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Earwitness

Podcast Earwitness
Podcast Earwitness

Earwitness

Lava for Good Podcasts
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One July night in 1995, Deputy Sheriff William G. Hardy was shot behind the Crown Sterling Suites hotel in Birmingham, Alabama. At the same time as the murder, ...
More
One July night in 1995, Deputy Sheriff William G. Hardy was shot behind the Crown Sterling Suites hotel in Birmingham, Alabama. At the same time as the murder, ...
More

Available Episodes

4 of 4
  • Episode 3 | Police Girl
    After learning that Yolanda Chambers changed her story hundreds of times and admitted to perjury, Beth sets out to understand Chambers’ motivations. Is she a villain or a victim? Beth tracks down her mother, who has never spoken publicly about the case. She learns important details about Chambers’ tragic life, including her role as a paid informant for the FBI, work that may have ultimately led to her murder at age 29. To learn more, including how you can help, visit:http://www.ToforestJohnson.com Earwitness will be available every Tuesday wherever you get your podcasts. To hear episodes 1 week early and ad free, subscribe to Lava for Good+ on Apple Podcasts. Archival audio courtesy of WBRC Earwitness is a production of Lava for Good™ Podcasts in association with Signal Co. No1.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
    26/09/2023
    42:33
  • Episode 2 | Don't Know Diddly
    Beth trains her focus on the days immediately following the murder, beginning with recordings of police interrogations of key witnesses. Yolanda Chambers, a 15-year-old girl, places Toforest at the scene of the murder. But Beth finds evidence that Chambers was manipulated by law enforcement officers into fabricating her testimony. Beth brings her findings to lead detective Tony Richardson, who defends his tactics while admitting regrets that cast further doubt on his decision to build a case against Toforest based solely on Chambers’ evershifting word.  To learn more, including how you can help, visit: http://www.ToforestJohnson.com Earwitness will be available every Tuesday wherever you get your podcasts. To hear episodes 1 week early and ad free, subscribe to Lava for Good+ on Apple Podcasts. Archival audio courtesy of WBRC Earwitness is a production of Lava for Good™ Podcasts in association with Signal Co. No1.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
    19/09/2023
    46:30
  • Episode 1 | Behind the Crown
    Journalist Beth Shelburne meets with former Alabama Attorney General Bill Baxley, who explains why he is deeply disturbed by the wrongful conviction of Toforest Johnson for the murder of Deputy Bill Hardy. Through her reporting on the case, Beth, like Baxley, is convinced that Toforest has no connection to the murder. She sets out to conduct an in-depth investigation into why detectives targeted him in the first place, how he was convicted, and why the State of Alabama is still seeking his execution today.  To learn more, including how you can help, visit: http://www.ToforestJohnson.com Earwitness will be available every Tuesday wherever you get your podcasts. To hear episodes 1 week early and ad free, subscribe to Lava for Good+ on Apple Podcasts. Earwitness is a production of Lava for Good™ Podcasts in association with Signal Co. No1.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
    19/09/2023
    42:01
  • Introducing: Earwitness
    One July night in 1995, Deputy Sheriff William G. Hardy was shot behind the Crown Sterling Suites hotel in Birmingham, Alabama. At the same time as the murder, at least ten people saw Toforest Johnson four miles away, at a popular nightclub called Tee's Place. But detectives zeroed in on him as a main suspect in Deputy Hardy’s murder anyway, ultimately resulting in Toforest being tried, convicted, and sentenced to death. For over a quarter century, Toforest has been confined to a 5’ by 8’ cell on Alabama’s death row. In 2019, investigative journalist Beth Shelburne began covering the case, going down a disturbing rabbit hole revealing many unsettling facts that cast grave doubts about Toforest’s guilt. The facts she found tear at the very foundation of the American criminal justice system: No eyewitnesses or physical evidence tied Toforest to the murder; the state tried to convict a different man for the same crime; and perhaps most disturbing of all, Toforest’s conviction relied on an ‘earwitness’ – a woman who claimed to have eavesdropped on an incriminating phone call, a woman whom prosecutors paid for her testimony, in secret. That payment was not disclosed to the jury, Toforest, or his lawyers until after he had been on death row for 17 years. From the team behind the award-winning hit podcast Bone Valley, Lava for Good’s Earwitness is an 8-episode docuseries that asks the question, “How did an innocent man end up on death row — and why is the state still trying to execute him over the objection of the prosecutor who put him there?” Shelburne’s unprecedented access to key players—the lead detective, lead prosecutor, witnesses, jurors, and the earwitness herself— illuminate a story filled with disturbing twists, frustrating ambiguities, and shocking admissions. The story of Toforest Johnson and the state's enthusiasm for the death penalty in the face of such troubling evidentiary flaws brings to light the failings of a criminal justice system run amok. Earwitness will be available every Tuesday beginning September 19 wherever you get your podcasts. To hear episodes 1 week early and ad free, subscribe to Lava for Good+ on Apple Podcasts. Earwitness is a production of Lava for Good™ Podcasts in association with Signal Co. No1.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
    12/09/2023
    2:44

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About Earwitness

One July night in 1995, Deputy Sheriff William G. Hardy was shot behind the Crown Sterling Suites hotel in Birmingham, Alabama. At the same time as the murder, at least ten people saw Toforest Johnson four miles away, at a popular nightclub called Tee's Place. But detectives zeroed in on him as a main suspect in Deputy Hardy’s murder anyway, ultimately resulting in Toforest being tried, convicted, and sentenced to death. For over a quarter century, Toforest has been confined to a 5’ by 8’ cell on Alabama’s death row. In 2019, investigative journalist Beth Shelburne began covering the case, going down a disturbing rabbit hole revealing many unsettling facts that cast grave doubts about Toforest’s guilt. The facts she found tear at the very foundation of the American criminal justice system: No eyewitnesses or physical evidence tied Toforest to the murder; the state tried to convict a different man for the same crime; and perhaps most disturbing of all, Toforest’s conviction relied on an ‘earwitness’ – a woman who claimed to have eavesdropped on an incriminating phone call, a woman whom prosecutors paid for her testimony, in secret. That payment was not disclosed to the jury, Toforest, or his lawyers until after he had been on death row for 17 years. From the team behind the award-winning hit podcast Bone Valley, Lava for Good’s Earwitness is an 8-episode docuseries that asks the question, “How did an innocent man end up on death row — and why is the state still trying to execute him over the objection of the prosecutor who put him there?” Shelburne’s unprecedented access to key players—the lead detective, lead prosecutor, witnesses, jurors, and the earwitness herself— illuminate a story filled with disturbing twists, frustrating ambiguities, and shocking admissions. The story of Toforest Johnson and the state's enthusiasm for the death penalty in the face of such troubling evidentiary flaws brings to light the failings of a criminal justice system run amok.
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