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Transcript

Episode 04: A Bird in Jail Is Worth Two on the Street

Note: Serial is produced for the ear and designed to be heard, not read. We strongly encourage you to listen to the audio, which includes emotion and emphasis that's not on the page. Transcripts are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting in print.

Ira Glass

Previously on Serial.

Judge Gaul

When you're not in jail, do you live with those fine people?

Erimius Spencer

That was false. That's completely false. They lied under oath.

Sarah Koenig

Oh, my god.

Paul Cristallo

I know.

Mary Casa

His testimony was that he patted the outside of the pocket first—that he did a pat-down, he felt a bulge, he reached into the pocket.

Spiros Gonakis

Oh. Objection.

Steve Loomis

I'll tell you how we fix that. We don't go.

Paul Cristallo

He's this walking perpetuation of don't trust the police.

Sarah Koenig

From This American Life and WBEZ Chicago, it's Serial, one courthouse told week-by-week. I'm Sarah Koenig.

Rhonda Gray

Yesterday I sat at Rainbow Baby and Children's Hospital with the mother of a five-month-old infant. She was too distraught for me to interview her. So instead, I found myself comforting her. I, um—I listened to her screams as they went through the ER.

Sarah Koenig

The 5-month-old infant was named Aavielle Wakefield. She'd been riding in a car with her family, tucked into her car seat, when someone started shooting from the street. Aavielle was killed, shot through her chest.

Rhonda Gray

And I watched the mother—the grandmother—wash blood off her as she tried to save the child. And I just want to say to the citizens of Cleveland, to speak up. It's time to speak up. There are people who know what happened. There are people who saw what happened. There are people who heard what happened. And it's time for them to speak up.

Sarah Koenig

Aavielle's shooting came at the end of a hideous month for Cleveland. Four children were shot. Not teenagers—little, little kids. Three of them died. They weren't targeted. These were mistakes, collateral damage from street violence. The whole city was bereft. Public officials, people who deal with tragedy for a living, were unraveled by what was going on.

In the days after Aavielle's death, cops, the mayor, the county prosecutor begged the public to speak up. Help us. Talk to us. Speak up, speak up, speak up. They implored. They also chastised. The police chief, Calvin Williams, was plainly aggravated. All you people who complain about violence in the police—when are you going to stop yammering and do something? He didn't say it quite like that, but almost.

Calvin Williams

We need people out there in the community that are concerned with black lives, with brown lives, with white lives, with purple lives, to step out and do something, and not just have chants, and slogans, and marches. We've marched enough. We need people to do something.

Sarah Koenig

Help us, which really means trust us. About two months after this press conference, the city held another press conference. This time, they were grateful. People had spoken up. Now, they had someone in custody.

Calvin Williams

This past Friday, Da'Von Holmes was indicted on 13 felony counts for the homicide of Aavielle Wakefield on—

Sarah Koenig

A young guy named Da'Von Holmes. He'd just turned 19. The indictment against him was robust—two counts of aggravated murder, plus one regular murder—that was for the baby. Three more attempted murders and three more felonious assaults for the other passengers in the car that day, who miraculously were unhurt. And another attempted murder and felonious assault for a bystander.

It was as if one big law enforcement fist were pounding on the public podium—this should not be happening in our city, and we got to do something about it. At Da'Von's first court appearance, the prosecutor noted that, quote, "Mr. Holmes has a history of violence as a juvenile." He asks for a million-dollar bond. The judge sets it at $1.5 million. A couple days later, another judge would raise it to $2 million.

A year after that second press conference, almost to the day, I happened to be at a holiday party at a restaurant downtown. The local defense bar was throwing it. I was tagging along with an attorney I'd been interviewing, and he saw a friend, and he said, hey, how's it going? And the friend, also a defense attorney, was beaming. He said, great. We just got my guy out. Oh, really? What's the case? A murder case—a baby.

We were both taken aback. Wait, what? He quickly said, it's a horrible case, but my guy didn't do it. They got the wrong guy.

Da'Von Holmes had been quietly released from the Cuyahoga County Jail, the charges against him dismissed without prejudice, which means the county could try to reindict him in future. But for now, he was free.

Aavielle's death, her unassailable innocence—as one of the 911 operators said that day, a baby, baby, killed in her car seat—it was the kind of incident that makes a city stop arguing for a bit over what the criminal justice system is doing right, and what it's doing wrong, so that everyone seemed to line up, fired up to find justice for Aavielle. That's why I'd looked into this case, into all these awful shootings from the fall of 2015, because I figured if any homicides were going to get the full menu of police and prosecution resources, it would be these.

Everyone wants to solve the case of the five-month-old baby.

So what happened? After all that effort, wrong guy. What happened? Why did the police think it was Da'Von in the first place? And what happened over the course of that year to make the state let him go?

Da'von Holmes

I heard about all the kids being killed that were in the town.

Sarah Koenig

Right.

Da'von Holmes

It was a big issue.

Sarah Koenig

Right.

Da'von Holmes

It was all over the news.

Sarah Koenig

This is Da'Von Holmes.

Sarah Koenig

Did you know that there was gossip that you had done it?

Da'von Holmes

No. That's what's freaking me out. I didn't—never thought my name was in that situation.

Sarah Koenig

When I knocked on his door, he'd only been out of jail for a couple of months. He was living at home with his mother. I had a speech in my head about why he should talk to me, but there was no need. He agreed right away, as if he'd been waiting for someone to come along and ask, what the heck happened? I was not able to ask the police what the heck happened. The detectives weren't allowed to talk to me.

In fact, no Cleveland officials—no police officials, no one from the mayor's office—would agree to an on-the-record interview for this series. I've, frankly, never encountered a city government with a jaw locked up tighter than Cleveland's. They wanted nothing to do with us. Which is too bad, because Cleveland has some interesting leaders with ideas and lots to say about their city—just not to me. So while I did meet the homicide detectives in charge of Aavielle Wakefield's case, I could not ask them, how much did you know about Da'Von Holmes before you arrested him?

Instead, I went to Da'Von. He started at the beginning, right after Thanksgiving 2015.

Da'von Holmes

I was at my mom's house, going to make me a plate from leftover Thanksgiving. And I was making the plate, and my mom said, what the police doing here like that? So me being me, I just looked. I ain't got nothing to be scared of. You know what I'm saying? I ain't did nothing wrong. So I come in the dining room. My mom says, come here. So I walk up there. They just arrest me, straight cuff me up.

