Sword and Scale

Sword and Scale

United States

The Sword and Scale true-crime podcast is an immersive audio experience covering the underworld of criminal activity and the demented minds that perform the most despicable and unthinkable actions, proving that the worst monsters are very real. We cover true-crime stories, high-profile trials, unsolved murders and missing persons cases.


Sword and Scale Episode 77  

The idea of leaving the hustle and bustle behind, and disappearing into the woods to live off the land, can be appealing. Yet few of us would actually attempt to give this idea any more than a fleeting thought. In this episode we examine three cases of people who dropped off the face of the planet to indulge this bizarre way of life, and each one of them was a criminal. The stories we'll discuss are Christopher Thomas Knight, Colton Harris-Moore and the most famous hermit of all Ted Kaczynski.

Sword and Scale PLUS Episode 5  

In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we are releasing this latest Sword and Scale PLUS Episode, which deals specifically with the topic of domestic violence, to the public. If you enjoy the show, please consider donating at Patreon.com/SwordAndScale. Just $5 a month gets you the entire catalog of PLUS Episodes, along with raw interviews, the 2015 Secret Episode, and commercial-free episodes of Sword and Scale.

Sword and Scale Episode 76  

Finally, an update episode! This one fills in the details of what has happened with the Justin Ross-Harris, Holly Bobo and Aaron Hernandez cases, with special guest Cathy Ruson from CourtChatter.com. We also get schooled by a listener on crucial pieces we missed in the Andrea Yates story. We talk to friends of the Blancharde's who knew them best, and cap off the show with a living legend in the field of true-crime: none other than former host of Dateline's To Catch a Predator, and new host of Crime Watch Daily, Chris Hansen.

Introducing Secrets, Crimes & Audiotape...  

Secrets, Crimes & Audiotape, an audio drama told week after week – featuring stories about crime, love, mystery or conspiracy.

Sword and Scale Episode 75  

This is a bizarre tale. Part gruesome murder tale, part love story. Yes, you read that right.. None of of the Gainesville Ripper story makes much sense, but it made an entire university of 30,000+ students panic and leave their studies and futures behind, for the sake of their personal safety. This story also challenges our ideas of what crime-journalism is and should be. "Guilty until proven innocent?" ...that's not a well-recognized concept these days. And the media and public are quick to judge those on the periphery of the story as well. Sometimes their judgements are right, but sometimes they can equally be misguided.

Sword and Scale Episode 74  

The border town of Brownsville, Texas is one of the poorest places in the continental United States. Wracked by crime in the form of drug-use and prostitution, this small town, in the middle of nowhere, is also the home of many historical structures. One such structure was located on 805 E. Tyler Street, and it housed a horrific triple-murder which changed the community of Brownsville forever. We are joined this week by Laura Tillman, author of the book The Long Shadow of Small Ghosts: Murder and Memory in an American City. Guest actors on this episode also include comedian Owen Benjamin and his wife Amy. This episode was brought to you by Blue Apron. Get three delicious free meals with free delivery today by visiting BlueApron.com/Monsters.

Sword and Scale Episode 73  

A subset of our audience really has an issue with episodes that feature any crimes being done to children. That's understandable, since they are the weakest and most vulnerable members of our society. But there are cases, however rare, where the "monsters" are the children themselves. In this episode we explore three cases in which children killed, seemingly for the sheer pleasure of it. Beware though, you may not ever want to have children after this episode.

Sword and Scale Episode 72  

A recurring question in the criminal justice system is whether the death penalty is moral, right or just. Everyone seems to have a fairly strong opinion regarding it, but almost no one has any any first-hand experience with the process. The idea that such a severe punishment to be conducted in secrecy, behind closed doors, may seem archaic and somewhat medieval. In this episode we talk to a man named Dr. Bill Kimberlin, who did something few others would. He actively attempted to attend an execution, and in fact has seen three of them conducted. He also has extensive knowledge of the death row system in the state of Ohio and describes the cushy life that the worst criminals in our society enjoy. We also revisit the Rodney Reed case and get an update on its state of limbo a full year after we first reported the story to you.

Sword and Scale Episode 71  

Have you ever wondered why most violent crimes are committed by men? Apparently so have several criminologists, who have conducted several studies to examine this phenomenon. Today’s show is the exception to the rule: two stories of women committing horrible acts against the one person they swore to love for the rest of their lives. The stories of what Christy Sheats and Cheryl McCafferty did to their husbands will have our male audience looking at their significant others a little differently.

Sword and Scale Episode 70  

Sword and Scale isn't just a podcast. We also have a website (swordandscale.com) where we post daily stories of dark deeds done by the most evil and devious amongst us. To highlight this point, we've chosen two stories that we've previously covered in articles on our website. The first is extremely fascinating, the second is extremely violent. Harvey's Wagon Wheel Casino was a popular destination for tourists in the Lake Tahoe area, until it was blown to bits by one of the most complex bombs ever built. We're joined by Adam Higginbotham, author of 1,000 Pounds of Dynamite to tell this amazing story. Our second story is that of a girl from Japan named Junko Furuta, who endured 44 days of torture, before her death, at the hands of countless others who could have stopped what was happening at any time, but chose not to.

