Netflix’s new docuseries Murder Among the Mormons details a very bizarre investigation into three bombings that shocked Salt Lake City in the 1980s. Forged documents threatening to collapse the Mormon faith didn’t initially sound sinister enough for my taste, but they got me at “salamander.” I like to think that I can handle myself after a true crime doc, but after Crime Scene: The Vanishing At The Cecil Hotel, I couldn’t drink tap water for a week. Happily, Murder Among the Mormons left a different taste in my mouth. After three episodes of gothic cathedrals, fall foliage, and serene mountain vistas, I couldn’t help but wonder… should I… become Mormon? And scarier, would they even want me? Could I sacrifice my integrity for a 1950s husband that actually encourages me to stay home? And is relocating to Utah the exact answer to escalating housing prices and smog-filled hikes I’ve been looking for? (lol at pretending I hike). There were more than a few fun twists throughout the series—like encountering the sultry, soft whisper of who can only be described as the real-life Mr. Peanut Man. However, considering moving to Pleasantville and tossing away every feminist T-shirt in my dresser was not the outcome I expected. Netflix’s Dream Home Makeover certainly makes finding a mansion for $15 feel feasible. I could get used to an entire house of white built-ins, right? After all, The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City makes Mormonism feel more like a Girl Scout Badge than an actual belief system. Dare I say….it might be worth it?
That said, considering joining the Mormons wasn’t the only unexpected takeaway. Never before have I watched a crime doc in which every single man frighteningly looks like they just got cut from the Santa Claus mall auditions. (White hair. Very white skin. And a puffiness that only milk and cookies can bring.) I finished the doc dreaming of sugarplum fairies. Murder Among the Mormons clearly offers a lot in terms of entertainment and thought-provoking meditation. So, let’s dive into some other subjects the Mormons might have you considering, second to a career in forgery.
Hear me out—evolution is real and great. However, several moments throughout the series they ask you to picture a childhood where dinosaur books are banned. My answer to that: please! The trauma of watching The Land Before Time cannot be underscored enough. The startling death of Little Foot’s parents will haunt my generation for years to come. Can we all agree dinosaurs are to blame for millennials feeling like there’s no use in saving for a future? It’s not not true.
Bring Back The Pussy Bow
If Blanche Devereaux taught me anything, it’s that anyone can pull off a shoulder pad with the right amount of swagger. There is a plethora of mod sweater vests, oversized Princess Diana-esque sweatshirts, and matching plaid suits decorating the series. Yet, nothing shines brighter than the women of Salt Lake City fully rocking the lost art of the pussy bow blouse. Maybe I’ve been in sweatpants too long…but the large, floppy silk bow ties look chic as hell. Full stan!
It’s Time to Buy A Drill
Mark Hofmann is not your typical murder show bad guy. This is a man who told his wife he wanted to go into “the document business,” which I’m pretty sure was my improvised answer when the college counselor asked for my future plans. Still, he was able to construct a pipe bomb before the days of Google. I have to say, unless Amazon starts to ship dynamite, I can’t imagine most millennials being able to do this. Which got me thinking… it’s time to learn how to work a drill. I’ve Allen wrenched enough IKEA bookshelves to furnish the entirety of the LDS Church. Yet, I have no actual construction skills. It’s 2021, damnit. It’s high time I stop relying on ex-Mormon friends (they exist!) to hang my shelves. Going to a hardware store tomorrow!
The Importance of Your Quarantine Lewk
Midway through the series, they begin to describe the suspect as the man “in a green letterman jacket.” They repeat this so many times I start sweating thinking of how I might be described once the LAPD starts taking parking tickets seriously. Horrifying descriptions like: “the girl in the ripped pajamas,” “the girl wearing 2008 Ugg boots,” and worst of all, “the girl in the Twilight hoodie,” have mortified me into entirely rethinking what I’m sporting to walk my dog at midnight. You just never know.
The No-Global-Warming Aesthetic
Growing up in the heat of Texas, I never fathomed it was possible to sprout real-life evergreens in the front yard. And yet, so many LDS houses are tucked into cocoons of magical forest and the lushest green grass you’ve ever seen. There are clearly no water restrictions in Salt Lake. Turns out living in a small town where climate change isn’t real means Douglas Firs can grow in place of house plants and sad succulents. Is Utah maybe the North Pole, but like, with a few dead bodies here and there? It’s worth a visit.