I say, what am I being arrested for?

Sarah Koenig

Like, they don't talk to you?

Da'von Holmes

They didn't talk to me. I say, what am I being arrested for? He say, we'll tell you when you get downtown.

Sarah Koenig

It wasn't just a couple of cops at the door. It was the U.S. Marshal's Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force, in full battle rattle. There was a warrant out for Da'Von's arrest, but he didn't know that. They take him downtown to the Justice Center, to an interview room.

Da'von Holmes

And I seen the detective, and he was just—you a baby killer. You killed the baby. I know you did it. Everybody saying you did it. We know you did it. Me, I don't know what you talking about. I wasn't there. I heard about the child dying. I feel bad, but I'm not the one that did it. Y'all got the wrong guy. Yeah, you a baby killer. You did wrong. You—

Sarah Koenig

That's the phrase they used? Baby killer?

Da'von Holmes

He calling me a baby killer. He's calling me all type of baby killers and cowards, and just belittling me, all around the board. It was to the point that I just couldn't take it no more. I was cuffed up. I didn't know what was going on. I think they was trying to scare me to, like, tell on myself. But I—

Sarah Koenig

Oh, to confess.

Da'von Holmes

Confess. I can't confess to something I didn't do.

Sarah Koenig

People do it all the time.

Da'von Holmes

You know? But—

Sarah Koenig

[LAUGHTER]

Da'von Holmes

—I was really innocent. So I say, OK, I'm ready to go home. So the lady detective said, no, you're going to jail for the rest of your life.

Sarah Koenig

The lady detective was Rhonda Gray, the same one who listened to Aavielle Wakefield's mother screaming down the halls of the ER. Da'Von understood the pressure, political and personal, to solve crimes like these. Over weeks, then months, that's what scared him—the dual knowledge that he didn't kill Aavielle Wakefield, and that he could well be convicted for killing Aavielle Wakefield.

Da'von Holmes

'Cause it ain't no two, three-year thing, no probation, no treatment. This is the rest of my life, the death penalty. This is a child we talking.

Sarah Koenig

Yeah.

Da'von Holmes

So I didn't know what to do.

Sarah Koenig

Da'Von had been locked up before, but the circumstances this time made everything more foul—the creeping mold, the roaches, having to wash his clothes and sheets in the sink, or more often the toilet, the relentless bologna sandwiches, nothing healthy to eat from commissary.

Da'von Holmes

No, no, no. No fruit. No fruit. No fruit. No fruit.

Sarah Koenig

No fruit, no how?

Da'von Holmes

No fruit. No fruit. No fruit.

Sarah Koenig

As I got to know Da'Von, I'd hear him do this, when a thing sticks in his mind. Repeat it in batches, as if he's skipping a mental stone. For instance, one of his appointed attorneys, Michael Shaughnessey.

Da'von Holmes

Yeah, Shaughnessey a good dude, though. He a really good dude. He a real good dude. He a good dude, and he a judge, now.

Sarah Koenig

Mhm.

Da'von Holmes

Yeah, he a good dude.

Sarah Koenig

Da'Von said Shaughnessey believed him that he didn't commit this crime.

Da'von Holmes

He's a good dude.

Sarah Koenig

What did they say to you? Like, what did they say the state had against you?

Da'von Holmes

Oh, an ID witness. Somebody saying they seen me running with a gun in my hand. Somebody saying they could identify me. No fingerprints, no guns, no ballistic tests, no nothing. All they had was his word. That's all they had.

Sarah Koenig

Shaughnessey and another appointed attorney, the one I met at the party, would visit Da'Von periodically, tell them they were working on it. The evidence was thin. Keep your head up. But Da'Von said he was struggling. He was pent up, in every way a person can be. He said it was almost a relief when he got in a fight with some guy and got sent to the hole.

About five months in, a date was set for Da'Von's trial—June 27. June 27 came and went. They set another trial date for late October. A week before that trial date, it, too, was canceled. A month after that, Da'Von's lawyers came to see him in jail. They said, congratulations. You're going home. It'd been a year since he was arrested. Da'Von said, don't play with me like that.

Da'von Holmes

He say, yeah. You going home. I say, when? He said, today. I said, then call my mama and tell them to come get me, because I just didn't believe them. I say, then call my mama and tell her to come get me. He called. I couldn't do nothing but cry. It was just like all my worrying was relief. But it still hurt in me because I just did a year—wasted a year of my life—for telling these people the same thing. I did not do it.

Sarah Koenig

Da'Von's not mad that the cops brought him in for Aavielle Wakefield's death. He feels like they had information, they acted on that information, fair enough. But what came after, post-arrest—that, he's mad about.

Da'von Holmes

I feel like they should have did a little bit more investigation, because in Cleveland, they don't investigate. They good when they come and get somebody. But they ain't good cops as far as investigations.

Sarah Koenig

When I asked Da'Von why they finally let him go, he said this.

Da'von Holmes

Because the family said they know I ain't had nothing to do with it.

Sarah Koenig

Wait, which family?

Da'von Holmes

The child family.

Sarah Koenig

Wait, that's what your lawyers told you, that the child's family said you didn't have anything to do with it?

Da'von Holmes

Yeah. They said they came to court and said they heard I ain't had nothing to do with it.

Sarah Koenig

How would the family know?

Da'von Holmes

That's where I don't understand. But at the same time, I'm happy that they realized and seen that I really didn't do it.

Sarah Koenig

I don't think that's what happened.

Da'von Holmes

That's what my lawyer told me.

Sarah Koenig

He said that's why you're getting out?

Da'von Holmes

Yeah. He said, we had court, and the family came and said you didn't have nothing to do with it. And the judge dismissed the case right there.

Sarah Koenig

That is crazy. If they had court, why weren't you there?

Da'von Holmes

That's what I don't understand.

Sarah Koenig

This story made no sense to me. But once I thought about it, it made sense why it would make no sense. Many of the defendants I talked to in Cleveland, especially the ones who are waiting in jail—I often knew more about what was going on with their cases than they did, just from taking a quick look at the public records. Because their contact with the outside world, with the workings of the court, is stymied by multiple layers of interference, like a frustrating game of telephone.

Maybe your assigned attorney's checking in briefly, but that's about it. So there you are in the county jail, only an elevator ride away from the courtroom and the prosecutor's office, but all you have is a cloudy porthole to help you decipher what's going on upstairs. I don't know what evidence Da'Von's attorneys did or didn't show him. I don't know what they told Da'Von about why he was being released. Da'Von's attorneys would not talk to me for this story.

