A murder case has many layers: the victim, the crime, and the investigation. To truly understand it, you need to dissect each piece of a tragic puzzle. Join Anna-Sigga Nicolazzi and Scott Weinberger every Wednesday for an insider’s perspective, as they reveal to you the Anatomy of Murder.
Tue, 10 Jan 2023 08:00
Multiple murders span several years, at and around truck stops. How are they connected and who is the serial killer behind them?
Every week we start our episode with a compelling moment from a guest's interview that speaks to the case. But today, we've decided to start with a story featured in The New York Times. Let's go back, at least in your mind, to the 1970s. And I'm going to talk about a woman whose name was Martha. She was in her early 30s, she was divorced, she dressed professionally, which was typically a jacket and a skirt. So one day she walks into a Chicago police station, she goes straight to the desk of the sergeant who's on duty and she said she has a very serious concern. You see, Martha herself had been a sexual assault survivor, but that wasn't why she was there, at least not about her own case. At the time she was volunteering at a crisis hotline for teens, and with that she had repeatedly encountered victims of sexual assault. From the street, from their own homes, really in any scenario you could imagine. It was almost like an epidemic was occurring, but that no one was talking about. Just to give all of you an idea what it was like at the time, one day a colleague actually showed her a greeting card. And there was this quote-unquote joke that was printed on it. On the front it said, help stop rape. And when you turn the inside of this joke card open, the two words it said was, say yes. And she's telling the sergeant the desk about this and saying, listen, predators are getting away with herding or young people hurting so many people overall. And when she told the sergeant why predators, in her mind at least, were getting away with committing these sexual assaults, the sergeant screamed at her. That she had no business getting involved in this. What she was talking was crazy. That she was wasting his time. And then she was thrown out. I just got wine burger, investigative journalist and former deputy sheriff. I'm Anna Sige Nikolasi, former New York City homicide prosecutor and host of investigation discoveries, true conviction. And this is an out of me of murder. For today's case, we interviewed Forest Thompson, but Dynac County prosecutor in the state of Ohio. My first foray into working as prosecutor was in 2017 when I was elected. For this first 23 years or so of my practice, it was a considerable amount of criminal defense work. I must say the path that Forest took, I'd easily say nontraditional, never even trying a case on behalf of the state. Even before taking the job, instead, spend the 23 years as a criminal defense attorney. As good as our sister prosecutors are with years and years of experience, many of them don't have the experience of having said it to the other table. When he said it, I was like, wait, you'd never been a prosecutor. Now I've heard that before. And it's really not unheard of or uncommon at all for people to go from side to side. But I really loved his answer, saying, well, you know what? It doesn't matter that I was never a prosecutor because we really should come out in the same place if we're following the law and making sure everyone's rights are protected on both sides of the aisle. So it wasn't about a win or a loss. If the true goal is justice, then it can be equally applied from both sides of the aisle. And I think that's a perspective that I do bring to the office. But Dynac County sits about 30 miles west of Aquano, Ohio. Still considered a small county per se, even though there's more than 25,000 residents who call it home. And as you drive into the county, there is a sign welcoming you, which says, this is the sweetest place on earth. Medina County still has the reputation of being sort of a farm community. It's not. I would say Medina County is the perfect mix of not metropolitan, but city life versus country life. There is plenty of green space. It's pretty much an ideal setting to raise a family and live a good life. For the most part, Medina is considered a safe place, but like many counties that border big cities, crime spread from those urban areas into the surrounding suburbs. There is no insulation from crime anymore. The nicer the community, the more times it's often targeted. For instance, a lot of people who live in Medina County make a fairly good living. That in turn draws certain elements into our community. Because as one of them told me during an interview, you've got nicer stuff and you don't lock it up. Now we have to warn you. Today's episode is likely the most, if not one of the most involved or complicated cases that we've featured. And that's because it's not just one case. It's actually several. So if you can, take out your pen and paper, pull up a notepad or the app, whatever you have on your phone, because there is a lot to it. But we're going to break it down so hopefully it'll be easy to follow. And just a