Don’t Cheap Out
If you’re gonna pay someone to do something sketchy for you, make sure you pay in full. After the FBI hits a dead end, the case springs back open when a man working at the printing press finally names the culprit. His reason for snitching? Mark was “a couple of bucks short.” Enough said. Keep your friends close and pay the people that matter most—like your neighborhood hitmen and Postmates drivers!
We’re All Lazy, Even The FBI
I have to say, the most inspiring realization watching Murder Among The Mormons is that anyone can have a bad day at work and choose to give up. The FBI, as in the very official United States Federal Bureau of Investigation, did such a rush job authenticating the forged documents that it clearly must have been Monday night and everyone in D.C. needed to get home to watch The Bachelor. It’s comforting to know that even the FBI decides to phone it in every once in a while. So basically, give yourself another sick day! You’re only human!
All assassinations considered, Murder Among The Mormons is as comforting as true crime can get. It’s not going to get your heart racing, but 80s fashion, cute wraparound wooden decks, and 10 minutes discussing the minutiae of cracked ink will leave you feeling wistful. I’m reminded of the days of Mary-Kate and Ashley using invisible ink to send important messages to each other like: can you read this? In a world of cults, pedophilia, and serial killers, something as simple as forgery is a nice palate cleanser. Somehow, after watching three bombs detonate a city, I feel oddly…motivated. Do I truly want to sign up for a religion that celebrates racism and misogyny? No. Do I actually want to live in a land of MAGA hats and blonde extensions? Hells no. But being able to fall asleep dreaming of affordable housing after the high of binging a murder show feels pretty damn good to me. Cue the SNL song—this is as good as it gets.
Imags: Courtesy of Netflix © 2021 (2); Netflix
We’ve already explored the many, many questions Netflix’s Tiger King leaves its audience to answer, like “are you really allowed to just own a tiger?” and “what is Howard’s deal?” But the most pressing question Tiger King asks is if who, if anyone, are the good people here? When every single person is an animal abuser at best and a straight-up murderer at worst, it’s kind of hard to figure out who to root for in this sordid tale of tigers, betrayal, and alleged murder. But goddammit, I’ve tried. Here’s our ranking of Tiger King characters from most and least likely to end up in the Bad Place.
10. Travis Moldonado
If anyone in this show is a pure victim, it’s poor, sweet, Travis, whom I think we can all agree was actually pretty cute before Joe Exotic used drugs to coerce him into a gay polygamist relationship despite Travis not identifying as gay or polygamist. Sweet Travis didn’t deserve to get all caught up with these crazy-ass tiger people. Travis was innocent!
9. John Finlay
Joe’s first husband is also innocent in all of this. The only thing he did wrong was fall in love with a charismatic man named Joe Exotic. (And also meth.) The only reason I ranked him worse than Travis was because he was kind of complicit in bringing Travis in on this whole thing in the first place, and for his choice to conduct his interview shirtless.
8. Joshua Dial
Joshua Dial, aka Joe Exotic’s campaign manager, is a fairly empathetic character in this documentary in that he literally watches someone shoot themself. That said, I think it’s irresponsible to try to help get a guy whom you met in the ammo section of Walmart and describe as “Donald Trump on meth” elected to public office, simply because being a campaign manager is your dream job.
Props to him for getting 19% of the vote in the governor campaign, though. Mike Bloomberg paid like, half a billion for those numbers.
7. Howard Baskin
When you catch him liking another girl’s pic on IG pic.twitter.com/LBDilmpHQZ
— notanothertruecrimepod (@NATCpod) March 26, 2020
I did a vibe check on Howard and it came back negative. Something’s not right with this man. Why does he stan Carole so hard? What kind of weird sex thing is going on there? *Remembers the photo of their wedding where she has him dressed as a little tiger on a leash* Oh…right…
6. James Garrettson
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Yes, James Garrettson is a snitch, and by virtue of that, deserving of stitches. But like, who can hate a man who rides a jet ski so confidently? Yes, he turned on his own friends to avoid prosecution on an illegal lemur purchasing charge, but the result of that snitching is that another person was not murdered. So I guess he’s ultimately good?
5. Mario Tabraue
Mario Tabraue, aka “The Real Life Tony Montana,” is probably the most hardened, legitimate criminal in this documentary. Tabraue was one of the biggest movers of illegal narcotics in Miami during the 80s, and was arrested for his involvement in the murder of an ATF agent. He is also the most level-headed individual in the entire series. Go figure.
