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Designing Women S5 E4 Extra Sugar - Southern Fried Crime

Updated: Nov 3, 2023

Poor, poor Julia. Our consummate Southern lady has the opportunity of a lifetime - a fine dining opportunity with THE CARTERS. Basically Southern royalty. Instead, she finds herself sitting in a dingy conference room, watching a bunch’a’losers eating baskets of fried cheese before they all retire to the Fair Price Motel which was NOT the nicest place she had been. All trying to give an Atlanta citizen the right to a fair trial. It was all so deeply unfair. Oh, the irony.

But, what is fair, is the opportunity this episode of “Designing Women” gave Nikki to flex her true crime investigation skills! She’s bringing us two lesser-known Southern criminal trials, as well as a couple of unusual crimes that are, shall we say, a little scattered, smothered and covered?

If you want to do your own deep-dive, here are some of Nikki’s resources:

Come on y’all, let’s get into it!



Nikki: Hi, Salina.

Salina: Hey, Nikki.

Nikki: And hey, everyone else.

Nikki: Welcome to this week's edition of Extra Sugar.

Nikki: Poor, poor Julia.

Nikki: Our consummate Southern lady finally had the opportunity of a lifetime, a fine dining opportunity with the Carters, who are basically Southern royalty, right?

Salina: That's true.

Nikki: But instead, she finds herself sitting in a dingy conference room watching a bunch of losers eating baskets of fried cheese before they all retire to the Fair Price Motel, which was not the nicest place she'd ever been.

Salina: I'm that loser eating the fried cheese.

Nikki: It was all in an effort to try to give an Atlanta citizen the right to a fair trial.

Nikki: It was also deeply unfair to Julia.

Nikki: Ironic?

Salina: No.

Nikki: But you know what is fair, Salina?

Nikki: This episode gave me an opportunity to flex my true crime loving muscles.

Nikki: I'm very excited about I do when I listen to podcasts, that's almost entirely all I listen to is true crime.

Nikki: Yeah, it's a dark place.

Nikki: Don't get me wrong, I don't romanticize crime or glamorize it in any way, but I am slightly obsessed with the idea of the justice system.

Nikki: I'm fascinated by how it does or does not play out in the way it's intended.

Nikki: So I think that's actually what draws me into true crime.

Nikki: I love to listen to the way something played out in the courtroom or how the jury decided something, things like that.

Nikki: I really appreciate that.

Salina: Sure.

Nikki: So, because this episode of Designing Women was specific to a jury trial, I thought maybe we could look into some Southern fried true crime.

Nikki: We'll look at the Good, the bad, and maybe the silly.

Nikki: We'll get into it.

Salina: I think that's the name of a podcast.

Nikki: The good, the bad and the silly.

Nikki: Southern fried true crime.

Nikki: Oh, okay.

Salina: Yeah.

Nikki: They can tell me where I get things wrong.

Salina: Or we never thought of it that way.

Salina: Oh, my gosh, nikki Mays is a genius.

Salina: She's a justice genius.

Nikki: I don't think I am.

Nikki: But there are actually, to that point, full on true crime podcasts where journalists and citizen journalists do more than sufficient research to cover crime and then the criminal justice proceedings that follow.

Nikki: So I wanted to focus instead on what I think are some lesser known Southern court cases.

Nikki: So I'm not going to talk here about the Murdoch murders, for instance, or the Tara Grinstead case, which both have been covered explicitly.

Nikki: There's a lot more recent coverage on those, and they probably do a whole lot more justice than I'm ever going to do in a ten to 20 minutes segment.

Salina: Yeah, that's fair.

Salina: I'm glad you mentioned them, though, because particularly the Murdoch one is top of mind right now because they just released a season two on Netflix.

Nikki: Oh, yeah.

Salina: Much to your point, though, of things that are like covered and covered and covered more.

Nikki: I think one of the cases I'm going to talk about, I do think there have been podcasts about, but they're a little bit older than like, Murdoch and even Tara grinstead.

Nikki: So I feel okay touching on that one, but definitely look to other people if you want super in depth coverage.

Nikki: The two crimes that I want to talk about are the Memphis three and the Leo Frank trial.

