Ripped From The Headlines

The Camryn Manheim Effect

March 17, 2022 Enn and Matt Season 3 Episode 25
Ripped From The Headlines
The Camryn Manheim Effect
Show Notes Transcript

It's our Season 3 Finale, but don't fret! We're not taking a break before bringing you Season 4 next week! In the meantime we’re asking all of our listeners who haven’t yet to please rate and review us on whatever platform you listen to us on; it’s the best way you can support us and get the word out :]

In this week's episode we cover E22, Benevolence, the finale of Season 3 - We made it through another one folks! Enn recaps the episode which focuses on a fictionalized tale of a murder in the Deaf community. Since this was a work of imagination, Matt tells us of the very real Gallaudet University Murders, where 2 Deaf students (Eric Plunkett & Ben Varner) were killed in the early aughts.

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Voiceover:

In this true crime law and order podcast, the episodes are presented by two separate yet equally ridiculous individuals. One who researches the actual crime and the other who recaps the episode. These are their stories. Good morning.

Matt Molinaro:

Good morning.

Enn Burke:

It's probably afternoon over there, though. Barely, barely. The time changed today. Oh, was that today? Yeah, apparently.

Matt Molinaro:

Oh, you know what that makes me. You know, I'm so dumb. We went to a bagel shop this morning. And it's the one we normally go to when we can. And the woman there was like, Oh, she said something about like getting an hour. Uh huh. And it was just in the house of people around and I kind of just barely heard it, and just did that thing when you kind of hear something, but you don't have time to respond? Yes, you're like, Oh, yeah. And I didn't really realize what she had said. And that that makes sense.

Enn Burke:

Speaking of things that you're not sure what somebody said, did you just say in the house?

Matt Molinaro:

Yeah, I think I meant to say like the hustle and bustle, and I just shortened it.

Enn Burke:

I like it. Yeah. Well, this is the finale? It is I can't believe it. I can't

Matt Molinaro:

believe it either. What are we? What are we talking about this week, before we get into it?

Enn Burke:

Well, speaking of Farmers Almanac, I came across the show that my friend recommended to me, because we've both watched Love is blind. And she texted me and said that there's a new show that I have to watch, called Love off the grid. And it's a show that I couldn't find it for free anywhere. So we had to like sign up for a free trial of discovery. Plus,

Matt Molinaro:

I almost did that the other day for things.

Enn Burke:

But the premise of the show is it's it's a date. It's not really a dating show. It's more like a show that documents people who are dating, if that makes sense. And like it's not the premise isn't Oh, at the end will you be together? Like it's not that

Matt Molinaro:

kind of they're just already together. And they happen to be in a relationship.

Enn Burke:

Exactly. But it's the premise of it is there is one person who literally lives like off the grid, like they don't have electricity or running water. Data. And this person that they're dating is like coming to live with them at whatever that property is that they own. So like one person lives in the middle of the Mojave Desert, another one lives on the top of a mountain in North Carolina. And it's really interesting. Like it's again, it's not really like a dating show. So the sort of like Will they won't they doesn't feel as high stakes, as it typically does for that kind of show. But man, it is wild what some people are willing, like actively choosing to make their lives like yeah, like the guy on the mountain in North Carolina. His water source is like a stream from the top of the mountain. And it just like dried up. And so he no longer has like water to shower in or, you know, drink or whatever. I could live that remotely. Most of these people are on like at least five acres, but some of them are like 50 acres or more like the guy in North Carolina has an entire forest. That's just his. And I think that's so cool. And I think I could live that remotely. But I could only live that remotely if I had electricity running water and internet.

Matt Molinaro:

Yeah. Yeah, totally. I liked that idea and concept. Yeah, a lot of respect for people who can do that kind of thing. Yes, I only want to live in a forest all by myself like that. If forests are like how they are in video games,

Enn Burke:

are gonna say that like if little birds brought you food every morning.

Matt Molinaro:

Yes, magical things would happen and I would be a part of it. And you know, we just have you ever watched the cartoon Hilda?

Enn Burke:

I've seen like one episode, I think so

Matt Molinaro:

good. But if if it was like that there. Yeah, I could use that. If

Enn Burke:

my dog Shaunie was there to grant wishes and answer the riddles of the universe. Exactly. Exactly. And there's a lot of bugs and wildlife like the guy in North Carolina had to deal with a bear on his front porch and the woman who lives in the Mojave Desert just like full on killed a rattlesnake with a shovel. It's just It's wild. I could never ever do it.

Matt Molinaro:

No, me neither. I can't even have a non contactless delivery to my door anymore. So towing a rattlesnake with a shovel to eat.

Enn Burke:

That's the rage that I feel when I select like please ring Bell and leave it door and somebody rings the bell and stands there to hand it to me. I'm like, I don't wish to be seen right now. Please, please leave the food on the ground. so that I can collect it like a little Goblin and go back inside my house.

Matt Molinaro:

Exactly. I'm tired of staring out the window trying not to be seen waiting for the people to go.

Enn Burke:

You're the woman in the window across the house from the site. Did you watch?

Matt Molinaro:

We talked about the last week? Yeah. Okay. Speaking of thing I watched that we talked about. Yeah, you had talked about the Docu series wild crimes. Yeah. And I watched it the other day.

Enn Burke:

This is the guy who pushed his wife off a mountain. Yeah, allegedly. Come on. Oh, let's see. I should say that she.

Matt Molinaro:

I had heard. I think he is right. Okay. So yeah, search his innocence. For sure crimes, but

Enn Burke:

it's one of those ones where, if you know, when it goes to trial, if you were a juror I know you're supposed to, like look at the evidence, like really, you know, matter of factly. But you kind of look at all that evidence and go like, how could this be anything? Oh, and remember, like, come on.

Matt Molinaro:

He would have to be the unluckiest person in the whole world. Any other version of events to have happened? Yes. I wouldn't believe it. Wild crimes is the correct title for that for that one.

Enn Burke:

Very that. Did you you enjoyed it. Oh,

Matt Molinaro:

I loved it. I learned a lot of I've seen this case in a Dateline or 2020. Before for sure. But since this was like multiple episodes and had like people, lots of interviews with people that were involved and family members and stuff I learned so much more that Oh, yeah. Even further cemented my feeling towards his his guilt guilt. Thank you. I was I was just about to ask you. What's the opposite of innocence? Where am I? I have one recommendation. Okay. A colleague of mine at work mentioned a so I already watched watch. I already listened to the Glennon Doyle podcast. We can do our things. I'm a huge fan of her huge fan of her podcast. And I learned about her podcast because of her appearance on Brene Browns podcast. And when I heard Glennon Doyle's episode on Bernie Browns podcast, it really just affected me in a major way. It helped me so much with my own mental health journey. It was like a supplement to my therapy. I got her book. All I got all in and then I became like, a Glennon Doyle head, right? Yeah. Now I'm Glennon Doyle is podcast. I just had a similar experience from this episode I just listen to, uh huh. And she interviews someone named a Lok.

Enn Burke:

We brought a look to campus recently, like in the last month and a half.

Matt Molinaro:

I was just going to ask you what your thoughts are on on them.

Enn Burke:

I like them. I think I wish I could have gone to their talk because I wanted to, but I had a conflict.

