True Crime Reporter™

True Crime Reporter™

The True Crime Reporter™ podcast takes its audience behind the yellow crime scene where few podcasters dare to go. The Dallas-based podcast takes listeners on a journey into darkness guided by Peabody Award-Winning investigative reporter Robert Riggs. Everything is bigger in Texas, and crime is no exception. The 2021 Webby Awards named the True Crime Reporter™ podcast among seven honorees, including Dateline NBC and BBC Sounds for “Best True Crime Podcast.” Hailed as the Internet’s highest honor by The New York Times, Claire Graves, Executive Director of the Webby Awards, praised Riggs’ podcast, "Honorees like Robert Riggs and the True Crime Reporter™ podcast are setting the standard for innovation and creativity on the Internet. It is an incredible achievement to be selected among the best from the nearly 13,500 entries we received this year from 50 states and 70 countries." A leading television streaming channel is currently producing a five-episode news documentary based on Riggs’ first season about serial killer Kenneth Allen McDuff. Bill Johnston, a decorated former federal prosecutor, joined the True Crime Reporter™ podcast in 2021 as Riggs cohost. This Texas duo has been up close and personal with the worst of the worst criminals, including serial killers, mass murderers, and sexual predators. You name it, and they’ve seen it from the crime scene to the courtroom, from maximum-security prisons to death row. Their real crime stories are stranger than fiction. True Crime Reporter™ produces three types of episodes. True Crime Reporter™ Extra - features highly produce narrative storytelling about criminal cases. It blends Robert Riggs’ writing/narration with his interviews of investigators, crime victims, forensic experts, convicted criminals, music, and natural sound. True Crime Reporter™ Confidential - conducts a classic “police procedural.” Riggs and Johnston weave compelling stories during an interview-style/talk show. Think of them as the “Larry King’s” of True Crime. They interview investigators, crime victims, forensic experts, members of the judiciary, even convicted criminals about criminal cases. True Crime Reporter™ Texas Ranger Files - features unique access to the case files of one of the worlds’ most legendary law enforcement organizations. Riggs and Johnston interview Texas Rangers about their most unusual investigations. These officers work murders in the wild frontier of Texas. True Crime Reporter™ tells epic and heroic stories about the Rangers that most people have never heard. Our mission is not only to entertain but also to educate. The episodes on True Crime Reporter™ discuss means and motives. We want listeners to come away with insights about crime prevention and self-protection. The criminal justice system has recognized Riggs and Johnston for their sensitivity to crime victims. Bill Johnston received the “Victim Advocate of the Year Award” for bringing the nation’s first prosecution under the Violence Against Women’s Act. Three weeks after its enactment, Johnston utilized the new law to prosecute a man who sent a twenty-pound pipe bomb to his ex-wife in an attempted murder plot. The American Bar Association has honored Riggs with its Silver Gavel Award for investigative reports that exposed corruption in Texas’ parole and prison systems. The Dallas Crime Commission, in conjunction with the FBI, awarded Riggs its first-ever Excellence In Reporting Award for his investigation of teenage heroin deaths in Plano, Texas, and a landmark series on identity theft. The first season of True Crime Reporter™ broadcasted a 17-episode series about the corrupt release of serial killer Kenneth Allen McDuff from prison by the Texas Parole Board. Bill Johnston organized and led the successful manhunt for McDuff. Following Robert Riggs’ news investigation about parole selling, Johnston prosecuted the Texas Parole Board Chairman who had released McDuff.