Nikki: And then I'm going to end on a quirky note because I feel like those get really heavy, especially the Memphis three.

Nikki: And I've even tried to strip out some of the really gory details.

Nikki: I want to talk about some unusual crimes.

Salina: Okay.

Nikki: They are a little scattered, smothered and covered, if you will.

Salina: Sounds delicious.

Salina: I'm probably going to regret saying that, but I'm going to go with it anyway.

Salina: Okay.

Nikki: So first up, let's talk about the Memphis three.

Nikki: Do you know about this one?

Salina: I know about both of these, I think.

Nikki: Oh, really?

Nikki: Well, then, yeah.

Nikki: Well, perfect.

Salina: Yes.

Salina: But I find them both really interesting.

Nikki: So the Memphis three actually happened right in the backyard of designing women creator LBT.

Nikki: So in 1994, the Memphis three were convicted as teenagers in the 1993 murders of three boys in west Memphis, Arkansas.

Nikki: The three teenagers were accused of committing the three murders as part of a satanic ritual.

Nikki: One teen was sentenced to death while the other two got life sentences plus a little bit longer for one of them.

Salina: Would it help if I told you I think I'm just familiar with the name of that one and not the details of the case?

Nikki: Oh, perfect.

Salina: The other one, I'm a little bit more familiar with the details of the case, which I'll tell you why when we get there.

Nikki: Okay.

Nikki: So ultimately, after 18 years in prison, the west Memphis three agreed to alford pleas within the state of Arkansas, which allowed them to assert their innocence even though they acknowledged prosecutors may have enough evidence to get them convicted in court.

Nikki: So they were released.

Nikki: Here's how it all went down, though.

Nikki: So on the evening of May 5, 1993, three eight year old boys were reported missing in west Memphis, Arkansas.

Nikki: Searches began the next morning.

Nikki: Again, I'm going to skip over the gruesome parts, but I will say by mid afternoon, the boys'bodies were found.

Nikki: In this case, there were three major buckets of suspects.

Nikki: So there were what became known as the west Memphis three.

Nikki: So that's damien eccles, jesse, miss kelly and jason baldwin.

Nikki: Number two was Chris Morgan and Brian Holland.

Nikki: And then number three was a man simply called Mr.

Nikki: Bojangles.

Nikki: He was a disoriented man that had been seen at a Bojangles restaurant just 1 mile from the crime scene the night the boys disappeared.

Nikki: It sounds like the police pretty quickly zeroed in on the three who had later become the west Memphis three.

Nikki: That was in part because a juvenile officer was the first to discover the bodies of the three eight year olds.

Nikki: He immediately thought of a local juvenile offender he had come in contact with over the years named Damien Eccles.

Nikki: It sounds like Damien was just sort of, quote, unquote different.

Nikki: He wore a lot of black.

Nikki: He got in trouble some, so he was a pretty easy target.

Nikki: This officer came to the crime scene, saw the bodies and thought, oh, I know that one bad seed.

Nikki: Damien.

Nikki: This had to have been Damien.

Nikki: So they interviewed Damien at least three times over the next several days, but every time he denied involvement.

Nikki: So if it hadn't been for this next little bit, damien's story might have ended there.

Nikki: Possibly.

Nikki: So a local waitress came to talk to police.

Nikki: She was there for totally unrelated reasons, but her eight year old son struck up a conversation with the cops and shared that he knew the three boys who were missing.

Nikki: In the context of that conversation, the little boy shared that he had witnessed the murders.

Nikki: Apparently in retelling the story over time, there were a number of contradictions, but the police did not worry about that.

Nikki: They were like this boy saw the murders.

Nikki: They continued to talk with the boy and his mother, who was a waitress, over the course of a week or so.

Nikki: So much that they got to a point where the woman offered to, quote, play detective to see if she could learn more about that boy that the cops were focused on Damien.

Nikki: So she's at the police station for completely unrelated reasons.

Nikki: Her son, out of nowhere, tells police he saw the murders, and this woman gets herself inserted into the case.

Salina: She's just a citizen journalist.

Nikki: Just a citizen journalist.