I think they said no out of concern for Da'Von. The case of Aavielle Wakefield is still open.

From the list of evidence the state handed over to the defense, I can roughly piece together the swatches of information that led to Da'Von's arrest. In the days right after the shooting, anonymous tips began to come in. Certain names began to percolate and repeat. Da'Von's name appears four days after the shooting. Crime Stoppers tip, re—Da'Von Holmes.

Another one the next day. A couple days after that, TC—telephone call—from anonymous male, re—Tink. Tink is Da'Von. It's been his nickname forever. Other names were still coming in, too. Then on October 10th, a little more than a week after the shooting, police show a photo lineup to an eyewitness. I'm going to call this eyewitness "the landscaper," because he worked as a landscaper.

The landscaper was there when the shooting happened, on East 145th street, off Kinsman Road, right in the middle of the Fourth Police District, the busiest one in the city, possibly in the entire state of Ohio. The landscaper had been working at a house across the street for some months. I only know the specifics because Da'Von's lawyers filed a motion to suppress the evidence the landscaper gave police.

In their motion, they say that, at first, the landscaper had told police he hadn't seen the shooter. But then a little more than a week later, he came forward to say that, in fact, he had. The police show him some photo arrays. He doesn't positively identify anyone. But he says two people look sort of like the shooter, neither of whom was Da'Von. The defense says Da'Von's photo was in that initial array. The state says it wasn't.

In any case, about five weeks later, the cops show the landscaper another photo lineup. First, he rules out Da'Von, then changes his mind, then says someone else's photo looks like the shooter. Finally, a week after that—so 57 days after the shooting—they show the landscaper that same photo array. And he says he's going to go with his gut, and that he's 90 percent sure it's this guy right here—Da'Von Holmes.

In their suppression motion, Da'Von's lawyers reference studies about how memory is malleable and subject to contamination. That especially in times of high stress, we miss details. They argue that Da'Von doesn't really match the landscaper's initial description of the shooter. Da'Von is younger, shorter, significantly heavier. By showing the landscaper his photo in these lineups, maybe the police were, in fact, creating a memory.

Maybe the landscaper was recognizing Da'Von because he'd seen him before, in these very photo arrays. They don't mention the studies—I started looking into this—that talk about how, when eyewitnesses pick out someone as the perpetrator in a police lineup, they identify innocent people more than 30 percent of the time, 30 percent. Or the ones that say you're never supposed to show an eyewitness the same photo more than once.

So yeah. Nearly two months after the fact, the landscaper is suddenly 90 percent sure of his ID.

Da'Von was aware of the landscaper's statement, but he was more focused on, and troubled by, another ID witness the state had, a guy I'm going to call Jon. Da'Von said Jon claimed to have seen Da'Von after the shooting, running with a gun in his hand. Jon had given this evidence when he, himself, was locked up, and facing serious charges—aggravated robbery, felonious assault, kidnapping.

Da'Von thinks it's Jon's statement that got him arrested. On paper, it does look as if the case clicked into place as soon as Jon talked. Court records show that detectives talked to Jon on November 18, and that same day, they showed the landscaper another photo lineup with Da'Von's picture in it. Nine days later is when the Violent Fugitive Task Force bangs on Da'Von's door, interrupts his Thanksgiving leftovers.

But the disturbing part for Da'Von is that he knows Jon well.

Sarah Koenig

And why did he ID you?

Da'von Holmes

It was something that happened with my brother a long time ago.

Sarah Koenig

I'm going to invite you on a little tangent now, just because when I first heard what happened, I couldn't quite believe it. Jon's older brother and Da'Von's older brother were best friends. One day in 2007, when Da'Von's brother was 16, Jon's brother was 15, they tried to rob a guy coming back from the corner store where he had just bought Newport cigarettes and a bag of popcorn.

The teenagers had a gun, but the guy also had a gun, and he shot and killed Jon's brother, the 15-year-old. Because they were together and were trying to commit a crime—and this is the part that blew my mind until I looked up the definition of felony murder—but Da'Von's brother was charged with the murder of his best friend, even though he didn't fire the weapon.

Da'Von's 16-year-old brother was bound over to the Justice Center, meaning he was transferred from Juvenile Court, where the maximum sentence he could get was around five years, and prosecuted as an adult. He was sentenced to 18 years to life. He can try for parole in March of 2025. He's unlikely to get it.

In the aftermath of all this, Da'Von said his family and Jon's family were fine—no animosity. In fact, his uncle is with Jon's mom. He thought of Jon as a brother. But the way Jon's statement was worded, Da'Von's interpretation was that Jon wanted to hurt Da'Von's family, that maybe he blamed Da'Von's brother for his own brother's death and wanted revenge.

I like Da'Von, but I want to make clear that this isn't one of those cases where the honor student gets profiled by the cops because he was wearing a hoodie and lives near Kinsman. Da'Von was treated like the usual suspect because he is the usual suspect. He was part of the largest, most troublesome gang in Cleveland, the Heartless Felons. I imagine the cops in Cleveland's Fourth District were familiar with the burly kid called Tink long before Aavielle Wakefield was killed.

When his brother was locked up for his best friend's death, Da'Von was 10 years old. Da'Von told me he, himself, was first locked up when he was 10 years old, for strong armed robbery. Much as I am tempted to connect these two events, Da'Von isn't.

Da'von Holmes

I mean, I was angry about it. Yeah, I lost my big brother. But that wasn't the reason I was in the streets, because I was in the streets when he was home. My brother used to make me go home. Like, get out. Go home. And I had to fake like I—act like I was going home, but I would just go down another street.

Sarah Koenig

And what were you doing?

Da'von Holmes

Just being in the neighborhood, throwing rocks at cars, just being bad.

Sarah Koenig

And were you just skipping school all the time, or were you going to school?

Da'von Holmes

No, I used to go to school, run the halls, fight, steal from teachers, break in their cars—

Sarah Koenig

This wasn't what I meant by going to school. Anyway.

Da'von Holmes

—throwing rocks, just stealing food out the cafeteria in school. Run around, security chasing me. They called in my mama. Mama chasing me through the school.

Sarah Koenig

This is the school right across the street from Da'Von's house. It's closed now—boarded up. Da'Von has abiding respect for his mother. She loves him. She tried to guide him, never gave up on him. But when he was at that age, he says, he listened to no one—not his mother, definitely not his teachers. He doesn't actually know how far he got in school. Maybe seventh grade, maybe ninth.

