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These Episodes of True Crime Shows Will Haunt You

Updated on March 15, 2018

Your Worst Nightmare - When The Lights Go Out

Show: Your Worst Nightmare
Episode: When The Lights Go Out (season 1, episode 2)
Channel: Investigation Discovery
Watch It: Amazon

The Investigation Discovery series Your Worst Nightmare uses classic suspense film techniques to highlight re-enactments of creepy, harrowing crimes, as victims' darkest dreams become unfathomable realities. The second episode of the series titled When The Lights Go Out is about the murder of 16-year-old Cassie Jo Stoddart. She was murdered by two classmates, Brian Lee Draper and Torey Michael Adamcik, while house sitting for her aunt and uncle. It was a big deal for Cassie as it was the first time she would staying anywhere by herself. The first night, Friday, September 22nd, 2006, her boyfriend came over to watch a movie. A short time later Draper and Adamcik came over, the four planned to watch a movie together but didn't finish it before Draper and Adamcik decided to leave. About 15 minutes later the lights went out, Cassie's boyfriend got them back on and called his mother to ask if he could stay the night because Cassie was scared, she told him not but said that Cassie could come stay the night at their house. She declined because she had agreed to watch the house the entire weekend and wanted to follow through with her responsibilities. Sometime during the night two boys broke into the house through the basement and cut the power again and waited for Cassie to come down and flip the breaker (as her boyfriend had done earlier) but she never did, most likely because she was too scared. The boys went upstairs, armed with kitchen knives, and stabbed Cassie nearly 40 times, a dozen of her stab wounds were fatal.


Brian Draper and Torey Adamcik recorded several videos of themselves discussing their plans to murder Cassie, below is a YouTube video with several clips of their recordings. More are shown in the Your Worst Nightmare episode.




On Death Row - Portrait of Blaine Milam

Show: On Death Row (mini-series)
Episode:
Portrait of Blaine Milam (season 2, episode 3)
Channel:
Investigation Discovery
Watch It:
Amazon, YouTube


On Death Row is a television mini-series written and directed by Werner Herzog about capital punishment in the United States. The series grew out of the same project which produced Herzog's documentary film Into the Abyss. Blaine Milam is the youngest prisoner on death row in the State of Texas, he was convicted for the 2008 murder of his girlfriends 13-month-old baby, Amora Bain Carson. Milam and Carson explained that Amora's murder was an exorcism gone wrong. The details of Amora's death are grisly, so be warned. She was beaten in the head with a hammer, she bitten over 30 times and raped with an object... probably the large pipe wrench covered in Astroglide that was found under Milam's trailer which he tried to get a family member to dispose of after his arrest. At first the couple said Amora was attacked by a dog, then they said they were in a car accident and finally they said they killed her during an attempted exorcism because she had been possessed by a demon that entered their home while they were playing with an Ouija board. They said they went to pawn tools to pay for an exorcism that morning, but in the On Death Row episode we see video from pawn shop which shows them casually browsing DVDs, then they go to a gas station to get gas, a fountain drink, and a pack of cigarettes.


Obviously, no bought their demon possession story and Jessica Carson (Amora's mother) was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole and Blaine Milam was sentenced to death, he was already a sex offender. The details of the crime were so disturbing that jury members received PTSD counseling. The entire episode is posted below.

Hear No Evil - The Sound of Terror

Show: Hear No Evil
Episode:
The Sound of Terror (season 1, episode 5)
Channel:
Investigation Discovery
Watch It:
Amazon


Hear No Evil features cases where police used audio evidence to solve disturbing crimes from random killings and revenge hits, to America's most depraved serial killers. The Sound of Terror is about suspected serial killer, counterfeiter, kidnapper, and rapist Mike DeBardeleben. In the early 1980's he was the subject of an investigation by the US Secret Service, DeBardeleben was known as the "Mall Passer" because he had been going around shopping malls making small purchases and paying with counterfeit $20 bills, to get legitimate money back in change. He was caught and arrested in 1983, but the Secret Service still needed the printing plates he used to make the counterfeit bills. While they were searching through his storage unit for the plates they found some extremely disturbing things, such as handcuffs, sex toys, chains, and most disturbingly... women's underwear soaked in blood.. Then they found hundreds of photos, most of them sexually explicit featuring DeBardeleben torturing women, and several cassette tapes of women being tortured. One cassette was titled "Becky" and another titled "Carol," one victim on the "Becky" tape was identified as Laurie Jensen, she was abducted by DeBardeleben while walking home from work. He was impersonating a police officer and told her she matched the description of woman wanted for robbing a gas station. He abducted her then raped and tortured her for 3 days before releasing her. He abducted multiple other women and is suspected in several murders, including the murder of a real estate agent. During his trial he was allowed to represent himself and accused the Secret Service of falseying evidence against him because of his history counterfeiting money. He died in prison in 2011, at the age of 74.