quick note, we will be covering the entire case within this episode. The first case is from 1990 in the county neighboring forest's jurisdiction. Angela Hicks was a junior high school cheerleader who her father described as full of mischief in a kid kind of way. Kindhearted and loving. But on July 23rd 1990, her stepfather reported her missing. The family and police search for Angela. They would get tips throughout the area. Several people say they spotted her, but no, it wasn't her. This happened at least on six different occasions. So with no indication of a crime occurring, police considered this 14 year old girl to just be her runaway. But a bit more than a month later, that all changed. A more missionary had been walking by a field near a mall when he discovered her body. They found the body in the woods, but it was so badly decayed that they were unable to extract anything from it. Officials and I quote stated, there was no blood, there was no urine, there were no gastric contents, and there was no identifiable organs of any type, only bones. And they were as clean as if they had been scrubbed by a brush. It's summer, there's insects. And because of that and the human weather, it destroyed any fluids and you all know exactly what I mean by that. That could at least potentially help determine whether or not Angela had been sexually assaulted. By the time they found the girl's body, it had degraded to the point where there was very little evidence that could be identified, including the cause of death. So the only thing they could determine was that it was likely that she had been dead since the day she'd been reported missing. Detectives work the case as a homicide and question potential suspects and even requested her mother and stepfather take a lie detector test. But those tests prove negative. Investigators also examined the car the stepfather once drove for blood stains and that too proved negative. So in the end, no suspects identified, no charges filed, and the case of what happened to Angela Hicks remained a mystery. Now we're going to a completely other case. This one happened seven years later. It's now 1997 and it's two counties away from Adina in the other direction. It's fall. Halloween is just around the corner and when you drive through this tree line suburb, you'll see homes lined with macabre decorations, of jack-o-lanterns, cobwebs and skeletons. But on October 23rd at 1.30pm, a construction worker notices something quite different. At a truck stop on Route 41, he sees lying on top of a dirt pile, a woman fully clothed. She's dead and police would later learn that she died from strangulation. Through the FBI database, they were able to run fingerprints and identify the body of a young woman by the name of Julie Conkel. She was 39 years old. Now it was clear that Julie's body had been dumped, but she did have a connection to that truck stop because she made her living washing vehicles at the stop. Now police did have a lead. She owned a two-tone brown 1983 Dodge van. If they could find the van, they'd be one step closer, at least hopefully, to identifying Julie's killer. They issued a national alert for her car and they spotted a man driving it. When they questioned him, they learned his name. It was Roger Sam's. But records revealed something completely different. An FBI check of his fingerprints showed his actual name is James Lee Tyson. He's 37 years old. He had used 18 different names, seven dates of births, five social security numbers. And not only did he have an arrest warrant from Florida for a probation violation, he had convictions for violent crimes in California, Utah and Georgia. Tyson was the former boyfriend of Julie and had been a co-owner of that van. And when he was questioned, he denied any involvement in Julie's murder. And at the time, there wasn't enough evidence to charge him. But right there, they already had this person committing one crime, which was obstruction of justice because remember, he gave police a false name while they're investigating Julie's murder. The police held him in county jail for that offense while at the same time trying to figure out whether he was the person responsible for Julie's murder. But detectives were also investigating not just Julie's homicide, but several others. In the past three years, there had been six other women who were found near the state border. So they might have a serial killer on their hands. Now Scott, you know, we've talked about this specifically when it comes to Ohio before about the location. And how that sometimes factors in to some of these crimes. Absolutely. I mean, Ohio has been known for perhaps the two most talked about serial killers of late Jeffrey Dahmer. And of course, Samuel Little, who had confessed to killing 93 women. But it seems to be the locale of where Ohio is easily accessed by interstates right sort of smack in the middle of the Midwest. It's definitely come up in a lot of different cases. And for any of you that might live in Ohio, no, we're not dissing your state. I'll just talking about the geography and why it is that there is more transient crime there than in some other