Crime Story LA

To Imprison or Divert in L.A.

Editor’s note: Out of respect for the privacy of the individuals depicted in this story, we have changed...

Unanticipated Intimacy and the Trial of Robert Durst

A long trial can breed moments of unanticipated intimacy. CRIME STORY has been reporting on...

Reassessing The Estes Robbery

Editor’s note: Out of respect for the privacy of one of the people depicted in this story, we...

Third Floor Madness

I’ve long suspected that the third floor of the downtown Los Angeles criminal courts building is the busiest...

A Convicted Fireman-Arsonist and Me: The Facts As I Knew Them

This the second part of a series of articles about my relationship with John Orr. You can find...

Crime Story Scoop: Robert Durst Admits “Killed Them All” Recording is “True and Accurate”

Robert Durst has - for the first time - acknowledged that certain audio recordings made by the producers...

Robert Durst: You Can’t Unring the Bell

For a judge, maintaining courtroom control over unruly attorneys can be a daily challenge. According to one retired...

Rose Colored Glasses in the Litter Box and Other Admissible Evidence

Editorial Advisory: This story contains details of rape, sexual assault, and homicide. I try to imagine myself a juror...

“Chernobyl” Golden Globe Nominee Jared Harris Reads: Wait, What?: A Closing Statement

Tonight, the miniseries Chernobyl (HBO) won the Golden Globe award for Best Miniseries. Actor Jared Harris, who was himself nominated for Best...

Robert Durst Admits Writing “Cadaver Note” and “Dig Note”

UPDATE 3:30pm: Crime Story has obtained the public documents referenced in Charles V. Bagli's New York Times article. They were filed as...

The “Hollywood Ripper” Reports

Editor's note: This past summer, in a Los Angeles courtroom, Michael Gargiulo was tried and convicted on two...

Justice and Abuse

Editor's note: On Tuesday, we published Strong Female Lead: A Reassessment, Molly Miller's meditation on the retrial of...

Strong Female Lead: A Reassessment

Watching a retrial of a case that you followed before is a lot like watching a movie for...

The Six Pack

The following stories are the same: 1. A family of three had moved to a...

How Is a Plea a Bargain?

“Horse trading determines who goes to jail and for how long. That’s what plea bargaining is. It...

Felon-omics

You’re driving your car at night, going a cool 35mph in a 25mph zone on a residential street....

Paint it Black: Drakeo the Ruler, Mick Jagger and “Gang Conspiracy” (Drakeo 2)

This article contains a summary of Darrell Caldwell aka Drakeo the Ruler's criminal case. For a thorough and moving examination of past...

Drakeo the Ruler and the LA District Attorney Election (Drakeo 1)

“Right now young men who sing and rap and rhyme are suffering for their ability to say what...

Robert Durst’s Lawyer Gets a Compliment (with Reading) (Durst 7)

“If you’re in Las Vegas and in trouble, call David Chesnoff.” Peter Lattman, Wall Street Journal Law Blog...

Robert Durst Stares into the Camera (Durst 6)

This is the sixth in a series of articles about the hearings before the murder trial of Robert Durst. You may click...

Tiny Evil, Rap and Gang Conspiracy

Editor's note: Later this week, the third trial of rapper Drakeo the Ruler on charges of profiting off...

When Toilet Water Is the Only Relief

Kourtney, a fourteen-year-old inmate at Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall, didn’t want to go to bed. It was after 9 p.m. on July...

$7000 of Chips Vanished

The house always wins. Jian Qiao Chen had already lost $3,000 playing Baccarat. He was...

A Joking Matter?

I submit to you a list of professions where humorous banter is an asset: accountant, car salesman, realtor,...

Robert Durst’s Warrior in Court – with New Podcast Reading (Durst 5)

This is the fifth in a series of articles about the hearings before the murder trial of Robert Durst. You may click...

I Hate Men

I fucking hate men. Jogging down the cement steps of the courthouse stairwell, all eleven...

Bodies in Malibu; Hearings in Van Nuys

It was 4:44 a.m on June 22, 2018 in Malibu Creek State Park when 35-year-old Tristan Beaudette was hit by a fatal...

The Moment when a Trial Has No Judge

If Hollywood is to be believed, a courtroom is a dramatic place. It’s where Jack Nicholson roars at Tom Cruise that he...

Facing Your Rapist in a Courtroom

It’s silent. It’s been 46 seconds and Kevin hasn’t said a word.

It’s Like Turning the TV Off — Mid-Episode

On-again off-again on-again off. In many ways Leione and Gabriel’s relationship was fresh off the...

The Wobbler

Two white lawyers on the verge of old age sit in a courtroom waiting for their cases to...

Robert Durst and the Inequity of Judicial Time (Durst 4)

This is the fourth in a series of articles about the hearings before the murder trial of Robert Durst. You may click...