Nikki: There's a rumor that she agreed to help with the case because she was trying to secure an award.

Nikki: Like a reward.

Nikki: Sorry, a reward.

Nikki: She denies this, but the officer, who I think would know whether that's true or not, suffered a stroke after the trials and was never able to confirm or deny that.

Nikki: So it remains a rumor that possibly she inserted herself to get a reward.

Nikki: Anyway, the waitress found out that a neighbor, Jesse Miss Kelly, who, as I mentioned before, is one of the West Memphis Three, knew Damien.

Nikki: So she finds out that this guy the police are interested in, she sort of has a tie to.

Nikki: So she asked for an introduction, which she recorded.

Nikki: The police suggested she start with light conversation about witchcraft, which she did.

Nikki: And when she did that, Damien laughed at her.

Nikki: So she pressed harder, saying she'd heard things like he likes to suck people's blood.

Nikki: He told her, sure, I tell people that stuff, but it's a way to keep them out of my personal life.

Nikki: Once I tell them something really creepy, they just leave me alone.

Nikki: He said absolutely nothing incriminating on the tapes that she recorded him on.

Nikki: That's what she says.

Nikki: She says he never said anything bad.

Nikki: She said the tapes were of excellent quality.

Nikki: The police, though, lost the tapes and then said they were of such poor quality you couldn't hear anything.

Nikki: Once they had to ditch the taped confession angle they turned to the statements of this waitress.

Nikki: Statements which she later said police fed to her under the threat of losing her son and being implicated in the murders herself.

Nikki: So she just repeated what they told her to.

Nikki: After she gave all these statements the officers felt like they had enough to bring in Jesse for questioning.

Salina: I mean, are there any credible narrators at all in this story?

Nikki: In this story it gets worse.

Nikki: Remember, the waitress knew Jesse so they bring in Jesse for questioning.

Nikki: She shares some incriminating information about Jesse.

Nikki: They bring him in.

Nikki: I think it's a really important part of the story here that Jesse reportedly had an IQ of 72 which is considered below average intellectual functioning.

Nikki: I think it's just barely above intellectual functioning.

Nikki: So it's a very low IQ.

Nikki: And I only harp on that point for this next reason.

Nikki: So they say he was questioned for 12 hours.

Nikki: They only recorded like two of those hours.

Nikki: So it's really hard to know what was said to him, what was said of him, what was fed to him.

Nikki: At some point though, in all of this, he fully confessed and implicated his friends Damien Eccles and someone we haven't even talked about yet, James Baldwin.

Nikki: By June 3, this is about a month after the murders all three were arrested.

Nikki: Jesse was ultimately decided to be tried separately from Damien and James.

Nikki: Throughout Jesse's trial, there was very little physical evidence presented.

Nikki: Best I can tell, there were literally just a few fibers and a couple of books on the point of the fibers.

Nikki: A state laboratory said they were microscopically similar to items found in Jesse and Damien's homes.

Nikki: These are fibers that were found at the crime scene.

Nikki: They were microscopically similar to items found in Jesse and Damien's homes.

Nikki: Though she was really careful to acknowledge that microscopically similar isn't the same thing as the same thing.

Nikki: There was also a book about witchcraft that they presented as evidence from Damien's home.

Salina: Solid, right.

Nikki: The rest of the evidence was super circumstantial.

Nikki: Damien and James trials were fairly similar, mostly circumstantial based on a few explosive testimonies and some not so explosive.

Nikki: Damien testified on his own behalf and to me it sounded like it was a major snooze fest.

Nikki: He was like the slightly weird, actually pretty normal kid.

Nikki: He was interested in wiccan because he liked how it was tied to nature.

Nikki: He wore black because someone once told him he looked good in black.

Nikki: And they presented a skull of a dog in his bedroom as a way to sort of show how weird he is.

Nikki: He said he just thought it looked cool.

Salina: And we're kind of still in like, the Satanic, right?

Salina: Yeah.

Nikki: Yep.

Nikki: And in the south, we're more panicky.

Nikki: So it's worth noting that there was so little to present on James that it's alleged he was approached with a much shorter potential sentence.

