Sunday, August 17, 2014

COLD JUSTICE!

Today, I'm writing about a show I've been watching for the last two seasons. It's called, "Cold Justice" and it's an unscripted police procedural drama that airs on TNT. As the name indicates, it's about cold cases that have never been solved. But what I love about this show is that we, the viewers, get to see the real workings of a crime scene investigation, a reenactment of what happened with those working on the case taking on the roles, and the local police following their lead as to how the crime could have happened. The two lead women are Kelly Siegler, a former prosecutor, and Yolanda McClary, a former crime scene investigator. 

These two women travel all over the country to work on reopening cases with the consent of the local law enforcement.  Of particular interest to me was the last episode of this season. It was a case that was 39 years old--the oldest one they've done so far. It's hard to imagine that a case that old could actually be solved after all this time, but I've seen these ladies perform miracles. Thinking back to that time, law enforcement did not have the kinds of capabilities available to them as they have today. 

This episode was about Kathy Earl, a 23 year-old woman who was found dead in her bathtub in 1975. The death was ruled an apparent electrocution and drowning when a clock radio was found between her legs. 

It wasn't long after Kathy's death that the husband remarried another woman. She didn't last very long either. She died when the vehicle they were driving ran off the road into a lake. The husband? Yes, you've got it--he was charged with her death and served 26 years of a 60-year sentence. And now, he's back. People in this small town have been accusing him of this death for years but no one has been able to prove it. Now, he's out of prison and back in Indiana picking up right where he left off hanging out in the bars apparently looking for his next victim. This is what prompted the local police to solicit the aid of Kelly and Yolanda to revisit the case.

The objection is to find enough new evidence to present to the prosecutor for a retrial. The evidence doesn't always produce such results. In this particular case, most of the witnesses had already died, and although the original coroner had died, it had been noted that he was initially suspicious of Kathy's electrocution. The current coroner confirmed drowning was the cause of death, but it was the bruising on her body at the time that aroused suspicion. The reenactment gave them much needed new evidence.
  1. The bruising on Kathy's body showed someone held her under the water until she drowned;
  2. The cord from the clock radio had been changed for a longer cord that was apparently thrown into the water after she'd drowned as a cover up;
  3. And lastly, there was proof that the husband, a former insurance salesman, had forged Kathy's name on several insurance policies a few weeks prior to her death.
This new evidence was presented to the prosecutor and he agreed a retrial. A warrant was issued and the husband was arrested and charged with Kathy's murder in July 2014.

To my author friends, if you write mysteries, this is one great show that provides us with valuable information. Watch for the new season in the early part of 2015, but old episodes are available by clicking on the link I've provided.  Cold Justice