Matt Molinaro:

I had not heard of them before. I am just, I feel like the same way I did when I heard the Glennon Doyle podcast at Brene. Brown, I feel this way. But in a look, I'm going to become a little kid. I have in that one episode. And the title of the episode is what makes us beautiful, what makes us free? Hmm, I have never learned more from one podcast episode, I feel like wow, about the non binary trans community, about the queer community, about humanity about gender. And we talked a lot last week about gender and masculinity in our episode, which, by the way, I've only heard so many amazing things from people about it about things that we talked about on that episode. So thank you, again for covering a case. So Well,

Enn Burke:

thank you. But I,

Matt Molinaro:

I just feel like a renewed sense of like, self. I don't even know how to it's corny, but I just couldn't say enough how easy to understand. The conversation between a bloke and the host of this podcast are and if you're looking for something to just get an idea about people outside of yourself, maybe or you're on community if you if you identify as trans or non binary. I just highly recommend listening to an episode of this podcast. It's free on, you know, Spotify or whatever, wherever you find podcasts. So, so, so, so good, and I'm so grateful. So

Enn Burke:

and it's Glenn and Doyle's podcast that Glennon

Matt Molinaro:

Doyle is podcast. We can do hard things the episodes she has two episodes with Hulk one is more of a question and answer after this episode that I'm talking about. But let me tell you the title is so act What makes us beautiful? What makes us free? I learned so much about like accepting my body from listening to this episode. Really just amazing. So highly, highly, highly recommend before we we dive into some grim, more topics.

Enn Burke:

Well, speaking of Shall we get into the episode we absolutely should. All right well, I am the episode recap ever and this is the finale episode of season three of Law and Order titled benevolence, right? Yes. Okay good.

Matt Molinaro:

I think far away this is going to be Craig Evans final episode.

Enn Burke:

Oh, no kidding. Really? Yeah,

Matt Molinaro:

I think Captain craigan. This is certainly his last season as a full time like, Captain to or whatever. As he goes over to SVU. Oh, got it. And then we get who will be the new captain for most of the series soon. Do I know who that person is? Yeah. Yeah. You've seen her before. She's been actually a guest on the show before but now she's going to be full time.

Enn Burke:

The cap we get a woman captain. Yes. A woman of

Matt Molinaro:

color actually. Oh, that's awesome. Yeah, I'm excited. Yeah. And then I think also, Robinette might be bowing out soon for a new da.

Enn Burke:

Gotcha. Okay.

Matt Molinaro:

So maybe

Enn Burke:

I buy. All right. So this episode opens on to women in an elevator complaining about ticket prices and surcharges. And I was just thinking to myself, if you only knew where ticket prices and surcharges were heading in the future, they are like getting out of their apartment and or the elevator in their apartment building and they walk into their apartment and the older woman who I originally thought was the younger woman's mom, but I guess it's her and doesn't really matter, because they are just our sort of Govers discoverers, yes. They walk in and they immediately start talking about a bad smell. And the woman's like, take that tuna fish that I threw out and take it outside, and I was like, Oh, girl, that's not going to be tuna fish. It's gonna be a dead body. Yeah. Turns out I was wrong. That was not where the episode was heading. Did you think this ain't 100%? Exactly. Anytime there, somebody on a true crime show mentions about smell. I'm like, ooh, here we go instead. So the younger, this opening scene also was very long and unnecessarily long, I thought, for the amount of setup that it gave us. But essentially, the younger woman kind of like pets around the apartment a little bit and goes to open a window to get rid of the tuna fish smell. And she sees two people down in the alley below the apartment, and I thought a car that she kind of walks away, and then we hear a woman screaming. It was a very intense scream. I feel like whoever did that scream shouldn't be in horror movies. Because it was pretty good.

Matt Molinaro:

It was really good. I remember it. And I washed out days ago. So that shows how much it was good.

Enn Burke:

So the cops arrive. And Logan and Brisco are there and the they come across the dead body of a woman named Kathleen McKenna, who is a student at some nearby University. And Briscoe in his very, you know, tender and respectful way says, Guess she doesn't need to worry about midterms. Okay. She's been strangled. And I guess there's some of her blood on one of the walls in the alley as well. And Logan goes over and talks to the two women who were in the elevator about this woman and they asked who if they knew her and she says, Oh, yeah, Kathy. She lived on the third floor. And the younger woman says that she saw some people signing and login says signing and it's so funny because my first thought was like, like gang signs. But no. Turns out Kathleen was deaf and she was signing to this person. So then we get the title sequence. And I've been we were doing a bit of yard work at the house. And so I decided that I wanted to plant some succulents. So rather than going and buying some succulents, I walked around my neighborhood and took some little cuttings of succulents and then let them dry out for a few days to kind of callus over. And then I put them in some soil to establish some roots and then once they kind of were a little more established, I ended up planting them. And right around then title sequence ends and we get back to the episode.

Matt Molinaro:

I number one, when I lived in Santa Barbara, I constantly thought about doing that. Aha. But I never had the I knew I'd never actually be able to to make it happen. I'm infamous for counting all plants. Oh, yeah. And then secondly,

Enn Burke:

there's there's three succulents that are currently in my office that belong to you that are still alive. I'm

Matt Molinaro:

shocked. I'm shocked. They're still alive. That was a miracle. Yeah. And then secondly, I was thinking, oh my gosh, I hope that title sequences remain as long so we can keep doing these activities.

Enn Burke:

Honestly, I mean, it's, it's a nice way to kind of get some projects done, definitely feel like so when we come back, they are inside of Cathy's apartment. And the landlady is saying that Kathy was an ideal tenant. They find a bunch of photos of Kathy with some friends, a bunch of guys that she's friends with. And then somebody says that the boyfriend is here, and the boyfriend of Kathy, who's again, the murder victim shows up and his name is Ben freed, and he's like, this is all my fault. And they're like, huh, and he says that they were supposed to go out, but she said she had to see somebody but didn't say who it was. So he says to the detectives, like, oh, we were gonna go to the library. We were gonna meet at the library. I was there studying for exams. So that's his alibi. At the station. They discussed that they think it's some other guy in one of the photos with Kathy and not the boyfriend because he was at the library. Meanwhile, Kathy's parents show up at the station, and Logan and Briscoe kind of take them through all the photographs that they found in Kathy's apartment to try to figure out who these people are. And they point out a man named Paul, and he was a friend of Kathy's who is also deaf. And he, I guess, maybe they dated a couple of times. But, you know, they said Kathy wasn't really interested in him. She was really independent. And they talked about how Kathy was maybe going to get a cochlear implant, which would have restored some of her hearing. And the dad says, Go and talk to Corinne Sussman, who is Kathy's old roommate. And so we go to talk with Corinne. And they're doing a little walk around conversation at a university. And she says that Kathy had boy boyfriends. And they're like, really? And she's like, Yeah, the problem was her hearing, not the rest of her this this episode. By the way. I am not a member of the deaf community. I can't speak to how respectfully they treat it. I think overall, they actually do. Okay.

Matt Molinaro:

Yeah, I think I read online that the majority or all of the actors who are portraying deaf folks on the show are actually deaf actors. Yeah. So I thought that that was a good sign.

