Podcasts

Murder City: True Crime of Houston, Texas


County of Offenses

Harris

Character Charges

Murder. Lots and lots of murder. 

Priors

Unknown

Known Gang Affiliations

University of Houston 

Date of Offense

First episode dropped June 1, 2018

Arresting Officer

William Dylan Powell

 
A bi-weekly podcast, Murder City: True Crime of Houston showcases local crimes many would otherwise never hear about--especially long after the fact. With its first episode having kicked off on June 1st of this year, the show has already gained a loyal following with a number of subscribers, several hundred followers on social and an average iTunes rating of 4.5 stars (with more than a dozen reviews). Not bad considering it's only been live about a month.
 
This is a great concept for a podcast because, let's face it, there's some shit going down in this town. Even in my relatively quiet westside neighborhood we're often lulled to sleep by the dulcet tones of police helicopters and small arms fire. In 2017 there were 269 homicides in Houston, with about 20 percent of those gang related. And 269 is actually a great number for H-Town. As the show points out when covering a grisly double-murder in 1979, in that year the figure was well over 500. 
 
"Aggravated assaults," a sterile euphemism for somebody kicking the shit out of you, were up 13 percent in Houston last year. In fact, Houston is #3 in the nation for robbery, rape and aggravated assault. So you're less likely to be murdered, but more likely to be fucked up in general. While this may not be awesome news for most of us, it's pretty great for people creating true crime content. As one of the hosts puts it in the show's first episode, Houston is like the "Wild, Wild West of the South."
 
Murder City is hosted by two co-hosts whose identities remain need-to-know for their own personal safety: "B" and "CC." But one thing everyone knows about them is that they are are all about H-Town crime. They approach the show in a way that's high-energy and engaging, but without being gauche about it. And as anyone who's tried his or her hand at true crime knows, that takes a delicate balance. They acknowledge that these aren't just campfire stories but the actual lives of Houstonians. So even though they keep it fun with some swagger, they approach the endeavor with a sense of service. B and CC even use the platform they've created to share information about ongoing crimes, missing persons, etc. 

In my opinion, shows like this play a really important role in local journalism.

It's not about the true crime trend--it's about letting people in your community know what's going on around them. When a crime happens, how else are you going to know what happened and why? The police can't tell you the whole story. In the course of their work, they're required to report the facts but at their core their real jobs are operational not informational. Local news? Sure, but that business is a timely grind often driven by a 24-hour news cycle; they don't always have the luxury of doing deep-background reportage. And their resources are stretched thin as it is. So when it comes to true crime in Houston, bad asses like B and CC play a valuable role in filing the gap. 

And there's just so much crime. 
 
I mean, forget all the big Houston cases that make national media--this town is like the Cirque du Soleil of shady shit. Nobody could possibly cover it all. We've got MS-13 killing people in Satanic rituals up in here. What's up with that murder-suicide over in the Galleria back in May? We had a sex trafficking bust that netted 250 arrests last year. People are stealing guns left and right. And remember that guy who stole a Hellcat and drove it toward Beaumont? He outran the helicopter (that's a f'n fast car). There's just so much.
 
In the first episode, B and CC cover the Orchard Apartment Slayings--a series of downright grizzly murders in 1979. Episode 2 covers the tragic murders of Robert Spagenberger and Joann Huffman just over a month after the Orchard Apartment affair. Episodes 3 and 4 cover the terrible, tension-filled escapades surrounding Leon Jacob and successful local veterinarian Valerie McDaniel. Episode 5 is the heartbreaking story of Tynesha Stewart. And, the most recent episode as of this writing, Episode 6 covers "The Woodlands Ten" hate crime back in 1991.

One thing I really appreciate about the Murder City podcast is that, in addition to the actual show, they also publish case-related content such as photographs and legal documents in PDF form. This reference material really brings it all to life, and lets you check out the primary info for yourself if you're that kind of person. They do a bit of fieldwork too, sometimes visiting the communities in which these crimes occurred. 

It's also worth noting that while the show is extra engaging if you live in H-Town, it's also interesting if you don't. Just as you don't have to live in North Carolina to appreciate The Staircase or The Long Dance, the cases presented on the podcast will resonate with any true crime fan. Fun fact: Did you know Staircase editor Sofie Brunet and Michael Peterson had a thing going during filming? Jesus H. Christ in a Camaro, keep that in mind. 

But, of course, if you do live in Houston all of this sketch action is taking place right next door to where you sleep--so there's that.

So check out the Murder City: True Crime of Houston, Texas podcast and hear all about the tragic craziness that's happened in the Bayou City. And if you know of a Houston criminal case that needs some love, B and CC probably want to hear about it. You can send them your own personal case recommendations at murdercitypod@gmail.com

Verdict: Guilty of bringing Houston crimes on stage so we can offer support to victims, shame to perpetrators and recognition that what happened was a big deal. 

