The AJC Breakdown podcast


AJC’s podcast wins Silver Gavel award from American Bar Association

The American Bar Association has awarded its prestigious “Silver Gavel” award to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s “Breakdown” podcast. The ABA named “Season 6: A Jury of His Peers” as one of six winners of its annual awards, which honor work that is “exemplary in fostering the American public’s understanding of law and the legal system.&rdquo...


‘Breakdown’ S05 Ep. 7: Dani Jo testifies

‘Breakdown’ S05 Ep. 7: Dani Jo testifies

After more than two full days of testimony last week by Dani Jo Carter in the Tex McIver murder trial, the next episode of our “Breakdown” podcast will provide substantial audio of Carter’s testimony and in-depth analysis of what she had to say. Carter and Diane McIver were best friends.
‘Breakdown’ S05, Ep. 6: McIver Goes to Trial

‘Breakdown’ S05, Ep. 6: McIver Goes to Trial

The first week of the prosecution’s case against Tex McIver is in the books. The state scored some serious points last week but also landed a few self-inflicted blows. » Full coverage of the Tex McIver murder trial The AJC’s “Breakdown” podcast explores that first week in depth in a new episode that posts early Monday.
‘Breakdown’ S05 Ep. 5: Already decided?

‘Breakdown’ S05 Ep. 5: Already decided?

Jury selection in the Tex McIver case zeroed in almost immediately on the heart of McIver’s defense: that he killed his wife, Diane, because his .38 revolver fired by accident. The new episode of the AJC’s podcast, “Breakdown: The McIver Murder Case” dropped early Monday.
‘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.
‘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.
‘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’ 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.
‘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.
‘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.
‘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.
‘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.
‘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.
‘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.
‘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.
‘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.
‘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.
'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.
'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.  
‘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.
‘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.
‘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.
‘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.
‘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.
‘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.
'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.
'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.
'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.
‘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.
‘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.
'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.
'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.
‘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.
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