Sword and Scale Episode 69  

As a Florida resident and native, I am disgusted by the events of the past weekend in Orlando. Thus, I decided to cover the two senseless shootings and also throw in a third recent and horrifying story that proves Florida really is a terrible place to be. In traditional Sword and Scale style, rather than just go over the details of the Christina Grimmie murder, the Orlando gay nightclub massacre, and the murder and dismemberment-by-chainsaw of Tricia Todd, we tell you these stories from a new and unique perspective that will make you understand the underlying depravity of humanity that is right there, just under the surface. Be prepared to be heartbroken, and angry, and disgusted.

Sword and Scale Episode 68  

Cara Marie Holley from Roanoke Virginia was just 18 years old when she went missing from her home on July 7, 2010. Two days later her body was found in shallow grave several miles away. The killer was arrested almost immediately because he was using her credit card and driving her car around the very town where he killed her. The worst part of this story is that Cara knew her killer Carey Shane Padgett. They went to high school together and were friends, but there was something very wrong with Padgett. It seems he was interested in killing someone for the sole purpose of becoming famous. A volley of experts would be dispatched in court to try and explain away what he did, but sometimes there just is no acceptable explanation for the evil of man. We speak to both Cara's friend and schoolmate Victoria Johnson, and her mother Lisa Cowling, to attempt to tell this heartbreaking story of insurmountable loss, heartbreak and suffering.

Sword and Scale Episode 67  

Something is very wrong when two children can disappear from society for two years and not a single person notices or cares. This is the tale of how violence breeds violence and the most vulnerable among us are the ones who suffer because of it. The horrors that occurred in the residence of Mitchelle Blair are ones you won't likely soon forget.

Sword and Scale Episode 66  

When someone secretly means to do you harm, there's a good chance they will succeed. When you are a celebrity or public figure of some kind, you become much more vulnerable to attack because of the nature of public life. Your whereabouts are often tracked and your habits and vulnerabilities are a matter of public record. There are people out there such as Ricardo Lopez who wish to do harm, for whatever demented reasons their sick minds have constructed. Many times they do succeed, but this is not one of those cases. We were, however, left with one of the clearest pictured into the mind of a celebrity stalker that we've ever had. There are 22 hours of Lopez's video diary leading up to the final act, and seeing what transpired in the mind of this very sick individual is frightening.

Sword and Scale Episode 65  

Sometimes the monsters are not only in our homes, but they are the ones closest to us: our mother or father, brother or sister. To a young child living in an environment where a depraved individual lurks can be terrifying. In this episode we will experience that terror from the perspective of that young child who is powerless to change their situation. We speak to three survivors of domestic child abuse and child sexual abuse and hear their unfiltered stories of their terrifying experiences. More importantly, we learn how they coped with the terrible start of their lives and have gone on to serve as an example to others that you don't have to be a product of your environment. You can go on to a better life eventually, should you choose it.

Sword and Scale Episode 64  

After Michelle Macneill, a healthy 50-year old mother, dies mysteriously of a heart condition in the bathtub of her Pleasant Grove, Utah home, questions begin to emerge. Her husband, Martin Macneill, begins to exhibit strange behavior even on the very day of his wife's death. Soon afterwards, a nanny is introduced into the family home and a sordid affair is revealed, along with a motive for murder.

Sword and Scale Episode 63  

Pleasant Grove, Utah. A picturesque gated community. A perfectly manicured lawn. A lovely brick home. The perfect family. The perfect life. A bathtub. This is the story of Martin Macneill, and his late wife Michelle.

Sword and Scale Episode 62  

A 30-year-old woman named Jenelle Potter has spent her entire life sheltered from the world. Not being allowed to get a job, drive a car, date, or even leave the house without the supervision of her mother Barbara, Jenelle turns to the Internet and social media as her only escape. However her lack of real-world social skills translate to disaster online. She starts making enemies just as fast as she makes friends and eventually the online feuds turn vicious. When her mother Barbara and her father Buddy, and ex-WW2 POW, get involved the online attacks turn deadly. Jenelle uses a fake identity to coerce her own father into killing innocent people, simply because of her jealousy and bitterness to the outside world. We're joined this week by Assistant District Attorney Dennis Brooks, author of the book Too Pretty To Live: The Catfishing Murders of East Tennessee.

Sword and Scale Episode 61  

Every parent's nightmare can happen in an instant. It can happen on a day just like any other in a place you would never expect and, the fact of the matter is, you will never see it coming. Such is what happened to the family of 9-year-old Connor Verkerke. One moment everything was fine; it was a beautiful late summer day and kids were playing in the local playground. The next minute, all hell broke loose. But this tragedy wasn't exclusive to Connor and his family. The story of 12-year-old Jamarion Lawhorn, who was also on that playground on that day, was also tragic and heartbreaking.

Sword and Scale Episode 60  

Alternative rock superstar, host of the reality TV-show Ink Master, actor and recent filmmaker Dave Navarro joins us to talk about his film "Mourning Son" which details the events leading up to and surrounding his mother's brutal murder when he was just 15 years old. We're also joined by Cameka Crawford, Chief Communications Officer at the National Domestic Violence Hotline and steering committee member for NOMORE.org, to talk about this epidemic which affects an alarming number of people. To highlight the point of domestic violence's stranglehold despite our modern society, we feature a story from Traverse City, Michigan. This is the story of Sandra Rode's death at the hands of her husband Michael. The details of which are too horrifying to even describe.

Video player is in betaClose