Episode from the podcastTrue Crime Reporter

"Free to Kill" The Release of Serial Killers from Texas Death Row

Released Sunday, 27th September 2020
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A violent crime wave swept across Texas in the late 1980s and early 1990s. You could pick up the newspaper on any day or turn on the television and somewhere, Houston, Dallas, particularly Houston, and the lead story was a stranger on stranger crime, horrific violence.

A Houston mother was pulled out of her car by her hair women at a busy intersection by ex-cons looking for a fresh tank of gas.  They executed her and ran over her body as they drove away in her car with a full tank of gas. Stories like this would always start and end with  – “The killers were out on parole.” 

Little did the public or members of the Texas Legislature know, but the Texas Governor had secretly swung open the doors to relieve prison overcrowding.  Thousands of violent criminals, including former death row inmates, flooded back into Texas communities.

In their wake, murder and mayhem spread like a plague across Texas.

Among the inmates released was Kenneth Allen McDuff, a sadistic sexual serial killer, known as the “Broom Stick Killer. McDuff had been sentenced to die in Texas’ electric chair for the brutal murder of three teenagers in a farming community outside Fort Worth. 

Women's bodies start showing up a few days after McDuff walked out of prison on parole in 1989.

This is the story of the dedicated law enforcement officers who worked tirelessly to stop McDuff's killing spree and to bring him to justice.

And it is the story of how Peabody Award-Winning Investigative reporter, Robert Riggs, uncovered widespread corruption in the Texas Parole and Prison systems that led to the wholesale release of thousands of violent criminals.

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Bill Johnston, the federal prosecutor featured in "Free To Kill" and Investigative Reporter Robert Riggs, the host of True Crime Reporter™ talk about criminal cases from their careers and dissect cases making news.

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