locations. Angela Hicks was a teenager living at home when she disappeared and was reported missing by her mother and stepfather. Julie Conkel was a 39 year old Illinois woman who had fallen on hard lock. And at the time of her murder, she was living out of her own van and working at various locations, washing and waxing semis. These two murders appear to be completely unrelated. Clearly, we wouldn't be talking about these two cases if they weren't connected in some type of way. So while you're saying, ah-ha, they're going to be connected by the same killer. Well, at least for now, technically no. But they were connected to Forest Thompson, but with a completely separate case. And that's a sexual assault from 1997. But he didn't hear about it until 2000 and 19. It's quite simple. My first introduction was a phone call from a technical analyst at BCI. That's the Bureau of Criminal Investigations here in Ohio. And she reached out to me because they were doing familial DNA cross matches and they had had a connection with a case that our county had reported 20 years ago. So we have DNA that was collected in a sexual assault case two decades earlier, but there was no prosecution. But at first they didn't have any idea about the case at all because in the prosecutor's office, they didn't even have the file. It was a surprise, obviously, but I would have to say it was a little more deer in the headlight. The victim was a 17-year-old girl and because she was a sexual assault survivor and a minor, we are not revealing her identity. But here's what happened. The teenage girl was hoping to visit her boyfriend for the weekend who was attending college in Cleveland, Ohio, which was about an hour and a half from her home. So she decided to get there by hitchhiking. You know, when it comes to hitchhiking, I always sit a little extra straight up. I always think back to a very personal thing when I was nine years old. My cousin who was in her 20s, she was hitchhiking. You know, that was much more common back at the time. But the man that picked her up assaulted her and then murdered her. We all know too well and we've heard about how hitchhiking has come to very serious devastating ends. The 17-year-old was able to get a trucker to take her from a truck stop in Medina County, which is the halfway point. And from there, she went with another trucker. That trucker transported her to Cleveland and gave her a pager number if she wanted to write back on Sunday. So he picks her back up and here they are. They're heading back to a truck stop, which happens to be in Medina County. They went to get something to eat. There was some discussion about marijuana use. But then he begins to make physical advances. She attempted to reject it, but he then strangled her into unconsciousness. And when she woke up, it was clear to her based on the way her pants were that she'd been sexually assaulted. Her clothing had been removed. Her jeans were down on one leg. He was driving when she came to. My honest opinion is he thought he had killed her. I think he was a little surprised by the fact that she came back. So he didn't know what to do with her. He took her back and dropped her off. Clearly, this violent sexual assault is appalling. But what happens to this case next will make your head shake and ask, how is this even possible? It appeared pretty clearly on that the case had been rejected by my office back at that time. And so the investigation was very limited. When I first heard for us use the term very limited investigation. It means to me the investigators had a predisposed theory and were just going through the motions. There's a communication from the office back to the detective that said, we're turning the case back. We don't believe her. She's runaway. She was using drugs. And we don't believe her. Even if she was a runaway, so what? Or if she was using drugs? I'm sure there must have been a prosecutor willing to take on those potential challenges. She literally went home, left the house later that night along with a friend, went to their local police department, reported the case, turned over clothing, underwent a rape kick, all of that at their local police department before it ever got to our sheriff's department. Just think about the information that she was able to provide as an investigator. That's what you're looking at, right? She was able to identify him by both a very very accurate description of the truck and the page number, which was able to be identified to him. Now up to this point, we've talked about a few different cases, the murder of Agila Hicks, who, like this survivor, was a teenager. The murder of 39-year-old Julie Conkel, whose case, like this survivor, is centered around a truck stop. And in Julie's case, there was a person who was questioned thoroughly, had prior violent offenses, and moved around from state to state. His name again was James Lee Tyson. But in this sexual assault case, not only did the survivor have a description of the trucker, she also had his name. She knew his first name was Sam. So some of you may already be thinking to yourselves, okay, well they have this guy Tyson, who gave 18 different