Enn Burke:

Yeah, me too. So, you know, they they asked, was there anyone besides Ben that she was interested in? And she says, No, Ben was definitely her main guy like she was the one or he was the one she was dating. And they asked her about Paul, who was the other guy in the photo that the parents identified. And she basically paints Paulus. It's kind of like pathetic character who, like, Kathy went out with me because she was sorry for him, which don't take people because you're sorry for them. But he says that she says that Paul was really territorial and jealous. And she says, you know, she'd never would have slept with Paul. He was just a relic from her days at the Institute for the Deaf, which is where they met. So they head there to the Institute for the Deaf. And they're talking to a woman who is like the secretary at the Institute, and she says that she doesn't have Paul's home address, but she knows where he works. Meanwhile, the head of the Institute, a man named Gordon Bryce comes in and he talks to them about Kathy. And he says that he was the night of Kathy's murder, he was with a donor family called the brink men's who were giving the money to start some program. And it was a program that he wanted Kathy to run. Like he said, once we get this donation money, we're going to set up this program and Kathy is going to run it for us. So of course, I wouldn't have killed her because, you know, she was a big part of the institute a big part of my life. I didn't want I wanted her to take on this new initiative. Yeah. They asked him about Paul, and he says, oh, you know, Paul's not really her type. He was a sweet boy, but he's not there. But he's very shy. And Cathy's, like kind of out of his league, essentially. And he says, Paul doesn't really have much experience with women, but he points them to where Paul works so that they can go question him, which is an auto shop, and they talk to I guess, the head mechanic at the auto shop. And he says that Paul's a great mechanic but you know, He did see him with Kathy a couple of times and the most recent time. Kathy was really upset with him and he says that she kicked his toolbox across the shop. It sounds like they may have had some kind of argument. I

Matt Molinaro:

mean, she must have been strong to kick a mechanic's toolbox across the shop.

Enn Burke:

I thought the same thing She Hulk Like honestly, toolboxes are very heavy.

Matt Molinaro:

In my in my closet is heavy and I am not by any stretch of the imagination.

Enn Burke:

So they go to inquire about Paul out his apartment and he doesn't answer but the super lets them in and inside of Paul's apartment, they see the today's newspaper so that they so they know he's been there today. And they also see kind of a wall collage of photographs of Kathy that kind of indicate maybe he was a little obsessed with her.

Matt Molinaro:

Yeah, it's a little bit Helga. Hey, Arnold.

Enn Burke:

Yes, yes. Meanwhile, they also see a pamphlet in his apartment that says stop cochlear implants. And the super kind of makes an analogy that Paul and Kathy were both parts of the deaf community. But Paul was part of this organization that thought that things like cochlear implants were bad because it's like implying that being deaf is bad. And, you know, it's something to be ashamed of. And he makes an analogy of like, a deaf person getting a cochlear implant is like a black person turning white. And I don't think that that is a fair comparison at all whatsoever. Anyway, they go to the headquarters of this organization that's against cochlear implants and talk to some folks there, and the rhythm is gonna get you because debark is there as the person that they are talking to. He has the most intense mullet I have seen. It's pretty awesome. And he says that Kathy was shamed of being deaf. And you know, Paul was just trying to convince her not to get a cochlear implant. And Paul and the other folks at this organization were upset that Kathy was dating this new men, or new man, Ben or her boyfriend, and he's a hearing man. And Paul didn't really know what to do. Meanwhile, they walk outside and then kind of like magically find Paul and arrest him or not, don't really arrest him, but they take him down to the station for questioning. And it seems like Paul isn't really willing to talk to them very much. It's kind of keeping silent. But ultimately, he tells them that he was working at the garage until six and then he went to a friend's house named Richard with his other friend Gina. So he he's got a couple of people attesting to his whereabouts. Dr. Bryce, the head of the institute, comes in while Paul is being questioned. And he wants to be in the interrogation room with Paul because I guess he really cares about him. Once that happens, Paul is opens up a little bit more. And he talks about Kathy and says, you know, we were in the same classes. We, you know, worked at the institute together or attended the institute together, but I haven't seen her in a couple of weeks. And he says, he read about Cathy's murder in the newspaper. And he The reason he was hiding from the police was he was just scared when he heard the police were looking for him. But he tells them that when Cathy broke up with him, he accepted it and he didn't kill her. In the police station, we get to see and where we learned that Kathy had no DNA under her fingernails, and there's no DNA on Paul's jacket that matches Kathy so they think probably Paul is actually telling the truth and did not murder Kathy. But then suddenly a man you know the guy who walks in and hands people evidence walks in and hands them evidence of call records to Kathy's apartment. Now, because Cathy is deaf, the she has a device that turns like speech into written text for phone calls so that she can receive phone calls. And they see that there are a lot of calls from Paul's apartment to Cathy's. And they're like, Oh, well, you know, if she was deaf, maybe she kept the printouts or, you know, there were printouts of these phone calls. Maybe she kept them. So they go to her apartment, but they don't see they can't find any printouts of the of all of these phone calls that she received. But then they decide to go through the garbage so we get a trash discovery. A big one Big one. And they they're kind of searching through all this garbage. And Logan says this person just eats donuts and by stroke magazines, which I think is meant to be like adult magazines, but possibly the worst way you could say that. But they do find printouts of conversations that Kathy has had with somebody. And these conversations are like the length of a CVS receipt. And two of the transcripts that they find show a conversation between her and Paul. And then they find a third one that conveniently doesn't show who the person is, that was talking to Kathy, but it has the following quote, at least give me a chance to talk you out of this. You want an easy way out, but you OB you hang up, you bitch, I'll kill you, I'll kill you. And that phone call was the day that she was killed. So they think, you know, we've got two transcripts that show Paul calling and then this one, they think maybe Paul actually is the murderer. So they go and arrest him. And then we get a scene of him being questioned with his lawyer who was played by Cameron Mannheim.

Matt Molinaro:

I got so excited because I really needed to.

Enn Burke:

I love her. And she was also so she's Paul's lawyer. And she was signing with Paul and I didn't actually Google it, but I wonder if she actually speaks ASL, or I looked it up. She does she Okay. Well,

Matt Molinaro:

she was an actress. She she was a interpreter.

Enn Burke:

Okay. And because the whole time I was like, wondering if she learned it for this part. Yeah,

Matt Molinaro:

I was very impressed by that. And then a strange thing happened. And I'm sure this has happened to you because I feel like, this is like a, I'm sure there's a word for this phenomenon. And it's not really a phenomenon. But you know, what do you hear something that you haven't heard in a while or you see someone you haven't seen on TV in a while? And then they're just showing up everywhere? Yes, literally, after I watched this episode, and saw Cameron Mannheim and I was like, Oh, I haven't seen her in something in a while. I put on the TV show. This is us. Oh, no, she was on it was she's not a cast member. She's never been on the show before. It's an it's like final season now. And the episode that I started with, she was a guest cast member.

Enn Burke:

How weird. I was so straight away. So they're questioning him about his alibi. And he says that he just lied to the police because he was scared. He said he did see Kathy the night of her murder. They met for dinner or coffee at a cafe. And she went back to her place. And he says that when they parted ways she was standing on the sidewalk and she was alive. And he says that the waitress at the cafe will testify that our conversation was calm and rational. We were not arguing there was we were not upset with each other. I did not kill her. But stone asks him about the transcript that shows those threats to Kathy. And he says that that wasn't him. But Stone says you know, I'll offer you man one if you confess. And he's like, No, I didn't do it. And Camryn Manheim is pretty great. It just being like you have no case Goodbye.