Da'Von said he loved being in the streets. Infatuated was the word he used. He loved all of it—the fast money, and the cars, and the girls, but mostly the rush—the adrenaline of running away from people, of being chased. He hated school, but this came easily to him, he said. He was a leader among his friends, an organizer. As he got older, he sold drugs, bought a gun with the money, got caught for stuff, sent to residential programs, group homes. He'd escape.

When Da'Von was 14, he got seriously hurt—shot in the elbow. He's got a vicious scar from it. He was sent to a juvenile prison for the first time that same year. By that time, Da'Von was already a Heartless Felon, a gang—members prefer to call it a family—that was born about 15 years ago inside Ohio's juvenile prisons, and then spread to the world outside. Da'Von's loyalty, his willingness to engage in combat, earned him a pretty high rank in prison.

He got into fights with guards, which brought new assault charges, which in turn brought more prison time. His original six-month sentence stretched to three years. Finally, when he was almost 18, he came home. When he got picked up for the murder of Aavielle Wakefield, he was just starting to tire of the streets, he said, starting to slow down.

I had a hard time comprehending Da'Von's resume, specifically Da'Von, the early years, when he was a little boy, 9, 10 years old.

Sarah Koenig

Weren't you scared, though, doing it by yourself? I don't understand how a little kid can be like, I know, why don't I go attack this person and take their money, or whatever? Like, weren't you terrified?

Da'von Holmes

Mm-mm.

Sarah Koenig

Why not?

Da'von Holmes

I don't know. I just wasn't. Never, no.

Sarah Koenig

Did you know it was—did you feel like it was wrong? Do you feel like it's wrong now?

Da'von Holmes

What you mean?

Sarah Koenig

Like, was it—

Da'von Holmes

I mean, no. I don't, I don't—I don't have remorse for nothing I did.

Sarah Koenig

Why not?

Da'von Holmes

Because I did it.

Sarah Koenig

So what?

Da'von Holmes

I can't be sorry for something I did. I can only change from it. But I ain't going to be sorry for what I did. I don't regret nothing that I did like that. Even if I see somebody today that I harmed, that I did some years ago, you know what I'm saying, I'ma be—soon as I see them—honestly, soon as I see them, I'm going to get in defense mode. You get it?

[LAUGHTER]

I don't know. I'm probably weird to you.

Sarah Koenig

He is weird to me. We talked a lot about remorse, which he doesn't feel, and regret, which he also says he doesn't feel, but which I think he does, and responsibility, which he feels keenly. He told me he's not going to deny he did something if he did it. He says he didn't shoot that baby. He says he doesn't know who did, but even if he did know, he wouldn't tell.

If we're sitting right here on this couch, he said, and he sees out the window someone shoot someone else, he's either going to leave before the cops show up, or if he does get questioned, he's going to help the cops as unhelpfully as he can.

Da'von Holmes

I don't know what happened. I didn't see it.

Sarah Koenig

But what if you did see it?

Da'von Holmes

I don't know who did it. Did you see? OK, did you see it? Yeah, I seen it. What happened? He got killed. How? He got shot. Who did it? I don't know. Did you see him? Yeah. What did he look like? I don't know. Which way he go? He just ran. I'm helping, but I'm not going to say, he had on a black coat. He ran down that way. He got in that car. I'm not doing all that.

Sarah Koenig

Because why? This is what I'm trying to understand. Why not?

Da'von Holmes

I wasn't raised like that. I don't care if you was my worst enemy. I'm not telling on you. I don't care what you did. It don't matter if you was—it wouldn't matter if you was the oldest, nicest, meanest lady.

Sarah Koenig

[LAUGHTER] I am the oldest, nicest, meanest lady.

Da'von Holmes

I'm just saying, even if it was a lady—

Sarah Koenig

It's because it's your principle. You're just saying, it's not about the consequences for me, it's just a principle.

Da'von Holmes

That's against my religion. I'm going to say that. That's against my religion to tell on somebody.

Sarah Koenig

Because you just—

Da'von Holmes

That ain't going to make me—I'm not going to feel right. I'm going to feel less of a man.

Sarah Koenig

What if it was like a relative who was the victim of it? You know what I mean? Does your principle bend at all with the—

Da'von Holmes

Telling?

Sarah Koenig

—nature of the crime? Yeah.

Da'von Holmes

No. I'm not telling. No.

Sarah Koenig

No?

Da'von Holmes

No. Mm-mm.

Sarah Koenig

Even if?

Da'von Holmes

We just going to have to handle it a different way.

Sarah Koenig

Meaning street justice, which Da'Von can get behind. But Cleveland police justice, or Justice Center justice, no way. This is precisely what vexes police investigations in cases like Aavielle's. It's probably as old as crime itself, certainly as old as organized crime—no snitching. It's not just about gangster codes of loyalty, though. Over the decades, it's been helped along by the criminal justice system itself, especially during the war on drugs.

You could argue no snitching was a rational response to the widespread use of low-level informants, who'd be threatened with mandatory prison sentences if they didn't talk. Problem was, these low-level informants sometimes didn't know that much, so people are getting arrested based on flimsy or even false information. And then, of course, people don't cooperate because of straight-up fear—well-supported fear.

Until we watched the no-snitching principle play out during trials in Cleveland, I'd never fully understood how deeply it muddies cases. We watched a capital murder case in which witnesses were visibly scared. Even some of the jurors were scared, and they weren't paranoid. The defendant was a Heartless Felon. Already, one witness had been shot and killed in his driveway just before he was supposed to come to court. We watched another case in which a police informant had been murdered. We saw people squirm on the stand, prevaricate.

Probably the most tortured testimony we saw was from a man who goes by RJ. He'd been in a gang, and he was an important witness during the trial for the murder of one of the other children killed that fall of 2015, Major Howard, who was three years old. It was a drive-by.

When the shooting happened, RJ was there on his front porch. And at first, he became a bit of a media hero because he had tried to help Major. In a news video, he's sitting on his porch, shirtless, being interviewed. He looks sad and dazed. He's got staples up his arm, holding together a wound from wrist to elbow, the result of an unrelated shooting the week before. The words "Never Snitch" are tattooed in fancy script just below his collarbones.

At trial, the prosecutor, Anna Faraglia, made it clear to the jury that RJ had told detectives he'd seen the defendant, Donnell Lindsey, known as Nell, shooting from the window of a white car.

