Criminal is a podcast about crime. Not so much the "if it bleeds, it leads," kind of crime. Something a little more complex. Stories of people who've done wrong, been wronged, and/or gotten caught somewhere in the middle. We're a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX, a curated network of extraordinary, story-driven shows. Learn more at

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Criminal is a podcast about crime. Not so much the "if it bleeds, it leads," kind of crime. Something a little more complex. Stories of people who've done wrong, been wronged, and/or gotten caught somewhere in the middle. We are a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX, a curated network of extraordinary, story-driven shows. Learn more at
🇬🇧 English
last modified
2019-12-07 07:44
last episode published
2019-12-06 09:00
publication frequency
15.95 days
Criminal & Radiotopia author  
Criminal owner   author  
Number of Episodes
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Date Thumb Title & Description Contributors

Episode 129: Panic Defense

In 1995, two men filmed an episode of daytime talk show, The Jenny Jones Show. A few days later, one of the men was dead. The shooter later claimed he’d committed the murder “in a panic that he was being falsely accused or identified as a gay person.” ...
Criminal & Radiotopia author

Episode 128: Deep Breath

World-class biathlete Kari Swenson was on an afternoon trail run in the mountains near Big Sky, Montana in July 1984 when two men blocked her path. This story was produced by 30 for 30 Podcasts from ESPN. Find more at Criminal is ...
Criminal & Radiotopia author

Episode 127: The Reverend

In 1977, a man named Robert Burns went to a funeral and shot someone, in the head, in front of 300 people. He didn’t deny it, and his lawyer didn’t deny it. Burns told a police officer: “I had to do it. And if I had to do it over, I’d do it again.” Ca...
Criminal & Radiotopia author

Episode 126: A New Kind of Life

In 1930, a Cuban woman named Elena de Hoyos went to the hospital in Key West, Florida. She had a bad cough, and her family was afraid she had Tuberculosis. She met a German x-ray technician who called himself ”Count Von Cosel” and who claimed he could ...
Criminal & Radiotopia author

Episode 125: The Less People Know About Us

Three years ago, we spoke with Axton Betz-Hamilton about discovering that her identity had been stolen as a child. When she found out who had stolen it, everything changed. We spoke with Axton again a couple of weeks ago. She said that since our last ...
Criminal & Radiotopia author

Episode 124: A Bucket, a Mop, and a Sledgehammer

After a crime occurs, or when someone dies, the police aren’t responsible for cleaning up. That’s not their job. The coroner takes the body, the police conduct their investigation, and then everyone leaves. But the blood, and the rubber gloves, and the...
Criminal & Radiotopia author

Episode 123: Mrs. Sherlock Holmes

When 18-year-old Ruth Cruger disappeared in 1917, newspapers reported that she probably ran off with a boyfriend. New York police said that there were no clues to go on. But an investigator named Grace Humiston decided that she would do whatever it too...
Criminal & Radiotopia author

Episode 122: Professor Quaalude

John Buettner-Janusch was one of the first Americans to study lemurs. He held prestigious faculty positions at Yale, Duke and NYU, before surprising everyone with a series of increasingly bizarre crimes.   Peter Kobel's Book is The Strange Case of the...
Criminal & Radiotopia author

Episode 121: Off Leash

“I never did anything wrong. I never had a speeding ticket. I think I just saved all my stuff up for just one thing.” This week, we speak with Toby Dorr - better known as the Dog Lady of Lansing Prison. Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia from PR...
Criminal & Radiotopia author

Episode 120: The Tunnel

In the late 1800s, North Carolina was trying to build a railway system through the Western part of the state. In December of 1882, something went wrong. The Raleigh News and Observer called it “too horrible to chronicle without a shudder.” Criminal is...
Criminal & Radiotopia author

Episode 119: He's Still Neutral

Dan Stevenson has lived in Oakland’s Eastlake neighborhood for 40 years. He says crime has been an issue for as long as he can remember, but he isn’t one to call the police. He’s a pretty “live and let live” kind of guy. Or he was. Before he finally go...
Criminal & Radiotopia author

Episode 118: Stowaway

One day in 1969, Paulette Cooper decided to see what she could get away with. Learn more about Paulette Cooper on her website. Here’s her 1969 Cosmopolitan piece about stowing away. Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. If you haven't a...
Criminal & Radiotopia author

Episode 117: The Lake

Amanda Hamm and her boyfriend Maurice LaGrone drove to Clinton Lake one night in 2003. The next day, DeWitt County Sheriff Roger Massey told a local newspaper, “We don’t want to blow this up into something that it’s not. But on the other side, we’ve go...
Criminal & Radiotopia author

