This show delves into the US judicial system from the viewpoint of the prosecutors who work the cases.
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The Missing Heiress
In february of 1977, helen vorhees brach walked out of the famed mayo clinic in minnesota, and into the pages of chicago folklore. The wealthy widowed heiress of the brach candy fortune was never seen again. Early investigations yielded no answers, and in 1984, helen was declared legally dead. It wasn’t until 1989, when successful chicago attorney steven miller was shown a case involving the fraudulent selling of horses, that connections were made between conman richard bailey and helen brach. The missing heiress is the story of assistant us attorney steven miller and how his investigative team waded through the seedy underworld of the equestrian industry and gained 36 indictments and the conviction of the man who had caused the death of helen brach.
When a family outing in the mountains of picturesque oregon ended with joyce boyd’s fatal fall off a 75-foot cliff, authorities called it an accident; that is, until they delved deeper into their investigation. Soon the accident was being dubbed a murder and joyce’s husband, randy boyd, was the prime suspect. The problem for prosecutor joshua marquis was that randy boyd was the only witness to his wife’s plunge. Arguing his case solely before a judge after boyd refused his right to a jury trial, marquis would have to prove not only that joyce’s fall was her husband’s fault, but also that he had planned it. To marquis, losing this case could mean a killer going free.
Robert peernock was an expert in pyrotechnics who knew how to blow things up. But when he tried to kill his wife and daughter by rigging their car to explode, something backfired, and his daughter survived. She testified against him. Bringing peernock to justice would be no walk in the park for los angeles county assistant district attorney craig richman, since the daughter’s attack left her hazy on the details of what happened that night. As for her father, he was a loose cannon with a short fuse, and had plenty of legal expertise. In a case that spanned years, it would take some meticulous investigative work. A week before the trial, a compelling discovery was made by richman, which would be used to try to convince a jury that peernock should be put away for the rest of his life.
Salvatore thomas ruscitti, a former policeman, was a well-liked and respected southern california car dealer. When he was shot and killed on his doorstep one september evening in 1988, friends and family began pointing at the class action lawsuit that salvatore had been spearheading against his former employers. When the initial investigation could not find any connection between the lawsuit and the two men who shot ruscitti, the ruscitti family began to fear that the killers would never be brought to justice. Years later, the case was brought to the attention of assistant u.S. Attorney larry burns, who found a different method with which to investigate the murder. Deadly commission is the story of larry burns and his investigative team, and of how they unraveled the plot to kill salvatore ruscitti.
Roy radin was a successful new york theatrical producer with a knack for making money and a taste for the high life. His hopes for making it as a hollywood producer ended abruptly in a remote canyon outside of los angeles. His connections with a major hollywood producer and with a miami cocaine dealer had investigators baffled as to who was responsible for his execution. Before the case came to trial, it would take several years and the dogged determination of los angeles sheriff’s investigator, bill stoner. Facing a battery of high-priced defense attorneys, prosecutors david conn and sally thomas would spend a year in court trying to bring four killers to justice. Silent partner is a story seemingly taken from the pages of a dime novel – but in this case, the truth is even more chilling than fiction.
Without a Trace
When 27-year-old david wahl disappears without a trace from a state park in oregon, he leaves behind a distraught family and a host of unanswered questions. Months later and 100 miles north, wahl’s body washes ashore. The death is ruled an accident, until a shocking admission by his girlfriend leads to criminal charges. District attorney joshua marquis takes on one of the nation’s foremost authorities on coerced false confessions in a battle that will either bring justice for a grieving family or freedom for an accused killer.
The disappearance of seven-year-old amanda brown from her florida home sparks a massive search effort by dozens of law enforcement agencies and hundreds of concerned citizens. While the search for the missing girl continues, investigators look into the history of the last man to see her alive, and make a chilling discovery. When an examination of the suspect’s home reveals blood evidence, and dna analysis confirms it was amanda’s, murder charges are filed. Her body is never found. Assistant state attorneys jay pruner and chris moody will have to prove to the jury not only that a murder has been committed, but also that the man seated before them is the killer.
The community of dover, delaware is shocked when human body parts turn up throughout the city. Authorities determine that the remains are all from the same victim, but it will take the best forensic scientists in the country to make a positive identification. State prosecutor eugene hall spearheads a massive effort to find the killer, and to prosecute an unlikely suspect in a case that hinges entirely on circumstantial evidence.
Death of the Desciples
In 1992, gang activity in chicago is on the rise. With local law enforcement unable to curb the growing drug trade and its resulting violence, a multi-agency task force headed by assistant u.S. Attorney ron safer focuses on one of the city’s most vicious street gangs, the gangster disciples. The investigation reveals that one man rules the 35,000-member gang from behind bars. To rid the streets of the gangster disciples and the drugs and violence they bring, safer and his team will have to put an end to the reign of its leader, larry hoover.
The Fast-Food Killer
For many teenagers, their first jobs are at fast-food restaurants. Parents feel that these are safe environments for their children. That image is shattered when seven employees of three different fast-food restaurants in the nashville, tennessee area are murdered over a two-month period in 1997. Months of investigation reveal a texas parolee as the prime suspect after he is thwarted in an attempt to abduct his former restaurant employer. Prosecutors have to piece together the few clues left at the grisly crime scenes to prevent paul dennis reid from killing again.