S01:E01 - Release Me
Release Me chronicles the story of Texas killer Kenneth Allen McDuff who received the death sentence in 1966 for a murderous rampage that left three teen-agers dead. He was paroled years later only to kill again. His subsequent recapture and trial resulted in another death sentence, carried out in 1998. After a public outcry over his parole, there was a complete overhaul of the prison and parole systems in Texas. All told, the killer was positively linked to six murders, but it is believed that he was responsible for as many as 13 during his lifetime. Viewers gain an inside looks at the teams of prosecutors who brought him to justice and who put him on death row, not once, but twice.
S01:E02 - Pride and Joy
Pride and Joy focuses on Eric Napoletano who brutally murdered his victims, including his wife Myra. Protected by a mother, who worked for the New York City Police Department, Napoletano eluded the law from New York to Albuquerque, New Mexico before he was finally arrested on March 27, 1991. A New Jersey prosecutor coordinated a multi-jurisdictional investigation and secured two murder convictions and two consecutive life terms in prison for the killer, who is currently in the New Jersey State Prison in Trenton. This episode recounts the cooperative efforts of law enforcement agencies to catch this serial killer and the challenges the Clifton, New Jersey prosecutors faced when seeking to put him away for life.
S01:E03 - Young Love
Young Love tells the story of a high school student whose overpowering obsession for his girlfriend led him to murder a rival for her affections in the parking lot of their high school in Fayetteville, Tennessee. The alleged killer, Jacob Davis, was an honor student involved in the drama club at his high school. The victim was a football player. The shooting shocked the small Tennessee town. The prosecution's task was to dismantle the defense's argument that the shooter was acting under a diminished mental capacity and to prove to a jury that his act was premeditated.
S01:E04 - Like Father, Like Son
This is the story of two young men whose paths tragically crossed on September 29, 1998 in Houston, Texas. One was a sheriff's deputy while the other, like his father, stayed on the wrong side of the law. The deputy made a routine traffic stop one night that ended with him being brutally shot to death by the other young man, Michael Lopez. Prosecutors argued that 17-year-old Lopez deserved to die, but would the jury agree?
S01:E05 - Every Parent's Nightmare
This episode recounts a heinous crime that is every parent's nightmare, the death of a child. On an autumn evening in November 1998, a man randomly killed a 9-year-old boy in a public bathroom in southern California. The little boy was only feet away and within earshot of his young cousins, relatives and Mother. The murderer was captured days later as he tried to kill again, prompting a startling courtroom confession and an insanity defense. For his crimes, San Diego County prosecutors argued that he deserved to be put on death row. This episode is the story of the killer's monstrous acts and the prosecution team that fought to bring him to justice.
S01:E06 - The Green Widow
The Green Widow focuses on Mary Ellen Samuels, a woman whose lust for money and drugs led her to arrange for the 1988 murder of her husband, a successful Hollywood cameraman. Worried that authorities were catching up to her, she also arranged for the murder of the hit man. Meanwhile, as investigators continued to gather evidence against her, she went on a yearlong, $500,000 shopping spree with the insurance money from her husband’s death. She bought a brand new Porsche and a condo in Cancun, Mexico. With the hit man dead, little forensic evidence, and no eyewitnesses, prosecutors faced an uphill battle in their attempts to secure a double murder conviction against her.
S01:E07 - Lone Witness
Lone Witness is the story of Buffalo, New York gang leader Donald “Sly” Green and a lone witness to a gangland slaying which helped bring Green to justice. By the fall of 1988, the east side of Buffalo was rapidly becoming a war zone. There was little that authorities could do. Green’s murder of a rival in broad daylight was just another in a string of gang-related killings. But this time there was a witness: James Wright. Armed with the testimony of Wright, who refused to give in to death threats and attacks by Green’s gang, Prosecutor Joseph Marusak put the case before a jury. Green’s conviction would be the first step toward reclaiming the streets of Buffalo from the bands of drug-dealing murderers.
S01:E08 - Deadly Revenge
In the early ‘80s in southern Florida, a major war was declared on illegal drugs. One of the champions of that war was Assistant State Attorney Gene Berry, whose tough and unbending indictments of drug traffickers made him respected by prosecutors, and feared by criminals. One of those criminals was Steven Vance Taylor, who was in line to be prosecuted by Berry on narcotics charges. On a Saturday evening in January of 1982, Taylor’s girlfriend, Bonnie Kelly, knocked on the door of the Berry’s residence. When Gene came to the door, Kelly shot and killed him. Deadly Revenge is the story of State Attorney Joe D’Allesandro’s quest to identify, capture, and prosecute the murderer of a fellow prosecutor.
S01:E09 - 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.
S01:E10 - Fatal Error
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.
S01:E11 - Short Fuse
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.
S01:E12 - Deadly Commission
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.
S01:E13 - Silent Partner
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.