4. Jeff Lowe
Motherf*cking Jeff Lowe the zoo thief. How dare this man take Joe Exotic’s zoo and attempt to turn it into a reputable organization? That’s not why people come to G.W. Zoo! They come to pet baby tigers and have a dude with a mullet point a gun at them. That’s it. Also I don’t get good vibes from his relationship with Lauren. What’s going on there? Who openly tells their wife they want to hire a f*ckable nanny, and that she has to get back in the gym immediately after giving birth to his child? I don’t care what kind of open arrangement you have, that’s disrespectful.
And I am definitely not convinced this new zoo he’s building is going to be up to code.
3. Doc Antle
So Doc Antle may not be an alleged murderer like some of the other people on this list, but he still snags third place because this motherf*cker just casually had a sex cult!!! Can we get another Netflix doc on the tiger sex cult? You can’t just like, introduce a sex cult for one episode in a docuseries and then just go back to having that guy in interviews like everything is fine. I need to know about the sex cult, and I need to know about it yesterday. Netflix, you know what to do.
2. Joe Exotic
What is there to say about Joe Exotic that hasn’t already been said? On the one hand, Joe Exotic is a hilarious character about whom I would (and did) happily watch 7 episodes of documentary footage. On the other hand, he’s a violent psychopath who tried to have a woman killed. This is a man who has personally killed multiple tigers. As entertaining of a character as he is, he is not a good person.
I know this decision is going to be controversial. In trying to figure out whether to make Joe or Carole number one, I had to ask one crucial question: What’s worse, actually attempting to murder someone, or allegedly actually murdering someone?
After much thought and peer review (I asked my fiancé), I have decided that, if true, Carole murdering her husband and feeding him to her questionably “rescued” tigers probably makes her the worst person in Tiger King. It’s very, very stiff competition, but I think it’s the alleged feeding of his body to the tigers that sends Carole over the edge here. Absent the fairly credible case that she killed her husband and fed him to tigers, Carole would probably be around 4 or 5 for just being home-wrecker who abuses both tigers and interns.
Image: Netflix; natcpod / Twitter; natcpod, oklahoma_zoo / Instagram
Hello everyone, and welcome back to another installment of the Ukrainian orphan saga. It’s been a few weeks since we last heard about Natalia/Natasha, and I really still haven’t processed this entire story. I mean, this story has everything: an orphan with a rare form of dwarfism, a Ukrainian birth mother, multiple adoptive families, and a big ol’ mystery about Natalia’s age. It’s crazy that this sh*t is actually real, but here we are. I’m not going to try to recap every twist and turn of this story because, frankly, I don’t have all day, but you can read our past articles if you want the juicy details.
But now, there’s been a major development in the mystery of the Ukrainian orphan, and we may have finally gotten to the bottom of the biggest question at the center of this whole debacle: Natalia’s age. DUN DUN DUN. Because Sara, our resident true crime expert, is on vacation, allow me to bring you the latest major update in this story that just keeps. On. Giving.
The new information comes from a couple named Vincent and Nicole DePaul, who sat down for an interview with Inside Edition. Vincent and Nicole both have a form of dwarfism similar to Natalia’s, and according to them, they almost adopted her back in 2009. If you’re keeping track of the timeline here, that’s before she ended up with the Barnetts, the family who claimed she was an adult posing as a child. Okay, how many families adopted or almost adopted this girl?? We’re not even talking about the Ciccones, who still won’t speak publicly about this.
Vincent & Nicole DePaul
The DePauls didn’t end up going through with the adoption, and they don’t specify the exact reason. But they do have paperwork that, if it’s authentic, proves that Natalia wasn’t an adult at the time. According to what they say is her official birth certificate, she was born in 2003, which by my calculations would have made her six years old in 2009. Not 22. Hmm. Vincent DePaul also pushed back against the Barnett family’s reasoning for questioning Natalia’s age. He’s adamant that Natalia both looked and acted like a child, and that should have been enough proof of her age. “Do I look like a kid? I’m a dwarf,” he told Inside Edition. (He definitely doesn’t look like a kid.)
