Category Archives: True Crime Interviews

Romeoville mom is ready to speak up – The Herald

Alicia Guerrero (right) said her daughter Briana Valle, who was murdered in 2014 at age 15, was beautiful and kind, the type of person who never judged people by outward appearances and treated anyone she met in a loving way. Guerrero now wants to be Briana’s voice.

Alicia Guerrero will speak publicly about the murder of her teen daughter for the first time on Oct. 4 at Joliet Central High School, during the 22nd annual Will County Take Back the Night event.

Amirrah Abou-Youssef, committee member for the event and the program director for Guardian Angel Community Service’s Groundwork domestic violence program, felt the time was right to invite her.

“Ever since she lost her daughter Briana, she’s been very involved with domestic violence through Take Back the Night,” Abou-Youssef said. “She comes every year and she’ll wear her daughter’s name during the memorial ceremony this year. She was

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For Sh-ts and Giggles: ‘American Vandal’ Showrunners Talk Season 2

Last year, American Vandal arrived on tiptoe, a barely promoted gift from the Netflix gods that had fans wondering, “Who drew the dicks?” One easily could have mistaken its mockumentary format for a real investigation into a high school prank that resulted in the wrongful expulsion of class clown Dylan Maxwell (Jimmy Tetro). “I was speaking to someone we recently staffed in the writers’ room who said it took him four episodes before realizing these were actors,” says Dan Perrault, who created the true-crime parody series with Tony Yacenda and executive producer Dan Lagana. “We didn’t want this to feel like a conventional mockumentary.”

The now-streaming second season takes a darker turn, inspired by recent documentaries like The Keepers, Shadow of Truth and The Central Park Five. Teen filmmakers Peter Maldonado (Tyler Alvarez) and Sam Ecklund (Griffin Gluck) have been tapped to investigate another mystery, and this time there’s

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‘Everything Is Alive’: Improv Comedy Meets Podcasting

In Everything is Alive, a new podcast, inanimate objects (like a bar of soap) are the interviewees (Getty Royalty Free).

We hear a truism, one that could be printed and sold to college students to hang in their dorm rooms.

But it’s slightly off. Because the subject of the interview isn’t a person. It’s a thing: A pillow. And the pillow is talking intimately about life and humanity, sharing, “You don’t have to be foam to have memories.” Cue the dramatic music.

The conceit of Everything is Alive, a new podcast from Radiotopia, is that objects are interviewed with the gravitas of a Fresh Air guest. Episodes include a can of cola, a lamppost and an elevator who has hoped one of her entrants would never “leave” her. Episodes are released every other Tuesday, with a total of ten in the first season.

When creator Ian Chillag

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INTERVIEW | Water District Has It Going On

Some assert they’re the best band in Los Angeles.

L.A.’s Water District plays cool indie-pop with contemporary emo flavors. Made up of Tice Griffin (guitar, vocals), Erik Williams (drums), and Ryan Scottie (bass), Water District’s sound exudes shimmering colors, silky textures, and buff energy. If The Cure fused with Blink 182, the end product would be Water District.

Their latest music video, “Dream With Your Eyes Open,” is superbly infectious. Popdust spoke with front man Tice Griffin to find out more about the band’s impressive music.

How would you describe yourself?

We’re three dudes who really enjoy making music. We don’t want to make it more complicated than that. If we had to choose a genre, we’d describe ourselves as rock.

What is the most trouble you’ve ever gotten into?

Ryan got kicked out of Canada for smoking pot in Wisconsin; border control escorted him out. When I was younger,

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Teen Girl Who Was ‘Groomed’ Then Taken by Teacher: ‘If I Didn’t Go, Something Bad Would Happen’

Elizabeth Thomas — the Tennessee teenager whose 50-year-old teacher took her across the country last year, fleeing justice for 38 days — is revealing in her first sit-down interview how she feared what he might do if she did not comply with his demands.

“I did [feel trapped] because my little sister was there and all my family was there,” Elizabeth says in an interview with ABC’s 20/20 airing Friday night. (An exclusive clip is above.) “And if I didn’t go, something bad would happen to them.”

