This week we discuss hangovers, secret weddings, the Thing about Pam, I Love You, Now Die and a pie based Weird Crime Time.
The Thing About Pam
The Thing About Pam is the newest podcast from Dateline. (We’re not going to give you a full synopsis of the podcast because we don’t want to ruin it for you as we truly think it is one of the best things we have listened to this year). The story is full of twists and turns however starts fairly typically for that of a Dateline episode – Betsy Faria is found dead in her home two days after Christmas and is found by her husband Russ. Russ believed that she had killed herself due to the wounds on her wrists but Betsy’s death is found to be homicide and Russ is quickly arrested and convicted of her murder.
Despite protesting his innocence, Russ is sentenced to life in prison. However, people questioned Russ’s motive for killing Betsy as she had been diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer and the prognosis was poor.
The story starts to unravel when the subject of money is brought up. Betsy had changed the sole beneficiary of her State Farm life insurance policy from her husband Russ, to her friend, Pamela (Pam) Hupp.
Pam is the only one who had a financial gain in Betsy’s death which is not the most obvious evidence. Pam told Police that Betsy changed the beneficiary of the policy to her so that she could put the money in a trust for Betsy’s kids but then decides to keep the money. She changes her story and goes on to say that Betsy had always said that she should keep the money.
There are two further deaths in the podcasts, a murder and a suspicious death which adds to the twists and turns. We’re not going to spoil it for you but as there are only six episodes of around 30 mins each which makes it bingeable.
I Love You, Now Die
ILYND is a two part documentary directed by Erin Lee Carr and produced by Andrew Rossi, that follows the hearing of a woman suspected of coercing her boyfriend to complete suicide. Conrad Roy was 17 when he passed away of carbon monoxide poisoning in July 2014, after purchasing a generator and rigging the exhaust pipe into his car. His girlfriend, Michelle Carter, 17 at the time of his death, is charged with involuntary manslaughter after a series of text messages were discovered which seemed to encourage him to kill himself.
The documentary is divided into two parts: the first follows the argument of the prosecution; the second of the defence. And it takes its time on both parts – clearly and concisely setting out information interspersed with interviews from family and friends of Conrad. Michelle and her family refused to be interviewed.
The case, and the legal part of the matter, pivoted on the text messages exchange between Roy and Carter during the period immediately prior to his eventual death. At one stage, he exited the exhaust fume filled car and Carter told him to get back inside. The judge ruled Carter guilty as when he exited the car, he broke the “chain of causation”. Her messages encouraging him to re-enter the vehicle constituted wanton and reckless behaviour leaving her liable to be found guilty for the charge of involuntary manslaughter.
We all made our own judgements about Michelle, as did the ferocious media who went so far as to comment on her appearance and facial expressions – but as this documentary goes deep into the background of both teenagers, their upbringing, their struggles with mental health and their relationship, a different picture develops. One of a sometimes an abusive relationship. A relationship where they met only around five time’s yet most communication was through text messages. One of two teenagers with severe mental health issues. One of a girl with eating disorders, who had self harmed and was chronically lonely, begging for a friend and who begged her boyfriend not to harm himself. One where he previously attempted suicide on more than one occasion, even being hospitalised as a result. It really brings into focus mental health and the disconnect between a text message and saying something to someone’s face. In the documentary, an expert explains there was a disassociation through a text message based relationship – as if you can’t fathom there is a person there – you say things you’d never say to their face.
The documentary is heartbreaking on a number of points but an expert mix of empathy and harsh reality, with great editing and visual effects (they ping a lot of the text messages onto the screen) really make it a worthwhile watch and even more of a worthwhile watch if you have formed an option on the case.
If you’re struggling with mental health issues, help is always available through the following channels:
In the UK, Samaritans – https://www.samaritans.org – Call them on 116 123
In Canada, Crisis Services Canada – https://www.crisisservicescanada.ca/en/ Call them on 1-833-456-4566
In the US, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org – Call them on 1-800-273-8255
Samuel Little –
Sky News – https://news.sky.com/story/samuel-little-is-confirmed-as-us-most-prolific-killer-in-history-by-fbi-11830418
Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Little
The Thing About Pam –
Dateline NBC – https://www.nbcnews.com/thethingaboutpam
I Love You Now Die
Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Love_You,_Now_Die:_The_Commonwealth_Vs._Michelle_Carter
HBO – https://www.hbo.com/documentaries/i-love-you-now-die-the-commonwealth-v-michelle-carter/about
Weird Crime Time
Lancashire Post – https://www.lep.co.uk/news/crime/dancing-chorley-flasher-balanced-pie-on-head-before-exposing-himself-at-road-junction-1-9972655