Episode 116: Jessica and the Bunny Ranch

In our last episode we spoke Cecilia Gentili, a trans Latina who worked for many years as an undocumented sex worker. Today, we get two more views of sex work in America. We speak with a high-end escort in New York City, and take a trip to one of the o...
Criminal & Radiotopia author

Episode 115: Cecilia

When Cecilia Gentili was growing up in Argentina, she felt so different from everyone around her that she thought she might be from another planet. “Some of us find our community with our own family and some of us don't.” Criminal is a proud member of...
Criminal & Radiotopia author

Episode 114: Philip and Becky

When Philip Benight met Becky Golden, they made a promise to stick together, no matter how bad things got.  Read Ann Neumann's reporting in Harper's. Her book ...
Criminal & Radiotopia author

Episode 113: Hostage

One summer in 1973, two men robbed a bank in Stockholm. They held four people hostage for six days. Swedish psychiatrist and criminologist Nils Bejerot coined the term "Stockholm Syndrome" to describe the response of the hostages. One of the bank robbe...
Criminal & Radiotopia author

Episode 112: The Mail

This episode contains adult content. Please use discretion. When Sarah Garone was 13 years old, she received something very strange in the mail. She didn't know who it was from, or why they would have sent it. And then it happened again. Criminal is...
Criminal & Radiotopia author

Episode 111: Silvon Simmons

"My first instinct, to be honest, was they shot this guy and now there’s a coverup." —Liz Riley, Special Assistant Public Defender, Monroe County Public Defender's Office Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. If you haven't already, ple...
Criminal & Radiotopia author

Episode 110: Baby Snatcher

Georgia Tann bragged that she had a rigorous selection process that matched the perfect child with the perfect home. Barbara Raymond's book is The Baby Thief. Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. If you haven't already, please review u...
Criminal & Radiotopia author

Episode 109: Homewrecker

It's one thing to get into an argument with a stranger on Facebook. It's another thing to try to ruin that stranger's life. Special thanks to Kashmir Hill, at Gizmodo. Crimi...
Criminal & Radiotopia author

Episode 108: The Numbers

When Fannie Davis and her family moved to Detroit in the mid-1950s, they hadn't prepared themselves for how hard it would be. They had trouble finding steady work. So, Fannie found a way to take care of her family. She started small, but built a robust...
Criminal & Radiotopia author

Episode 107: The Widow and the Winchester

When Sarah Winchester's husband died, she inherited millions from the family business: the manufacture of the famous Winchester Rifle. A medium reportedly told Sarah that she would be haunted by the victims of that rifle unless she used her fortune to ...
Criminal & Radiotopia author

Episode 106: Linda

In a suburb outside of Salt Lake City, a 69-year-old woman named Linda Gillman hired a man named Christian Olsen to do some repairs on her condo. After months of working together, Linda Gillman asked for Christian’s help with a different sort of projec...
Criminal & Radiotopia author

Episode 105: Protection

John "Sonny" Franzese was once described as "largely responsible for the glamorization of the Mafia over the past century.” He'd been active in the Colombo crime family since the 1960s. And then, when he was 93, he was given an 8-year sentence. The evi...
Criminal & Radiotopia author

Episode 104: Witness

We speak to a man who has given thousands of people new names, told them where they would live, and warned them they could never go back home. For more, check out Gerald Shur's book, WITSEC. We have new Criminal totes, as well as stickers, t-shirts, ...
Criminal & Radiotopia author

Bonus Episode: The Chase

A story about doing things a little differently. Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. You can find out more about Radiotopia and donate at If you haven't already, please review us on iTunes! It's an important way to help ...
Criminal & Radiotopia author

Episode 103: Get Out of My House

On a hot summer day in 1978, a group of friends started renovating an old house in Atlanta. They were steaming wallpaper off of the walls when two strangers just walked in. One of them had a gun. Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. If ...
Criminal & Radiotopia author

This is Love: How to Live Forever

Our second podcast, This is Love, is back. We’re sharing this first episode with Criminal listeners - we hope you like it. If you want to hear more, subscribe to This is Love in Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen. Learn more at www.thisislovepodcast...
Criminal & Radiotopia author

Episode 102: Ride-Along

We spend the day in a police car in Austin, Texas. Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. If you haven't already, please review us on iTunes! It's an important way to help new listeners discover the show: Say hel...
Criminal & Radiotopia author

Episode 101: The Fox

This episode picks up where Episode 100 left off. We suggest you listen to them in order. When Martin McNally met another plane hijacker in prison, they started coming up with a plan to escape...using the very thing that got them there in the first p...
Criminal & Radiotopia author

I'm Phoebe Judge

Thanks for helping us celebrate 100 episodes!
Criminal & Radiotopia author

Episode 100: Ten Thousand Feet in the Air

On the afternoon of June 23rd, 1972, Martin McNally walked into the St. Louis airport with a wig, a sawed-off rifle, and a plan. Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. If you haven't already, please review us on iTunes! It's an important ...
Criminal & Radiotopia author