Rj

Not see shooting, but I seen—

Sarah Koenig

Now, today, almost a year and a half since he made that statement, RJ was on the stand saying it wasn't true.

Rj

No, I didn't see nobody shooting.

Anna Faraglia

OK, sorry.

Sarah Koenig

OK. Didn't see the shooter. Didn't even see the car. As soon as he heard shots, he had ducked down onto his porch floor, he said, so all he saw was his porch ceiling and the little chairs he's got out there. Didn't see Donnell Lindsey at all the day Major Howard was killed. Anna Faraglia tries to tease out of him, why the discrepancy between these two statements?

Rj

Because they—I ain't going to lie. I don't know what to do.

Sarah Koenig

RJ begins to spiral. It's hard to follow, which I have to think was at least partly by design. He says he's got all this pressure on him and no one can help him. He's even asked COs in prison—he's serving time now in a different case—what should he do? Should he testify? He feels it was right to help the baby, he says, the best thing he ever did. But a lot of people in the street are talking about him, threatening him.

He's getting in fights in prison now because people have heard he's a snitch. Eventually, he says to Anna Faraglia, I didn't see Donnell Lindsey myself. I just told detectives what I'd heard from other people, because my face had already been in the news. And since I was already public, people in the neighborhood started coming to me with information, people who were scared themselves, who'd scattered before police arrived that day.

So I was really passing their information to the detectives, not my own information, and that was also a good deed. I could have run, like other people did. I could have shut my door. I knew the police were looking for me for another shooting. But I tried to help that baby. I talked to detectives. What else do you want from me? It went on like this for hours. Finally—

Anna Faraglia

May I approach, Your Honor?

Judge

Sure.

Rj

I'm handing you what's been marked State's Exhibit 351.

Sarah Koenig

It's a movie move. State's Exhibit 351 is an autopsy photograph of adorable little Major Howard's dead body. She hands the photo to RJ.

Anna Faraglia

Is that who you tried to help? Is that who you tried to help?

Rj

Fuck me.

Anna Faraglia

Is that a yes or a no? Did you try to help this little boy?

Rj

Correct.

Anna Faraglia

OK? And don't you think you owe it to him to tell this jury who shot this little boy, and not be afraid anymore, sir?

Rj

Correct.

Sarah Koenig

RJ slumps, starts to cry. The day Major was shot, RJ ran to him, took off his own shirt and wrapped it around him, jumped in a car and held on to Major while they rushed to the hospital. Major was still conscious, looking up at him, touching his chest, dying, three years old. RJ was still tormented by it.

Anna Faraglia

Did Nell shoot this little boy?

Rj

I—

Anna Faraglia

Did you see him shooting from the white car that night? That's all I'm asking you.

Rj

I didn't see him shoot no gun. I heard what other people were saying. They didn't step up. They ain't here to help. Shit. I helped Major the best way I can. But—

Anna Faraglia

Helping Major is telling the truth.

Rj

Right. I'm telling you my truth, and what other people truth. But they ain't there to tell their own truth. I told you my truth, though.

Sarah Koenig

Anna says to him, let's get real. You won't deliver because you're afraid of retribution. She told me gang members had come in the courtroom, sat in the back, trying to get in RJ's head. She says to RJ, now you're afraid because you broke the code.

He says, that ship sailed the moment I picked up that little boy. I broke the code by talking to the news reporter who approached me on the street. I broke the code by speaking to the cops. I'm breaking the code right now by sitting in this courtroom. It doesn't even really matter what words I say. Just being here is enough.

Rj

Like I said, I'd already say I broke the code coming out here talking to you. I'm right here, motherfucking talking to you. The code already broke.

Sarah Koenig

I talked to a few jurors about the case afterwards. Two out of the three said they didn't believe RJ saw Nell in the car. But there was other evidence, aside from RJ, and Donnell Lindsey was convicted. He got 37 years to life. For what it's worth, his lawyers don't think he did it, and that's actually unusual for them. Emmanuel watched the whole trial, and he came away not at all convinced Donnell Lindsey was guilty. I still don't know what to think.

So what exactly did they have on Da'Von Holmes? No video, no physical evidence, no fingerprints, no DNA, no gun. I found out Da'Von apparently had made a statement placing himself in the vicinity of the crime, saying he'd been at the Family Dollar at the top of the street and had seen people running. To me, Da'Von denied making any such statement.

Police had gotten his cell records, which showed that he was indeed nearby at the time of the shooting. But considering he lives only a few blocks from where the shooting happened, the cell records seemed underwhelming.

So the eyewitnesses were paramount. And again, at least on paper, they looked wobbly. There was Jon, the guy Da'Von knew, but he had offered information from jail. Witnesses like that are inherently weak. The defense can always argue the person's lying to get a deal. I wasn't able to reach Jon, but I did talk to someone close to him, whom I believe is reliable, who said they had talked to Jon about his statement.

This person told me that what Jon told the police, quote, "It's not true." This person said Jon had lied to save himself, to try to avoid going to prison. They didn't think Jon did it because of his brother's death. That yes, he does still suffer over his brother, but they didn't think that was the reason Jon lied about Da'Von.

So the landscaper's ID was probably the strongest thing they had. I wasn't sure what to make of his sudden clarity, 57 days post-shooting. Was he somehow manipulated by the police, or maybe he'd been scared of choosing the wrong person, or the right person? Maybe he just made a mistake.

I went looking for him one day at various addresses around the city. Emmanuel and I left notes and our business cards tucked in mailboxes and front doors. It worked. I got a call that same night from the landscaper. He did not trust me. His neighbors had seen Emmanuel and me walking around with our hands in our pockets. We looked like cops. I told him it was cold outside, that's why. I asked him if we could meet so he could see for himself I was harmless, but the more I asked, the more suspicious he got I was trying to set him up to arrest him. We spoke a couple of times on the phone. He was upset his name was part of Da'Von's case. He was told his name would stay out of it.

He said, they threatened me that if they didn't come to court, they'd put me in jail. He thinks they dropped Da'Von's case because they didn't want to pay out the reward money, which was $25,000. The landscaper was full of conspiratorial fervor, which I got the feeling he'd come by honestly.

Sometime later, a woman called me. She said she was family to the landscaper. She said, you should be careful what you do because you can come in and ask all these questions, but then you get to leave, and we don't. We live here, and these people will kill you. We have cops in our family. I know how things happen. I told her, I know. She's right. I am trying to tread delicately.