Matt Molinaro:

Wait, okay, this is weird before we move on. Okay, just was googling Camryn Manheim? Just to see. Yeah, she's in the new law and order season. Like the new new one as a main cast member. Oh, weird. The hell is going

Enn Burke:

on? It's like the Mandela Effect. Wow,

Matt Molinaro:

this is? Yeah, this was not playing okay.

Enn Burke:

No. All right. So they go back to stones office and in stones office. They're talking to Dr. Bryce the head of the institute. And he says that he doesn't want Paul to be associated with the Institute. You know, essentially, it's kind of like asking stone to get the institute's name out of the papers because it will scare off donors. And he says, you know, he's talking to them about Kathy and he said she was incredibly dedicated, and a great person to work with at the institute. And stone thinks that, even if they do think that Paul killed Kathy, that a jury will ultimately be sympathetic to Paul because he's deaf. And so he's like, Well, our in our case is pretty circumstantial, and a jury will likely be sympathetic to him. So not not really a great strong case. So they decided to do a little bit more investigation and Robinette heads to a university to talk to a professor about ASL. And the professor explains that a word for word translation of ASL into English would kind of come out as broken English because it's not like a one to one translation he says deaf people Learn regular English grammar, but ASL kind of condenses some things and you know, leaves like any other it's not a direct translation.

Matt Molinaro:

Like, yeah, like any other language, you know, there's gonna be miscommunications if you're doing a direct, like babelfish translation,

Enn Burke:

exactly. But he says that, you know, when when deaf folks are talking on the phone, they will still speak in a way that indicates that they are an ASL speaker. Like there's linguistics patterns of Deaf folks when they are speaking with each other, even if they're not using ASL. And so he explains to them that this transcript indicates that the person making these threats to Kathy was a hearing person because he says like the that deaf folks when they're speaking using ASL or you know, are on the phone with each other, don't use the word apt or you know, other things. So if he's like, this is very likely a hearing person who was talking to Kathy on the phone, but in Paul's other transcripts, those words are missing. So it's like, okay, yes, these these two innocent phone calls were Paul, this one with all the threats was likely a hearing person. And so now they're like, Okay, maybe it's her new boyfriend, Ben, who killed her. So they go talk to him. And he is maintaining his innocence. He says he was in love with Kathy, and that they were going to move to California together because they were both going to go to USC for their MSW program. And Kathy was just waiting for a letter of recommendation from Dr. Bryce, the head of the institute. So they're like, Huh, okay, well, Dr. Bryce is a hearing person. He was starting this new program that he wanted Kathy to run. But the story we're getting from the boyfriend about Kathy is that she was leaving to go to California. So maybe it was Dr. Bryce, who did this. So then we get a scene that really doesn't matter. But they go and talk with one of the donors and he, he was the person who was kind of Dr. Bryce's alibi, originally, but he ends up giving stone and Robinette information that indicates like, no, he could have possibly done this. But he says, you know, even though he's giving them that information, and he doesn't think he would have killed Kathy, you know, he says he loved Kathy, they were important to each other both for the institute. And maybe they were maybe he was in love with Kathy. It's unclear. Meanwhile, to go and talk to Dr. Bryce's ex wife, and we get basically a story of him being sort of a, I don't know what the word is, I'm looking for it. But he's, he's like really committed to causes essentially. And that was what mattered to him above relationships with anyone else was like being committed to a cause. And so the institute was the most important thing to him in the world. They get Dr. Bryce's call logs and see that there were three calls to Kathy's apartment the day of her murder. And so now they're thinking, all right, Kathy was leaving to go to California and Dr. Bryce wasn't willing to let her go. And so in like a fit of rage, he killed her. They get a search warrant for Dr. Bryce's apartment and they find a pair of gloves that have Cathy's blood on them. And so now they have enough information to arrest Dr. Bryce. He, meanwhile, tells them that Oh, no, I couldn't have done it. I was out my assistants house until after Kathy's murder. That was the woman we saw at the very beginning of the episode when they first get to the institute. So their thinking may be that he and his secretary were having a relationship and the Secretary is covering up for him like covering up the fact that he murdered Kathy. So they go and look at the financials and like the articles of incorporation for the nonprofit or whatever those legal papers are. And what they see is that the Secretary, the week after Kathy was murdered, new papers were drawn up for the nonprofit that named the secretary as the vice president. And so they're like, Okay, maybe she's in on all of this. So they talked to her and essentially, they kind of like badger her into confessing that she was covering up for him that he she was promised that she would become VP if Cathy once Cathy left but she didn't really know that he had killed her. He just asked her To say that they work together that night of her murder. So she gets immunity in exchange for her cooperation. And they talked to Dr. Bryce. And he says that, you know, he doesn't want the institute to be dragged through the mud because of all of this. And so he agrees to confess, to manslaughter to and to serve 18 months in order to protect the institute. And they're like, No, that's not going to fly. So meanwhile, they get the Secretary to give them additional information. She says that she has kept all of the transcripts of all of the calls that Dr. Bryce made to Kathy. And so she gives those to stone, and they show the exact transcript of the threats that Cathy's machine had received. So now they know, it was Dr. Bryce, who made those threats. He asked the Secretary to cover up for him. And so he is very likely Cathy's a murderer. And so they're going to take him to court. He, however, has a really good lawyer, and they kind of have a few like Battle of the wits. And finally, stone offers him a plea of manslaughter, one, which he ultimately accepts, in order to protect the institute. And he says that Kathy was like everything to him. He taught her to speak how to present herself. She shared everything with me, she was there for the institute. And I worked my whole life for her and she was just leaving us to go to USC. So that kind of wraps up the episode and it's kind of a it's a really weird episode because it kind of just ends on a like anticlimactic note. Yeah. Like no finality, feeling to it. No, not at all. He's just like, Okay, I did it. And then we're like, all right, end of the episode. See? That is the final episode of season three, Episode 22. benevolence,

Matt Molinaro:

benevolence. Well done. Thanks. Yeah, I found this episode a little confusing, but I guess we'll talk about more that the end. Yeah.

Enn Burke:

Yeah, it was there were several times where I was like, should I be paying attention to this? Or am I getting like, poorly written red herrings kind of thing.

Matt Molinaro:

100% I was like, which storyline? Are we ultimately going to go down here? Right. Well, are you ready to hear the inspiration?

Enn Burke:

I am super ready. Okay. Well,

Matt Molinaro:

this episode was technically not based on anything.