names on different occasions, one of which was Roger Sam's. So couldn't he be the Sam that the survivor had been referring to? Well, I will tell you that at this point, it's 1997, and those cases were never linked. And there was no reason for Tyson to ever actually be looked at for this teenager's assault. In fact, the police were able to identify the trucker called Sam as Samuel Legg. They followed up on the page number, and was able to identify him pretty quickly. Samuel Legg was an over the road trucker also known as a long haul driver, driving big rigs from state to state, and in some instances, being on the road for weeks or months at a time. We knew his route, that is we knew that most of his route was from Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Illinois. They discovered he had moved around a lot, was divorced, and his ex-wife had indicated that he would easily become violent, and always seemed to favor using his hands around her neck. And of course, he was interviewed by law enforcement. First of all, he denied that he was aware of her, but then when he was pressed, he acknowledged that he had picked her up, and eventually he even acknowledged that there had been sexual contact between them. But of course, he described it as consensual. I really kind of came back to that that limited investigation was talking to the person who they found on that page number, and once he gave his story that it was case closed, and I kind of think that really talks about the times. Remember, they didn't have specialists that dealt with survivors. They didn't have domestic violence bureaus. It really was what we have seen now, the education of how to handle these cases, and it really just came to, you know, man versus woman, whatever the man says. It's done. Even though investigators did describe him as living sort of a transient type of life, he described it himself totally differently. He would espouse to these amazing delusions of grandeur, where he had been some decorated military veteran, or flu helicopters, or had mansions and property. He had never served in the military to the best of my knowledge. He had never flown anything. So you have a investigation which is not getting much from the other side, and then you have Samuel Legs point of view, which seemed like a puffed up existence. So it's kind of a crazy story. But now, let's go back to the case itself. Back in 1997, they did go so far as to take a rape kit of this young woman, and they also put the case in for testing. Fast forward decades later, not only was DNA science way more advanced than 20 years earlier, but familiar old DNA was also available, which is the ability to identify potential relatives of an alleged perpetrator, then narrow down the field by other investigative methods. The Ohio BCI, or Bureau of Criminal Investigation, had reached out to Forest to let him know that that DNA sample was pointing at Samuel Legs for that sexual assault. Now, Forest's focus was on the sexual assault survivor, but through the BCI investigation, he also learned that there were more victims. There were several unsolved murders that had the same connection by this familiar DNA. Now, this is why we said to take out your pen and paper. You've already heard multiple names, multiple crimes, but well, there's still more. On April 9, 1992, a person walking their dog comes across a half-naked woman who was dead. There had been an unsolved murder of a woman in Trumble County, Ohio. A body had been located at a truck stop. This jean doe had been dead for about 24 hours, and she was wearing a blue short-sleeve shirt, one white tube sock, and a man's set of jockey shorts. Two decades later, DNA identified her as 43-year-old Sharon Lynn Kedowski. She once worked as a bookkeeper in Florida in the 1980s, but even though authorities knew who she was, they didn't know her killer. Now, let's shift from Sharon and go to December 20, 1996. Almost two hours away from a dine of county, another woman was found, frozen, naked, also at a truck stop. The cause of death actually on the certificate, they're indicated there has been a history of drug use. Her name was Victoria Jane Collins. Now, initially, her death had been ruled due to cardiac arrest because they did find some narcotics and alcohol in her system. But later, her death too was ruled a sexual assault and homicide. Her case, too, went unsolved for decades. Earlier in this episode, we spoke about the murder of Julie Conkel, the woman who was down and out and living in a van and working at several truck stops to make ends meet. Now, the question, could her murder be related to the murders of Julie, Victoria, and Sharon? And just very basically remember on their face, we have three. Julie, her body was found at a truck stop. She'd been strangled, but she was fully clothed. Victoria, her body was found behind a truck stop wearing no clothes sexually assaulted. Sharon, half naked, body found at a truck stop, died from strangulation, but also suffered blunt force trauma. There was a general pattern where they were women who were, I guess, for lack of a better term, compromised. They spent a considerable amount of