Mobile, Ala. Is the Newest Location on The First 48

Not only are they playing new episodes of The First 48, they’re in a new city. Thursday’s episode (August 4) was in Mobile, Ala. Since I’ve seen every episode, I don’t think they’ve ever been in Mobile, or I would have remembered the fact that Mobile is the city with the oldest Mardi Gras.

Mobile, is a very intriguing city, with talented and interesting homicide detectives (and they all seem to have a sense of humor). Their motto, or at least the one on their coffee cups is “Homicide, our day begins when your’s ends.”

The one that really had me laughing was the one that was spoken three minutes into the show by Det. Julius Nettles, “if we’re not eating as a unit, we’re not eating.”

The other interesting thing I noticed about Mobile, and it could just have been the case they were working, or this particular murder victim, but when the detectives were looking for witnesses, I never once heard, “I didn’t see anything,” or I don’t know nothing,” I didn’t hear nothing.” Mobile citizens were calling the police to give them information.

With the information from the community and armed with what they find on Facebook – yes, Facebook, they track one of the killers down in the first 16 hours.

What follows is nothing short of hysterical. Just when they’re going to call it a day, a tip comes in about where their suspect is and they find him hiding at his grandmother’s house. They finally convince her to come to the door, she continually denies that he’s even in the house, yet he can be seen through the windows. They get her out of the house, they go in and get him. Now they stay at the house while they wait for a search warrant, and poor grandma has to sit in her front yard while all this goes on.

Once the criminal is in the interrogation room it starts at “I didn’t kill anyone,” to “It was just a robbery,” and when they get sick of hearing that, Det. Nettles shames the guy into crying. But the guy’s only crying because he knows he’s caught and he doesn’t know what to do or say to get out of it. What a wimpy, cry baby little twerp. Hardly worth time and trouble. When he finally calms down and says he want to talk, he says “Zebbie killed him.”

They hit the streets to find Zebbie, but they don’t. So, it’s finally time to eat. Back at the station, they hear from a relative of Zebbie’s, and get him in custody.

This episode ends with Zebbie also going into custody for the murder.

A different city with homicide detectives who get the job done. Three out of every four homicides in Mobile get solved. Higher than the national average.

Recently I heard that the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, may be considering a run for President in the near future. I wonder if he’ll use Facebook crime statistics as a part of his platform.

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Two New Dead Again Episodes – Why a DVR Is So Handy

Joe Schillaci, Kevin Gannon and Michele Wood are on new cases. © AETV 2014

Joe Schillaci, Kevin Gannon and Michele Wood are on new cases. © AETV 2014

If you own a DVR and really use it to it’s full potential, then you should be able to skip the first couple of paragraphs of this post. I left to go shopping this morning and was completely unaware that Dead Again, one of my new favorites on A&E was coming on with not one, but two new episodes.

Which is where my DVR comes in. Since I have it set to record all “new” episodes of Dead Again, I came again home several hours later, unpacked my groceries, walked my dog, and sat down wondering what I was going to watch on TV.

When I pressed my Play List button, I was overjoyed to find at the very top of the list, a folder entitled Dead Again with two new episodes in it – the case of Margo Prade and the murder of millionaire William McLaughlin.

With these two particular episodes I was one-for-one. I remember the case of Margo Prade, vividly. I’ve seen at least three different television shows on this particular murder, but because Dead Again is so unique, is done so differently, and the real names of the people involved aren’t revealed until the very end, I wasn’t exactly sure it was the Prade case until the last 7 minutes or so.

The second episode, the murder of William McLaughlin, I wasn’t familiar with at all, but when I googled his name, I noticed there was extensive coverage of the murder trials of both suspects that are currently serving time in prison.

One of the biggest enjoyments I get from Dead Again is the affirmation of my own opinions on cases they’ve reexamined. Most recently the Prade case. Last season there were two cases they had a go at that reaffirmed my opinions.

So what’s my advice – if you don’t want to miss any of this season’s Dead Again, you should learn how to operate your DVR.

 

 

 

A Wolf Films/44 Blue Show – Nightwatch – Is Worth a Watch on A&E!