When asked by ABC News’ Eva Pilgrim if Elizabeth feared for her family’s safety on the day Tad Cummins, her health sciences teacher, told her to come with him, Elizabeth said: “I mean, whenever he’d threaten me, and especially with guns, wouldn’t you believe that?”

She continued: “He threatened to shoot himself or use the guns or — he had two of them.”

“He said if he couldn’t have me,

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‘The Real Lolita’ peels back the horrific true story that inspired a towering novel

You’d probably not familiar with Sally Horner, the focus of Sarah Weinman’s new true crime book The Real Lolita (Ecco, $27.99). 

Horner was abducted in 1948 by an auto mechanic named Frank LaSalle. He, too, repeatedly raped his victim and posed as her father through stays in Atlantic City, Baltimore, Dallas and San Jose, Calif., where he was finally caught almost two years later. Nabokov’s narrator, Humbert Humbert, mentions the case in Lolita: “Had I done to Dolly, perhaps, what Frank LaSalle, a fifty-year-old mechanic, had done to eleven-year-old Sally Horner in 1948?” (Short answer: Yes).

Weinman will discuss The Real Lolita with another true crime writer, Texas Monthly‘s Skip Hollandsworth,  on Tuesday, Sept. 25 at Interabang Books.

With The Real Lolita, Weinman seeks to restore Horner’s name from the dustbin of history, and her story from the shadow of a towering novel. She also shows how Horner’s saga inspired

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The True Crime Book To Read Next, Based On Your Favorite Crime TV Show

When I’m engrossed in a good true crime book, there is nothing that can pull me away. Is it the same impulse, perhaps, that keeps me clicking “Next Episode” on Law Order: SVU until it’s far past my bedtime? I’ll bet I’m not the only one who devours any crime story she’s handed, no matter if it’s in book, TV show, or podcast form.

It’s true that crime shows can often be over-the-top, filled with fancy gadgets, and unbelievable coincidences. They might, at a surface level, seem as far from real life as possible. But if there’s one thing that I’ve learned from reading true crime books, it’s that often the truth is much, much stranger than fiction.

If you still don’t believe me, the books below will prove “truth is stranger than fiction” to be true. There are books about serial killers, medical examiners, arsonists, and

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Fantastic Fest Interview: A Piercing Conversation With Nicolas Pesce

The accepted wisdom when it comes to storytelling is “write what you know.” But that’s not what interest Nicolas Pesce, the writer-director behind Fantastic Fest sexual thriller Piercing. He said, “I’m less fascinated by someone who is like me, and more fascinated by someone who is distinctly not me.”

It’s probably a relief for anyone that knows him that he’s nothing like Reed (Christopher Abbott), a seemingly devoted husband and father who takes a quick business trip and hires a prostitute. But when Jackie (Mia Wasikowska), his much darker intents quickly surface.

Pesce broke through at Fantastic Fest 2016 with his debut feature The Eyes of My Mother, a Jack Ketchum-esque study of murder in the heartland. Right now, he’s in post-production on Grudge, a visceral addition to the legendary J-horror Ju-on franchise. So Piercing is in many ways the perfect midpoint: a psycho-sexual horror, but with Japanese roots.

The story is adapted

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Piqued viewing: Why we’re obsessed with the true crime genre

That’s also worth noting because one reading of the true crime documentary boom is that they are the successor to that television staple of many decades: the police and legal procedural. Having watched so many shows – and that’s just the many variants of the Law Order franchise – where police detectives and prosecutors pursed justice in 48 minutes doses, true crime offers variety by focusing on the innocent as well as the guilty, by stretching out running times to avoid easy resolution, and exploring every baffling element.

In Exposed it is Keli Lane who initiated Meldrum-Hanna’s investigation, writing to the Walkley Award-winning journalist with a pledge of her innocence. In the 1990s, as a young water polo player from a respected family on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Lane secretly carried three pregnancies to hospital births. The first and third babies were adopted, but the second, Tegan Lee Lane, was never

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