Southern Nightmare

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  • Local Voices
  • News & Public Affairs

Southern Nightmare, hosted by Richard Foster: Friday at 10:30 AM

Produced at Sound of Music Studios by True South Media in cooperation with Style Weekly and WRIR, this investigative program hosted by veteran Richmond journalist Richard Foster focuses on the 30th anniversary of the capture and conviction of “Southside Strangler” serial killer Timothy Spencer.

This 10-episode series will be broadcast weekly by WRIR and serialized in Style Weekly each week.  Episodes will also be available at Southern Nightmare’s website and on popular podcast platforms; you can also follow Southern Nightmare on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Thirty years ago, Richmond was thrown into panic as Spencer brutally raped and murdered three women in their own homes before striking again 200 miles north in the Washington, D.C. suburbs of Arlington.  Long before DNA and forensics were popularized in the American consciousness by the O.J. Simpson trial and TV shows such as “CSI” and “NCIS,” this landmark case in criminal justice marked the first time in U.S. history a murder defendant was convicted on the basis of DNA evidence.  It also resulted in the exoneration of a wrongly convicted man.

Featuring interviews with homicide detectives, FBI profilers, prosecutors, defense attorneys and friends and family of the victims, this 10-week series will take listeners through this entire dark chapter of Richmond and Virginia history from the beginning of Spencer’s murder spree, through his four death penalty trials to his execution.  It will also examine how the case had long-reaching outcomes, resulting in the establishment of state and federal criminal DNA databases.  It also features in-depth interviews with sources who have never publicly spoken about the case, including the Korean-speaking mother of one victim, who was interviewed with the assistance of a court-certified interpreter.

Award-winning writer Richard Foster’s career in mass communications, public relations and journalism spans three decades.  Formerly the executive editor of Richmond Magazine, Foster was also founding editor of Richmond.com (now the website for the Richmond Times-Dispatch) and has worked as a staff writer for Style Weekly, The Roanoke Times and the Richmond Times-Dispatch.  His 1998 biography of 1950s pin-up queen Bettie Page was adapted into the 2006 HBO Films movie “The Notorious Bettie Page.”

Producer John Morand is the founder and one of the owners of Sound of Music Studio, where he has worked with musicians and filmmakers throughout a 30-year career that has brought him platinum records and a reputation as Richmond’s premiere sound engineer.

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