The AJC Breakdown podcast


‘Breakdown’ Episode 10: Defense rests in the McIver murder trial

Tex McIver’s fate will almost certainly be in the hands of the jury sometime this week. The new episode of our Breakdown podcast, which went live early Monday, explores how McIver’s murder trial came to this pass — the weeks of prosecution testimony vs. the days of defense testimony. » Full season of the ‘Breakdown’ McIver podcast The state rested last...


‘Breakdown’ S05, Ep. 4: Legal strategy

‘Breakdown’ S05, Ep. 4: Legal strategy

The Tex McIver murder trial commences Monday, the same day a new episode of our podcast, “Breakdown: The McIver Murder Case,” drops. The prosecution and the defense will begin jury selection on Monday. But in Episode 4 of “Breakdown,” host Bill Rankin leaps ahead to examine the trial strategies of both sides. » The key question: Accident or murder? The analysis finds...
‘Breakdown’ S05, Ep. 3:  Muddy Waters

‘Breakdown’ S05, Ep. 3:  Muddy Waters

The Tex McIver murder trial in early March will spotlight some of the most high-powered legal talent in Georgia. For the state, Fulton County Chief Assistant District Attorney Clint Rucker will bring his trademark prosecutorial outrage and often strident voice to the courtroom. The defense will be led by two of Georgia’s best-known trial lawyers: Bruce Harvey and Don Samuel. You’ll meet...
‘Breakdown’ S05 trailer: Back to the McIver murder case

‘Breakdown’ S05 trailer: Back to the McIver murder case

The AJC’s “Breakdown” podcast on Claud “Tex” McIver, which ended after three episodes last fall when the judge decided to delay the trial, will resume this month. McIver is scheduled to go on on trial on March 5 in the death of his wife, Diane, whom he shot in the back as the two rode in their SUV near Piedmont Park in 2016. “Breakdown: The McIver Murder Case&rdquo...
‘Breakdown’ S06, Ep. 5: The Verdict

‘Breakdown’ S06, Ep. 5: The Verdict

This is something every editor has heard at least once, if not a hundred times, from the courthouse reporter. It comes as a call or a text: This time, though, the editor is on the jury. In fact, he’s the jury foreman. In the concluding episode of the AJC’s podcast, “Breakdown: A Jury of His Peers,” AJC Editor Kevin Riley takes you inside the courtroom and then inside the...
‘Breakdown’ S06, Ep. 4: Deliberation

‘Breakdown’ S06, Ep. 4: Deliberation

Double-murder defendant Nicholas Benton declines to testify in his own defense, much to the disappointment of several jurors. The attorneys offer closing arguments and then Benton’s case goes to the jury. The fourth episode of the podcast “Breakdown: A Jury of His Peers,” narrated by AJC Editor Kevin Riley and legal affairs writer Bill Rankin, will go live early Monday. It&rsquo...
‘Breakdown’ S06, Ep. 3: A trial by jury

‘Breakdown’ S06, Ep. 3: A trial by jury

The jury heard testimony from 25 prosecution witnesses in the double murder trial of Nicholas Benton. But the “testimony” from cellphone records was perhaps the most damning.  Benton and his friend, Quincy “Fat” Wytche, had been arranging a big marijuana deal with another man that spring night in 2016, police said. The authorities had found records of 27 calls among Wytche...
‘Breakdown’ S06, Ep. 2: Voice of a killer?

‘Breakdown’ S06, Ep. 2: Voice of a killer?