Nikki: If he just testified against Damien, they were like, we've really got nothing on you.

Nikki: So if you'll just say this guy did something bad, we'll let you out, no problem.

Nikki: He refused to do that.

Salina: Oh, that's good.

Nikki: At the end of it all I said earlier, there was one sentencing to death and two life imprisonments.

Nikki: So their lawyers all filed appeals pretty immediately.

Nikki: But the convictions were all upheld in 1996.

Nikki: In the years that followed, there were two HBO documentaries, one which resulted in Damien getting married.

Nikki: There was a landscape architect who saw the film and started communicating with him.

Nikki: So they got married in a Buddhist wedding ceremony at the prison.

Nikki: The second documentary actually accused one of the murdered boys stepfathers of the crime.

Nikki: So one of the boys who was murdered, they said his stepdad did it.

Nikki: And then in the early two thousand s, the waitress recanted her statements.

Nikki: She said none of them were true.

Nikki: They were all fed to her by police.

Nikki: She felt really guilty about the whole thing.

Nikki: So in 2007, new DNA evidence rocked the entire thing.

Nikki: DNA was found at the crime scene and it was tested and found to be inconsistent with any of the West Memphis three.

Nikki: But one was found to be not inconsistent with yet another stepfather of one of the murdered boys.

Nikki: The judge on the case refused to allow new trials in light of the new evidence.

Nikki: So the West Memphis three lawyers appealed to the Arkansas Supreme Court.

Nikki: And the supreme court gave some good news.

Nikki: They ordered the trial court to examine whether newly discovered DNA evidence or apparently some new evidence of juror misconduct in the original trial.

Nikki: So in all of this, it came out that the judge in the original trial had an inappropriate conversation with the jury four person during the trial.

Nikki: So the supreme court wanted to know whether either one of those facts warranted a new trial or just exoneration of the West Memphis three.

Nikki: Ultimately they came to the West Memphis three with that plea that I mentioned at the beginning.

Nikki: So they were like, all right, fine, we'll offer you a plea.

Nikki: Basically you can say that you are still innocent, but you have to plead guilty and we'll let you.

Nikki: It's just, it's kind of complicated.

Nikki: But it was basically we have enough evidence that if we wanted to try you again, we probably would have the same outcome.

Nikki: But also we don't have a strong enough case that we feel like it would be a slam dunk.

Nikki: So you could take this plea and go and we'll just leave it.

Nikki: So today, all three of the West Memphis three lead very different lives.

Nikki: One lives in Massachusetts, really far from Arkansas.

Nikki: One lives in Washington, really far from Arkansas.

Nikki: Only one stayed close to home.

Nikki: It was Jesse.

Nikki: He enrolled in a community college and he is engaged now, I think.

Nikki: I read there's a theory circulating of who actually killed the three little boys on that terrible day in 1993, but officially the crime remains unsolved.

Nikki: What I can tell you is that the record states it did not involve the West Memphis Three.

Salina: Wow.

Nikki: That's case number one.

Salina: I don't know what you mean about this being sad.

Nikki: It's really sad.

Nikki: There's also a weird intersection with Peter Jackson, the director.

Nikki: So he did the HBO one of the HBO documentaries, if not both of them.

Salina: Okay.

Nikki: He's become really good friends with at least one of the West Memphis Three and they actually go on trips together and they're friendly.

Nikki: Johnny Depp is also involved in this case in one way or another.

Salina: Maybe this is how I've heard this name before, between the docs and stuff.

Salina: Okay.

Nikki: Probably.

Nikki: There are a lot of threads there.

Nikki: Anyway, I guess the bottom line is, unfortunately, three young boys were murdered.

Nikki: No one knows how, but at least three boys were let free from prison.

Nikki: Even if it was like I think it was like 18 years after they'd been imprisoned.

Nikki: So now they're out leading lives.

Salina: Okay.

Salina: And the devil's not.

Salina: Is that a book about them, I wonder?

Nikki: Oh, I don't know.

Salina: Okay.

Nikki: That doesn't ring a bell for me.

Salina: Because I think it looks like it is.

Salina: And they made that into a movie as well.

Salina: I think it came out during the pandemic.

