commit the murders. Yet that doesn’t stop Evans’ dogged quest to put Flowers to death.
Season Two, again in my humble opinion, is about as good as podcasts get. Give it a listen.