An average of forty-two calls an hour; as many as 1,000 calls a night. No matter how you say it, New Orleans gets a helluva lot of police, fire and EMS calls in a 24-hour period. A&E has a new show on Thursday, following one of my favorites (The First 48) that comes on at 9pm CST entitled Nightwatch. It’s a Wolf Films (yes, follow along here, a Dick Wolf Production: Law & Orders) that follows the police, fire and EMS squads of New Orleans as they go about their nightly … business.

Let me be perfectly clear, it’s not Cops; it’s not even anything like Cops. It is a reality show but it will certainly keep your ass in your chair so I suggest you set your DVR so you don’t miss a single moment.

It’s no secret that New Orleans is one of the cities that The First 48 added to it’s roster in 2013. I was in New Orleans in December 2013 and was pleasantly surprised when I settled in my hotel room to watch my favorite show (The First 48) and that particular episode took place in New Orleans.

But I’m not writing this to tell you about my last vacation. This is a show you should definitely check out because you will be rewarded with an insight into modern police work, dedicated and knowledgeable EMS workers who you hope (or not) you meet one day, and firefighters who save a cat from an arson started burning house and actually have oxygen masks on board their truck that are meant for animals. (Yes, the cat makes it.)

Holly of the team Gavin & Holly, closes the door of the ambulance. © A&ETV.

Holly of the team Gavin & Holly, closes the door of the ambulance. © A&ETV.

EMSers Gavin and Holly and Titus and Dan start work at 8pm. Gavin is an iceberg. I have never seen anyone so cool; even when he’s dealing with a lying doper and delivers a dose of Narcan to a man in the back of his ambulance while his partner Holly drives.

Titus and Dan, the other well matched pair of EMSers, assist with some calls, but also answer their own. A man has congestive heart failure and can’t breathe. Of all the calls they’re sent to, one particular address gives Dan a deja vu and as they go in, he recalls the patient and talks to him like an old friend.

Victor and Cedric of the NOPD in the meantime are “wolfpackin'” in an attempt to find the shooters who gunned down Anthony, the first case the EMSers responded to in this episode.

Over at Firehouse SQURT 27, dinner is being made and Chief Terence is impatient. An alarm goes off and everything is dropped for a residential fire call.  An arson job.

Just as Gavin and Holly get ready to leave Tulane University Emergency they’re called back to the neighborhood where Anthony, their first call, was shot. Retaliation shots have been fired and members of the neighborhood have suffered. They bring an elderly lady in with three gunshot wounds.

NOPD continues their wolfpackin’ strategy in an attempt to catch the shooters. Driving in a pack, patrolling the streets in the area where the shooting took place, checking out foot traffic, hoping the shooters get nervous and make a mistake. Around 12:30pm that’s exactly what happens and they recover two guns, the magazines and some pills.

“Cousins” Titus and Dan stop off at SQURT 27 just in time for dinner. It’s way after 1am and Chef/Capt Kevin has finally put dinner on the table. As they laugh and eat and compliment the cook, Titus makes a joke about them being the kind of cousins “you let ’em on the porch but not in the house.” (I use to have a boyfriend like that.)

Yes, there is some humor, yes there is plenty of drama. At the end of this particular episode, there is a great deal of sadness, and a good deal of truth. Even when Gavin and Holly’s shift is finally over and they stop for a coffee, they still cannot let it go. A citizen tells them there’s someone over at Jackson Square having a seizure.

Turns out it’s just someone who’s overpartied. That happens a lot in New Orleans. I wonder if Nightwatch is going to have a Mardi Gras episode (or two).

Things That Make You Go Hmmm – Dead Again is Dead On!

I hate shows that are predictable. Dead Again is far from that. As a matter of fact, if you call yourself a True Crime connoisseur, then you should set aside a Thursday to come to the table. Dick Wolf should consider submitting these shows to Criminal Justice programs to be used as teaching tools.

Again, I had to watch it more than once. As a matter of fact, today is Thursday and a new episode of Dead Again comes on in just a few hours and I watched it for a third time, today. It’s that good.

SPOILERS

Right off the bat you can understand why the perpetrator made every single move he did during the commission of this crime – once you knew who did it (that’s why it is so rewarding watching it again). Hence, working backward, you can see why Wood and Schillaci would suspect a family member in this particular case.