Nikki: Yeah.

Salina: Has Spider Man in it?

Salina: Pretty sure.

Salina: Oh, okay.

Nikki: Which Spider man?

Salina: The baby.

Salina: The new tom one.

Nikki: Yep.

Salina: Holland.

Nikki: I love him.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: Okay.

Salina: Wow, that's a lot to process.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: Now I want to go watch these.

Nikki: So I don't actually it sounds really sad to me.

Nikki: I think that the documentaries, they predate them being released, so I don't think you have that hope to look forward to.

Nikki: They sort of end with like, and this sucks.

Nikki: A lot of questions.

Salina: Yeah, like a lot of times a lot of those documentaries do and you're like, oh, life is terrible, I'll go watch a Disney movie now.

Nikki: So the second case I wanted to tell you about takes us even further back in time than the early 90s.

Nikki: We're going to go all the way back to 1913, but this one happened right here in Atlanta in a pencil factory.

Nikki: So at the time of very 1913, though yes, a pencil factory and a 13 year old girl who worked there.

Nikki: So at the time of this case, Atlanta was a mess.

Nikki: The city was reeling from crime and poor working conditions.

Nikki: The violent 19 six race riot wasn't that far in the past, and child labor laws were being ignored.

Nikki: Left, right and center.

Nikki: Little ones were working to pay.

Salina: Welcome to the south.

Nikki: Exactly.

Nikki: In the early 19 hundreds.

Nikki: For sure.

Salina: Yeah.

Nikki: So little ones were working for really little pay in, like, super bad conditions.

Nikki: Racism was super rampant and it was all just really the perfect storm for what would come in this case.

Nikki: You look like you have something you want to add.

Salina: I just want to see if I can test my memory.

Salina: This 13 year old, is her name Mary?

Nikki: It is.

Salina: Fagan?

Nikki: That's correct.

Salina: Okay.

Nikki: Yellow journalism.

Salina: Is that how I know about it?

Salina: No, actually it's a movie they did years and years ago.

Salina: And they did it about this case and it used to be on Lifetime and I was fascinated by it, so every time it would come on, I would watch it just because I don't know, it was just so sad and unbelievable and where you veer away from it, I really just go into it straight in.

Nikki: So, like Salina said, mary Fagan is the 13 year old girl we're going to talk about here.

Nikki: In April 1913, her body was found in the basement of the National Pencil Company.

Nikki: Again sparing the gory details.

Nikki: Suffice it to say, she'd been clearly murdered.

Nikki: Ultimately, the factory superintendent, Leo Frank, who was Jewish, was found guilty for the crime.

Nikki: That sounds like the way a boomer tells a story, specifying that he was Jewish.

Nikki: I swear that's relevant.

Salina: I'm not just saying that it's very relevant.

Nikki: It's relevant to the rest of the story.

Nikki: So many at the time thought it was an unfair verdict and history has certainly fallen on Leo's side, but none of it really matters in the end.

Nikki: He lost his life all the same after the trial at the hands of Rabid Antisemites.

Nikki: But we'll get there.

Nikki: First things first, we'll talk about the crime and the trial.

Nikki: So Mary was a 13 year old from Marietta, which is just north of Atlanta, whose family had moved to Atlanta in search of work.

Nikki: Mary had been working since she was ten.

Nikki: She took a job at the National Pencil Factory and she worked across the hall from Leo Frank's office.

Nikki: She was laid off on April 21, 913, because of a material shortage.

Nikki: Around noon on April 26, she went to the basement to collect her last paycheck.

Nikki: By 03:00, A.m., she was found dead.

Nikki: By the night watchmen, there were apparent signs of a struggle.

Nikki: A nearby basement door had been tampered with so it could be more easily opened.

Nikki: And there were two handwritten notes found near Mary because of the contents of the letters, which implicated a black person using the language of the time in the south.

Nikki: The night watchman, who was black and had found her body, was initially arrested, as was a friend of Mary's.

Nikki: Eventually, though, the police believed the innocence of these two suspects and moved on.

Nikki: They moved on to Leo Frank.