Episodes

June 21, 2022 56 min
Katherine Schweit headed up the FBI’s active shooter program where she authored the bureau’s landmark research about mass shootings and how to best respond to save lives. In the wake of the massacre of children and their teachers in Uvalde, Texas, school safety weighs heavily on the minds of teachers and students’ families.  In this episode of True Crime Reporter®, investigative reporter Robert Riggs and Schweit discuss why the n...
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For many years Texas had a law and order image.  Politicians campaigned for office about getting tough on crime. A gubernatorial candidate’s TV ads featured actors wearing black and white overalls swinging sledgehammers in the prison yard. His voice-over pledged to teach youthful criminals “the joy of busing rocks.” In fact, Texas ran a revolving door prison system.   Lawmakers passed tougher laws but refused to spend money to ...
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Was it a case of cloak and dagger among spies? Or was it a plain old case of murder driven by lust and the desire for money? It is a mystery that lives on 50-years after a popular Czech professor vanished from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Was he a double agent or triple agent that crossed his masters in a Cold War game of spy vs. spy? Is he living out his years on a tropical island or do his remains lie at the bottom o...
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Matt Baker, the charismatic Baptist minister who almost got away with murdering his wife is among our most popular episodes. On his way to the pulpit in Waco, Texas, Baker molested young women. An investigation of the Southern Baptist Convention, America’s largest Protestant denomination, revealed that sexual assaults by hundreds of pastors like Matt Bakers were covered up by church leaders for twenty years. A seven-month invest...
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Can you imagine yourself falling in love with a serial killer or murderer to the point you will give up your family, career, and even your life for them? A veteran Alabama jail officer, Vicky White did just that in April of 2022 when she staged a getaway with a capital murder suspect. The 56-year-old White had an unblemished record.  She was on her last day of work before retirement. Her colleagues had just voted her Corrections ...
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In this vintage photo from 1993, Peabody Award-Winning Investigative Reporter Robert Riggs stands on a guard tower overlooking Texas Death Row. Poking up behind him to the right of the large spotlight is the steeple of the prison chapel where seven condemned prisoners made their daring break for freedom five years later.  29-year Martin Gurule, a cold-blooded killer from Corpus Christi in South Texas made it over the prison’s fen...
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Frivolous lawsuits filed by convicted criminals flooded the federal court system in Texas. A prison inmate who regarded himself as the "Perry Mason" of the Texas prison sued for millions of dollars because his Thanksgiving Turkey was served cold. Another sued because his Rice Krispies Cereal did not Snap, Crackle, Pop as advertised. This underscores why the True Crime Reporter® podcast features true crime stories that ar...
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Sheriff Parnell McNamara promised his constituents in McLennan County, Texas around Waco that he would actively pursue cold cases. McNamara was elected for a third four-year term in January of 2021. And he has made good on his campaign pledge to open up homicide cases that had been long forgotten. Because as McNamara sees it no one should get away with murder and the victim’s family deserves to know what happened. The McNamara c...
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Cold case investigator Paul Holes played a major role in ending a decades-long reign of terror by The Golden State Killer. First known as The East Area Rapist, a masked psychological sadist assaulted 50 women in Northern California between 1976 and 1979. He progressed from burglaries to vicious sexual assaults in the middle of the night, to bludgeoning his victims to death. Along the way, he called 911 to taunt the police. Sudd...
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Doug Feldman’s resume gave no clue that a mass killer was lurking inside him. He graduated from a prestigious university. He was a financial wizard. He was the funniest man in the room at social functions. Everything appeared to be going his way. But beneath Feldman's cool exterior, a volcano was swelling up inside him. First, there were tremors. Then a deadly eruption against random strangers. Feldman cruised around Dallas ...
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Gun-wielding gang members from Houston burst into a rural bank located a hundred miles north of Houston. The high school-age teenagers graduated from burglaries and drive-by shootings to cold-blooded murder that day. They left behind the bullet-riddled body of an 82-year old woman who was tending her family’s graves. They robbed a bank and shot up the small town while making their getaway. They pistol-whipped a deputy sheriff an...
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It was called the Ride Murder. The bullet-riddled body of an unidentified seaman from the Port of Houston, Texas was found dumped in a ditch a few miles away. Two men and a woman used a “honey pot” trap to lure the seaman into their car to rob him. It was one of the most sensational murder trials ever brought in East, Texas. School children paraded through the county jail on macabre field trips to get a look at the accused kill...
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Before Columbine. Before Sandy Hook. Before Virginia Tech.  There was the Sniper in the Tower at the University of Texas. America’s first mass murder and school shooting unfolded on live television in Austin, Texas more than a half-century ago. Since then the question has lingered, “Why did he do it?” Gary Lavergne, the author of A Sniper in the Tower: The Charles Whitman Murders, addresses the whys and the myths about the why. ...
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Retired CBS News Anchor Bob Schieffer was the first reporter to interview Kenneth McDuff and cover his crimes in 1966.  Back then Schieffer was the police beat reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Schieffer had just returned from a combat assignment covering the Vietnam War when the call came in from homicide detectives. The bullet-riddled bodies of 17-year old Robert Brand and his cousin 16-year-old Mark Dunnam had been f...
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We usually take our fans inside the crime scene tape of real-life crimes. But in this episode, we are testing out a fictional Texas Ranger superhero named Creed True, inspired by real-life cases. The Texas Ranger became a superhero in pop culture long before Spider-Man and fellow characters from Marvel Comics captured our collective imaginations.  Think about how the phrase "Who was that masked man?" is now part of our v...
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Texas kicked off festivities on Texas Independence Day, to commemorate the 2023 Bicentennial of the Texas Rangers.  As the Rangers approach their 200th year of service their legend is embodied in the following quote.  When Texas Ranger Captain Bill McDonald was sent to Dallas in the 1890s to prevent a scheduled prizefight, McDonald was greeted at the train station by the city's anxious mayor, who asked: "Where are the oth...
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The Bonnie and Clyde gang rode roughshod over the Central United States during the Depression in the 1930s until Texas Ranger Frank Hamer came out of retirement and ended their deadly robbery spree in an ambush. It’s one of many cases that contributes to the worldwide reputation of the Texas Rangers. On March 1st of 2022, Texas kicked off plans to commemorate The Texas Ranger Bicentennial in 2023. Robert Riggs and Bill Johnston,...
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Fort Worth Cold Case detectives solved the murder of 17-year old Carla Walker after it had gone cold for nearly five decades. They analyzed old evidence using genetic genealogy and new DNA extraction technology pioneered by Othram, a forensic genealogy lab in the Woodlands a suburb of Houston.  Othram matched the DNA to a test submitted to a genealogy site by a member of the killer’s family tree. Othram did not disclose the relat...
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This is a story about two botched murder attempts by hired hitmen. And what happened when 65-year old Joyce Sturdivant took matters into her own hands. One of the most common forms of homicide is when one half of a couple kills the other. Women are usually the victims of this form of homicide. Only one percent of male victims are killed by a partner. But in this case, 65-year old Joyce Sturdivant knocked off her husband after ...
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February 7, 2022 13 min
The men and women of the Texas Highway Patrol work alone, often at night, on remote stretches of highway. They drive distinctive black and white cruisers and SUV’s with bright gold emblems in the shape of Texas on the side doors. If a traffic stop turns bad, help might be a hundred miles away. For example in 2021 Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Chad Walker was killed in an ambush. Walker stopped to help a driver in a ...
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