Atlanta homicide Detective Scott Berhalter had been working the double-murder case for weeks. Reginald “Reggie” Coicou, 24, and Quincy “Fat” Wytche, 22, were shot to death outside a northwest Atlanta Burger King in April 2016. They had been sitting in a car with two other men, apparently to transact a drug deal, when the man in the back passenger seat suddenly opened fire with...
‘Breakdown’ S06, Ep. 1: A Jury of His Peers

‘Breakdown’ S06, Ep. 1: A Jury of His Peers

The four men – two in each car – had a rendezvous at a gas station near I-285. Then they decided to drive both cars across the road to the new Burger King. It was a few minutes before midnight, closing time for the restaurant. The two vehicles pulled in. Two men got out of the black sedan – the car has never been identified – and joined the two men sitting in the blue Pontiac...
‘Breakdown’ S06, Ep. 0: Preview ‘A Jury of His Peers’

‘Breakdown’ S06, Ep. 0: Preview ‘A Jury of His Peers’

Two young men, one 24 and one 22, were shot to death near midnight on April 24, 2016, in the parking lot of a northwest Atlanta Burger King. » Listen to earlier seasons of “Breakdown” Reggie Coicou died where he sat in the passenger seat of a Pontiac. Quincy  Wytche, known to his friends as “Fat,” collapsed just few steps from the same vehicle and died on his...
‘Breakdown’ S05 Ep. 2.5: McIver trial delayed, with fireworks

‘Breakdown’ S05 Ep. 2.5: McIver trial delayed, with fireworks

Two weeks before Claud “Tex” McIver’s murder trial was to begin, the prosecution filed an unusual motion. The state wanted to delay the trial, scheduled for Oct. 30 because, it said, the defense might not be ready. “What am I supposed to do with that?” said William Hill, lead defense attorney for McIver. “Which is why I didn’t file a response. … It...
‘Breakdown’ S05 Ep. 2: Whirlwind romance, storybook wedding, tragic death

‘Breakdown’ S05 Ep. 2: Whirlwind romance, storybook wedding, tragic death

Tex McIver won’t be going on trial this month — or this year — but the murder indictment and other felony charges against him stand. A Fulton County judge last week continued McIver’s trial to March 5 and set conditions for McIver to get out of jail while awaiting trial. McIver has already been released on bond once, but the bond was revoked when investigators found a handgun...
New season of Breakdown: ‘Darling, why don’t you just hand me my gun?’

New season of Breakdown: ‘Darling, why don’t you just hand me my gun?’

“He says, “I think this is a bad idea, girls. This is a bad area.’ He said, ‘Darling, why don’t you just hand me my gun?’ He said it was in the console and it was in a bag. . . . She she took it out and handed it to him.” That’s the voice of Dani Jo Carter, who was driving the big white SUV in which Claud “Tex” McIver and his wife, Diane...
‘Breakdown’ S05 Ep. 1: The Tex McIver case

‘Breakdown’ S05 Ep. 1: The Tex McIver case

Absent a last-minute continuance or plea deal, Claud “Tex” McIver is scheduled to stand trial Oct. 30 in the shooting death of his wife, Diane, a year ago.  On Sept. 25, 2016, Tex shot Diane in the back as a friend drove the couple through Midtown in their SUV. Diane was dead within hours.  » Prosecutors ask for delay in McIver trial McIver, 74, says he loved his...
‘Breakdown’ S04 Ep. 6: Justice for Donna Brown

‘Breakdown’ S04 Ep. 6: Justice for Donna Brown

Donna Brown was killed in 1998, shot through the right eye in the parking lot of the Taco Bell in Adel, Ga.  She was the store’s night manager, and she was carrying the day’s receipts to her car at about 2 a.m., planning to drop the money at the bank’s night depository.  Who was Donna Brown? She was a 40-year-old working woman and the sole support of her 7-year-old son...
‘Breakdown’ S04, Ep. 5: Devonia Inman gets a new day in court

‘Breakdown’ S04, Ep. 5: Devonia Inman gets a new day in court

ADEL — Nearly 13 years had passed since Devonia Inman was convicted in the murder of Taco Bell night manager Donna Brown in Adel.  At the trial in 2001, Judge Buster McConnell told the attorneys that he’d had five heart attacks. At the hearing on Inman’s motion for a new trial in 2014, McConnell reported that he’d had a sixth, and this time he’d died on the operating...
‘Breakdown’ S04, Ep. 4: 'You will die in prison, never to be released’

‘Breakdown’ S04, Ep. 4: 'You will die in prison, never to be released’

