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The First Degree

PodcastOne

416
Followers
8.7K
Plays
The First Degree

The First Degree

PodcastOne

416
Followers
8.7K
Plays
OVERVIEWEPISODESYOU MAY ALSO LIKE

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About Us

Join Ladygang's Jac Vanek, true crime TV producer Alexis Linkletter, and investigative journalist Billy Jensen on a chilling ride into the darkest corners of your worst nightmares. We're talking murder, serial killers, cults, conspiracy theories and beyond, all told through the eyes of a guest who is one degree of separation from the story itself. From Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer to an unknown heinous murder in your very own hometown, The First Degree will bring a new and refreshing perspective to the true crime phenomenon. And who knows... you may be our next guest.

Latest Episodes

Episode 103: Colleen Ritzer

Two people fail to come home after a day at high school. One is a 14-year old student and soccer player who just moved into town. The other is a 24-year-old math teacher. After a frantic search, police access the school’s surveillance video and watch a gruesome horror story unfold. In episode 103, Jac, Billy and Alexis delve into the tragic story of Colleen Ritzer and Philip Chism.

72 MIN5 d ago
Comments
Episode 103: Colleen Ritzer

BTK III: Episode 102

It’s now 2004, and BTK has been lurking in the shadows of Wichita, Kansas for 30 years. The murders have stopped, and it looks like he got away with his crimes...until a newspaper publishes a story on the anniversary of his first murders. And the killer just can’t help himself. In episode 102, Jac, Alexis and Billy explore how Dennis Rader’s narcissism helped police track him down, how his own daughter unwittingly aided in his capture, and the “grand finale” murder he planned to commit right before he was captured. You will also hear the killer in his own words confess to the crimes.

80 MIN1 w ago
Comments
BTK III: Episode 102

BTK II: Episode 101

After murdering five people, the killer known as BTK made his first contact with the media. But now he’s disappeared. For three long years would waits, before forcing his way into the home of a woman and slaying her while her children listened. Nine months later he would kill again, and continue to taunt the police, writing “Do the cops think that all those deaths are not related? Golly-gee yes the MO is different in each but look--a pattern is developing.” The pattern was laid out for all to see. But even when he resurfaces six years later to kill once more, the cops are clueless. In episode 101, Jac. Alexis and Billy are again joined by Denis Rader’s daughter Kerri, and they attempt to answer the question: how do the circumstances in a killer’s “normal” life change the way he chooses victims in his sadistic life.

77 MIN2 w ago
Comments
BTK II: Episode 101

BTK: Episode 100

A mother, father and their two children are found murdered in their Wichita, Kansas home. When a group of men falsely confess to the crimes, the real killer directs the police to a letter. He writes about the monster inside of him. The monster who needs to kill. “Maybe you can stop him. I can't. He has already chosen his next victim or victims. I don't know who they are yet. The next day after I read the paper, I will know, but it's too late. Good luck hunting.” In this landmark 100th episode, Jac, Alexis and Billy delve into one of the most twisted serial killers of all time, Denis Rader, who for forty years was known by the initials BTK. Their first degree guest is the killer’s daughter, Kerri Rawson, who had no idea the loving father who raised her was harboring a monster.

75 MIN3 w ago
Comments
BTK: Episode 100

John Getreu

Two young women, their bodies beaten and strangled and found less than a mile from each other in the hills near Stanford University. For 40 years their killer went undetected. Then, during the hunt for the Golden State Killer, a name pops up on law enforcement’s radar: John Getreu. In episode 99, Jac, Alexis and Billy tell the tale of a family man, a boy scout leader, a loving father and grandfather who was attacking and murdering women for decades—and how he was finally captured.

77 MINJUL 8
Comments
John Getreu

Margaret Williams

A teenager is getting ready for a school dance. She’s quiet and shy but tonight, her friends are making her look and feel like a million bucks. It’s the summer of 1963, and they will all be dancing to the early strains of rock n roll. But for Margaret Willams, it would be the last dance she would ever attend. The next day her body would be found half naked on a nearby baseball field. Her killer is swiftly captured—but that is just the beginning of this story. In episode 98, Jac, Alexis and Billy look into a serial killer whose crimes spanned across decades and continents—and who was finally captured during the search for The Golden State Killer.

60 MINJUL 1
Comments
Margaret Williams

Short Family

You drive past a lakefront mansion, see kids playing in the yard under the watchful eye of a smiling couple and you wish you could be that happy. They have it all. But what if there was something lurking in the shadows? Not everything is perfect. In episode 97, Jac, Alexis and Billy enter the home of the Short family on the shores of Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota, and discover that not everything is what it seems.

74 MINJUN 24
Comments
Short Family

Jayme Closs

In the middle of the night, a man bangs on the door of a suburban house. A mother and daughter huddle in the bathroom. A father goes to the front door to investigate. Within minutes, both the mother and father are killed with shotgun blasts. And the daughter was kidnapped. In episode 96, Jac, Alexis and Billy are joined by a true crime obsessive who followed the crime—who learned of her unthinkable connection to the case after Jayme’s miraculous escape. For Killing Time, they discuss the death of Robert Fuller, a black man found hanging from a tree in Palmdale, California.

90 MINJUN 17
Comments
Jayme Closs

NXIVM

The story of how Keith Raniere became an international self-help guru — and, later, a convicted sex-cult leader — is one of those cautionary tales that’s not unfamiliar. A man who is a master of manipulation, able to seduce, exploit, alienate and control countless individuals after developing keen abilities to select precise prey, bait them, and slowly coerce them into doing exactly what he wants. In episode 95, Jac, Alexis and Billy are joined by Josh Block of the podcast, Uncover: Escaping NXIVM as they dig into the cult that branded women, controlled their entire lives and eventually was brought to justice.

