The Frankford Slasher

Episode 72 – Originally Released February 2019

Content warning: This episode contains adult subject matter including discussions about missing persons, and murder, which may be upsetting to some listeners.  Listener discretion is advised.

Between the summer of 1985 and fall 1990, eight women were brutally murdered in the Frankford section of Philadelphia.  Police already had their hands full between Gary Heidnik and his house of horrors and Marty Graham, whom the press dubbed the Corpse Collector.  

Philadelphia had three serial killers operating at almost the same time in this city, but because the locations of the slasher victims seemed unrelated, and inconsistent intervals between killings, these crimes weren’t linked as the work of one sadistic killer for over three years.   Eight women lost their lives, but they weren’t the only people whose existence were devastated by the Frankford Slasher.  Leonard Christopher, arrested, charged, and convicted for killing one of these women spent his life in jail for a crime he likely didn’t commit, and was surrounded by a cloud of suspicion that he was the Frankford Slasher.

Travel back in time with me 30 years to Frankford Avenue, Goldies Bar, and other spots under the L where darkness prowled the neighborhood and used a blade to leave its mark on the community.

Research sources for this episode include:

  • Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News Archives
  • Daily Times Archives
  • Philadelphia City Paper
  • The Associated Press
  • NBC 10
  • Criminal Records Search

TwistedPhilly is researched, hosted, and produced by me, Deana Marie, and available biweekly wherever you listen to podcasts. Follow me on Tiktok and Instagram at twistedphilly to see many of the locations and histories I discuss in the show. 

The Story of Jenna Burleigh

Episode 71 – Originally Released January 2019

Content warning: This episode contains adult subject matter including discussions about missing persons, sexual assault, and murder, which may be upsetting to some listeners.  Listener discretion is advised.

In September 2017, I shared a story on Patreon about Temple University student Jenna Burleigh.  Jenna was a transfer student from suburban Philadelphia.  She’d just started her junior year at temple in North Philadelphia, majoring in film and media arts studies, commuting from her home in Harleysville, Pennsylvania.  The semester had barely begun when Jenna was reported missing by her father on Thursday, August 31, 2017.

Temple University campus police, Philadelphia police and the Pennsylvania state police worked quickly and within days they’d found Jenna Burleigh in north east Pennsylvania. She’d been murdered.  Police identified a person of interest who was quickly arrested and charged with Jenna’s murder: a man named Joshua Hupperterz, a former Temple University Student with a criminal record that went back to his teenage years, although nothing in that record came close to murder.

In January 2019, Joshua Hupperterz was tried for Jenna’s murder and within less than two hours after the case was handed over to a jury, he was found guilty of murdering 22 year old Jenna Burleigh on the morning of August 31, 2017. This episode includes background about Jenna’s life and her murder from the 2017 Patreon episode, plus case updates about the trial of Joshua Hupperterz in 2019.  

Research sources for this episode include:

  • Temple News
  • The Tab
  • The Philadelphia Daily News
  • Philadelphia Inquirer
  • Philadelphia NBC 10
  • Philadelphia ABC 6
  • Philadelphia CBS 3
  • Public Records – Court Transcripts
  • Public Records – Criminal Records Search

TwistedPhilly is researched, hosted, and produced by me, Deana Marie, and available biweekly wherever you listen to podcasts. Follow me on Tiktok and Instagram at twistedphilly to see many of the locations and histories I discuss in the show. 

“Go Fund Me Scammers” – The Best and Worst in Philly: Part 2

Episode 70 – Originally Released January 2019

Content warning: this episode contains discussions about drug use and addiction. Listener discretion is advised.

One night in October 2017, a young woman from New Jersey drove along route 95, a major highway on the east coast.   Her story went something like this: she was on her way home from visiting a friend in Philadelphia and her car ran out of gas.  She coasted off the highway, down the exit ramp until her car finally died.  It was late at night, she was alone, no idea where the nearest gas station was.  She called her boyfriend and he told her he would come get her.  But he was in New Jersey, so she’d be waiting a little while. 

Soon after her car stalled out a stranger approached her window.  His name was John Bobbit.  He had a slender, angular face, a long unruly beard and mustache.  Jon was homeless, but he saw a young woman alone and stranded and knew he could help. The young woman was Katie McClure, and her good fortune was breaking down off the exit ramp where John asked people for money.  

Katie and her boyfriend Marc D’Amico not only repaid John’s kindness, but they also decided to change his life and launched a Go Fund Me campaign to raise $10,000 in an effort to help John Bobbit get off the street and into a drug rehabilitation program.  They never expected that campaign to raise over $400,000, nor did they expect to be arrested about a year later in November 2018, all three charged with fraud and conspiracy.