time as truck stops and they were apparently picked up there. So, you know, Scott, just on its face, like the different things that we know about those three homicides, like what were you starting to put together in your mind? There's definitely a pattern here that I see, but certainly, in a sense, we need more. It won't be just geographic, so can forensic science help us out here? All of their bodies were nude. All of them were found dumped at or around truck stops. And there was physical evidence, including DNA that was identified that could be extracted from the bodies. You might remember that earlier we also talked about a fourth victim, Angela Hicks. She seemed at least like an outlier. She wasn't someone who worked or frequented truck stops. Her body was found in a field. Victoria was 27, Julia was 39, Sharon was 43, but Angela was only 14 years old. And also, look at the years, you have three of the murders which happened between 1992 to 1997, but Angela's murder predates all of them. So in many ways, Angela doesn't fit this pattern, but here's how she does. Angela had a stepfather, and his name was Samuel Legg. Now Angela's stepfather, Legg, had been questioned and looked at thoroughly for her murder. He even had this to say about the investigation, and I quote, if I can get the cops off my back and prove I didn't do it, the better I'll feel, then they can get on looking for someone else instead of bugging the parents. Now because of the decomposition of Angela's body, police had little to know forensic evidence to help identify her killer. So now we have at least five cases we're talking about here. One sexual assault and four murders linked directly to Samuel Legg. But we do have to note and remember that he is not connected by DNA to the murder of his stepdaughter Angela. All of the other three women had been found naked in truck stops or in the vicinity of truck stops, and I believe they were said that there was a comparative DNA that was consistent with all of them. We certainly anticipated that there may be other ones that came forward, but to my knowledge there have been no other cases that were linked to Mr. Legg. We think it's a good time to take a sidestep in the case. Here's why. If you're like many people, you're probably looking up online the name Samuel Legg, and you will see a number of links about a highway villain known as Dr. No. And while we don't want to dwell on this, we also think it's important to address it. The media, web sleuths, and just people in general like to label serial killers before they're apprehended and most importantly, before the connection is confirmed in a court of law, there's the Golden State Killer, BTK, the Green River Killer, and it's effective to grab your attention and see all these names splash in a headline. It is also possible that dozens and dozens of homicides along truck stops in the Midwest are attributed to one person. Yeah, it's likely. But until it's proven with science in a court of law, it's important to stay neutral on those thoughts. There was at that same time period, what appears to be more than one person who was using truck stops as a killing field. There was a substantial amount of rumor to my understanding. Once this broke, they thought he might have been this Dr. No. I don't know that there was ever any connection made to that. I believe that there were other murders that were identified that were attributable to this particular person. It could not have been Samuel Legg. So obviously in an unsolved case, it keeps the cases in the headlines. It keeps people talking about them at their water coolers at work. And then that could lead to potential leads, which we always say somebody knows something. So in that way, it is a positive thing. But in other ways, it becomes a situation where public opinion can connect cases that have no basis for connection and no evidence that they should be connected. In a way, the dangers that might just stop the investigation, right? Because if you just attribute it, if it's attributable to someone who is nameless, faceless, there's no forensics connecting them. How do we even know that person existed at all? You know, you just think about all the cases that might only be called clothes that aren't. But also, the real perpetrator might still be out there, not being looked at at all. I don't know that they ever were able to identify anyone to attach to that. I think that's something that kind of bred itself out of the CB radio vernacular. They knew that this person was an over-the-road truck driver, and I guess he was nicknamed Dr. No, but I don't know that anybody ever actually put a person with it. So at this point, the decision has made that obviously they're going to indict and charge leg with the sexual assault. And now while there's these four cases swirling, Forest is the only one his case that has a living victim. So he's able to have the match to go ahead and indict. But the other cases, you can't just proceed based on the familial DNA. You need to get these known samples and actual DNA match. So that is all riding on trying to get answers for those other women and those families as well. There