 
 
 
 
 
Reminder: Don't be found in contempt. If you listen to this podcast, be a responsible listener and leave a review. These creators spend big chunks of their lives creating this work, so support the arts by sharing your opinion.

All Crime No Cattle


County of Offense

Statewide

Charges

Exploring the Worst Events from the Nation’s Greatest State

Priors

None

Known Gang Affiliations

Podbean
iTunes
Stitcher
Murder.ly
Others

Date of Offense

First Episode Aired December, 2017

Arresting Officer

William Dylan Powell

All Crime and No Cattle is a true crime podcast covering cases that took place in Texas. (The name is a play on the old saying “All Hat and No Cattle,” which refers to ranchers who exaggerate the size of their herd, or just someone in general who talks a big game but can't really walk the walk.) But these guys aren’t all hat and no cattle; they’re the real deal as far as true crime goes. If you live in Texas, or just like juicy crime stories from all walks of life, the show is for you.

Hosts Shea and Erin are a husband and wife team who took their love of true crime and made the bold transition from content consumers to content creators. So, respect for that big jump. The show is pretty straightforward in terms of format. Each hour-long episode focuses primarily on one specific Texas crime. At the time of this writing, they’re almost 20 episodes in. All of the cases thus far have been murders. It’s very conversational and low-key.

They’ve done a good job spreading cases out among various parts of the state. Here in Houston, we’ve got more murders than Cracker Barrel has biscuits. (That’s not a good thing.) I live in a pretty nice Houston neighborhood and I pulled out of my driveway last year to see a man who’d been shot dead on the sidewalk. They haven’t covered many cases out in West Texas yet, but that’s to be expected; fewer people means fewer crimes. Plus, nobody really knows what happens out in the badlands where there's no one to hear you scream.

Don’t come to All Crime No Cattle expecting formal high-profile investigative journalism. It’s not Serial. It’s low-key and conversational—kind of like running into some long-time friends who are interested in true crime, then having a chat about an intriguing case. But not lowbrow friends like me: these two are exceptionally intelligent and very articulate, which is really what makes the show work. Erin has a masters in anthropology with a specialization in bioarchaeology. And I don't know much about Shea, but he's apparently an actual ninja

Don't get me wrong, though. Just because the show is casual and conversational doesn’t mean the hosts approach their task in a flippant manner. They do their homework and take true crime seriously. Court records, research, even primary research at times. They don’t editorialize or speculate without qualification. They don’t slander suspects or persons of interest. They put in the work and do it right.  

Also, you have to remember that what they're doing takes both caution and cojones. Not all of these cases are solved. In many cases, the victims’ families, perpetrators, investigators, etc are still alive and going about their business somewhere as best they can. With all of the media and hype, it’s easy to forget that true crime involves real people and their lives. People out walking around that you could run into at the grocery store. Or, people locked up and not super happy about your shining the spotlight on their crimes. I guess being Cowboys fans gets you used to exposing yourself to criminal types. 

One thing I really appreciate about the show is how they’re able to successfully balance their fun, inquisitive banter with the disturbing content of the cases they’re covering. I mean, my God, after listening to what happened to that poor kid in Episode 8: Satanic Cult Murders on the Texas Border I felt I needed to take a hot shower and burn my clothes. Jesus H. Christ in a Ford F150, where do these sickos come from? (The perpetrators, not the hosts.) Kind of hard to sound chipper talking about that stuff without being inappropriate, but they pull it off. 

Despite the fact that I actually wrote a book about murder a few years ago, I have to take true crime stories in moderation. My wife, a Fort Worth native, can listen to 10 hours of Sword & Scale (we've done it, actually, driving out to Terlingua) and it doesn't bother her at all. But too much of this stuff depresses me. It’s not so much that I mind the gory details and such; it’s more that I start getting bummed when I’m reminded of how many terrible, broken, evil people are running around the world. And people who just make shitty decisions.

Too much of this stuff brings me down and I need to think of something nice for a while. 

Which brings me to another thing I love about the show: Good News. Each episode, they bring you a good news story from somewhere around the state. Something that puts warm fuzzies back into your soul to replace the charred, Stygian, nihilistic film left over from the gruesome details of the showcased crime. Nice touch, y’all. If you're a Texan into true crime, you need this podcast in your life.

Verdict: Guilty of bringing us the worst crimes in the Lone Star State in a tasteful and engaging way

 
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Reminder: Don’t be found in contempt. If you listen to this podcast, be a responsible listener and leave a review. These folks work hard making their show, and the least you could do for the good time they’ve showed you is spend ten minutes sharing your opinion of the work. Plus, they can totally frame you for a crime.