What happened?  How did this feel-good story turn out to be such a disaster resulting in McClure and D’Amico’s house getting raided and Go Fund Me reimbursing 14,000 donors who contributed to this campaign?  You’ll find out in part two of the 2018’s best and worst in TwistedPhilly. 

Research sources for this episode include:

  • The Philadelphia Inquirer
  • The Philadelphia Daily News
  • Philly Voice
  • Philadelphia Magazine
  • Philadelphia NBC 10
  • Philadelphia ABC 6

TwistedPhilly is researched, hosted, and produced by me, Deana Marie, and available biweekly wherever you listen to podcasts. Follow me on Tiktok and Instagram at twistedphilly to see many of the locations and histories I discuss in the show. 

The Best and Worst in Philly: Part 1

Episode 69 – Originally Released January 2019

As we turn the page on another year, many of us take time to reflect on events of the past 12 months.  We look at events in our own lives, our families, our friends, and we look at the world around us, considering the good, the bad and the ugly of 2018.

With that in mind, I’ve curated a collection of some of the best, the worst, the craziest and unexpected, in TwistedPhilly, what happened in and around the city that made us laugh, made us cry, or made us say what the actual fuck just happened?

Some of these tales will be heartfelt, others will seem like miracles, and before we’re done there will be a few that leave you shaking your head in shame or embarrassment saying  “only in Philly.”

I’ll have a few friends join me along the way to give you their best or worst of 2018 in the city of brotherly love and sisterly affection.  This episode is rather supersized, so I split it in two.  Part one is a menagerie of the best and worst Philly had to offer in 2018.  Part two features a story we thought was one of the best tales born on Philly’s mean streets, only to realize it was a giant crock of burned whiz.

Research sources for this episode include:

  • The Philadelphia Inquirer
  • The Philadelphia Daily News
  • Philly Voice
  • Philadelphia Magazine
  • Philadelphia NBC 10
  • Philadelphia ABC 6

TwistedPhilly is researched, hosted, and produced by me, Deana Marie, and available biweekly wherever you listen to podcasts. Follow me on Tiktok and Instagram at twistedphilly to see many of the locations and histories I discuss in the show. 

The Story of Ellen Gregory

Episode 68 – Originally Published in December 2018

Content warning: this episode includes adult subject matter including discussions about domestic violence and murder.  Listener discretion is advised.

Do you know the moment a relationship goes bad?  Is it one moment or thousands of little moments, or big ones, that add up over time?  Do 5 years or 10 years or 20 years eventually culminate into one instant where everything turns and you suddenly know it’s over, you know you’re over it and you must get out. For Ellen Gregory Robb of Upper Merion, PA, a suburb of Philadelphia, that moment came in fall 2006 when she told her brother she was leaving her husband Rafael Robb.

Ellen was almost free. 16 years of a difficult marriage to a difficult man who emotionally and physically abused her would soon come to an end. She had plans to leave; Ellen hired an attorney, found an apartment where she and her daughter could start over and Ellen had the support of her family and friends. But her escape never came. Just three days before Christmas in December 2006, Ellen Gregory Robb was found murdered. The prime suspect was the one person who stood to lose the most in a divorce, her husband.

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence or abuse, please call the national domestic abuse hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233.) If you can’t call, or would prefer to talk online, go to their website, and click the CHAT NOW button at https://www.thehotline.org/

In Pennsylvania you can also contact the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence at http://www.pcadv.org/

Research sources for this episode include:

  • The Philadelphia Inquirer
  • The Philadelphia Daily News
  • Philadelphia NBC 10
  • Philadelphia ABC 6
  • Philadelphia Magazine
  • The Court of Montgomery County, PA: Prothonotary Case Search
  • Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence
  • Psychology Today
  • Every Great Reason foundation website
  • Cruel Games by Rose Ciotta

TwistedPhilly is researched, hosted, and produced by me, Deana Marie, and available biweekly wherever you listen to podcasts. Follow me on Tiktok and Instagram at twistedphilly to see many of the locations and histories I discuss in the show. 

Unique Eats and Eateries of Philadelphia with Irene Levy Baker

Episode 67 – Originally Released December 2018

It’s hard to believe the last time Irene Levy Baker was a guest on TwistedPhilly was almost two years ago!  When we first sat down, Irene  just released her book 100 Things To Do In Philadelphia Before You Die.  Since then Irene has been hard at work on her second book: Unique Eats and Eateries of Philadelphia.

Irene Levy Baker knows the Philly food scene.  Her nearly 30-year career in public relations here in Philadelphia, focusing on restaurants and hospitality, makes her an expert (in my opinion.)  She knows about the neighborhoods filled with terrific places to eat, popular restaurants and out of the way locations about which you may be unfamiliar but once you find them, you’ll be craving more.