Nikki: Apparently he was nervous when they interviewed him or something, so that was basically enough to make them think he was guilty and they arrested him.

Nikki: A lot of the case against Frank was based on statements and testimony from Jim Conley, who was the factory's janitor.

Nikki: In several statements over the course of a few weeks, he claimed that Frank confessed the crime to him and that Frank paid him $200 to write the letters that were found by Mary's body.

Nikki: Eventually, the case took hold in the city newspapers exploded with a fury of yellow journalism.

Nikki: So for anyone who doesn't know that's sensationalistic, not always true media coverage that was super rampant in the early parts of the 19 hundreds.

Nikki: At any rate, by July, Leo Frank was on trial in an Atlanta courtroom.

Nikki: To this point, I haven't mentioned any physical evidence, but the prosecutors had found blood stains and strands of hair on a piece of machinery that was on the second floor of the factory near Leo's office.

Nikki: That was a really big focus of the trial, as were the continued statements of Jim Conley accusing Leo of the crime.

Nikki: But possibly the juiciest part of the trial was the prosecution's focus on Leo as a womanizer and a predator.

Nikki: The prosecution claimed, with support from statements by Jim Conley that Frank often brought young female employees to his office to do, quote, things.

Nikki: Apparently, the defense brought forward several female employees who testified to Frank's good character, whereas the prosecution brought forward several more who said he had a character for Lasciviousness, which was bad.

Nikki: And so the trial went for every one good thing, there were bad things.

Nikki: So on August 25, after 4 hours of deliberation, the jury found Frank guilty of murder.

Nikki: The judge set a hanging date of October 10.

Nikki: His team immediately appealed, as they believe public opinion swayed the jury.

Nikki: That's where the yellow journalism piece comes into play.

Nikki: They appealed that he did not get a fair trial because everybody had read so much damning media coverage that there's no way the jury didn't know that.

Nikki: The judge declined the appeal, so it moved to the state Supreme Court.

Nikki: He was ultimately denied a new trial yet again.

Nikki: There would ultimately be a few more attempts at appeals ending all the way up at the US supreme Court, but all would be denied.

Nikki: What did happen, however, was that on June 20, 115, the governor of Georgia, John Slayton, reduced Frank's sentence of death to life in prison.

Nikki: The governor was not shy about the fact that he thought Jim Conley was the actual murderer.

Nikki: Remember that's the janitor at the factory.

Nikki: He also told some privately that he would have pardoned Frank entirely if he hadn't believed he would soon prove himself innocent.

Nikki: After Governor Slayton's pronouncement, there was public outrage.

Nikki: The National Guard had to be called in to protect the governor and his wife.

Nikki: And Leo himself had to be moved to the Millageville State Penitentiary in the middle of the night before the sentence shortening was announced.

Nikki: There, Frank was attacked by his own cellmate, an attack which he survived.

Nikki: He wouldn't survive the next so a mob of 28 men immediately began to openly plot an abduction of Leo.

Nikki: According to the Wikipedia article about this trial, quote, the ringleaders were well known locally, but were not named publicly until June 2000, when a local librarian posted a list on the Web based on information compiled by Fagan's great grandniece, Mary Fagan Keane.

Nikki: That list included a former governor of Georgia, someone who would later become the President of the Georgia Senate and the mayor of Marietta.

Nikki: So on August 16, eight cars containing the lynch mob left Marietta, headed toward Millageville to abduct Frank and bring him back to Marietta to be lynched.

Nikki: They arrived at the prison in the middle of the night, cut the electricity, drained the gas from the prison cars, handcuffed the warden, and took off with Leo Frank.

Nikki: They drove for about 7 hours back to a spot 2 miles east of Marietta where they had a lynching location set up.

Nikki: Frank was hanged at 07:00 a.m.

Nikki: Facing the direction of the house where Mary had lived in Marietta.

Nikki: The next part is rough.

Nikki: So photographs from the lynching were sold as postcards.

Nikki: Pieces of the rope branches from the tree and clippings from Leo's shirt were all sold as souvenirs.

Nikki: It's worth noting that the revival of the Ku Klux Klan, a white supremacist hate group that had been largely quiet since the turn of the century, kicked off at Stone Mountain right here in Georgia shortly after the lynching of Leo Frank.