Enn Burke:

Gosh, the I feel like the later half of the season, they were just like, No, let's make things up. Yeah, like, I

Matt Molinaro:

feel like every three, we're getting a real ripped one. I looked up cases that when I found one that I feel like this very easily could have been based on based on the timing of it. So I'm going to talk about the Gallaudet University murders. Okay, have you heard of this? I don't think so. I hadn't either. First, I will try to set the scene a little bit by giving some background about where most of this takes place, which is at Gallaudet University. And where is that? It's in Washington, DC. So Gallaudet University, according to their mission statement is a quote, bilingual, diverse, multicultural institution of higher education that ensures the intellectual and professional advancement of deaf and hard of hearing individuals through American Sign Language and English. Okay. It is currently the world's only university in which all programs and services are specifically designed to accommodate deaf and hard of hearing students. That's pretty major. I didn't I can't believe it's the only one. Yeah. So and in all of the research I did this has echoed like to be true. So it's a school that members of the deaf community worldwide often aspire to go to. It's a lot of notable alumni, including Linda both who played herself on Sesame Street, which was my first experience with someone death at all. Oh, really? Yeah. Nyle DiMarco of America's Next Top Model and Dancing with the Stars fame. Heidi Zimmer, the first deaf woman to reach the top of Mount McKinley, Mount Elbrus and Mount Kilimanjaro. Wow, there are tons of other alumni that are like world class educators, founders of institutions, founders of Institute's rather, scientists, artists, athletes, poets, like tons of really notable people, so really well known world renowned University. Their current vision states that Gallaudet is powerfully showing the value of deaf people across the spectrum of identities here being deaf. It's not something to overcome, but a process of understanding oneself, building connections within and beyond the signing and deaf community. By extension, our campus is a place where deaf individuals will find affirmative and positive acceptance of who they are and all they have to offer the world. And that's a beautiful thing. So it's no wonder then that in the summer of 2000, well, I guess that's why this wasn't based on it. I thought it was a little earlier. In the summer of 2019 year old Eric Plunkett of Minnesota learns he's been accepted to the University and he's literally quite literally jumps for joy. He always been a very theatrical kid. His reactions to things have always been described his his family as over the top. Growing up his parents describe occasions where if he was told to do yard work that he really didn't want to do. They would find him outside lying flat on the ground, raking the leaves. I'm totally that level of drama. Yeah. He grows up with a wanderer last very strong that many of his Christmas lists have plane tickets listed on them in place of toys. He's energetic, outgoing. He was born deaf into a hearing household. His family when they find out he's deaf, they learn ASL very quickly, and they teach Eric to view his deafness as a gift. He attends programs for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing throughout his whole school career. And while his cerebral palsy makes it difficult for him to participate in active sports, he's always been very active, independent and likes to be involved. He successfully attends boarding schools multiple times for the Deaf throughout his current educational career. And he drives pretty well on his own. His principal at the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf said he took risks. He accepted challenges. He didn't let anyone say no to him. So upon his acceptance letter being sent to his house, he was at the boarding school in Minnesota. So his family drives out to surprise him. They get balloons, they bring the acceptance letter to Gallaudet. And that's when he sees it. He jumps for joy. And before his parents leave his school, he frames the letter and promises that he's going to replace this acceptance letter with his diploma upon graduating. Oh, nice. Yeah. So punk it 19 years old waves goodbye to his parents as he moves into his dorm. Just before the school year, probably around August of 2000. The campers, the campers. The campus offers everything that universities geared towards the hearing offer. But unlike said universities, ASL is the dominant language here. English is really just to use for written communication. Okay. Eric writes home to his mom, Kathleen, pretty much every night you via email. He absolutely loves it there. He even quickly joined to the lambda society, which on campus has an LGBTQ group. And at the beginning of the school year, he is voted secretary of the society. Okay, cool. So he's really enjoying his time there. He had never personally come out to his family before this. So this was sort of their interpretation of him coming out and they were very accepting. He was very excited to be part of a diverse community. Across the hall from him at the Cogswell dorms. That's where he lived. He was in room 101 in room 102. Right across was a classmate, Joseph Mesa was 20 years old. So just about a year older. He was from Guam, where his brother Patrick said, quote, he proved a lot of people wrong about being disabled. He just went ahead and did things and became a strong influence on both the deaf community and the hearing community. Okay, Mesa grew up athletic. He was aspirational to others while living in Guam. And he always encouraged others that there was more to life than the limits of their islands. Also in Cogswell, was fellow freshmen and 19 year old Ben Varner. Okay, he's also starting out the school year here. He's much more reserved than the other two boys that I've described. But he's looking forward to his time in the university, especially because it's in Washington DC, and unlike his hometown of San Antonio, Texas, this hosted a much more diverse cultural experience for him. And that's something he always longed for. His immediate family was hearing and while born legally deaf and having significant challenges with hearing, Benjamin had worn hearing aids since he was about eight months old and wasn't completely deaf. Okay. His mother Diane dedicated her life to being His advocate and tutor basically, she wanted him to be able to hear and speak as much as possible. And she said, quote, I wanted him to be able to pull up to a gas station someday and say fill it up or go into a restaurant and say, I want a hamburger without mustard. And Lisa Lopez, not not the least, we're thinking of. Okay. Lisa Lopez is one of Vernors school counselors that was, you know, closely affiliated with him throughout his like grammar school career in high school career. She says behind every oral deaf kid who really learns how to listen and speak there is a family member who had to practically dedicate their life toward the success of that child. And she says that his mother was the model of this. So Benjamin Varner thrived academically, he was basically a straight A student in school. But he did struggle with issues surrounding his deafness and how he related to it, because he could hear some with the aid of the, the hearing aids. And because he had studied so much to be able to hear and speak, he often would come home, exhausted from school, and frustrated because he had to put so much effort into trying to hear and speak like everybody else. Gotcha. Something that he shared in common with his class and Dormy. Eric Plunkett was this desire to travel and learn about other cultures. He also had a pretty strong wanderlust. He was constantly reading travel books, and learning about other cultures was something that he was very passionate about. He was going to be studying Arabic at the Gallaudet University. And while his family was Baptist, he learned about Islam after doing a project in school. And at the age of 13, he independently joined the Islamic Center of San Antonio. Okay, this is where he started studying the Quran. And he even tried to apply for a visa, I think an Israeli visa without his parents knowing his parents deported him and they were fine with him doing this, but they they have their own beliefs. And so he did this independently. They wish they even like would do the prayers in his room. He was very dedicated. So all three of these boys live on the first floor, and the west end of the dorm was nicknamed the wild wild west. And many of the students including Eric Pankaj, often left their dorm room doors open. Which I remember when I was in college. dorming the short time I did do that. A lot of my my dorm was a one floor dorm. And everyone, so many people left their dorm room doors open. Like, oh, yeah, it was a big party. I guess. I did not. But I remember this was like the sort of atmosphere it was like, everyone kind of wandered in and out of each other's rooms, like just, Hey, how's it going? What are you doing? And yeah, so it was it seems like it wasn't very fun and community for all of them. Gotcha. One afternoon, Mesa notices that his across the hall neighbor, Eric Plunkett hadn't been in math class with him, which was unusual, because Eric was pretty passionate about being on time to things and not missing class. So when he gets back to their dorm at Coxwell, he notices that plugins door which was normally open and inviting was closed. So he thinks, Okay, maybe he's sleeping, overslept. And so he tries to get his attention, and there's no answer. So he thought it was odd. And then later in the day, when the dorm room is still closed, and no one has heard from Eric, he goes to report to the RA on their floor, Lauren, what he had noticed. And he also mentioned that he had smelled a weird odor coming from the room. No, I know, right? So they go to get a male Ra, because that's sort of the protocol, because that's a male student, and they immediately see blood on the carpet, which leads them to Eric pocket. He is lying on the ground, he's covered in blood, and they immediately call the police and the ambulance. He's pronounced dead on the scene. Eric Plunkett was 19 years old. No, that's awful. 19 he had just turned 19 about 20 days earlier. So fear and panic spread immediately through the campus. Eric's parents in Minnesota get a phone call at the same time as a local Chaplain arrange their bill and they get the news that they're dreading. every parent dreads that Eric has passed away, but they get no details on the on the crime. They just know he has died and that they need to contact Washington DC police department for more information. So they booked their first flight out to Washington DC and his mother Kathleen kept repeating the whole way there. Quote, I took my baby to school And he's never coming home. police at the scene can tell right away that this is not an accident. He had been bludgeoned multiple times with the chair in his room. He was strangled, and badly beaten, God. Yeah. Classes are canceled, they evacuate the dorm, the university. Previous to this had no crime really, it had been looked at as a sort of safe haven. And while the areas around the university had a high crime rate at the time, even for Washington, DC, which sometimes has a reputation for crime. While that was true, everyone wondered how someone would have been able to get into the university because the school had a really high gate surrounding it. And there were only four entrances. One is manned by a guard at all times, and the other three got locked after 6pm. Okay, also, all the buildings on campus require an ID card to enter. So there's no way someone can get into a building unless someone lets them in or unless they have a student or staff id.