A Word About LA Judges

We’ve noticed something. The more time we spend in the criminal courts building, the more familiar faces have taken...

Update: Graffiti with Molly Miller Reading

According to the arresting officer, at 7 am on June 29, Danny walked down North Avenue 54 wearing...

“I Met the Devil”

“I could feel his evil spirit as soon as I walked into the room with him,” Detective Moses Costillo tells me in...

$7.99 Half Rotisserie Chicken

The sign read “Half Rotisserie Chicken — $7.99” On June 1, 2019, 43-year-old Mario Morataya...

The Law of Unintended Consequences

The law of unintended consequences is that actions always have unanticipated effects. Ms. Roberts, a...

The Truths of Louie Cordero

“You do solemnly state that the testimony you may give in the cause now pending before this court...

“Your Honor? I’m Here to Give Myself Up.”

It’s late on a Friday morning in Department 117. The docket has been cleared and court personnel are straightening up their things...

Police Force Expert – Taser Certified (Moorer 2)

This is the second in a series of articles about the murder trial of Andrea Moorer. The first was Strong Female Lead...

It’s Kind of Like a Heist… Or Dodgeball

It’s kind of like a heist — think Ocean’s Eleven. You assemble a rag-tag team of 12 to...

Lost in Translation: A Morning in the Alhambra Courthouse

What does it mean, exactly, for something to be lost in translation? The answer, it seems, can be demonstrated in a densely...

The Challenges of Defending the Alleged “Hollywood Ripper” (Gargiulo 4)

This is the fourth and last in a series of articles about the trial of Michael Gargiulo. You may click on the...

Fishing for Clickbait (Gargiulo 3)

This is the third in a series of articles about the trial of Michael Gargiulo. You may click on the hyperlinked titles...

The Matter of the Intersex Shooting

Editor’s Note: Out of respect for the privacy of some of the people depicted in this story, the defendant and the victim's...

Robert Durst Fades Away (Durst 3)

This is the third in a series of articles about the hearings before the murder trial of Robert Durst. You may click...

Special Docket

“I should just come to work with some alcohol,” the bailiff says, “I really should.” I am the only person left in...

Twenty-Four Young Hopeful Faces Went Pale

Deputy District Attorney Chelsea Blatt addresses the jury in her closing argument. Her first words are:

An Appeal for Commutation

Massaging his wrists after having his handcuffs removed, Cedrick Deion Broussard stacks and organizes the slim pile of papers that he brought...

Charles And Mr. Willy

The following story is inspired by true events. Names, genders and details have been changed. “I wasn’t angry, but...

What Are the Odds?

According to Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore, 50% of all homicides in LA are gang-related. As a result, covering homicide in...

The McDonald’s Uniform and the Scalded Child with Sean Smith Reading

Editor’s note: Out of respect for the privacy of one of the people depicted in this story, we...

Shattered Arguments

Jose Macias, early 20s at most, takes the witness stand for his cross-examination dressed casually in a gray sweatshirt and sneakers. His...

A Chair and a Killing

Think about the least significant piece of furniture in your home: a stool, a hamper, maybe a couch pillow. For me, it’s...

Strong Female Lead (Moorer 1)

It’s almost like a gritty, high-octane action flick. The female lead is a young prostitute and this is...

The Expungement

I’m sitting in Department 103 of the Criminal Courts Building, where Judge Curtis B. Rappe is presiding. After several hearings ranging from...

Check Out Crime Story LA (Day 11)

I would like to call your attention to some of the stories that are in our Crime Story LA section. These stories exemplify the tone...

Anatomy of Doubt (Martinez 2)

Jim Moss’s job is to save lives. A 29-year veteran of the LA County Sheriff’s Department, Moss has spent 14 of those years...

The Bullet and the Door (Martinez 1) with Molly Miller Reading

My mother always said there are two sides to every story. In this story, there are two sides...

A Homicide Report

I am at the Criminal Court Building to watch arraignments and pretrial hearings. As Sean Smith wrote in Slouching to Babel, these...

While Robert Durst Flips Through Photos (Durst 2)

From the looks of it, Robert Durst’s legal team has expanded a bit since the first hearing that Crime Story reported on...

The Witness Following Ashton Kutcher (Gargiulo 2)

This is the second in a series of articles about the trial of Michael Gargiulo. You may click on the hyperlinked titles...

Two Hearings: Robert Durst and Armon Nelson (Durst 1)

Even through the closed door of the witness interview room, the voices are loud, ratcheting up the tension in the courtroom. An...

Slouching towards Babel

Genesis 11 tells a story of thwarted civic ambitions. The people of Shinar shared a single common language and flaunted this gift...

“I Buried the Bitch… Just Kidding.” (Gargiulo 1)

At 12:30 pm on May 14, a parade of suits marches out of the Criminal Courts Building and down to the adjacent...

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