Breaking Bad follows a high school science teacher who cooks up meth with a former student, kicking off a fast slide into murder, extortion and unsavory partnerships as a bona fide drug lord. Too crazy to be true…right? Well, maybe not. In 2011, police in California arrested Stephen Kinzey; professor by day, outlaw biker and meth distributor by night. Kinzey has been out on bail since his initial arrest. The preliminary hearing to determine whether or not the case against him is strong enough to go to trial was scheduled for June, it’s since been delayed.

Natasha Vargas-Cooper wrote about the real-life Walter White for BuzzFeed, and took the time to talk with us. She’s also a frequent contributor to The Atlantic, and The New York Times among others.

Harper Collins

Nearly three years have passed since Long Island police uncovered the bodies of four dead girls along their local ocean parkway. Following the discovery, authorities uncovered commonalities among the deceased that included internet prostitution and a poor, working class socio-economic background. These revelations, coupled with a fifth girl who disappeared nearby under similar circumstances, resulted in the pursuit of a faceless serial killer who left behind very few leads.

Lost Girls: An Abbreviated Timeline

Jul 29, 2013
Harper Collins Publishers

We spoke with author Robert Kolker about the unsolved case, dubbed the Long Island Serial Killer by the press and public. Here's an abbreviated version of the timeline in Lost Girls of the events surrounding the ongoing investigation. The full story and timeline is discussed in Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery.

April 20, 1996: Two female legs, wrapped in a plastic bag, are discovered on Fire Island west of Davis Park Beach.

NakedSwanTrader via Flickr Creative Commons

The 2002 film Minority Report, based on a short story by Philip K. Dick, imagines a futuristic crime unit that uses data provided by psychics to apprehend criminals before they commit crimes.

Null Value

In July of 2007, the sleepy suburban town of Cheshire, Connecticut woke up to a house set ablaze, three fatalities, one survivor, and two suspects caught fleeing the scene.  What had started as a home invasion and robbery had ended in rape, arson, and a triple homicide.  A new full-length documentary debuting on Monday, July 22nd on HBO explores how the Cheshire murders scarred the town, terrorized the survivors, and sparked public debate in a state poised to abolish capital punishment.  Kate Davis and David Heilbroner, who together produced and directed The Cheshire Murders, joined us to discuss their film.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

9:56: Mara says, “We need more police officers and we need to more of the community involved.” Says we need people to look out for each other. “We need to work together.” The department needs to do a better job, as well.

9:54: Mara says stats are kept on how many crimes are solved. For example, on robberies, we do much better than the national average. “You constantly have to assess what you’re doing.”  

Sara Plourde / NHPR

Part 1, also referred to as "index crimes," is a category of eight crimes laid out by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as serious crimes likely to be reported. What sets Part 1 crimes apart, in particular, is the way they are tracked: Part 1 crimes are tracked based on how often they are reported, whereas Part 2 crimes - comprising just about all other crimes, such as drug offenses, white collar crime, and nuisance crimes like public drunkenness - are tracked based on arrests made.

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

All this summer, NHPR’s newsroom will take a closer look at crime in Manchester and how it affects the city and its residents. We’re calling the series Queen City Crime. Today, we begin with a look at Manchester’s Police Department and how it balances small-city challenges with big-city problems. A renewed focus on community policing is helping the department solve some of its staffing issues.

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Early in June, the Supreme Court cleared the way for police to take DNA samples for people they arrest, without a warrant. The decision has stirred concerns among criminal justice and privacy advocates. The challenge of legally obtaining DNA samples from suspects is an essential plot point in police and court dramas – driving the action across two or even three commercial breaks. New York Times television critic Neil Genzlinger wondered what effect the high court ruling could have on TV crime shows.

This is a time of year when educators and students are turning their minds toward graduation or summer plans.

In Exeter, though, many people are focusing on something more troubling: three teachers at Exeter High School have been accused of misconduct. All three have resigned, including one of them today.

via W.W. Norton Company Inc.

At the time of his capture in 2011, James “Whitey” Bulger  was wanted for 19 murders, extortion and loan sharking committed during his reign over Boston’s Irish mob between the 1970s and 1995. During 16 years on the lam, Whitey became the subject of myth; characterized alternately as a “good bad guy”, and, in Martin Scorsese’s 2006 film, The Departed, a venal sociopath.

Shelley Murphy and Kevin Cullen, a pair of Boston Globe journalists have drawn on 25 years of reporting to create a more complete and nuanced portrait of the restless boy from the Boston projects who became the most wanted fugitive of his generation. Tonight, Murphy and Cullen will be at the Red River Theatre for a screening of The Departed and at a pre-screening reception and talk.

Leo Reynolds via flickr Creative Commons

“Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most.”

-Fyodor Dostoyevsky  from Crime and Punishment

In this fearless edition of Word of Mouth, we take new steps and utter new words about crime, punishment and everything in between.

Prosecutors say they now have a clearer picture of what happened to University of New Hampshire student Elizabeth Marriott, who has been missing and presumed dead last October.

Police arrested a man from Dover, Seth Mazzaglia, shortly after Marriott went missing, but it wasn’t until the last few days that a grand jury formally indicted Mazzaglia on a series of charges, including first and second degree murder.

michab37 via flickr Creative Commons

In February, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Maryland v. King  -- concerning the warrantless collection of DNA from people arrested for, but not convicted of a crime; Maryland is one of 28 states that collect DNA upon arrest. The case against the state questions whether DNA collected from people still presumed innocent violates the Fourth Amendment. The decision could have far-reaching implications in the real world, where DNA solves far fewer cases than on TV. Jason Silverstein is a PhD student in anthropology at Harvard and a contributor to The Nation. He looked into the racial implications of the case that Justice Samuel Alito called, “Perhaps the most important criminal procedure case that this court has heard in decades.”