was no way for them to get enough probable cause to get a DNA test from Samuel Legg in order to confirm his involvement with these unsolved murders. They were not able to proceed on anything unless and until we were able to take our case forward and obtain the physical match. So there are four major cases weighing on one prosecutor, and even though not all of his cases per se, he's the quarterback. He's responsible for taking these cases down the field. I think at the very early stages of it, we've got to take it a piece of the time, start at the beginning, just do your basic evaluation work. Don't focus on the rest of anything. We can't get there if we can't get through here and then let the rest of it come. Since the 1997 case was the touch point of where this investigation began, Forest had to see whether the case was still prosecutable. Remember, there is a Statue of Limitations on Sexual Assault in Ohio. And just a side note, many states have changed or relaxed those laws in recent years to allow sexual abuse from years before to be reported, prosecuted or even brought to civil court. Ohio is not one of them. Now, again, when we're talking Statue of Limitations, I won't go too deep down the legal rabbit hole, but basically that is the amount of time that you have to bring charges. The one type of case that has zero Statue of Limitations at all is, well, we all know it's homicide. But all the rest do. Even sexual assault. Now, yes, they have definitely relaxed them and with good reason, because we now know that it takes people many years sometimes to ever go forward for a myriad of reasons. But even there, there is a time limit and Forest was coming right up against that clock. There was a number of things that we had to do. Number one, I had to check on the Statue of Limitations on rate. Coincidentally, we were very close. The second is that there were several witnesses that she had identified in her statements that had never been spoken to. Several of the victims' witnesses were never interviewed. Outside of the injustice to the victim right there, it's now 20 years later. The clock is ticking to find them and to confirm the victim's story. One was the boyfriend that she had gone to visit at Case Western Reserve, and one was the girlfriend who escorted her to the police department tonight that she reported it. When the boyfriend was reached out to, the first words he said was, I've been waiting 20 years for this phone call. Within about 48 hours, we were able to reach out and coincidentally locate those other witnesses. Both of whom confirmed her story. And then there's a survivor herself. Remember, that file was stamped, cased, closed, and she had lived with that fact all these years, so if they could even find her, would she be willing to cooperate? I of course had no idea what kind of reception I was going to receive when I called her. I'd made telephone contact with her. We spoke for some period of time. She was justifiably angry, but very calm, and she was willing to communicate very clearly about the case. The memories were still very clear and very much intact, and she attributed to this instance that her life had been altered forever from that time period. And it was made even worse by not being believed. I explained who I was, why I was reaching out to her, and that we wanted to proceed, but wouldn't do so without her approval. Without the testimony of this young woman now 20 years older herself, just imagine, of course, there's going to be at least a reasonable doubt for that jury, especially if the defendant decides to go with that same claim of consent. So the reality is they needed her on board to bring these charges. Of course, would not only have to get the story directly from the 1997 surviving victim, but he would also have to try to explain what happened and why it happened and what Samuel Legg is accused of doing after she was even able to identify him as the attacker. Number one society needs to know what this guy is about. Number two, most importantly, these families need closures. I don't care, and I've always believed this. I don't care where these women came from. I don't care why they were in the circumstances in this dangerous environment. There's somebody's daughter, there's somebody's sister, they deserve closure. And so it was critically important to be able to give them that. And it's also critically important to hold him to whatever the highest level of justice could be held. With the Statue of Libertations clock ticking, Farsten and his team wasted no time to get the 1997 case in front of a grand jury and quickly secured an indictment. So immediately after the indictment, Captain Ross and I traveled to Tucson, Arizona, which is where we knew he was. We traveled to Tucson, made arrangements with the law enforcement agencies there, had Mr. Legg arrested and brought to the Tucson, Arizona Police Department and interrogated. And I had already secured a search warrant for his DNA. It was at that point that investigators brought Legg back in and interviewed him at a local police station and it was the first time that Forest had met Legg in person. I just remember very