Below is a YouTube clip of several audio recording heard throughout the episode.

Sins & Secrets - The Cherry Street Killings

Show: Sins & Secrets
Episode:
The Cherry Street Killings (season 1, episode 1)
Channel:
Investigation Discovery
Watch It:
Amazon


Sins & Secrets is an immersive true-crime series. Each episodes centers around a particular crime, and uniquely reveals how the crime altered the community in which it occurred. Channon Christian and Chris Newsom were supposed to head to a party, they never arrived and they never came back home. The couple were in their early twenties and had only been dating for a few months when they were carjacked outside of an apartment complex in Knoxville, Tennessee. They were brought to a house on Cherry Street and tortured, Chris was raped, by another man and an object, tied-up and shot then set on fire near some railroad tracks. Channon was held over the weekend and tortured, she was gang raped by at least 6 different men and raped with a chair leg. Bleach was poured down her throat and she was scrubbed with a toilet brush, she was place in several trash bags and shoved into a trash can while still living... she died approximately 12 hours later from positional asphyxiation. Five people were charged with the murders, 4 men and 1 woman. The crime caused racial tensions, including protests by the KKK, because the victims were white and all the perpetrators were black. Lemaricus Devall "Slim" Davidson, the ringleader, was sentenced to death. Letalvis Darnell "Rome" Cobbins, Davidson's brother, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. George Geovonni "Detroit" Thomas, Cobbins' roommate, also received life without the possibility of parole, but got a retrial and received a new verdict of life with possible parole after 51 years. Eric DeWayne "E" Boyd, who was not charged with the murders but helped Davidson hide from police after the murders, was sentenced to maximum of 18 years. Vanessa Coleman, the youngest and lone female perpetrator, was originally sentenced to 53 years. She received a new trial and got 35 years, she will be eligible for parole in 2019.

Below is a preview of the episode.


FBI: Criminal Pursuit - Baby Grace

Show: FBI: Criminal Pursuit
Episode:
Baby Grace (season 2, episode 10)
Channel:
Investigation Discovery
Watch It:
Amazon


FBI: Criminal Pursuit follows as the FBI hunts down human traffickers, kidnapped children and missing mothers, they must use any tool at their disposal to help save and find these victims. Baby Grace was the name given to a female toddler who was found inside a blue plastic tote, by a fisherman, on a tiny unnamed island in the Galveston Bay. The episode follows detectives in Texas and the FBI as they hunt for the identity of the little girl. She had blonde hair and 3 fatal skull fractures. She didn't match any descriptions of missing children who'd been reported. Clearly, her family had murdered her. Meanwhile, a grandmother in Ohio was desperately searching for her granddaughter who had been moved across the country with her mother. The mother had full custody so there wasn't much that could be done. Until one day she saw an internet article about an unidentified toddler found in Texas called Baby Grace... and she looks eerily like her granddaughter. She called into the tip-line and it lead to the identification of Baby Grace as 2-year-old RIley Ann Sawyers. She was killed by her mother and new stepfather just a couple months after her mother moved her across the country. Her new stepfather, Royce Zeigler, expected Riley to always remember to say "please" and "thank you," instead of saying "I want" when she wanted something, he expected the 2-year-old to say "please may I have" instead. The toddler's inability to do so lead to an all day torture sessions where she was beaten with belts, had her head dunked into cold water, face shoved into a pillow, and was thrown across the room by her hair. When she died they gave her bath in bleach then put her tiny body in a plastic storage container to decompose in the Texas heat, two months later they threw it in the Galveston Bay. They both received life in prison without the possibility of parole.


Below is the full episode on YouTube (quality is very bad).