The new DNA test has come back on the mask that police say was used in the killing of Donna Brown.  And there’s a match, but not to the man convicted 16 years ago of the murder. Devonia Inman has always insisted that he’s innocent of the vicious killing outside the Taco Bell in Adel, Ga.  Episode 4 of the AJC’s podcast, “Breakdown: Murder Below the Gnat Line,&rdquo...
'Breakdown’ S04, Ep. 3: A murder and a mask

'Breakdown’ S04, Ep. 3: A murder and a mask

ADEL, Ga. — Virginia Tatem waited in the darkness for bundles of the Valdosta newspaper that she would then distribute in Adel. It was September 1998.  She would later say that she heard what sounded like a gunshot. And then, in extraordinary detail, Tatem would describe a man driving by in a car belonging to the woman who had just been shot. She detailed the man’s race, the ribbing...
'Breakdown’ S04, Ep. 2: Two key witnesses change their stories

'Breakdown’ S04, Ep. 2: Two key witnesses change their stories

ADEL, Ga. – Devonia Inman was on trial for murder in the robbery and shooting of Donna Brown, the night manager of the Taco Bell in Adel, and the prosecutor was having a tough time.   Two important prosecution witnesses had taken the stand and sworn that they’d lied when they told police Inman was involved.   “The detectives kept calling me,” one said. &ldquo...
'Breakdown’ S04, Ep. 1: Was the right man convicted in South Georgia murder?

'Breakdown’ S04, Ep. 1: Was the right man convicted in South Georgia murder?

The fourth season of the AJC’s award-winning “Breakdown” podcast launched early Monday. “Murder Below the Gnat Line” chronicles a case in which a South Georgia man has been imprisoned 20 years for a murder that he may not have committed.   In the early morning darkness in little Adel, night manager Donna Brown locked up the Taco Bell and carried the...
‘Breakdown’ S04, Ep. 0: Murder Below the Gnat Line

‘Breakdown’ S04, Ep. 0: Murder Below the Gnat Line

The night manager of the Taco Bell in Adel, Ga., was shot through the right eye as she carried the night’s proceeds to her car in the restaurant’s parking lot.  There wasn’t much physical evidence in the case. But key witnesses came forward to point the finger at a young man who had just recently arrived in Adel from California. That man, Devonia Inman, was found guilty of first-degree...
‘Breakdown’ S03, Ep. 6: Doctor, healer, serial sex offender

‘Breakdown’ S03, Ep. 6: Doctor, healer, serial sex offender

In this final episode, a Fulton County judge orders Dr. Narendra Gupta to surrender his medical license and stop practicing medicine forever. She underscores the order with a pointed question: “Do you understand that, Mister Gupta?” Gupta says yes. He has just entered into a deal in which he pleaded guilty to three charges of sexual battery against patients. Another condition of the plea...
‘Breakdown’ S03, Ep. 5: Punishment

‘Breakdown’ S03, Ep. 5: Punishment

In late 2011, Dr. Narendra K. Gupta stood before a Fulton County judge and pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor counts of sexual battery. The conditions of his sentence were unusual: He didn’t have to go to jail. He did have to leave the country.  Episode 5 of the AJC’s “Breakdown” podcast examines the extraordinary conditions of Gupta’s plea deal. Johnny Edwards...
‘Breakdown’ S03, Ep. 4: Doctor relocates his practice, and his problem

‘Breakdown’ S03, Ep. 4: Doctor relocates his practice, and his problem

In Episode 4 of the AJC's podcast, "Breakdown: Predator M.D.," an Ohio doctor has left his practice in the small city of Lima and moved to Atlanta. Also left behind in Ohio: the lawsuits and complaints that piled up against him, many of which were related to sexual abuse.  Indeed, the physician never faced any criminal charges in Ohio. But that would change in Georgia.   Johnny...
‘Breakdown’ S03, Ep. 3: Why would a doctor abuse his patients?

‘Breakdown’ S03, Ep. 3: Why would a doctor abuse his patients?