While I’m not going to make a definitive call here about the birth certificate being real (you never f*cking know!!), I have to say that I was always suspicious about the claims of the Barnett family. I don’t know, it always just seemed a little too crazy to be true. I can honestly say though, I never thought I would be this invested in the details of a random Ukrainian orphan’s convoluted adoption history, but here we are. If the documentation from this new family turns out to be legit, then we have conclusive proof that Natalia/Natasha is, in fact, still a teenager. I’m not sure that we’ll ever have answers to every question about the larger story here, especially about Natalia’s birth mother Anna and all the drama that went down with the Barnetts, but at least we can put to rest the part of this story that is literally pulled straight from a horror movie. Shockingly, the plot of Orphan didn’t come true!
Images: Warner Bros. Pictures; Inside Edition
Gypsy Rose Blanchard, who is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence after pleading guilty in 2016 to the second-degree murder of her mother, is single once again after breaking her engagement to her fiancé, Ken. Gypsy, now 28, began her prison sentence in 2016. After a few short months, met a man named Ken through the prison’s pen pal system. Some people have all the luck!! After several months of writing back and forth, Ken and Gypsy met in real life, along with her father and step-mother (at least she didn’t have to stress over what to wear). The two quietly became engaged soon after the visit and began focusing on what their lives together would look like after Gypsy’s release.
But it looks like all good things must come to an end. According to an insider interview with E! News, Gypsy and Ken parted ways but are seemingly being more mature about it than most would be. “Both Gypsy and Ken are brokenhearted over the situation and still have nothing but love for each other,” says an E! News insider. I don’t want to judge, but it must be relatively easy to maintain an amicable breakup when you know you’re not going to bump into your ex at happy hour or while buying cheese puffs at Target. The insider continued that the former lovebirds both want to take some time to focus on themselves, which for Gypsy shouldn’t be an issue until about 2026.
Gypsy rose to notoriety when the very bizarre details of her case came to light. In 2015, she convinced a man she met online, Nicolas Godejohn, to murder her mother after facing years of abuse. Their story became widely known thanks to the 2017 HBO documentary Mommy Dead and Dearest, as well as the 2019 Emmy-nominated Hulu show The Act, starring Patricia Arquette as Dee Dee and Joey King as Gypsy Rose.
Gypsy’s story garnered sympathy because Dee Dee, who suffered from Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy (a mental disorder that makes one crave attention and sympathy by being a caretaker), raised Gypsy in a constant state of illness. To the outside world, Gypsy appeared constantly sick. Dee Dee even lived in a home with a wheelchair ramp, shaved Gypsy’s head, lied about Gypsy’s age, and distanced her from any medical professional who questioned her symptoms. After her mother’s murder, Gypsy took to their shared Facebook account posting several disturbing statements, one of which being “That bitch is dead!” She later explained she’d posted the messages in an attempt for someone to find her mother’s body. Gypsy expressed remorse for the killing and ultimately only faced 10 years in prison due to the extreme conditions in which she was raised, and the belief that her only way out of the volatile situation was through murder. Meanwhile, Godejohn was sentenced to life in prison.
Hopefully by the time Gypsy is released, The Bachelor will still be going strong. Reality TV loves someone with a rocky past!
UPDATE: The same day as calling off her engagement with fiancé Ken, Gypsy’s stepmother, Kristy Blanchard, contacted InTouch to announce that the pending nuptials are back on! “They’re taking things slow and want to keep their relationship as private as possible,” Kristy told InTouch, putting in no effort whatsoever to keep their relationship private.
Idk how you maintain an on-again/off-again relationship when your only sources of communications are letters and once-a-day, 90-second phone calls but hey, Tim Robbins tunneled his way through a 20-foot-thick concrete wall with a f*cking baby hammer, so wish it, will it!
In “Justice Is Finally Served” News of the week, cult leader Keith Raniere was just found guilty and faces up to life in prison when he is sentenced on September 25th. The jury took less than half a day to decide this because, no sh*t, he’s a piece of sh*t.
If you aren’t familiar with NXIVM, it was a sex cult under the guise of being a “self-help” group that was extremely brutal and abusive to women. Pronounced like the heartburn medication Nexium (sorry, their public relations team), it was built on members recruiting new members to try and advance their “personal growth,” and particularly in Hollywood, their careers. If you’re interested in a full on deep-dive into their inner workings, and how Smallville is involved, I recommend our podcast Not Another True Crime Podcast’s most recent episode that goes all into this. Listen below.
But, for the quick rundown, here’s what happened with his trial: Raniere was found guilty of racketeering and sex trafficking after a six-week trial that exposed the disgusting and painful details of what he made his “members” go through.