I, Witness - The Accused

Show: I, Witness
Episode:
The Accused (season 1, episode 3)
Channel:
Investigation Discovery
Watch It:
Amazon


Anyone can tell you the facts of a crime, but you can't know the whole story until you hear it from someone who lived through the most personal and grueling details. I, Witness follows the personal journey of a single ‘storyteller' recounting their intimate experience of a most haunting and riveting crime. On the morning of June 6th, 2004, Kevin Fox woke up to discover his 3-year-old daughter, Riley, was missing. Both front and back doors were open so he thought she just wandered away, he searched the neighborhood then notified police. Later that day her body was found floating in a nearby creek, she had been raped, duct taped and drowned. Five months went by with seemingly no solid leads, then police called the Fox family to tell them there had been a major break in the case and they needed to come in to the police station. It ended up being an interrogation, Kevin fox was questioned for 14 hours during which he was lied to about evidence the police had against him and statements his 6-year-old son made, he was told if he passed a lie detector test then they'd let him go. He took the test and failed. Police started telling him lewd details of his daughter's murder, he did not know she had been violently raped or that she was duct taped. Then they showed him crime scene photos of Riley, she was in full rigor mortis. He ended up confessing and spent 8 months in jail before DNA evidence cleared him and he was released. Five years went by with nothing, then the FBI got a tip about a man that was already in prison for a sex offense. His DNA matched and he confessed to the crime. Turns out she should have been on police radar all along... he left his shoes near Riley's body, with his name inside them.

Below is a YouTube video of a news program about the case.




Disappeared - No Exit

Show: Disappeared
Episode:
No Exit (season 2, episode 4)
Channel:
Investigation Discovery
Watch It:
Amazon


Disappeared is one of the most popular shows on Investigation Discovery. It's about people who have vanished without a trace. Very few cases are solved in the episode, but this is one. Tanya Rider didn't return home from work, her husband tried to report her missing but was given the run around. He called every hospital and jail in the area but couldn't find his wife. He had a feeling something very bad had happened to her. Two days after Tanya Rider went missing police finally agree to take a missing persons report from her husband. He called all the media outlets he could think of and had thousands of flyers printed, they were passed out all around the state. He did television interviews, He demanded police check her phone records, but that was something they simply just could not do with out a warrant. With no evidence a crime had occured they could not get a warrant for Tanya Rider's cell phone records. Then Tanya's boss called the police to tell them that she thinks "something's just not right with this guy's story" which lead to an interrogation of Tanya's husband, his wife had been missing foe eight days. He was exhausted and terrified. Sick with worry. They wanted him to take a polygraph to prove his innocence. Then the police finally a warrant signed by a sympathetic judge and discovered that Tanya's last cell phone ping was in the area around the highway she used to travel home from work, they began to search the area. They found Tanya's wrecked car in a ravine on the side of the highway. She had been trapped in her car for 8 days without food or water, amazingly she was still alive.


Below is a preview for the episode.

American Justice - Family Secret: The Death of Lisa Steinberg

Show: American Justice
Episode:
Family Secret: The Death of Lisa Steinberg (season 8, episode 9)
Channel:
A&E
Watch It:
YouTube


Bill Kurtis hosts this documentary series that profiles criminal cases involving high profile murders, serial killers, and organized crime. Each episode culminating with the justice dispensed by the American legal system in each case. On November 1st, 1987, a woman called 911 to report an injured child... what police would eventually uncover was shocking. Lisa Steinberg was a 6-year-old girl who had been illegally adopted by Joel Steinberg and his partner, Hedda Nussbaum. Joel Steinberg was a successful criminal defense attorney and Hedda had once been an editor as Random House, she had even written some children's books. They were hiding a disturbing home life. Lisa was beaten by Joel while he was under the influence crack cocaine and Hedda, who was also under the influence of crack cocaine, set with the dying child but failed to report it until it was far too late. It was later discovered that Hedda had horrific injuries herself, including a late stage gangrene infection on one of her legs. They found their other child, a 16-month-old baby boy who was also illegally adopted by the couple, tied to a chair, sitting in his own feces, and drinking spoiled milk. He was put into foster care and eventually his birth mother was able to get custody because of the illegal adoption. Steinberg and Nussbaum were orginally both charged with second degree murder, but the charges against Hedda Nussbaum were later dropped because of her horrific injuries and she agreed to testify against Joel. During his trial he argued that the injuries Hedda recieved were from a consensual sado-masochistic relationship. He was found guilty of manslaughter for Lisa's death and was sentenced to 8 1/2 years to 25 years in prison, he was eventually parole in the year 2004.


Below is a YouTube video of the entire episode.

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