Michele Wood is the skeptic of the experts on Dead Again. © AETV.

Michele Wood is the skeptic of the experts on Dead Again. © AETV.

While watching the interviews you gain a little more insight. During the crime reconstruction where they examine the shotgun blasts and Wood walks in the same steps as the mother, who is the only surviving victim … but wouldn’t a mother know if her own blood killed her husband, her youngest son and shot her?

No, that’s just too obvious, too easy – but as more and more evidence points in that direction, you throw your hat in the ring with the experts and decide it just has to be family.

But there was one thing that didn’t make sense – why was there gasoline poured all over the house but never lit? When you hear the District Attorney tell it, you understand how crime and violence destroys a family. While pouring the gasoline, he heard his mother on her cell phone calling for help. She heard his footsteps leaving the house without setting the place on fire. The last act of the mother/the final act of the son.

The right person is serving time on this case, but the whole town believes he didn’t act alone. See what I mean about not being predictable.

Another episode airs tonight (Thursday) on A&E at 9pm CST.

Dead Again – Winner … Joe Schillaci – Alive & Kicking

I admit, I have been more than pissed at A&E for dumping Longmire and insulting my intelligence with Love Prison. I mean I watch and write about TV for a living. I understand demograpics. I’m in the demographic range that they no longer want anything to do with.

But how many 18-49 year olds do you know are buying expensive cars and saving for retirement? I’m quite sure Longmire will land on it’s feet where it will be more than appreciated and bring its 5.7 million fans* with it.

But there are shows on A&E that I’ve been watching since Day 1. The First 48 is one of those. From Miami to Memphis to Birmingham to New Orleans to Dallas and Harris County, I’ve seen them all. I own both “Best of the First 48” DVDs. I’ve laughed and I’ve cried. I’m a very loyal fan and I bet the demographic category I fall in is too.

Joe Schillaci has always been one of my favorites. He openly admitted one morning when having breakfast with two colleagues that he was metrosexual. When I discovered he was taking part in a Dick Wolf crime show called “Dead Again” I was really excited.

Executive Producer Dick Wolf has gone from showing us some of the fictionalized dramas of America’s real cases in Law & Order to Cold Justice on TNT (I’m a fan) and now to A&E with Dead Again.

Joe Schillaci, Kevin Gannon, Michele Wood - the team of Dead Again. © AETV.

Joe Schillaci, Kevin Gannon, Michele Wood – the team of Dead Again. © AETV.

Wolf has assembed a team of experts: Joe Schillaci (Retired Deputy Commander, Miami), a 30 year veteran with a background in homicide and undercover work and a fan-favorite from The First 48; Kevin Gannon (Retired Detective Sergeant, NYC); and Michele Wood (Homicide Detective, Chicago, 13 year veteran).

The 60-minute series uses these experts in their field to re-examine controversial murder cases in which serious unresolved questions still linger long after the verdict was determined.

The episodic premiere was Thursday, October 2. I watched it twice. I’m still thinking about it and today is Saturday. The case and how it ended is haunting me.

Like The First 48, the eight cases Schillaci and the team re-investigate will not be resolved when the 60-minutes is up. The first episode of Dead Again ended so abruptly, with no known resolution, that I believe that’s why it’s still effecting me.

But I guess you can’t watch year after year of true crime murder cases and not have it effect you. But what really marvels me is the difference between Cold Justice and Dead Again.

Cold Justice reopens unsolved murder cases with the consent of local law enforcement and has a go at re-examining the evidence in an attempt to solve the murder.

The premise behind Dead Again is totally fascinating when you seriously think about.

Longmire fans 5.7 million viewers when DVR views get added in over 7 days. Multichannel News (8/28/14) Updated

John Walsh Hosts “Cold Justice” on July 18

 

“Cold Justice” on TNT — Dishing Out Justice on Old Cases

You might remember the name Dick Wolf from his Law & Order shows. He still has one Law & Order drama on network television: Law & Order: SVU.

But he also has his hands into a real life show that’s racked up a real life score: 4 confessions, 8 indictments, 12 arrests, 2 guilty pleas and one 22-year prison sentence for murder.