As previously mentioned, NXIVM found a way to work itself into Hollywood and get some high-profile members to join, like Smallville actress Allison Mack and Seagram liquor heir Clare Bronfman, who were also found guilty on various other charges. The main sex cult aspect of the organization is actually a sub-group of NXIVM, known as D.O.S. (which translates from Latin to “Lord/Master of the Obedient Female Comapnions, cool) where Raniere would make women perform sex on him or other members of the cult and also brand them with a painful tattoo that ended up being the shape of Keith and Allison’s initials.
Additionally, he would basically make them create blackmail for themselves—either with naked photos or videotaped confessions where they would say awful things about their family members and friends to hold over them if they tried to leave. One woman even went so far as to falsely report her dad for sexually abusing her to their local newspaper.
From there, he would have women starve themselves in order to get to the body type he found appealing, making them both too weak to fight or think about how unfairly they were treated. All around, he is an awful human who is getting the least of what he deserves. See ya in hell, Keith!!
Images: Keith Raniere Conversations / Youtube
Ashton Kutcher’s life turned into a live-action episode of Dateline last week when he had to testify at a murder trial. No, this was not an elaborate stunt he concocted to convince MTV to bring back Punk’d (although I fully support any show that makes Justin Timberlake cry), this is real life. So now I’m sure you’re thinking, “WTF is Ashton doing testifying in this case, and more importantly, why is he sporting facial hair that makes it look like he’s the sexual predator?” Never fear, FBI agent Sweetest Betch is here to take the case.
So here are the facts. Ashton testified in the case against the “Hollywood Ripper,” who is accused of murdering at least two women, including Ashley Ellerin, a girl Ashton was seeing at the time. The “Hollywood Ripper” is obviously a nickname given to the alleged killer in an attempt to sensationalize the case *check* and terrify the public *check*. My favorite profiler, S.S.A. Agent Hotchner, would not approve. Anyway, the alleged killer’s real name is Michael Gargiulo, so I’m pretty sure he is also a former Bachelorette contestant and my local news anchor.
Here’s what happened. On the night of February 21, 2000, Ashton went over to Ashley’s Hollywood home to pick her up and go out to dinner and drinks. They had spoken earlier that night, at 8:24pm, but by the time Ashton got to her apartment at 10:45pm (for dinner? Really, pal?), Ashley was not answering. Police believe that after talking to Ashton, Ashley was attacked from behind by Gargiulo, who allegedly stabbed her 47 times and then fled the scene. When Ashton got to the apartment, he rang the doorbell but no one answered. He looked in the window and saw what he thought was red wine spilled on the carpet, which he didn’t think was weird because she had had a party days earlier. Ashton left, figuring she bailed on him because he was so late to pick her up. He found out the next day that she had been brutally murdered, and that definitely wasn’t wine. Oh no.
Ashton also testified that the next day police approached him and he was “freaking out” because his fingerprints were on the door. He was never considered a suspect, but imagine if he was falsely imprisoned?! The world would never have been blessed with his star-making turn as Steve Jobs, or been able to Netflix and chill while watching The Ranch, or enjoyed his time on Two and a Half Men, or wait… I’d be kind of fine with that?
Ashley Ellerin was a student at L.A.’s Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising when she met Ashton, and was originally from Northern California. She allegedly encountered Gargiulo when he offered to help her when she had a flat tire, and then he began showing up at her home unannounced. Seriously, and I cannot stress this enough, f*ck that guy.
Gargiulo is also charged with the murder of Maria Bruno, the attempted murder of Michelle Murphy, and is suspected of murdering Tricia Pacaccio. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. Based on my knowledge of over 200 hours of Criminal Minds, I can say confidently and with no authority whatsoever that Michael Gargiulo is a human piece of trash. Well he’s worse than that, but I can’t think of better words than that because I’m so mad right now. If he is found guilty, I hope he is sentenced to the maximum punishment and is also forced to watch Two and a Half Men on a loop for the rest of his life. Welcome to the bad place, Michael.
Images: Giphy (2)
I don’t want to brag, guys, but I am basically a true crime expert. Meaning I watch any and all things true crime on Netflix (and other streaming sites), I obsess, I stalk, I Wikipedia. I am also always on the lookout for new things to watch to make sure that I don’t start developing faith in the world. I don’t even know what it would be like to sleep through the night without waking up at every sound, sure that there is a murderer outside of my window. We’ve all seen Making A Murderer (and if you haven’t, do so immediately) so if you are on the lookout for more things to terrify you about the world, here you are. Here are the best true crime shows/movies to watch right now on Netflix, the home of true crime.
‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile’
Ted Bundy, so hot right now. With the new movie starring Zac Efron as everyone’s favorite serial killer (I say that in jest), it’s really time to cancel all your weekend plans and go down a Ted Bundy rabbit hole. This biographical crime thriller chronicles Bundy’s crimes, but it is told from the lens of his longtime girlfriend (played by Lily Collins), who was in denial about who Ted really was for a long time. And once you watch Extremely Wicked and can’t get enough Ted Bundy information, you can watch the documentary about his crimes, which is also on this list. You’re welcome.
‘Lizzie Borden Took An Ax’
I’m probably not a good gauge of whether this is actually a good movie, because I am so obsessed with the Lizzie Borden story, I don’t even care. This is a fictionalized retelling of the famous story based on, and embellishing upon, true facts, since we don’t really know how it actually happened. It also stars Christina Ricci, Wednesday Addams herself. There is something just soooo dark about a murder story that inspired children everywhere to make it into a nursery rhyme that we’d sing when we played jump rope. Like, wtf is that?
This one has been on Netflix for a couple years, but it is so. f*cked. up. It exposes the horrors behind the murder of nun Sister Cathy Cesnik, who taught at a Catholic high school. She was on her way to exposing creep and pedophile priest, A. Joseph Maskell, for sexually abusing students and the authorities may have covered up her murder. Majorly traumatizing and makes you never want to trust anyone again (or go to church).
‘Abducted In Plain Sight‘
If you haven’t seen AIPS yet, you need to. It just came out in January! It’s incredibly creepy and disturbing. It tells the true kidnappings (yes, plural) of Jan Broberg Felt, who was taken by her neighbor at age 12 and 14. I don’t want to give it away too much, but it’s probably one of the most bizarre stories you’ll ever hear in your life. The one question it will leave you with is: WHERE WERE THE PARENTS??
‘Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes‘
Ted Bundy is one of the creepiest serial killers ever—mostly because he was charismatic, good-looking, and not at all the creepy dude in the shadows that we grew up believing all criminals were. He broke the facade that the “good guy” is safe, and that you can never really know anyone. I am soooo excited to see Zac Efron portray him in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile (on Netflix on May 3rd!!!), and when you’re done with that, hear the story from Ted himself on Conversations with a Killer.
This story is so crazy, mostly because I’m still not sure where I stand on it. Basically, Amanda Knox was an American student studying abroad in Italy when her roommate was murdered and she was accused and convicted of the crime. She spent four years in an Italian prison before she appealed and was acquitted. Is she guilty? I truly don’t know. Watch it and tell me your thoughts.
‘The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann’
You probably remember Madeleine McCann’s face because her story was every parent’s worst nightmare and it was everywhere. Picturesque British family goes on vacation in Portugal, and return home from dinner to find their 4-year-old missing. This docuseries covers the entire story (and even some parts nobody wanted, like the entire tourism history of the Algarve), including all the twists and turns about the allegations that her parents had something to do with it. It’s all very strange and tragic but super interesting. You will definitely go down the internet black hole trying to figure out what happened after watching this.
Okay, this story is crazy. It’s one of those where when you first hear it, you’re like, okay, that sucks and must have been a freak accident, but then the more details you get, the stranger it is. Basically, Michael Peterson gets in a fight with his wife, Kathleen, and goes out to the pool to calm down. When he comes back, his wife had supposedly drunkenly fallen down the stairs and died. And even better, this was not the first time this has happened to someone in Michael’s proximity. So what really happened? I don’t want to give away my thoughts but I also know enough about true crime to not trust a man named Peterson. (See: Drew Peterson, Scott Peterson).
Can’t get enough true crime? Listen to Not Another True Crime Podcast, a Betches podcast that delves into unsolved mysteries, murders, cults, scams, and other sketchy sh*t that’s morbidly fascinating. New episodes out Mondays!