Enn Burke:

So it's likely that somebody on the staff or a student was involved.

Matt Molinaro:

That is the theory at the time. Okay, there's also no forced entry at the scene. So every student kind of is on the lookout for one another. Yeah. Because it's, they're all new students there too. So any freshmen don't really know anybody else. It's pretty suspicious feeling that goes throughout the whole campus. Nobody really knows how to feel. And I watched an interview with one of the students who says that at the time, when they were evacuated, since it was a crime scene, they weren't allowed to go back and get any of their things for like a while. So lots of the students ended up feeling homeless, when they just got here. And they're all on their own many of them for the first time. And in addition to the fear of what could happen and what had happened. So many of the students were now feeling like completely alone. Yeah. Which is, I can't even imagine how that how that must feel, especially for students who knew Eric. Right. An early theory that arose was whether this was a hate crime or not, because of his openly identifying as gay and right right out about that, right. So other queer students had noted at the time that there were some issues of harassment on campus before this, some, you know, brewed epitaphs being put on people's doors or just around campus. One witnessed one student witnessed another student's say, quote, great, one less effort after the death. So that was something that they were investigating pretty early on, a vigil is organized the day after a punk its body was found on September 29 2000. His parents attend because they are in town to identify the body, unfortunately. And they're greeted with, you know, tons of students who, even though they only knew him for a short period of time, all say they were deeply impacted by Eric, everyone says how beautiful of a soul he was and how he was so proud of his family. He was constantly showing them pictures of his new baby sister. Every time someone came in the room, he had a new photo to show them. And everyone just is very, very kind and warm towards them and feels terrible. Of course. Now, the family of have to return to Minnesota afterwards to arrange a funeral. But they have to go back with really no answers to what has happened or why. So one issue that comes up as a challenge for a police at the time, is that when they're questioning everyone on campus, they have to go through interpreters. And this isn't something that they were fully equipped to deal with in terms of interviewing at least, because oftentimes, in interviews, they rely on inflections and people's voice or other kind of tells through that. And they couldn't really do that here. Right. One name that does come up, though, is 18 year old Thomas, Mitch. Okay, so Thomas manche is a freshman as well. He lives in a nearby dorm but he often hangs out at Cogswell with a lot of the a lot of the other classmates. So just have Mesa from across the hall said that Thomas Minch, this other freshman and an Eric Plunkett, the victim had an argument that got physical pretty recently. And so they bring Minch in for questioning five days after the murder, and they asked him okay, now did you have a relationship with Plunkett? What was going on? We heard about an argument And there is an allegation that the two may have been romantically involved. Okay, so Thomas Minch denies this. He says he's not gay and that they had argued that day. But, you know, it was it was just an argument, and they questioned him for about six hours. And in the interview, he admits that he had had this argument from him. And it was because of an unwanted advance from Eric. And according to the police transcript, he says that he pushed him to the ground. So with this, they feel they have enough to move forward. And on the day of Eric's funeral, Eric's family gets a call that they have arrested at Thomas Minch for this murder. Okay, however, the next day, Thomas Munch is released. Hmm. Okay. The DHS office feels that they had very little other than an admission of an argument with him. Not enough to really hold him. Okay. So a little bit about Thomas, Mitch Thomas. Mitch was born deaf into a mostly non hearing home. His parents and younger brother, we're also deaf. And he has several cousins who also were deaf or hard of hearing. So something that was a part of his family that they were very equipped to, to deal with and handle, you know, so it wasn't like the other voice. Right. His family was well known in their New Hampshire home, and most people who met them became inspired to learn ASL because of them. Thomas always strive to do more than what was expected of him. He asked for more responsibilities at work all the time and in school, people usually underestimated him but he, he always strove to do more and was successful. He even broke boundaries in his high school as because he performed as the king in their production of Once Upon a Mattress where he would act on stage and mouth the words and someone offstage provided the spoken portion. At Gallaudet, he was a member of the theater department. And now he has been he had, you know, just getting released from spending the night in jail because of the murder of his alleged friend Eric. Yeah. So even though he's released, the school does expel Minch, and they increase security. They order about 18 new cameras, they reinforced the locks and all the gates, and all the first four students get moved to dorms on the fourth floor. This offers most of them little feeling of security, though, because the cameras get ordered but they're not immediately installed. Right and moving up several floors, helps some of them feel more safe. But specifically the RA, whose name is Lauren who found the body originally, she remembers that Ben Varner, that third student I was talking about earlier. He's scared, he wants another dorm entirely. He doesn't feel like the fourth floor is really going to do anything. But that wasn't really possible at the time. So months pass with no word of any new developments. And then on February 3 2001, bad five or four or five months later, fire alarms go off at Cogswell Hall. As they're evacuating the building, they're checking all the rooms and one ra comes out into the hall and says that someone is dead.

Enn Burke:

Oh my god. Okay,

Matt Molinaro:

