The Chinatown Trunk Murder


Exploring one of history’s most baffling murder mysteries.

The Awful Death of Miss Elsie Sigel

In this episode, we’ll take a look at the newspaper accounts in the case of Elsie Sigel, a pretty young girl from a prominent New York family who went to work as a missionary in Manhattan’s Chinatown. In the summer of 1909, police found Elsie’s body packed in a trunk in an apartment above a chop suey joint.

Music by Chuck Wiggins


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The Blond Who Pulled the Trigger


Exploring America’s criminal justice system at its most extreme: Inflicting the Death Penalty

The True Crime of Irene Schroeder

During the early days of the Great Depression, one patrolman is killed and another seriously wounded while trying to prevent a trio of bandits who had robbed a department store in Western Pennsylvania from making a getaway. The surviving officer said it was not one of the two men who killed his partner, but the woman of the group, a young blonde, who was using her four-year-old son as a shield in the getaway. The child, recovered a few days later at his grandfather’s house, confirmed the story, and a nationwide manhunt ends in the desert mountains near Phoenix, Arizona, where the blond and her companions shoot it out with police for six hours, until they run out of ammunition.

Music by Chuck Wiggins

Produced by Richard O Jones


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The Strangler’s Wife


The Sad Tale of Anna May Gamble Knapp

Around the jails and the Indiana and Ohio neighborhoods where he lived, Alfred Knapp carried the nickname “Looney” Knapp for his bizarre, often childish behavior. He spent half of his adult life in prison for petty larcenies and attacks upon young women. When he was released from the Michigan City Penitentiary in the summer of 1902, he joined his third wife, Hannah, in her hometown of Hamilton, Ohio. Three days before Christmas that year, Knapp strangled his wife in the early morning hours and put her body in a box and put the box in the Great Miami River, then told everyone that Hannah had left him. Some in his family became suspicious, and when he remarried two months later, they had him arrested for bigamy. Alfred Knapp then not only confessed to killing his wife, but four other women in Cincinnati and Indianapolis, including his second wife. Consequently, “The Strangler Knapp” became a Midwest sensation and dozens of newspapers sent reporters to cover the case.

One of the many things that makes the Knapp case a remarkable story worth telling is the intense family and courtroom drama that was chronicled in the extensive press coverage. One of the most colorful real-life characters in this tale is the young, simple-minded fourth wife, from whose bed he was arrested for bigamy at four in the morning. So I want to tell you her story in a series of excerpts from my latest book, The First Celebrity Serial Killer: Confessions of the Strangler Alfred Knapp.

Music by Chuck Wiggins

Produced by Richard O Jones

Purchase an inscribed copy of “The First Celebrity Serial Killer: Confessions of the Strangler Alfred Knapp,” direct from the author:

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knapp front cover

The Murderous Mania of Jolly Jane


The Unexpected Crimes of Nurse Toppan

History contains many cases of nurses who turned out to be killers, but there may not be one as bizarre as the case of Jane Toppan. Because she had such a cheerful disposition, people called her “Jolly Jane,” and so were completely surprised when she was arrested for the murder of a family in Barnstable County, Massachusetts. Once suspicions were aroused, accusations began to fall like rain. The exact count of her death toll remains a mystery, but estimates put it between 31 and 84 murders.


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Mystery at the American Saloon


The Saga of the Scoundrel Thomas McGehan
A true crime short story by Richard O Jones

On Christmas eve, 1870, three men attack a local politician with boulders and slungshots, and at least a dozen men scramble for the door while five shots pepper the faro room at the American Saloon in Hamilton, Ohio. One of bullets kills the politician, Thomas Myers, but in their haste, none of the gamblers see who fired the gun. The blame falls on the leader of the gang of thugs who attacked Myers, his political rival Thomas McGehan. At his trial the famed former Congressman, exiled Copperhead and gubernatorial candidate Clem Vallandigham, who literally gives his life to McGehan’s defense.

Music by Chuck Wiggins


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