This week: Compulsion. Why would a doctor risk his career, possibly even his freedom, by repeatedly sexually abusing patients or office employees?   The AJC’s Johnny Edwards explores that question in Episode 3 of Season 3 of our exclusive podcast “Breakdown.” As The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has shown in its prize-winning investigative series, Doctors & Sex Abuse, physicians...
‘Breakdown’ S03, Ep. 2: Allegations dogged doctor for decades, went unheeded

‘Breakdown’ S03, Ep. 2: Allegations dogged doctor for decades, went unheeded

It was supposed to be an easy appointment for LaToya Kelly, just to learn the results of her echocardiogram from Dr. Narendra K. Gupta. Instead, she says Gupta groped her during an unnecessary breast exam, and seemed to enjoy it.   She had no way of knowing that more than a decade earlier, Dr. Gupta had lost privileges at two Ohio hospitals over allegations of attacking and harassing nurses...
‘Breakdown’ S03 Ep. 1: Predator, M.D.

‘Breakdown’ S03 Ep. 1: Predator, M.D.

When he came to Atlanta from Ohio in the early 2000s, Dr. Narendra K. Gupta brought something besides his medical degree and his expertise as a diabetes and hypertension doctor. Gupta had already been publicly accused of sexually abusing women.   In Atlanta, at least 10 more women would complain that Gupta touched them improperly. They were patients, an employee, even a job applicant who said...
'Breakdown'  S02 Ep. 17: Post Script 

'Breakdown'  S02 Ep. 17: Post Script 

Justin Ross Harris was sentenced this month to spend the rest of his life in prison – no possibility of parole – for the hot-car murder of his 22-month-old son, Cooper.  Before she sent Harris to prison forever, though, the judge wanted to thank everyone connected to the case. Except for Harris. After all the thank yous and accolades, the judge turned to the orange-clad Harris and...
'Breakdown' S02 Ep. 16: We have a verdict 

'Breakdown' S02 Ep. 16: We have a verdict 

After four days of deliberations, the jury in Brunswick returns with a verdict in The State of Georgia v. Justin Ross Harris. Cobb County's district attorney says this is no time for a celebration. Harris's lawyers, in an emotional interview, say they are stunned by the outcome.
'Breakdown' S02 Ep. 15: The jury gets the case

'Breakdown' S02 Ep. 15: The jury gets the case

The prosecution and the defense give impassioned, powerful closing arguments, wrapping up the trial. Prosecutor Chuck Boring insists Ross Harris lived a double life and intentionally killed his little boy. Defense attorney Maddox Kilgore contends Cooper’s death was a horrible accident and that police rushed to judgment without looking at evidence contrary to their theory. The six-man, six-woman...
'Breakdown' S02 Ep. 14: Leanna Taylor takes the stand 

'Breakdown' S02 Ep. 14: Leanna Taylor takes the stand 

Ross Harris’ ex-wife, Leanna Taylor, took the witness stand on Monday and repeated her long-held belief that Harris never meant to leave their 22-month-old son Cooper to die in his overheated SUV. Taylor spent an emotional two days on the stand, ending her testimony with a dramatic flourish. Some of Harris’ relatives and closest friends then followed her and testified Harris loved his...
‘Breakdown’ S02 Ep. 13: The state rests

‘Breakdown’ S02 Ep. 13: The state rests

Lead Detective Phil Stoddard ended his testimony after four days on the witness stand. Under cross-examination, Stoddard took some punches, but also delivered some blows. On Friday, the state rested its case after calling 51 witnesses to the stand over the course of 16 days of testimony. They presented no eyewitnesses, no DNA on a murder weapon, no irrefutable video. Instead, prosecutors put into...
‘Breakdown’ S02 Ep. 12: From the gutter to the homicide file

‘Breakdown’ S02 Ep. 12: From the gutter to the homicide file

An amazing week in the Justin Ross Harris murder trial: it started in the gutter with Ross Harris’s strange and sordid sexual behavior and ended with blockbuster testimony by a defense witness and gripping video from the police station. This witness put the lie to one of the most explosive assertions of the state: that Harris investigated a website devoted to a “child free” lifestyle...
‘Breakdown’ S02 Ep. 11: A short week of crucial testimony