We talked for a long time. We were friendly by the end. She said she'd tell the landscaper to talk to me, but he never did.

Before I'd hung up with him that last time, the landscaper had asked me, have you talked to the baby's family? He'd been in contact with Charles Wakefield, Aavielle's father, he said. You should talk to the family. That's coming up after the break.

I'd been waiting to contact Mr. Wakefield until, I don't know, I had more information, I guess. But really, I was avoiding it. I figured it would be painful for him and, professionally, of little use to me.

Charles Wakefield

We know. I know the whole story. So like I say, it's just the waiting game.

Sarah Koenig

I was being a dummy. Charles Wakefield is a lovely, welcoming person who says he knows exactly what happened.

Charles Wakefield

First shot hit in the back of the front passenger tire. Then I think the bullet went into the dashboard. Then a second bullet went in the corner of the passenger window, where my mom was sitting at. Then the third bullet went in the back door and through her car seat.

Sarah Koenig

Charles wasn't there himself. He wasn't a witness. He doesn't have any proof for his version of what happened. It's all information he's gathered from other people, so I'm going to be beeping out a name here. The version of the story he feels confident is true is that some guys were shooting dice in a building on East 145th street, off Kinsman.

Sometime earlier, one of them had been robbed, maybe, at another dice game, or there'd been some gambling issue. Charles wasn't sure about that part. I later learned there had been a shooting. Anyway, these guys were ready to retaliate. They were on the lookout for a particular car, a car that looked a lot like Charles' car. Charles said the guy they were after had a white 2000 Oldsmobile Aurora. Charles had a white 2001 Oldsmobile Aurora.

Charles Wakefield

Only difference was his had tinted windows and ours had a sunroof.

Sarah Koenig

The guys playing the dice game see an Oldsmobile coming. Charles says one of them recognized it.

Charles Wakefield

Somebody that was there with them knew my car, and they said, that ain't the car.

Sarah Koenig

But one guy started firing anyway. Charles' fiance, Ieshia, was driving. His elderly mother was in the passenger seat. Behind her was Aavielle, and behind Ieshia was her other daughter, who was eight years old. They were driving to the Save-a-Lot just a few blocks away to get ingredients for Charles' birthday cake. It was his birthday the next day.

Charles Wakefield

I had seen the person with that car, but I don't know who he is. I actually met him up at the car wash when I first met him. You know, somebody got the same type of car, they just burst the conversation. And next thing I know, somebody was shooting at that same car, but it was my car, thinking it was his car.

Sarah Koenig

I'm not sure why this hadn't occurred to me before, but it was hitting me now, talking to Charles. He lives right here. The shooting happened down the street from where we're sitting. The people he thinks are involved with his daughter's death—they also live right here, within blocks of each other, some of them. Of course he knew things, had heard things. I asked Charles about Da'Von—Tink.

Sarah Koenig

When he got arrested, did you think, oh, OK, they got him?

Charles Wakefield

Yeah. I knew right away it wasn't Tink.

Sarah Koenig

And now this is where I'm going to start beeping, because Charles doesn't think it was Tink. He tells me a story about another person, whom he names.

Charles Wakefield

Soon as the shots was fired, my car was hit, one of the dudes come running to me. First words come out his mouth is [BLEEP] say he going to holler at you. And in my head, I'm thinking, like, why would he say [BLEEP] name? He like, man, [BLEEP] said he going to holler at you.

Sarah Koenig

What did you take that to mean—[BLEEP] says he's going to holler at you? Like he has to speak to you about something.

Charles Wakefield

Mhm Like pretty much, he was either going—I believe they didn't think my daughter was going to die.

Sarah Koenig

Yeah.

Charles Wakefield

So he was going to try to patch up, but—

Sarah Koenig

Make amends in some way.

Charles Wakefield

Right. But she end up dying, so—

Sarah Koenig

He couldn't.

Charles Wakefield

He couldn't. He couldn't do it no more. And then there was, probably a few days later, you know, the street started talking. And all fingers pointed back to [BLEEP].

Sarah Koenig

How many people talked to you about it?

Charles Wakefield

About four or five people, and [BLEEP] name came out of all of their mouth.

Sarah Koenig

And you're pretty sure it wasn't just an echo chamber, where it was like they'd all heard the same single rumor? It was like different information?

Charles Wakefield

Yep. It was different information.

Sarah Koenig

Charles knows this guy he's talking about. They weren't close friends, but they definitely knew each other, and had been cool with each other. And he says, ever since the shooting, this guy acts strangely when he sees him—twitchy. Twitchy is a useful tell in the movie version of this story, but it is not evidence of anything, really. But to Charles, it feels like this guy's body language is what gives him away.

Charles Wakefield

And it's not even me. Like, he will see one of my buddies that I'm kind of close with, and my buddy will tell—this how I knew it was [BLEEP]. He said, man, I just seen [BLEEP], and it was like he took off, like he jumped in somebody's car that he wasn't even in and took off. And I'm like, bro, he did it. He like, I know, bro.

Sarah Koenig

Charles says he finally confronted the guy himself in the street.

Charles Wakefield

I'm like, bro, why do you keep running from me? You know, he—I ain't running from you. I said, well, why I got to stand in the middle of the street to flag you down to come back right now?

Sarah Koenig

Oh, is that what happened?

Charles Wakefield

Yeah.

Sarah Koenig

Where?

Charles Wakefield

Right here in front of this house.

Sarah Koenig

You saw him in a car?

Charles Wakefield

Yeah.

Sarah Koenig

And you stood out in front?

Charles Wakefield

He was talking to the people across the street. I was walking back from the store. He was facing this way. And when I turned the corner, he backed up in my driveway and went that way. So I'm in the middle of the street like this, with my arms up, waiting for him to look through the rear view mirror. Finally, he looks through the rear view mirror. He stops the car. He comes back. But he got somebody in the car with him.

And the look on his face was like—I think he just wanted me to do something to him so he can press charges and get me locked up. And I'm looking at him like—I'm like, bro, just tell me what happened. I'm like, my daughter dead. I know you want to live. You tired of running from me every time you see me.

Sarah Koenig

Right.

Charles Wakefield

You know what I'm saying? He—man, I don't know what to tell you. I was at the wrong place at the wrong time. Or something about the car—it was the wrong car or something, whatever he told me. But I'm telling him, like, that ain't it. You know? And like I told him, it ain't just me that's mad at you, bro. You got a nation of people. You killed a innocent baby. I can't stop people from doing what they feel in their heart. I'm not the only person to know your face now.