It’s made up of real women traveling from cold case to cold case, tackling some that have little or no evidence. They bring fresh eyes and talented, tough retired detectives to small and medium sized towns. They use their talents to reopen unsolved murder cases by invitation of local law enforcement and many times, with the blessing of family members of the deceased.

 

YOLANDA MCCLARY, KELLY SIEGLER Credit: Mark Hill, Cold Justice, TNT

YOLANDA MCCLARY, KELLY SIEGLER Credit: Mark Hill, Cold Justice, TNT

The Cast
Kelly Siegler is a former Texas prosecutor and in that position she has prosecuted some of the toughest cases against some of the most formidable and respected criminal defense attorneys in the state of Texas. She has lectured all over the country on topics such as Final Arguments, Jury Presentation, Arguing Effectively for a Death Sentence and How to Pick a Jury.

Yolanda McClary is a former Las Vegas crime scene investigator with 16 years of experience who has worked more than 7,000 cases. It’s been said that Las Vegas is one of the busiest crime labs in the country. Of course you’ve probably heard that she’s the real life model for the Catherine Willows character on CSI: Crime Scene Investigations, which definitely explains why Marg Helgenberger always gets her man and apparently, so does Yolanda McClary.

The Detectives
Johnny Bonds is a retired homicide detective from Houston, Texas. He started his career in 1967 and was the youngest detective promoted to the Homicide Division at the age of 25. In 1988 he began working for the Harris County DA’s office as an investigator and it is there he met Kelly Siegler. They worked closely together in the Special Crimes Unit.

 

Orlando Martinez is the only active detective on the Cold Justice team. He has been a sworn officer for the LAPD for over 18 years. His specialties include case biopsies, interviews and the application of modern tech advances to cases. He loves working in homicide, as it is a way to bring closure to families of lost loved ones.

If you watched A&E’s American Justice, you may know the face of Armando Perez. Armando grew up in a very large family in Brownsville, Tex. He received his BA in Criminal Justice from Abilene Cristain University at Dallas. He went on to graduate from the Dallas Police Academy in December of 1972 and began working as a DPD officer in the Patrol Division. After 26 years with the DPD, working with such various department as Vice, IA and the Intelligence Division, he moved into Homicide in 1996. He retired in 2008.

July 18 “Cold Justice” Episode features Case Updates – Hosted by John Walsh

Who doesn’t know John Walsh from America’s Most Wanted? TNT’s Cold Justice episode on Friday, July 18 features a special episode created in response to fan requests for case updates. Entitled “Justice Served,” this episode will look back at the impressive results achieved by the investigators on TNT’s Cold Justice.

 

Do You Believe in the Death Penalty? Watch HBO’s The Cheshire Murders

HBO: The Cheshire Murders: Synopsis.

Do you remember where you were when you first heard about the Cheshire murders? It was a home invasion of the Petit family that took place in Cheshire, Conn. in July 2007 that sent the mother to a bank to withdraw funds while the rest of the family was being held hostage at the home.

The mother and two daughters were killed, the father was brutally beaten in the head with a bat and their house was fully engulfed in flames when the police arrived on the scene.

As the suspects were making an attempt to flee they were stopped by the police and taken into custody: Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky.

Both suspects agreed to plead guilty for life without parole (LWOP) but the prosecution rejected their offers and pursued death sentences; under Connecticut law, the death penalty cannot be imposed without a trial.

At the time, Connecticut’s legislation was debating to abolish their death penalty but when this particular case came up, that debate stopped. In 2009 the legislation voted to abolish the death penalty. Citing the Cheshire case, Governor Rell vetoed the bill.

However the Connecticut legislation did vote to end the death penalty again in 2012, and it passed, so the Hayes and Komisarievsky will probably never be put to death.

Which means the Petit family and the families of Hayes and Komisarjevsky sat through the trial, day after day and heard everything. Every horrible thing, for nothing.

To make things even worse, there was serious doubt about the competency of the Cheshire police. Family members wanted answers and didn’t get them. But when the defense received the police logs they discovered that the police were on scene for almost 30 minutes, watching the house, setting up their perimeter.

