Major Crimes · Adnan Syed · Nuwaubians
Plus: our first "Why hasn’t this been optioned?"
Some listeners may have experienced a distracting echo in the audio for The Blotter Presents 103; I'm so sorry about that! I think I've solved the problem, and you can download a re-edited version if you'd like. Just delete the one on your app and re-download the new one. Apologies for the inconvenience, and thanks to the tipsters who let me know about the issue. - SDB
An LA-based true crime series has attracted a scribe from The Wire. The show’s called Major Crimes, which is pretty confusing since that’s also the name of the fictionalized The Closer spinoff that ran for 105 eps, ended in 2018, and is also about the LAPD. So good luck with Google, y’all! According to Deadline, the newly-announced show is “an original anthology series which will follow the most daring heists, robberies, and crimes in Los Angeles history,” with each season covering a single crime and offering “an in-depth look at both the detectives and criminals behind the case.”
The writer and showrunner is Chris Collins, who has also written for the Starz drama Crash, which I guess makes him familiar with projects that could suffer from significant market confusion. Details on what case will make up the first season have yet to be revealed. What would you like to see them tackle? Drop us a line (paid subscribers can also leave a comment) to let us know what LA story you’d like to see the show take on. -- EB
It’s been several months since Juston Brown, the lawyer for Adnan Syed, tweeted the next planned step in an effort to get his client a new trial. The tweet followed a Maryland court decision denying Syed -- who you of course know from Serial and The Case Against Adnan Syed (the latter of which we covered on the podcast back in March) -- a retrial in the death of Hae Min Lee.
At the time, Syed’s team was given a deadline of July 18 to appeal the state decision with the top court in the land. His appellate attorney, Cate Stetson filed for an extension that was recently granted by Chief Justice John Roberts, so they now have until August 19 to file with SCOTUS.
The argument for the new trial is based on the same one we’ve heard from the get-go: Ineffective assistance of counsel, specifically Syed’s first attorney’s failure to speak with Asia McClain. (Side note: has anyone here read McClain’s book, Confessions of a Serial Alibi? Is it worth a look?) In her deadline extension request, Stetson argued that the potentially prejudicial impact of ineffective counsel “presents an important question of federal law,” hence it’s need to be heard by the Supremes. -- EB
Why hasn’t this been optioned?: “A 14-Year Neighborhood Feud Involved Restraining Orders, Spells, and Jail Time.” You have got to check out this longread from Terence Cantarella about a graphic designer and a Miami cop locked in a wild neighborhood dispute that -- from my position as an outside observer who is familiar with kids -- a child’s exaggeration.
Like a club recommended by Stefon, this story has everything: alleged police misconduct, alleged Nazi salutes, restraining orders, bad real estate decisions, and multiple arrests. It seems ready-made for either a shortish docuseries or a fictionalized feature-length adaptation, and I’m hopeful that Cantarella’s gotten some calls. You can read the piece here, or listen to an audio version here, after which I expect you to report back with your casting ideas. -- EB
If the Nuwaubians are new to you, you might want to check out this podcast. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Nuwaubian Nation of Moors is an extremist group “which mixes black supremacist ideas with worship of the Egyptians and their pyramids, a belief in UFOs and various conspiracies related to the Illuminati and the Bilderbergers.” The group was based in Eatonton, Georgia and was founded by a guy named Dwight York, who was eventually convicted of multiple counts of child molestation and racketeering. According to reports at the time, the case was “the largest prosecution for child molestation ever directed at a single person in the history of the United States, both in terms of number of victims and number of incidents.”
The group was the subject of an episode of People Magazine Investigates: Cults that aired last year (you can stream it here), and is also the topic of the most recent ep of the True Crime Chronicles podcast. On the ep, longtime Atlanta reporter Doug Richards discusses his work on the story and Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills explains “how he took down the most infamous man in his county.” You can listen to the pod here. -- EB
A series that investigated the death of Selena Quintanilla is coming to the US. You’re likely familiar with the singer from, at the very least, the J-Lo biopic Selena: She rose to fame in the 1980s and 90s, but was shot to death by a friend in 1995.
Last year, El Secreto de Selena — a series based on the book of the same name, by journo Maria Celeste Arrará — aired for TNT viewers in Mexico and Latin America. Telemundo has since picked up the show, and will air it in the U.S. starting on August 25. Presumably, if there was a shocking revelation within the series we would have heard about it after its airing last fall, but fans of the musician might find something of use in the show. If not, there’s always the scripted Netflix series on Selena that was announced in 2018, or the long-promised drama inspired by the singer that’s reportedly headed to ABC. -- EB
Friday on Best Evidence: Bracing for Nancy Grace, the Skelton brothers, and a short film on the Steve Avery case.
What is this thing? This should help.