Nikki: So the allegation is that this was the start of the Ku Klux Klan.

Salina: What's the year again at the time of this?

Nikki: 1915.

Salina: Okay.

Salina: It's also happening, right?

Salina: It's so weird how all of this kind of like, is coming to a head because you also have Birth of a Nation that's coming out around the same 1915.

Salina: I mean, it's just all happening.

Salina: It's like a perfect storm of crappiness.

Nikki: But also, Leo Frank's case was the start of the AntiDefamation League, which remains a really influential civic organization specializing in criminal law and fighting against antisemitism.

Nikki: ADL was founded in 1913 in the wake of the guilty verdict against Leo.

Nikki: Overwhelmingly, history has come down on Leo Frank's side.

Nikki: Assuming his innocence of the crime, he was simply a victim of racism by antisemitic factions of atlanteans, a rabid lynch mob who took the decision of his guilt or innocence into their own hands.

Nikki: There were two attempts to secure a posthumous pardon for Leo Frank.

Nikki: The second, which was just a request for the state to recognize its responsibility in his death, was granted in 1986.

Nikki: The pardon said, without attempting to address the question of guilt or innocence, and in recognition of the state's failure to protect the person of Leo M.

Nikki: Frank and thereby preserve his opportunity for continued legal appeal of his conviction.

Nikki: And in recognition of the State's failure to bring his killers to justice and as an effort to heal old wounds the State Board of Pardons and Paroles in compliance with its constitutional and statutory authority hereby grants to Leo M.

Nikki: Frank a pardon.

Nikki: In response to the pardon, an editorial by Fred Grimm in the Miami Herald said, a savv for one of the South's most hateful festering memories was finally applied in the 2000s.

Nikki: Various historical markers and anti lynching memorials were erected, all testaments to a dark chapter in Southern and indeed atlantean history.

Nikki: So I did want to end us on a slightly lighter note.

Salina: Can I say one more thing?

Nikki: Yes.

Salina: I'm sorry.

Salina: It was not a movie.

Salina: It was a miniseries.

Salina: And I had to look it up because I thought there were some pretty famous people in it.

Salina: It was in the late 80s.

Salina: So Jack Lemon plays the governor and then Peter Gallagher.

Salina: You know who that is?

Salina: Yes.

Salina: Okay.

Salina: While you were sleeping.

Salina: Big eyebrows.

Nikki: Yes.

Salina: Pretty beautiful man.

Salina: Dad on the OC.

Nikki: Dad on the OC.

Nikki: Thank you.

Nikki: That's where I would have gotten to.

Salina: Like I needed to give you a nice dad on the OC.

Salina: Elder millennial reference there.

Salina: And Charles S.

Salina: Dutton also plays Jim Conley, the janitor.

Salina: But anyway, so that was, I think, more than just some Lifetime movie.

Salina: It was a pretty big deal back.

Nikki: In the late 80s as a Lifetime miniseries.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: And I don't know, it was on Lifetime.

Salina: I think they replayed it on Lifetime a lot.

Salina: They get these different movies from different networks and play them there many years later.

Salina: But I just wanted to say that I think one of the reasons this is actually one of the things that has made me interested in Atlanta history and Georgia history.

Salina: And you're doing something that's on justice, but this is obviously a lack of justice and all of these things that circle underneath what should have been easier or what should have worked out in a much different way.

Salina: People's lives literally at stake.

Salina: It's kind of always drawn me in to understand this area where I've grown up and these terrible things that have happened that didn't have to happen.

Salina: And I just think it's really important to reflect back because it can hopefully set us on a better path, like in the future.

Salina: And I just think the story is really meaningful, and I think the other one that you shared is really meaningful as well.

Nikki: And I think that's part of why jury trials are so fascinating to me, because they're humans.

Nikki: They're being decided by humans.

Nikki: And I got to see all sides of it when I was on a jury and in that deliberation room.

Nikki: Everybody's got skin in the game, and everybody has their objective.

Nikki: And your job it's a really important one.