Between 1978 and 1988, the murders of seven women in New Hampshire and Vermont were attributed to the “Connecticut River Valley Killer”. Investigations of several suspects, and one deathbed confession went cold, and the killer was never found. Novelist Joseph Olshan’s “Cloudland,” is a fictionalized crime thriller based on the case. We spoke to Joe Olshan last spring when the book was released, now, it’s out in paperback. He lived in the upper valley when the sixth and final victim was found, and he explained what, as an outsider, he saw happen to local residents.

Jurors have convicted a New Hampshire woman of lying about her involvement in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda to enter the United States and to gain citizenship.

Following today’s verdict, Beatrice Munyenyezi of Manchester was stripped of her citizenship and ordered held until her sentencing in June. Defense lawyers say they will appeal the verdict.

Mark Larson via Flickr Creative Commons

Nearly half a century ago, Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood detailed the savage murder of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas. That book is regarded as a literary landmark… the first so-called “nonfiction novel” that brought the true crime genre to the mainstream and cemented Capote’s celebrity status. It’s inspired three films, among them, “Capote,” in 2005, which earned a best actor Oscar for Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Officials with New Hampshire’s “cold case unit” say that the federal funding they’ve used to operate since 2009 is about to run out – and that without further funding, they won’t be able to investigate more than a hundred still-outstanding cases.

In July of 1965, New York City Detective James McDonnell was called to the Western Union Office at Grand Central. A man posing as a detective was there with a 14-year old runaway boy. The kid’s father suspected something fishy when asked to wire twice the amount necessary to fly the boy home and called the cops. McDonnell quickly figured that the sharply dressed man was impersonating a cop and called for back-up.

Boing Boing Science Editor Maggie Koerth-Baker has tracked trending scientific evidence that suggests leaded gasoline was the primary catalyst for national fluctuations violent crime, IQ, and ADHD.

Bah Humbug! Thieves Snag Lights From Boscawen Christmas Tree - Twice

Dec 9, 2012

Thieves have stolen the lights off a small New Hampshire town's Christmas tree twice in less than a week.

Officials in Boscawen say someone stole the bottom set of lights off the town tree in the overnight hours last Monday or Tuesday just hours after firefighters had put the lights up. The tree has been a tradition in Boscawen for decades, standing by the road at a well-traveled junction.

Jonathan Lynch / NHPR

Law enforcement officials confirmed the death of 19-year-old Lizzi Marriott, the missing UNH student, and have charged a Dover man with her murder.

At a press conference outside of Dover's police station, Assistant Attorney General James Vara confirmed Lizzi Marriott’s death, but said that officials were still trying to locate her body.

Vara also announced that a suspect has been taken into custody. 29-year-old Seth Mazzaglia of Dover, New Hampshire, has been charged with second degree murder.

Bonnie And Clyde's Guns, Other Items Go On Auction

Sep 27, 2012

Nearly 80 years after the deaths of bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde, a few, shall we say, "tools of their trade" are going up for auction. Among them are his Colt .45 and her .38 Special, which could each go for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

When former Texas Ranger Frank Hamer eventually caught up with Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow in 1934, a newsreel announcer declared "the inevitable end: retribution. Here is Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker, who died as they lived: by the gun."

Crazy Love

Sep 24, 2012
sugarsnaptastic via Flickr Creative Commons

Pop singer Rihanna made news recently when she confessed to Oprah Winfrey her sympathy for ex-boyfriend Chris Brown, who beat her up on the eve of the Grammy Awards in 2009. Rihanna’s tears for her abuser had many domestic violence advocates up in arms, and many of the rest of us scratching our heads. Here to give her take on the complex and often baffling emotional life of domestic abuse victims is Leslie Morgan Steiner.

Manchester resident Beatrice Munyenyezi goes on trial on charges she lied about her involvement in the Rwandan genocide to come to the United States and obtain US citizenship.

If that sounds familiar, that's because Munyenyezi was on trial earlier this year on the same charges, but the jury couldn't agree on a verdict and the judge declared a mistrial.

Taylor Quimby for NHPR

A rally was held in Concord today in reaction to racist graffiti discovered last weekend on the home of Somali refugees in the city’s South End. The crime is being linked to last September’s unsolved incident when three homes were targeted in the same neighborhood.  

By noon, about a hundred people had gathered on Thompson street in Concord’s South End.

Ten minutes later, the number had doubled.

Photo by the Concord Police Department

Concord’s mayor Jim Bouley says the city isn’t going to tolerate hate crime against its refugee residents. On Sunday morning, a racist message written in black permanent marker appeared on the house of a Somali family in the city’s South End. Bouley stopped by NHPR to talk about this latest incident, which was nearly identical to graffiti that appeared on three refugee homes last fall.

The US Attorney’s office says two fires at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard were caused by a civilian shipyard worker. The first fire caused massive damage to the USS Miami nuclear submarine.

More details are emerging today about the former Exeter Hospital employee who has been charged in connection with the Hepatitis C outbreak. Thirty patients have tested positive for a strain of the virus that matches that of 32-year old David Kwiatowski. He’s been accused of stealing syringes of pain medication, injecting himself and then returning the needles. He’s facing federal charges of tampering and acquiring a controlled substance by fraud.

The U.S. Attorney’s office today announced the first criminal charges in connection with the Hepatitis C outbreak at Exeter Hospital.