Episode 99: Racehorse Haynes

There is nothing Richard "Racehorse" Haynes wouldn't do to win a case. He once held a cattle prod against his skin. He cross examined an empty chair on the witness stand. He considered nailing his hand to the jury box. He is widely considered to be one...
Criminal & Radiotopia author

Episode 98: The Doctors

Three of America's most experienced trauma surgeons speak with us about what happens when someone is shot. Special thanks to Dr. Amy Goldberg, Dr. David Spain, and Dr. Ronald Stewart. Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. If you haven't...
Criminal & Radiotopia author

Episode 97: Palace of Justice

When Benjamin Ferencz was 27 years old, he prosecuted his very first trial. There were 22 defendants, each of them high-ranking members of Nazi Germany's death squad. The entire world was watching. Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. I...
Criminal & Radiotopia author

Episode 96: On the Run

When Tyler Wetherall was a kid, her mother and father packed up the family car and drove through the night. They were on the run from the FBI. And by the time she was 9, Tyler had learned how to communicate in codes, adapt to new countries, and to neve...
Criminal & Radiotopia author

Episode 95: The Job

Not long into his job as prison superintendent, Frank Thompson was asked to write the manual on lethal injection for the state of Oregon. Capital punishment had not been implemented in more than 30 years, and no one knew how to do it. Frank had to trav...
Criminal & Radiotopia author

Episode 94: The Chase

Mark Roberts has attended almost every major sporting event in the world. And he's been escorted off the field almost every time. Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. If you haven't already, please review us on iTunes! It's an important...
Criminal & Radiotopia author

Episode 93: Lavender Scare

Helen James grew up in a military family - her great great grandfather fought in the Civil War, her father in WWI, and her uncles in WWII. So when she enlisted in 1952, she felt like she belonged. Shortly after, she realized something was wrong. Crimi...
Criminal & Radiotopia author

Episode 92: Dementia Americana

This episode picks up where Episode 91 left off. We suggest you listen to them in order. The early 20th century's biggest murder trial, and a particular brand of "madness." Visit to see rare photographs from Harry Thaw's trial. Cam...
Criminal & Radiotopia author

Episode 91: The "It" Girl

The story behind the face of New York's Gilded Age. For more information, check out Paula Uruburu's book, American Eve. Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. If you haven't already, please review us on iTunes! It's an important way to h...
Criminal & Radiotopia author

Episode 90: Sharks

The U.S. Navy attempted to develop a shark attack repellant after many sailors were attacked during WWII. The first step was the formation of a "Shark Research Panel," which led to what we have today: the International Shark Attack File. When someone i...
Criminal & Radiotopia author

Episode 89: Shadowing Sheila

SPOILER WARNING: Please listen to our first episode about Sheila, Episode 88: Cold Case, before you listen to this one. This episode contains descriptions of violence and may not be suitable for everyone. Sheila Wysocki became a PI to try to help sol...
Criminal & Radiotopia author

Episode 88: Cold Case

In 1984, Sheila Wysocki found herself helping the police investigate the murder of her college roommate. Detectives asked her to help gather information, even sending her out to dinner with the main suspect. This episode contains descriptions of sexua...
Criminal & Radiotopia author

Episode 87: Casper, Wyoming

David Dovala has lived in Casper, Wyoming since he was 19. He’s worked all kinds of cases, first as a detective and later as sheriff, but a 1973 murder stays with him. This episode contains descriptions of sexual assault and may not be suitable for eve...
Criminal & Radiotopia author

Episode 86: Willie Bosket

Before he was 10 years old, Willie Bosket had skipped school, started fires, picked pockets, and stolen a car. A psychiatrist at Bellevue called him the "saddest little boy she’d ever seen.” By the time he was 16 years old, he was known all over New Yo...
Criminal & Radiotopia author

Episode 85: The Manual

In 1993, a family was found murdered in their home. A Maryland police spokesperson described the homicide investigation as the most "exhaustive and labor intensive" in the department's history. And then homicide investigators found a strange manual, an...
Criminal & Radiotopia author

A New Show from the Makers of Criminal: Episode 1

In 1971, David Alexander went for a run in Central Park and started talking to a stranger. For our first episode of This Is Love, a story about what's possible when we bet everything on each other. This Is Love is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX...
Criminal & Radiotopia author

Episode 84: Masterpiece

In the 1950s poodles were all the rage - one tabloid even reported that when a girl “makes the big time she traditionally acquires 3 things — minks, gems, and a poodle.” But one poodle in particular put the breed on the map. His name was Masterpiece......
Criminal & Radiotopia author