Nikki: Your job is to decide whether you think, based on the evidence provided, that they've proven beyond the shadow of a reasonable doubt that this person is guilty.

Nikki: That's not the same thing as saying they're guilty.

Nikki: It's saying that they proved.

Nikki: It.

Salina: So the thing I didn't know about this particular case was that those names had been released of that lynch mob.

Salina: And I think that's, like, on the other side of what you're saying.

Salina: Instead, we had a group of Georgia leaders, leaders in the daytime, who decided to take it upon themselves to make that decision anyway and become vigilantes and take justice into their own hands.

Salina: And they wound up killing an innocent man.

Salina: So good job.

Nikki: Yeah.

Nikki: I think if you look closely enough, it probably happens in a lot of places in a lot of circumstances, which is why power is so important.

Nikki: A lighter note.

Salina: Something about Waffle House, I think so.

Nikki: I found an article about 15 strange crimes that took place at a Waffle House.

Nikki: I just knew I had to work it in this segment.

Nikki: It's not about jury trials, and it's just crime.

Salina: It's just about us not going out of this crying, right?

Nikki: That's correct.

Nikki: So I'm going to link to the whole list from the show notes, but I pulled out a couple of high points hash browns.

Nikki: And as I'm looking at this first one, I'm not sure it's that much later.

Nikki: Anyway, first up, there was a band of senior citizens plotting a terrorist attack at a Waffle House.

Salina: Oh.

Nikki: So in 2010 in Tacoa, Georgia, four senior citizens met up at their local Wahoo to plan a terrorist plot against federal officials.

Nikki: FBI recordings revealed the elderly men to be part of a fringe militia group who were planning a terrorist attack.

Nikki: They were ultimately arrested and charged, but at least their tummies were full.

Salina: Oh, my goodness.

Salina: In a waffle house.

Salina: Just out there in the open.

Nikki: Just out there doing it.

Nikki: Then there's Richburg, South Carolina, where Waffle House employees attempted to pull off a robbery of the restaurant.

Nikki: So they called police to report a robbery at the restaurant in December 2011.

Nikki: But it was ultimately found that they were the ones who had robbed the restaurant.

Nikki: They were arrested along with a friend who helped them.

Nikki: No.

Nikki: 2010 and 2011 were tough times in Waffle House land because in August 2011, a man tried to run over his wife, who was working her shift at a Panama City beach Waffle House.

Nikki: After he crashed into the building, the man apparently got out of the car and charged the building with a knife.

Nikki: He was subdued by a diner until he could be arrested.

Nikki: His wife was taken to the hospital with injuries.

Salina: Waffle House is a crazy place.

Salina: PCB, baby.

Nikki: You missed that.

Salina: Oh, that's a double, right?

Salina: It's really a triple.

Salina: You're in Panama City, correct?

Salina: In Florida in a waffle house.

Salina: I don't even trust it.

Nikki: No.

Salina: I don't even think I've ever dared to walk in a Waffle House in Florida.

Nikki: You call that the perfect storm?

Nikki: Yeah, that's the perfect storm.

Nikki: So finally, there was a squatter who was found living on the top of a Waffle house.

Nikki: He was found by an air conditioner repair person.

Nikki: They found him dehydrated on the roof of an Augusta, Georgia Waffle house, and he was hospitalized.

Nikki: Oh my.

Nikki: It's unclear where he's living now, so I'd like to borrow a line from Bill and Ted and slightly adapt it here.

Nikki: Strange things are definitely afoot at the Waffle House.

Nikki: With that, we'll adjourn you know what comes next.

Nikki: Our plea for you to give us a five star rating or review wherever you listen to podcasts.

Nikki: You can also share us with your family or friends, anyone you know who might like to listen to us JibJab for an hour or two every week.

Salina: Pass us around.

Nikki: Pass us around.

Nikki: You can follow along with us and engage on social media.

Nikki: You can email us, you can visit our website, you know all the things.

Nikki: And you can support the show from our website if you click the Support us page.

Nikki: So that's it?

Salina: You just need a gavel.

Nikki: She's tapping a gavel.

Nikki: So that's it this week.

Nikki: Thank you for tuning into this week's Extra Sugar.


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