disheveled a far cry from the photographs that we had from the relevant times to the crime. Pathetic, I think, is the best word I could use. And during that interview, outside of Legg's unusual behavior, Forest was convinced that they did have their men. After the interview, there was no doubt that he had committed this crime. It was both evident from the interview that he was aware of the crime and that he was aware of the criminality of the crime. In other words, it wasn't consensual. During that interview, a court-ordered DNA sample was taken and not surprisingly, the DNA was a match to several of the cases. Samuel Legg was suspected in. In 2020, Legg was charged with two counts of first-degree murder of Julie Conkel, a grand jury indicted him in connection with the murder of Victoria Collins, and he was indicted for the murder of Sharon Kodowsky. For decades, these cases had gone unsolved and now, just as would hopefully, be served for the families of Julie, Victoria, Sharon, and the 17-year-old sexual assault survivor. But when that case went to trial, Samuel Legg won't be found guilty. Now, let's just think back to the philosophy that obviously a strong case is not just one that has evidence, but you have actual people, witnesses, to back it up. The victim in the 97 sexual assault case, which began two decades ago, is now a multi-victim investigation, and she's the prosecution's most critical witness. So much was riding on her testimony. My biggest concern was whether or not the victim was going to be able to testify. I traveled to her then-present location and met with her a number of times. I had my chief victim's advocate to give her whatever support we are able to provide. And so, you know, we're calling it a trial, but it wasn't a trial at all. It was a different type of proceeding that I've never heard, at least, and it might be just too Ohio, but at least it happens there. It's called a retention hearing, but it works the same way as the trial, and it was at that point that the sexual assault survivor testified. The evidence that we had to put on was basically the same evidence that we would have put on a trial. And so what it really means is this. It doesn't have the same standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. It's an evidentiary hearing. I believe the standard in that one is clear and convincing evidence, and it's called a retention hearing. Because in this case, they had leg who had been civilly committed, and it was a way for them to retain jurisdiction, and that is a legal way of saying, to make sure that he remains in a place that he cannot hurt anyone at that point. So the judge still needs to find that he committed these crimes in order to hold him. It was a trial at a lower level of evidentiary standard. If you're wondering how the victim did on the witness stand, Forest has the best way to describe it. She cut through the chase, she looked dead at him, she recognized him, even though he was dramatically looking different from the years before. She was able to point him out in the courtroom, she was able to say, that's the guy. And she did it with conviction, and I think it was almost a cathartic thing for her to finally be recognized and say, yes, they believe me. And yes, this really happened, and yeah, that's the guy. As I told her, no matter what happens, you have given closure to families who have been asking questions for years about the loss of their loved ones. And there was yet another hearing that needed to be held. It was called a competency hearing. Federal and state law requires that a person must be competent to stand trial and that they understand the nature of the court process and can grasp the charges and the parties involved. And I'm going to try to keep it simple here, but there's a major distinction between competency and assessing someone's mental health at the time the crime was committed, because that's not what they're talking about at all. They're just saying, is he able to assist in his own defense in the courtroom, which is very different than looking back at his mental state at the time the crime was committed? This was all about his mental capacity to meaningfully assist his counsel and to understand the nature of the proceedings. And we talk at the word competency, we're not talking about IQ, where where the person's knowledge scale is or intellect, we're really just talking about mental health considerations that again, ultimately it might be to the time of trial, where they quote unquote legally insane, didn't know right from wrong. But here is their mental health, impaired to such a degree that they don't know what's happening in the courtroom. That's really all we're talking about when we use this word competency. The medical experts found leg not to be mentally competent to stand trial, ordering him to a treatment facility in the hopes he could be re-evaluated at another time for prosecution. My personal observations, he made sure that people thought that he was incapable of understanding what was going on. He would act irrational, very non-responsive, about 95% of the time. What I saw behind the scenes was the statements