Sarah Koenig

Was this like—you're telling this to me in a very moderate tone.

Charles Wakefield

Yeah.

Sarah Koenig

Was that the tone of the conversation? Or were you screaming in the street?

Charles Wakefield

No, that was just like I'm telling you—

Sarah Koenig

Oh, really?

Charles Wakefield

—talking to him. Yeah.

Sarah Koenig

Charles wasn't scared of [BLEEP], wasn't worried about someone coming after him for telling police what he'd heard. He's the grieving father of a dead baby daughter. The rules didn't apply to him. Or if they did, he didn't care. He thought [BLEEP] should sidestep the game, too, and turn himself in.

So if it was this other guy, I asked Charles, why did he think people started calling in anonymous tips about Da'Von? One reason, he said, was because Da'Von changed his appearance soon after the shooting. He'd cut his dreads.

Charles Wakefield

Because he cut his dreads off, claiming that he had a warrant for something he did on the west side. So it made everybody think he had something to do with it.

Sarah Koenig

So—

Charles Wakefield

He was there. He had a gun. But he didn't shoot.

Sarah Koenig

Wait, so you're saying Tink was there?

Charles Wakefield

Yeah, he was there.

Sarah Koenig

He was there, and he had a gun. He just didn't shoot.

Charles Wakefield

No. Yep, he was there.

Sarah Koenig

Have you ever spoken to him?

Charles Wakefield

Mhm.

Sarah Koenig

You've spoken to Tink?

Charles Wakefield

Mhm. We spoke today.

Sarah Koenig

Oh, you did? Oh, where'd did you see him?

Charles Wakefield

At the store.

Sarah Koenig

Da'Von had told me he didn't know the Wakefield family.

Sarah Koenig

And do you guys speak? What do you say to each other?

Charles Wakefield

I mean, it's not—he just say—he pretty much sizing me up to see if I still think if he had something to do with it, or if I'm going to do something to him, or like that. But he know. If I wanted to something, I'd have did it. I respect that man enough. He stayed in jail for about a year for something he didn't do. So—

Sarah Koenig

But you're saying he knows what happened.

Charles Wakefield

Yeah, he knows, but he didn't do it. There's a difference between knowing and doing. That's two different things.

Sarah Koenig

Why do you think it took so long for them to let Tink out?

Charles Wakefield

That was to—they was trying to get him to snitch on [BLEEP]. That was just a dry out—trying to dry him out.

Sarah Koenig

Really?

Charles Wakefield

Yeah. That's all that was. They know Tink didn't do that, or they'd never let him out.

Sarah Koenig

Charles thinks the state indicted Da'Von on three different kinds of murder charges and held him in a filthy jail cell for a full year in hopes that he'd turn on [BLEEP]. Da'Von told me he doesn't know [BLEEP]. Charles feels pretty sure he does. To be clear, Charles did not know who Da'Von was before all this happened. But he told me several times, he's got no problem with him now.

OK. So I had been talking to Da'Von for four months by this point, and he had not said any of this to me. He'd been categorical—he knew nothing about that shooting, wasn't there, didn't know any of these people. After I'd talked to Charles, I went back to Da'Von and ran all this by him. And he said, aside from yes, recognizing Charles Wakefield on the street, none of it was true.

He said he'd heard all these same rumors I had, but that's what they were—rumors, stories, which by virtue of repetition do not become true. I don't know if Da'Von's telling me the truth about what he knows or doesn't know, but now that I know what I know, I wouldn't be surprised if he's not. I might be the oldest, nicest, meanest lady, but at the end of the day, I'm still an outsider. And while I can understand why Charles feels that his information is solid and true, at the end of the day, it's all second-hand.

Sarah Koenig

You're naming to me individual people who you think were there, and know the same story you're telling me. And yet not one of them, it seems like, has gone to the police or talked to the police about it. Does that surprise you?

Charles Wakefield

No, not really. I mean, like I said, it boils down to nobody want to be labeled a snitch. Like, everybody will tell me who did it, because I can't go to the officer—well, such and such just told me. They have to tell. So—

Sarah Koenig

I don't know. Does that make you mad at all your neighbors?

Charles Wakefield

Yeah, it pisses me all the way off. Like every time I go outside, I just look at everybody different, like you know what happened, but you won't say nothing.

Sarah Koenig

Right.

Charles Wakefield

So that's just how I look at everybody.

Sarah Koenig

Really?

Charles Wakefield

And it's the same ones that—hey, Chuck. Hey. I'm like, yeah. Hey. And they're like, What? I'm like, because you know. You been knew this whole time.

Sarah Koenig

Charles is a big man, big and soft around the edges. His mother told me he was always a crier, but now the tears seemed to leak from him unbidden. His mom told me the loss of his baby was a soft hurt, which I took to mean still tender. I didn't know him before Aavielle died, but my sense now is that he is ravaged by the loss of her.

Halfway through our conversation, I realized I was talking to him from the same place he sleeps, an oversized armchair and matching ottoman in the living room. At the foot of the makeshift bed was a coffee table covered with photographs and mementos of Aavielle. Charles had been a stay-at-home father. Ieshia worked, and so he took care of Aavielle all day. He felt very close to her.

Since the shooting, he's had a hard time not thinking about her, and her death, and the unsolved case, every minute.

Charles Wakefield

It just kind of make you want to take matters to your own hand.

Sarah Koenig

Really?

Charles Wakefield

Yep.

Sarah Koenig

Is that a possibility, that you would do something about it yourself?

Charles Wakefield

Nah. I'm not—nah, I can't put nobody in this. This pain that I feel, couldn't nobody else deal with it. Just me knowing that somebody going to be sitting, feeling like this—I can't. I don't care if it's a grown man. This ain't the pain you want.

Sarah Koenig

Yeah.

Charles Wakefield

And I got a conscience. Like, I can't live like that. But it ain't worth it.

Sarah Koenig

Yeah.

Charles Wakefield

I done had the opportunity, plenty of times. I know where he at. I know where he stay, know where he be, I know everything I need.

That's what hurt me. Like, maybe I should go get him. Right, but then what?

Sarah Koenig

I know.

Charles Wakefield

I'm going to be on the run. Mm-mm. That's where I get my satisfaction from, knowing that his life will never be the same. But ongoing right now, as we speak, he probably laughing. But in his mind, it's not right.