During that time, the strangulation of Jennifer Petit occurred, the rape of Jennifer Petit occurred, the pouring of gasoline occurred and the setting of the fire occurred.

The HBO documentary originally aired in July of last year but it’s available On Demand anytime. I recently watched it and was stunned by the feelings I had regarding the death penalty.

Recently there’s been coverage in the national news about some executions that have gone wrong. The most recent was in Oklahoma where Clayton Lockett died not from an execution but from a heart attack 43 minutes after his actual execution began.

A new and previously unused drug combination had been used and the UV line made the vein collapse, causing the drugs to either be absorbed into tissue or leak out or both. Apparently there wasn’t another vein available nor were there enough drugs available to start over, which didn’t really matter because Lockett died eventually.

He had been given the death penalty for shooting Stephanie Nieman and then watching as two others buried her alive in 1999. Groups who feel the death penalty should be abolished were up in arms because they felt the botched execution of Clayton Lockett was cruel and inhumane. But shooting Stephanie Nieman and burying her alive wasn’t cruel and inhumane?

The drug used was midazolam and it’s tied to two other cases that were botched, in addition to the Oklahoma execution. It’s made by several drug companies in the U.S. Oklahoma used midazolam to render Lockett unconscious and then attempted to inject another drug to paralyze him and a third to stop his heart. He suffered “vein failure” making it hard to administer the rest of the drugs.

Florida and Ohio have also had cases where midazolam caused problems. Usually executions use thiopental and pentobarbital. The makers of these two drugs worried about them being associated with “capital punishment” so they cut back their availability for executions, leading some states to turn to midazolam. This has caused the makers of midazolam to change their distribution agreements and bar sales to correctional departments.

On Death RowMainly because the companies who make midazolam would prefer to … “make it to enhance and save the lives of patients …” and they …”object to the use of their product in capital punishment.” Which brings up the definition of the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which the Supreme Court bans procedures that pose “serious harm” when compared with “known and available alternatives.”

But others will argue the Constitution doesn’t outlaw pain in executions or demand that execution methods always be foolproof.

What are the facts? What about Life Without Parole (LWOP)? Life without parole is swift, severe and certain punishment. Sentencing people to death by execution is three times more expensive than sentencing them to die in prison. And if we make a mistake by sentencing an innocent person to death, it can’t be fixed.

Victims’ families prefer LWOP. Unlike death penalty cases, LWOP sentences receive no special consideration on appeal, which limits the possibility they will be reduced or reversed. A person sentenced to die in prison receives only one automatic appeal, not several, and is not provided any court-appointed attorneys after this appeal is complete, usually within two years of the initial sentence. (ACLU)

Want some certainty? Watch the documentary The Cheshire Murders. Listen to Joshua Komisarjevsky confess about sexual assaulting Michaela Petit; not once but three times. Michaela was the youngest Petit, she was 11. Put yourself in the shoes of the family.

How many other states has the same law that Connecticut does; that the death penalty cannot be imposed without a trial? This trial found both of them guilty when they wanted to plead guilty. Then there was another phase where their lawyers pled for life in prison instead of the death sentence.

The death penalty process for Hayes and Komisarjevsky will cost more than $7 million, and is projected to last over a decade. If the State of Connecticut would have accepted the guilty pleas of Hayes and Komisarjevsky when it happened they would have been locked up 3 weeks after the crime and would have never been heard from again.

What a bunch of crap, considering the outcome. In April 2012, shortly after the trials, Connecticut abolished the death penalty for all future cases, making it unlikely that Hayes and Komisarjevsky will ever be executed.

Dr. William Petit started the Petit Family Foundation out of the tragedy of the murders. In August of 2012 Dr. Petit remarried, to Christine Paluf, and moved to Farmington River, Conn. In August of 2013 they welcomed a baby boy and named him William Petit III.

Adam Lanza plotted Newtown, Conn.’s Sandy Hook massacre for years

Lupica: Morbid find suggests murder-obsessed gunman Adam Lanza plotted Newtown, Conn.’s Sandy Hook massacre for years – NY Daily News.

When the Sandy Hook shooting first happened I predicted that Adam Lanza’s mother Nancy, would hold the key to the tragedy.

