Believe Her is true crime, upside down. In September 2017, young mom Nikki Addimando shot and killed her partner, Chris Grover. She was sentenced to nineteen years to life in prison for murder. Through rare access to police audio, a month-long trial, conversations with Nikki, and original reporting, journalist Justine van der Leun lays out the killing, the evidence, and the aftermath. As this six-part series unfolds, listeners will put together different pieces of a disturbing puzzle. One thing is clear: perception ≠ reality. Believe Her is a riveting chronicle that grapples with assumptions we make about domestic and sexual violence, the long reach of trauma, and the ways in which survival is criminalized, leaving us shocked at how far people will go to avoid seeing what's right in front of them. From Lemonada Media and Spiegel & Grau.
Nikki Addimando is a young mom in prison for murder. But she claims that she was acting in self-defense. This is the story we don’t tell, the one where the woman doesn’t die. Hosted by journalist Justine van der Leun, Believe Her -- Lemonada Media’s first true crime series -- premieres October 21, aligned with Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
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In September 2017, Nikki Addimando, a young mom of two, shot her partner of nine years, Chris Grover. Nikki was sentenced to 19 years to life in prison for murder but she claims she was acting in self-defense. In this first episode, journalist Justine van der Leun takes us on a journey that starts with the night of the killing and ends at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, a maximum-security prison in upstate New York.
Let’s go back to when Nikki and Chris first met at Mr. Todd’s Gymnastics Studio. Justine takes us to Poughkeepsie, New York to talk to the people who were closest to both Nikki and Chris to try to find out how their seemingly loving relationship spiraled into years of abuse and, ultimately, Chris’ death.
Nikki was abused, doubted and silenced from a young age — and yet, there were still too many so-called “bad facts” that helped the prosecution build their case against her. This week, Justine talks to one of Nikki’s childhood friends about witnessing the early abuse and the cycle of trauma that followed.
Is Nikki a victim or is she a master manipulator who planned and plotted Chris’ murder? This question was at the heart of Nikki’s trial. There, the defense team put forth a cache of evidence of abuse. But the prosecution suggested that Nikki wanted attention, tried to destroy her credibility and asked: if the abuse was so bad, why didn’t Nikki leave? Justine unpacks the trial, and what the verdict says about how our criminal legal ...
A 12-person jury convicted Nikki of murder, but they didn’t see the whole picture. Many key pieces of this puzzle didn’t make their way into the courtroom. In this episode, Justine follows up on disturbing gaps in the evidence. Through conversations with Nikki’s lawyers, digital forensic experts, Nikki’s therapists and Nikki’s children’s therapist, Justine explores what was not shown at trial.
In the final episode of Believe Her, Nikki reflects on the shocking outcome of her appeal and what this means for others in similar situations going forward. Justine talks to criminalized survivors across the U.S. about how and why they were incarcerated for their attempts to protect themselves or loved ones from abuse.
In this bonus interview, Justine sits down with Sandra Brown, the criminalized survivor who you heard from in Chapter 6. Sandra was recently released from prison, where she worked on rebuilding herself over the course of 21 years, and is now working toward her Ph.D. This conversation has been edited for time and clarity.
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