Images: Netflix PR; Giphy; Netflix
Gather round, children, and let me tell you the twisted tale of how Courtney Love (#TBT) may have conspired with a Riverdale star and Britney Spears’ ex manager to have her daughter’s ex-husband murdered. Yeah. Just sit with that for a sec. You ready? Let’s dive in…
Our story begins back in May, when Frances Bean Cobain’s ex-husband (side note: Frances Bean is old enough to be married and divorced??) Isaiah Silva filed a lawsuit against Courtney Love, Love’s manager Sam Lufti (who also used to be Britney Spears’ manager), and several other men. While suing Courtney Love is nothing out of the ordinary, the crime the lawsuit alleges she committed 100% is. According to the suit, Love conspired with these men to break into his house and steal back the acoustic guitar Kurt Cobain played during Nirvana’s iconic 1993 MTV Unplugged performance. (Secondary sidenote: don’t give your dead dad’s important sh*t to anyone, even if you’re married to them. You never know what might happen. Pete Davidson, I’m looking at you, boo.)
But they didn’t just want the guitar, grunge fans—oh no. They wanted blood. According to Silva’s lawsuit, part of the plan was not only to steal the guitar, but also to kill him. And that’s not all. This lawsuit also names Riverdale and 13 Reasons Why star Ross Butler as one of the murderous accomplices. It’s hard to believe someone with a major role in two of the biggest teen dramas of the year would even have the time to commit a murder but, then again, who knows what Ross was up to in 2016. We were all different then. I didn’t even have bangs.
Butler is asking the courts dismiss the suit and is denying that he ever tried to murder anyone—acting releases endorphins, endorphins make you happy, and happy people don’t kill rock legends’ daughter’s ex-husbands. They just don’t! But this story is too juicy not to at least entertain it for a little while.
So What Does Each Side Say?
According to Silva, Sam Lufti, Ross Butler, and some other randos showed up at his house in June of 2016, burglarized him, “sexually battered” him, tried to kill him, and attempted to steal back Kurt’s guitar. He says they got into the house by pretending to be cops, beat him up, and dragged him to an Escalade and drove away. Luckily for Silva, a friend who was visiting ran out of the house and called 911, then used his own car to block their exit, effectively ending the attempted kidnapping. When the LAPD showed up, Silva says Lufti told him he and Courtney “own the judicial system,” and pressured Silva into saying it was a “prank gone wrong.” He also says someone hacked his phone to plant false suicidal messages so that they could make his death look like a suicide. And all this for a guitar that they didn’t even get.
In Butler’s version of the story, on the night in question he and Lufti drove to Silva’s house because they were concerned over some “troubling text messages” and wanted to make sure Frances and Isaiah were okay. When they arrived, Butler says they noticed sheets covering the windows and knocked on the front door, which set off an alarm. Butler says eventually someone came to the door and he was greeted “calmly and amicably by Silva.” He also describes Silva as “frail, emaciated, and had a terrible odor.” Damn. So his defense is basically, “I never tried to murder anyone and also you smell like sh*t.”
Apparently after that, Butler claims that “another man” called the police, who arrived, spoke to everyone, and left. He says he was “shocked” to learn Silva had sued him. Butler is now demanding the claims be dismissed.
Soooo What Do We Think?
Umm…this seems…far fetched? I’m not one to shy away from murder conspiracies involving Courtney Love, but what does Ross Butler have to gain here? On the other hand, both Silva and Frances Bean have been embroiled in a battle over her father’s guitar for years, and it was eventually awarded to Silva in the divorce settlement, (I REPEAT: DO NOT GIVE YOUR DEAD DAD’S STUFF TO YOUR SPOUSE NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU LIKE THEM!!!) so I could see this getting ugly. Also Sam Lufti is shady as f*ck, and Britney had to get a restraining order against him back in the day. And if Britney doesn’t trust you, then I don’t trust you. That’s just the rule.
On the other other hand, if someone broke into your house, beat you up, and tried to steal your one of a kind guitar, wouldn’t you like…pursue a criminal case and not just sue them? Also, if they did all that sh*t, why didn’t they get the guitar? If you were going to fake a suicide, why would you take the person out of the house? Also, why did his friend only run out of the house at the end and not doing anything during the burglary/assault/attempted murder? And if he had been beaten up so badly wouldn’t the LAPD have like, noticed that when the arrived? Also, why does Silva smell so bad? These are questions I have.
So do I think that Courtney Love, Britney Spears’ ex manager, and Ross Butler conspired to kill someone and steal his guitar? Probs not. Do I think it would make an amazing plotline on Riverdale? Hell yeah.