At a recent International Association of Police Chiefs and Colonels in New Orleans, Danny Stebbins, a colonel from the Connecticut State Police shared some startling facts about the Sandy Hook shooting.

From an article written by Joe Kemp/New York Daily News dated Monday, March 18, Adam Lanza might have been trying to top all other mass murderers (records).

Black paper over a classroom’s window spared an entire classroom of children, and caused Adam Lanza to bypass the room entirely.

But it’s Colonel Stebbins comments from the recent conference that’s really frightening … law enforcement reportedly found a 7-foot-long, 4-foot-wide spreadsheet with names, body counts and weapons from previous mass murders.

Adam Lanza was on a quest for notoriety. His mother, who was the first victim on his quest, was making straw purchases of guns for him all along and ignored the fact that he was getting more and more fixated on them.

You should read the article in its entirety by clicking the link.

Watching Boston’s Finest is a Religious Experience

‘Boston’s Finest’ protects ‘The City They Call Home’ on TNT – Newark TV | Examiner.com.

Truly, there’s just  not anything like it on cable, premium or network television. Donnie Wahlberg definitely has a winner on his hands.

The second episode  “The City They Call Home” was even better than the premiere episode; beautifully filmed, dramatic, engrossing, leaving me, the viewer, wanting more. Something you’d want all television shows to do for you, right? … Right!

If you’re not setting your DVR to catch Boston’s Finest then you’re missing some great television.

Donnie Wahlberg’s Finest Hour coming soon to TNT

Proud “Boston Boy” Donnie Wahlberg Salutes His Hometown Police Force In TNT’s New Reality Show. By Lori Acken

The night time Gang Unit at work November 5, 2012 in Boston, MA. ©Turner Entertainment Networks, Inc. A Time Warner Company. Credit: Antonio Bolfo.

The night time Gang Unit at work November 5, 2012 in Boston, MA. ©Turner Entertainment Networks, Inc. A Time Warner Company. Credit: Antonio Bolfo.

Donnie Walhberg knows a thing or two about playing a cop on TV and in the movies, having embodied more than a dozen lawmen since he parlayed his New Kids on the Block fame into a successful acting career in the mid ’90s. But when Wahlberg, who currently stars as Detective Danny Reagan in the hit CBS cop drama Blue Bloods, decided to produce a law enforcement show of his own, he knew exactly whom he wanted for his stars — the real men and women of Boston’s police force.

“It’s my hometown,” Wahlberg explains of the resulting show, Boston’s Finest. “And the Boston Police Department works in a way that’s very different from most police departments. They’re very much about preventative law enforcement as opposed to responsive law enforcement, so they work really hard at keeping things from happening in the first place, as opposed to reacting when they do happen.”

Wahlberg credits his work on Blue Bloods for giving him a new level of respect for and understanding of folks entrusted with the safety of the very neighborhoods in which they grew up. And it’s that personal side of the patrolmen that he wants to convey over the door-busting and head-bashing of other police-related reality shows. “If you know how passionate a police officer is and what his upbringing is and why he’s so motivated to do the job he does, you can see him in a lot less dangerous a situation and still care that much more for him,” Wahlberg says. “It’s not just some guy in a blue uniform who’s supposed to be a superhero — he’s a human being with a family and vulnerabilities and responsibilities. You can actually heighten the drama by knowing more about the person.”

Wahlberg cites an episode featuring a member of Boston’s gang unit. “He’s talking to gangbangers on the most dangerous streets in Boston — and all the while there’s a huge amount of tension because a gangbanger was killed and now there’s a war ready to break out. We get to know more about him and how he came very close to being in one of these gangs himself, but now he’s working the other side of it. And when the funeral of the gangbanger passes by at the end and there hasn’t been any violence erupting, you see just how much it means to this police officer and how determined he is to keep these kids from taking each other’s lives. It’s really, really powerful.”

As powerful as Wahlberg’s drive to honor the code of the force that entrusted him to tell its stories. “If I don’t honor that and the show has huge ratings, then I’ve only done a service to myself — and I can’t do that,” Wahlberg says. “I’m a Boston boy! I want to make the city proud.”

Boston’s Finest premieres Wednesday, Feb. 27 on TNT.