when they chuck the room, 19 year old Ben Varner is found lying facedown in his room murdered. Oh, in a scene that is described as brutal and bloody. Okay. He'd been stabbed in the head, neck and chest at least 15 times and had lots of defensive wounds of he was 19 years old. Investigators check the scene and they find in a dumpster out back a paring knife that belonged to Ben, but it's clearly the murder weapon. It's bloody Yeah. And they find a bloody jacket that does not belong to Ben. Ben's family is alerted, and they come to Washington DC. And Eric plunk its family flies to Washington DC in solidarity, because they've just gone through the same thing and they want to be there for them. Kind Yeah. In looking for motive or connections to Eric pockets murder. Investigators hear a rumor on campus that Benjamin Varner may have also been gay but closeted. Also, Thomas Minch, who now lives in New Hampshire since he has been expelled. Yeah, he had actually been in Washington DC that day. Coincidentally because he had to come to DC to appear before a grand jury for the previous crime. And in that meeting, he was dismissed, but he was in Washington DC at the time of the crime. Okay, so police show up immediately at his family home in New Hampshire. And he is able to provide credit card receipts and a full account of what he was doing on the on the dates surrounding Ben's murder. He's able basically able to account for his entire time in Washington, DC, and they're able to verify everything he says with footage and testimony from places he said he was added receipts and all of that. So including around the time of the murder, yes, yes. Okay. And so his whereabouts are completely 100% accounted for and they know that he wasn't anywhere near the university, his entire time in Washington, DC. Okay, so now they're wondering, did we even have the right guy for the first case, but right, who knows, because he's still their prime suspect for the original murder, they just don't feel like they have enough to to take him in. Okay, so now they're focusing their efforts on the current investigation, and through some forensic magic, there's a chemical that they're able to spray on the carpet that reveals a complete bloody footprint. Oh, wow. Okay. Most of apprentices on shoes are are pretty specific to that type of shoe. So they're hoping they could find something and they know it's not one of Benjamin shoes. Okay, missing from the scene are also Benjamin's checkbook and bank card. Now similarly, at Eric pockets murder scene, it was discovered that his bank card was also lifted. But in that instance, by the time they investigated that lead, it had been past 30 days. And this CCTV footage from banks and establishments where debit transactions had been made after pockets death had already been recycled. So they waited too long. Okay, so this time, they decided to take a different approach and they look very quickly into bend foreigners financial history, and they do find one suspicious piece of activity a day or two after the murder. A man cashes a check from Ben Varner in the amount of $650 and is caught on CCTV from the bank. Okay, that man is Joseph Mesa, the freshman who lived across from Eric Plunkett and had alerted the RA to the foul smell in his room. They bring him in for questioning. And he says that Ben had paid him with a check for computer parts that he sold him. So he was just cashing a check. And maybe the timing isn't great, but he needed the money. Okay, either way, they now have enough to do to perform a search warrant on Mason's dorm room. When they do, they find a pair of shoes that match the size and type of the Nike Air Max cross trainers at made the print at the scene. Okay, and there's bloodstains on them. So Mesa is arrested, investigators are expecting a pretty long road ahead of them. And they're prepared for all lines of questioning. In a surprising twist, though, Mesa says quote, I knew if I held it in, it would get worse and worse, and it would end up worse than just admitting what had happened. And he confesses to the murder of Benjamin foreigner.

Enn Burke:

But not the first one. Well, he's

Matt Molinaro:

not being asked about that one. Oh, right. Okay, so in a taped interview, he says, I had the knife. I got ready, and I stabbed him until he died. He says that he found the mic. He gives very specific information. He says that he found the knife under the microwave. He stabbed him in the neck. And he says that Eric looked at him. I'm sorry. He says that Benjamin looked at him. And he says, quote, I felt guilty. And I knew he'd report me right away. I had to kill him. And so if he dies, and that way, he can't report me to the RA or anything. In the taped interview, he identifies the knife as the murder weapon. And while he's being interviewed, his friends are able to identify the jacket that was found in the dumpster as his jacket. Okay, he also says that after he committed the act, he checked on been three or four times, which experts say is consistent with behavior you see in serial murderers to like, kind of relive the experience of this thing. Oh, yeah, yeah, okay. He also says that he stared at the body for 20 minutes before he stole the checkbook. He had even put one of Benjamin's T shirts over his own when he committed the crime, and he still had that T shirt in his closet. Okay. In the interview, he also says that he started the rumor about Thomas Minch. I'm having a relationship with Plunkett. Oh, yeah. And he also says that he admits to misleading authorities about Ben Varner being closeted and gay, that was completely fabricated. Got it. Okay. They feel pretty confident with this information that he's responsible for the first murder. And so they say to him, quote, if you have anything else on your conscience, tell us about it now. So it could be all over at once. Right and his reaction is a very cavalier quote. Okay. Also Eric Plunkett. I also did that one too. Yikes. Okay. Yeah. I've watched the videotaped interview. And it's with interpreters, of course, but his manner is very matter of fact, cold. He says, quote, about Eric Plunkett. I knew that he was kind of weak and limped a little. I put my arm around his neck kept holding it there continuously. And he breathed slower and slower, and then he lay it down. And then he describes how he murdered him. He describes all of the wounds that happened to Eric that weren't released, such as being kicked after being attacked. And he even voluntarily and coldly demonstrates how he used the chair to bludgeon him to death. Yikes. Yeah, it's pretty chilling. So with this confession, He is charged with two counts of first degree murder. And the families of both Plunkett and Varner get calls on February 13, to be told that someone has been arrested. And Ben's family is, is relieved a little bit. Eric's family feels like they have to kind of hold their breath because this whole thing happened with Mitch before. And he was released the next day. Right. So they are not willing to put any stake on this. But Eric's family also are pretty chilled to the bone because they remember at the vigil, specifically, that Joseph came up to them and gave their condolences. Yeah. Thomas Minch, the previous the accused gets the call that he has been completely cleared and they apologize to him. He says it's a great sense of relief, because Mitch says he never confessed, and that when he was being interviewed, there were two interpreters there. And he can tell that things were getting lost in translation. Yeah, he said, quote, I felt lost that I felt lost. What did I say that made them think that I did it. And he talks about how after all of the accusations came out, and he was expelled, he lost who he was. And it changed his life in a pretty significant way. Oh, yeah. God, yeah. She later tries to sue the police department. But I looked it up and he was unsuccessful in in that lawsuit. And

Enn Burke:

out of curiosity, how many years between the first murder and this like revelation? Oh,

Matt Molinaro:

when they find who did it? Yeah. Less than a year it was, Oh, okay. I want to say six months,

Enn Burke:

was mentioned, like, admitted back to the school or was yes, he had been, he was

Matt Molinaro:

allowed to come back to the school after this. I believe he did. And I looked him up. I wasn't able to find anything, for sure that it was him. But I found a gentleman named Thomas mensch, who lives in Maine, who is like an advocate for the disabled community in general and does a lot of work for the deaf community. So it seems like he's gotten his life back together and is doing meaningful things that make him happy. So I hope that is him. That timing works out the location works out. So I hope that is him because it looks like he has a happy ending. Nice, and he's interviewed it specifically in a lot of the there's a few videos I was able to find and he's interviewed. And he seems like you know, while it it had a profound impact on his life he's grateful for you know, being cleared and the correct person being found. Joseph mais his motive in the murder was money. And all in all from the two murders he made about $750. Okay, and it turns out, this was not the first time Mesa was in trouble for theft. A classmate of his from a boarding school that he attended, said that he stole $45 out of his wallet, but was also very generous with money. And in his senior yearbook, Mesa was even named most likely to be rich in the future. During a college prepper during a college prep program sponsored by Gallaudet University, that Mesa attended in 1999. Mesa stole his roommate Delvin Arnold's ATM card and withdrew $3,000 Yikes. When this happens, he was suspended for a year and order to pay Arnold back which he did. And then he returned to Gallaudet University as a freshman into 1000s So just one year prior to this, he was found guilty of stealing $3,000 from a roommate, and now back at the University the next year. Got it but because the motive of pockets murder was not looked at as financial, they never even looked at his across the hall neighbor. They hadn't even considered his missing ATM card until it seems way too late. And by that time, they still for some reason, didn't have mace on their radar.

Enn Burke:

That does seem like a big oversight. Yeah. Yeah.