73 MINJUN 10
Comments
NXIVM

Listen

This week, we are handing our mic over to our Black listeners to share their experiences of living in this country as a Black American. To everyone who sent their stories in, thank you. We appreciate the time and energy you gave us, and we feel honored that we can amplify your voices.

87 MINJUN 5
Comments
Listen

Latest Episodes

Episode 103: Colleen Ritzer

Two people fail to come home after a day at high school. One is a 14-year old student and soccer player who just moved into town. The other is a 24-year-old math teacher. After a frantic search, police access the school’s surveillance video and watch a gruesome horror story unfold. In episode 103, Jac, Billy and Alexis delve into the tragic story of Colleen Ritzer and Philip Chism.

72 MIN5 d ago
Comments
Episode 103: Colleen Ritzer

BTK III: Episode 102

It’s now 2004, and BTK has been lurking in the shadows of Wichita, Kansas for 30 years. The murders have stopped, and it looks like he got away with his crimes...until a newspaper publishes a story on the anniversary of his first murders. And the killer just can’t help himself. In episode 102, Jac, Alexis and Billy explore how Dennis Rader’s narcissism helped police track him down, how his own daughter unwittingly aided in his capture, and the “grand finale” murder he planned to commit right before he was captured. You will also hear the killer in his own words confess to the crimes.

80 MIN1 w ago
Comments
BTK III: Episode 102

BTK II: Episode 101

After murdering five people, the killer known as BTK made his first contact with the media. But now he’s disappeared. For three long years would waits, before forcing his way into the home of a woman and slaying her while her children listened. Nine months later he would kill again, and continue to taunt the police, writing “Do the cops think that all those deaths are not related? Golly-gee yes the MO is different in each but look--a pattern is developing.” The pattern was laid out for all to see. But even when he resurfaces six years later to kill once more, the cops are clueless. In episode 101, Jac. Alexis and Billy are again joined by Denis Rader’s daughter Kerri, and they attempt to answer the question: how do the circumstances in a killer’s “normal” life change the way he chooses victims in his sadistic life.

77 MIN2 w ago
Comments
BTK II: Episode 101

BTK: Episode 100

A mother, father and their two children are found murdered in their Wichita, Kansas home. When a group of men falsely confess to the crimes, the real killer directs the police to a letter. He writes about the monster inside of him. The monster who needs to kill. “Maybe you can stop him. I can't. He has already chosen his next victim or victims. I don't know who they are yet. The next day after I read the paper, I will know, but it's too late. Good luck hunting.” In this landmark 100th episode, Jac, Alexis and Billy delve into one of the most twisted serial killers of all time, Denis Rader, who for forty years was known by the initials BTK. Their first degree guest is the killer’s daughter, Kerri Rawson, who had no idea the loving father who raised her was harboring a monster.

75 MIN3 w ago
Comments
BTK: Episode 100

John Getreu

Two young women, their bodies beaten and strangled and found less than a mile from each other in the hills near Stanford University. For 40 years their killer went undetected. Then, during the hunt for the Golden State Killer, a name pops up on law enforcement’s radar: John Getreu. In episode 99, Jac, Alexis and Billy tell the tale of a family man, a boy scout leader, a loving father and grandfather who was attacking and murdering women for decades—and how he was finally captured.

77 MINJUL 8
Comments
John Getreu

Margaret Williams

A teenager is getting ready for a school dance. She’s quiet and shy but tonight, her friends are making her look and feel like a million bucks. It’s the summer of 1963, and they will all be dancing to the early strains of rock n roll. But for Margaret Willams, it would be the last dance she would ever attend. The next day her body would be found half naked on a nearby baseball field. Her killer is swiftly captured—but that is just the beginning of this story. In episode 98, Jac, Alexis and Billy look into a serial killer whose crimes spanned across decades and continents—and who was finally captured during the search for The Golden State Killer.

60 MINJUL 1
Comments
Margaret Williams

Short Family

You drive past a lakefront mansion, see kids playing in the yard under the watchful eye of a smiling couple and you wish you could be that happy. They have it all. But what if there was something lurking in the shadows? Not everything is perfect. In episode 97, Jac, Alexis and Billy enter the home of the Short family on the shores of Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota, and discover that not everything is what it seems.

74 MINJUN 24
Comments
Short Family

Jayme Closs

In the middle of the night, a man bangs on the door of a suburban house. A mother and daughter huddle in the bathroom. A father goes to the front door to investigate. Within minutes, both the mother and father are killed with shotgun blasts. And the daughter was kidnapped. In episode 96, Jac, Alexis and Billy are joined by a true crime obsessive who followed the crime—who learned of her unthinkable connection to the case after Jayme’s miraculous escape. For Killing Time, they discuss the death of Robert Fuller, a black man found hanging from a tree in Palmdale, California.

90 MINJUN 17
Comments
Jayme Closs

NXIVM

The story of how Keith Raniere became an international self-help guru — and, later, a convicted sex-cult leader — is one of those cautionary tales that’s not unfamiliar. A man who is a master of manipulation, able to seduce, exploit, alienate and control countless individuals after developing keen abilities to select precise prey, bait them, and slowly coerce them into doing exactly what he wants. In episode 95, Jac, Alexis and Billy are joined by Josh Block of the podcast, Uncover: Escaping NXIVM as they dig into the cult that branded women, controlled their entire lives and eventually was brought to justice.

73 MINJUN 10
Comments
NXIVM

Listen

This week, we are handing our mic over to our Black listeners to share their experiences of living in this country as a Black American. To everyone who sent their stories in, thank you. We appreciate the time and energy you gave us, and we feel honored that we can amplify your voices.

87 MINJUN 5
Comments
Listen
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