that he was making during the evaluation period were such that it suggested that he was malingering. He was faking it. And sometimes in New York, they will stay there for years while they are in a facility. Sometimes it's just because they won't take medication. Sometimes it's because they have experts working with them. And sometimes they never become competent at all, but hopefully they do. And then yes, then they are at that point proceed in court to face the charges against them. The medical experts determined that he was not reasonably competent and they would not be able to restore him to competency within a year, which is the legal standard that was our only recourse to hold him responsible. The term guilty has not been applied to leg in regard to the new Medina County ruling. The judge stated that her court found by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant has committed the offenses charged in the indictment, namely two counts of sexual assault. So what the judge decided was that she ruled that leg remained detained for treatment for 10 years, where the maximum sentence for the felony of that sexual assault for that offense back in 1997 was up to 10 years. So it cannot be more than what he would have faced had he gone to trial and been convicted. Another thing that occurs to me and continuous to bother me is in my opinion, the ease with which an individual such as a Samuel leg can abuse the system by going through the competency process. You know, Anisega, for me, if we're questioning whether justice was actually served here, honestly, for me, I don't believe so beginning in 1997 with an incomplete investigation of a woman who wasn't believed or never had the chance to prove herself until two decades later. And why would she even have to prove herself? Is that her job or isn't it the job of the investigators to determine if there's enough evidence of a crime, not the victim? There was some acknowledgement that he was the one who committed these crimes, but he was determined to be unfit and that his mental health could never be restored. And again, as a society, and certainly on the prosecutor who wants to hold everyone accountable, that has committed these crimes. But if someone isn't fit to know what's going on in the courtroom, you know, there is a problem with that, you know, having them go through the court process. So there definitely is that question mark for these families that yes, they got the answer of who had taken their daughters or sisters, their friends, but they never got that finally guilty, that so many need to at least push the criminal part of the investigation away. During researching this case, I came across a video of one of the daughters of one of the victims making a statement in one of the hearings for Samuel Lake in court. And she talked a lot about the impact of never knowing what happened to her mother, going out hiring private investigators, trying to find answers to why her mother never came home. And it took decades for those answers. And I found it to be very moving. I'd like you to hear it for yourself. I speak to you from my mom who is with me in spirit, and I'll be having a very daughter, mother, and sister of each of your victims. Over the course of two decades, I'm asked for a functioning woman without another to share a life that ends with. We hired a private investigator. My goal was to find her, to see my mom, establish a senior assistance and figure it out from there. In my grandfather's final years, he shared a funness reclining to her. If I could just get the car and drive, I would look for her. I said, Paul, I know. While the destination was not what the families and the survivor had expected, this was a 20-year journey riddled with tough challenges that were only overcome by the cumulative efforts of so many people. B.C.I., Forest, the survivor, the investigators, and we've acknowledged their perseverance in this investigation. But there's also an unsung hero in it all. And that's the person we talked about at the top of the episode, the woman who referred to as Martha. Well, her full name was Martha Goddard. But she preferred to be called Marty, and she was a woman who in the 70s was so frustrated by how sexual assaults were handled in Chicago, and that she had seen there was no system in place for handling sexual assault, how the evidence was mishandled or not collected at all, and that perpetrators were rampantly going free. That she had this idea for what at the time was called the rape kit system, and there would be a standard put in place for doctors to use to collect biological evidence. And it was Marty Goddard, that ran an organization that was instrumental in the distribution of these kits. And she once did an interview, and I'll leave it at this, that the motto of her organization was create positive change. And this woman, Marty Goddard, definitely did that. Cune in next week for another new episode of Anatomy of Murder. Anatomy of Murder is an audio chuck original, produced and created by Weinberger Media and for SETI Media. Ashley Flowers and Sudenit David are executive producers. So, what do you think Chuck, do you approve?