Matt Molinaro:

Many believe that if this was investigated correctly, that Benjamin Varner would still be alive today. And DC Metro Police issued a statement that says Hindsight is 2020. Is it possible mistakes were made? Yes, of course. We are deeply saddened by the murder of students in our community. That's it. Nine months after the murder is when the trial is set. Okay, and Mesa is going to plead insanity. During an interview in custody, he stood up and gesticulated putting kittens in the bag and stomping on them. And he smiled while doing it, saying that, as a young boy, he would kill animals. Oh, my God. He also says that he would have hallucinations of black gloved hands signing into him to do violence. And specifically, his last hallucination was of the wrestler The Undertaker in his black gloves signing him to do it. Okay, right. They find a letter, however, that he wrote to his girlfriend while he was in custody, that he was going to fake and insanity defense.

Enn Burke:

Shock II.

Matt Molinaro:

So this is all produced at the trial. And after the trial concludes, less than three hours of deliberation go on, and the jury comes back and finds him guilty of all counts. He is convicted and sentenced to life with no parole with an additional 90 years for all of the theft charges. Diane Varner, Benjamin's mother says I'm still numb a year and three months ago, I came here to pick up my son's body. And I've yet to get over that numbness. There's little significance in the verdict, other than the fact that Joseph will never be able to do this to any other family again. Yeah. Mesa a couple of years after he tries to appeal based on some like nonsense bullshit. Like I looked it up. And he basically was saying, Oh, they shouldn't have been able to use my girlfriend's letter, because we have a common law marriage, and she shouldn't have been able to testify against me. Right. But there was no evidence that there was any such common law marriage, they were just dating. And so that was thrown out. He also tries to say that his his interpreters during his confession for not qualified and they didn't pass like the, the bar for what they needed to pass to be interpreters. And yeah, he claimed that they were supplied by the university, but they were the police station. And they weren't like qualified, but they were supplied by the university and they were all they all had their certifications. They all had everything they needed to have to be doing what they were doing. So that was thrown out too. So he I looked it up he is still incarcerated in Sheridan, Oregon's federal detention center. He's listed as life in prison. There's no possibility for parole. And Diane Varner Benjamin's mother's had quote, they'd better alert that prison that Mesa is very dangerous. And Kathleen Cornell's Eric pockets mother added don't make another mother go through what I had to do. Yeah, Thomas, Mitch said if he could say one thing to the family of Eric Plunkett. He has no hard feelings, of course about them suspecting him at first. Right? He says, Your son was a wonderful person. He had a great heart. And he always had a smile on his face. And I want you to remember that. And at the memorial for Benjamin Varner, family friend, Warren branch said, I know you're right up. I know right now you're up there asking all your questions. You're up there asking where are the gates? How do I get these wings to fit? And Omar shook here from the Islamic Center of San Antonio added to the bereaved family and friends, we greet you in peace. It is our pleasure and honor to remember such a worthy human being. And that is the story of the Gallaudet murders and the murders of Eric Plunkett and Ben Garner.

Enn Burke:

That's wild. Great job.

Matt Molinaro:

Thank you. Yeah, I'm just really sad to I mean, that yeah, it just I keep remembering it. Some researching this. They're 19.

Enn Burke:

Right? And it over $750.07 for anything, and not that there's really any amount of money that would justify those kinds of actions, but it's just so trivial.

Matt Molinaro:

Yeah. What? For what? How do you place that kind of value on a human life? Right. And this? I mean, I can't imagine this wouldn't have continued. Right? Exactly. There was no reason. He just chose people that he felt were easier targets for him. Yeah, you know, he chose someone who he felt was weak physically. And then he chose someone who we thought was sort of unpopular and shy. Yeah. And for what and he had no, no remorse and how he talks about it, he doesn't seem to have a clue as to the, like, real weight of what it means to have taken human life away from other people. He just talks about it like something he like telling a story like something he did that day. Yeah. Oh, sure. I'll tell you what I did. Why, why do you ask? It's really chilling, chilling and disturbing, especially when you hear his family bases family talk about how he grew up, and he was this aspirational guy and, and he's an inspiration to his community, and had all of this stuff going for him and had gotten off of the island. He wanted to explore the world and, and guess what he does with his chance and his opportunity? For what? Right? For what and then the audacity to face the family and offer your condolences? Disgusting.

Enn Burke:

So gross? Yeah. Well, how would you say the episode? How would you rate the episode? Um, okay. I

Matt Molinaro:

don't think it was terrible. No, I would give it like a. I'd give it a c plus.

Enn Burke:

Interesting. Okay. I, I would agree with that. I think it was one of the better episodes of the season. Yeah. Definitely wasn't the strongest, like there was a lot of unnecessary on interesting red herring kind of moments. Yes. So I guess I would get se si si. Plus. What about how it dealt with themes?

Matt Molinaro:

I think it was okay. There were some I don't think the one thing I didn't love was this sort of idea that members of the deaf community have this vendetta type feeling against the hearing? Or those in the deaf community who are seeking out like a cochlear implant or something like that? I don't think that's real. I short that time inexperience that someone Yeah, have like, oh, that's how do I, you know, view that how do I view myself? How do I view people who do that, but I don't think it's a feeling of like, violence. And you know what I mean?

Enn Burke:

Right? Yeah, I? I don't Yeah, I can't speak to that. I'm, I kind of wondered the same thing. I was like, How accurate is it that there are members of the deaf community who would feel that cochlear implants would are like not something folks should be doing, but I don't know whether that feeling a strong enough to, like form an organization, which is kind of what the show did, but have to research more on them?

Matt Molinaro:

So yeah, no, I think I would give it like a soft See,

Enn Burke:

a soft see. I think I would agree with that. I appreciate that. They hired primarily deaf actors for the deaf characters in the episode, at least although, as we've seen in previous episodes, you know, they certainly cast folks and then give them stereotypical roles to portray. So I can't speak to how great the depictions were. That's very true. I hadn't

Matt Molinaro:

thought of that. Well, we're about to do our closing. Thank you guys so much for another great season. We have loved being able to do this. We've loved reaching out to more listeners, and we have really just been over the moon about this experience and can't wait for another season.

Enn Burke:

Yeah, Season Four coming next week.

Matt Molinaro:

I'm excited. Here we go.

Enn Burke:

Hey, If you're happy and you know it, subscribe to our podcast and write us a review because leaving a review makes it more likely that somebody else will find our podcast.

Matt Molinaro:

Yes. And the best way for other people to find our podcast is through word of mouth. So telephones post about us on Reddit, or find any other way you can just spread the word

Enn Burke:

yes and no need to head to ask jeeves.com I will tell you how to find us right now. Our social media is ripped headlines on all platforms and our email is ripped headlines pod@gmail.com

Matt Molinaro:

And while you're online, head on over to ripped headlines.com And you'll find the link to our Patreon there, as well as for our merch store.

Enn Burke:

Yes And a percentage of our Patreon proceeds get donated to the Equal Justice Initiative. So by supporting us you are also supporting positive change in the world.

Matt Molinaro:

And if you want to buy us a coffee you can do that at buy me a coffee.com/n and Matt,

Enn Burke:

and shout out to our newest Patreon member fizzled. Thank you for signing

Matt Molinaro:

up. We appreciate you. Yes. And thank you so much for listening to read from the headlines where you get the facts and some fiction.

Enn Burke:

See you next week and until then stay out of the headlines. Bye