Sarah Koenig

Charles feels as though he can't directly ask anyone to come forward and speak to the police. He understands. Snitches get killed. He wants to live in a world where snitching is unnecessary. I heard this from several people I interviewed in Cleveland. If the cops just did their jobs better, civilians wouldn't be put in this impossible position.

Charles Wakefield

The system shouldn't need the public to do its job. That's the sad part. Like, all they do is get out and ask somebody else to do they job. Like, no. You get out here and look for the person you think did it, instead of wanting somebody else to tell on somebody.

Sarah Koenig

But I mean, isn't that them doing their jobs, though, is try to get help? I mean, they're not magic. Like, they weren't here. The only way they get information is people telling them information.

Charles Wakefield

No, they get information by getting out here in the streets and finding information theyself, just like I did.

Sarah Koenig

Right, but that still would require someone to tell, you know what I mean? Like, if they go to the same people who talked to you, they're asking them to tell.

Charles Wakefield

Right. But no, I'm saying, that person will be telling them instead of telling me.

Sarah Koenig

Right.

Charles Wakefield

You see what I'm saying? It's easy. Like I said, the whole neighborhood done told me what happened.

Sarah Koenig

Exactly, because he's not a cop. I gotta say, most of the detectives I talked to told me that back in the day—20 years ago, even 10 years ago—they did have better relationships with the people they policed. There wasn't as much animosity toward them, for one thing. They used to have a substantial community policing unit. The former commander of it told me 22 police mini-stations, staffed with two officers each, plus DARE officers at schools, officers at public pools.

Police didn't materialize only in the aftermath of disaster. They were visibly around. They could develop relationships, which in turn could lead to information. You make a quiet phone call, and people on the other end of the line would trust you to keep their names out of it. I don't know whether these guys were waxing nostalgic, but everyone I talked to agreed that it has been degrading in recent years—this relationship with the public.

The team in charge of police reform in Cleveland recently surveyed officers. They issued a report a few months ago that included officers estimating that 60 percent of people they come into contact with want nothing to do with them. The police mini-stations were axed more than a decade ago. Budget cuts led to the department losing hundreds of officers.

Charles said he did relay everything he had been hearing to the cops, specifically to Detective Art Echols. He and Detective Rhonda Gray were running the investigation. Charles says he was calling, and calling, leaving messages. I got information. I got another person. He says he never got a call back.

Charles Wakefield

Like, it just went cold.

Sarah Koenig

The guy Charles believes shot Aavielle—the police are aware of him. Charles didn't tell me anything he hadn't already told police. And anyway, he said Detective Echols already had heard that same guy's name, almost as soon as Charles did. This man himself knows the police are aware of him. I met him. That is, I recognized him one day at the Justice Center, while he was sitting on a bench waiting to make a 10:00 a.m. jail visit. And I asked if I can talk to him about the Wakefield case. I gave him my card. He was unequivocal—no. I got nothing to say. I just want to leave all that in the past. It's over.

The last time Charles met with the detectives was late November of 2016. They'd called him and Ieshia to tell them they had important news. They all gathered in the prosecutor's office, where the detectives and prosecutors explained they'd be letting Da'Von Holmes out of jail. Charles said he told them, well, yeah, because Tink didn't do it. They said they'd still be pursuing the case, still looking at other suspects, including the guy Charles believes did it.

They discussed that guy. They discussed Da'Von.

Charles Wakefield

And when the detective told me—he like, well, I believe they're going to be at each other, and you know, this and that. Like, you don't even—basically saying they're going to kill each other.

Sarah Koenig

That's what he said to you?

Charles Wakefield

Basically, yeah.

Sarah Koenig

This is Echols.

Charles Wakefield

Yes. Yes. Yes. He meant it.

Sarah Koenig

Oh, my god.

Charles Wakefield

That was the day they let Tink out. He like, well—

Sarah Koenig

Sort of like, don't worry about it, Mr. Wakefield. They'll deal with each other.

Charles Wakefield

Pretty much. Don't you worry about it. Like, they're gonna—after a while, they're going to cross paths, and you know, it's going to be between them two now. And that's what it was. Like, pretty much shocked that me and the guys I'd be with haven't did nothing yet. Like, kind of proud of you. I'm glad you ain't did nothing yet, but don't worry, it's going to happen. You know what I mean? Like, that's kind of how it was.

Sarah Koenig

I wasn't able to run this by Detective Echols. Again, the Cleveland Police Department didn't want to comment on it. A prosecutor at the meeting said he didn't remember Detective Echols saying that, but I can kind of imagine it. When they had this meeting, the Cleveland Police Department had only 12 homicide detectives. Murders in Cleveland were reaching their highest numbers in a decade.

So yeah, I can see a cop saying to Charles, between us, I think your best bet is to let them kill each other. A quiet, bitter nod to the supremacy of street justice. So what did get Da'Von out of jail? Well, it was detective work, but not by detectives. That's next time on Serial.

Serial is produced by Julie Snyder, Emmanuel Dzotsi, Ben Calhoun, and me, with additional reporting by Ida Lieszkovszky and Afi Scruggs. Editing on this episode from Ira Glass. Whitney Dangerfield is our digital editor. Research and fact-checking by Ben Phelan. Sound design and mix by Stowe Nelson. Music clearance by Anthony Roman. Seth Lind is our director of operations.

The Serial staff includes Emily Condon, Julie Whitaker, Cassie Holly, Frances Swanson, and Matt Tierney. Our music is by Adam Dorn and Hal Willner, with additional music from Matt McGinley, Nick Thorburn, Fritz Myers, and Wes Schwartz. Our theme song is by Nick Thorburn and remixed by Adam Dorn.

Special thanks to Ronnie Dunn, Dan Flannery, Jeff Helgeson, Jeff Cardenas, Obed Shelton, Michelle Harris, Marvin Cross, Detective Philip Tschetter at the Euclid Police Department, Judge Ronald Adrine, Judge Cassandra Collier-Williams, Judge Emanuella Groves, Gary Wells, and Sergeant Jennifer Ciaccia at the Cleveland Police Department.

The art on our website was made by Jess X. Snow. She created the mural for this episode, and Moth Studio did the animation. Please check it out on our website at serialpodcast.org. That's serialpodcast.org, where you can also sign up for our email newsletter and be notified when new episodes are released. We are also, of course, on Facebook and Twitter. Serial is a production of This American Life and WBEZ Chicago.

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