‘Breakdown’ S02 Ep. 11: A short week of crucial testimony

The trial of Justin Ross Harris picks up again in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. The first order of business -- make sure that the jury, so difficult to assemble, isn't scattered to the winds. With everyone accounted for, it's time to hear witness accounts of Cooper Harris' life and death.   Episode Eleven of Season Two of Breakdown looks at a week's worth of crucial testimony in the...
‘Breakdown’ S02 Ep. 10: Strong openings ahead of the storm

‘Breakdown’ S02 Ep. 10: Strong openings ahead of the storm

In Episode 10 of the second season of "Breakdown," the new jury is seated and it's finally "game on" for the prosecution and defense teams in the Justin Ross Harris murder trial. Lead prosecutor Chuck Boring delivers a blistering and methodical opening statement that spotlights what he calls Harris' strange behavior at the crime scene, and reveals some of the lurid texting evidence...
'Breakdown' S02 Ep. 9: It’s time to go to trial: Will Harris testify?

'Breakdown' S02 Ep. 9: It’s time to go to trial: Will Harris testify?

The Justin Ross Harris murder trial will commence in just a few days. Did Harris intentionally kill his 22-month-old son by leaving him in a hot car to die?   That’s the biggest question, of course. But following right behind it is this one: Will Harris testify in his own behalf?   In Episode 9 of “Breakdown,” host Bill Rankin talks with veteran trial...
'Breakdown’ S02 Ep. 8: The jury panel is assembled

'Breakdown’ S02 Ep. 8: The jury panel is assembled

The court and the lawyers, working on version 2 of jury selection, have finally assembled a qualified jury pool in the Justin Ross Harris murder trial. The first round of jury selection, in April, crashed and burned on its final day. Judge Mary Staley Clark granted a change of venue so the court could go in search of jurors who hadn’t already made up their minds. Just in time for Episode...
'Breakdown’ S02 Ep. 7: Harris trial moves to Georgia's Golden Isles

'Breakdown’ S02 Ep. 7: Harris trial moves to Georgia's Golden Isles

The Justin Ross Harris trial heads to Brunswick after a four-month hiatus and a change of venue from Cobb County. What sort of jury will Judge Mary Staley Clark find on Georgia’s coast? Episode Seven of Season Two of Breakdown looks at why the trial’s new venue could be called a prosecutor’s dream. Legal affairs writer Bill Rankin explores the demographics of Glynn County...
‘Breakdown' S01 Ep. 8: After a year’s wait, a concluding decision

‘Breakdown' S01 Ep. 8: After a year’s wait, a concluding decision

Justin Chapman's arson and murder convictions were overturned more than a year ago, but his life out of prison has been a tense waiting game ever since. Would prosecutors put him back on trial or end the long-running legal drama that put him in state prison for eight years? Chapman, who has always maintained his innocence, recently learned the answer to that question. The case against Chapman...
'Breakdown’ S02 Ep. 5: A jury of his peers, with some preconceived notions

'Breakdown’ S02 Ep. 5: A jury of his peers, with some preconceived notions

We’re still in the throes of jury selection in the Justin Ross Harris hot-car murder case, although it appears to be slogging toward a conclusion. In this phase, Cobb Superior Court Judge Mary Staley is qualifying a large panel of prospective jurors – a panel from which the final 12 and some alternates will be selected. Staley hasn’t said how many alternates she wants, and the number...
‘Breakdown' S02 Ep. 4: Deciding the case before it begins?

‘Breakdown' S02 Ep. 4: Deciding the case before it begins?

The most famous trial lawyers are known for their soaring oratory or for being flamboyant or combative or fast on their feet. But some of the most successful attorneys are the ones who know how to pick a jury. In the trial of Justin Ross Harris, jury selection is a long and often tedious process that the public isn't paying much attention to. The courtroom is often only half-full. But some experts...
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