In her book Unique Eats and Eateries of Philadelphia, Irene shares history about Philadelphia, our restaurants, our chefs, plus amazing stories you’d never expect, like a marriage proposal over chocolate, a surprise 90th birthday party, and so many other secret tales hidden under the tablecloths or behind the kitchens.  Please join me in welcoming Irene Levy Baker back to TwistedPhilly podcast to talk about her new book Unique Eats and Eateries of Philadelphia!

TwistedPhilly is researched, hosted, and produced by me, Deana Marie, and available biweekly wherever you listen to podcasts. Follow me on Tiktok and Instagram at twistedphilly to see many of the locations and histories I discuss in the show. 

“Walk of Death” – America’s First Mass Shooter

Episode 66 – Originally Released November 2018

Content warning: This episode contains adult subject matter including discussions about mass shooting. Additional content warnings are contained within the episode.  Listener discretion is advised.

On the morning of September 6, 1949, 28 year old East Camden resident Howard Unruh shot 16 people in 15 minutes, killing 13 and severely injuring 3 others. The police in Camden were ill equipped to deal with a mass murder of this scale because this was one of the first crimes of this nature in America.

Howard was a WWII veteran, a quiet young man who studied pharmacology at Temple University.  He split his time between Philadelphia and Camden, where he believed he was harassed by his neighbors.  One day his paranoid perceptions took over, pushing Howard to commit wage war on his own neighborhood.  In this episode we talk about  Howard, his victims, the survivors, especially one man in particular who was only 12 years old when he lived through Howard’s killing spree.

TwistedPhilly is researched, hosted, and produced by me, Deana Marie, and available biweekly wherever you listen to podcasts. Follow me on Tiktok and Instagram at twistedphilly to see many of the locations and histories I discuss in the show. 

Primary research sources for this episode include:

  • Camden Courier Post/Evening Courier Archives
  • Philadelphia Inquirer Archives
  • Philadelphia Daily News Archives
  • Delaware County Daily Times Archives
  • Smithsonian.com
  • Inside the Minds of Mass Murderers by Katherine Ramsland

The Town that Cancelled Halloween

Episode 65 – Originally Released October 2018

Content warning: This episode contains adult subject matter including discussions child abduction, child sexual abuse and murder. Listener discretion is advised.

On Friday morning, October 30, 1992, the battered body of eleven year old Shauna Howe was found in a shallow creek bed a few miles outside the town of Oil City, Pennsylvania.   Shauna was abducted Tuesday night, October 27, a few minutes after leaving a Girl Scout Halloween event.  For days Oil City police, the Pennsylvania State Police, family and neighbors searched for Shauna, hoping to return her to her family alive.  Sadly, their hopes were crushed when she was found murdered.

While we know small towns aren’t immune to the same tragedies we suffer in bigger cities, Oil City experienced very little violent crime.  Most of their criminal activity centered around property theft and petty crimes.   They weren’t prepared for a case like this one, a little girl abducted on her way home from a Halloween party, just a few blocks from her house.  Oil City, which sits about an hour and a half north of Pittsburgh, cancelled Halloween.  No one wanted their children out at night, after dark, for any reason whatsoever.

Police tested DNA from over 100 people in the community, including all the men in Shauna’s family, expecting to get a match to the DNA found on Shauna Howe’s body and clothing, but they didn’t.  It took 10 years for someone to uncover what happened to Shauna, and bring her killers to justice.   Yet once her murderers were behind bars, the city hadn’t reinstated nigh time trick or treating.  Eventually Halloween was reinstated, but only from 2PM till 4PM,  Finally in 2008, a little girl not much different from Shauna Howe convinced Oil City council to let their children trick or treat again at night.

TwistedPhilly is researched, hosted, and produced by me, Deana Marie, and available biweekly wherever you listen to podcasts. Follow me on Tiktok and Instagram at twistedphilly to see many of the locations and histories I discuss in the show. 

The Story of Randi Trimble

Episode 64 – Originally Released October 2018

Content warning: This episode contains adult subject matter including discussions about domestic violence and murder.  Listener discretion is advised.

When the Blair Witch Project hit the big screens, many independent filmmakers had aspirations of creating the next big found footage horror movie.  That was especially true for 25-year-old Blaine Norris from Cumberland County, Pennsylvania.  Blaine developed a script for a horror movie to be shot in the woods of the Appalachian Mountains.  Only problem was Blaine Norris knew nothing about making a movie, nor did he have a camera man or equipment.  Luckily for him, Blaine’s friend Brian Trimble signed on as Director of Photography with his camera in tow.

But this partnership faltered.  Brian’s wife Randi Trimble, a 28-year-old speech pathologist, wasn’t too keen on Brian camping in the woods for a week filming a horror movie.  Brian suffered from MS and both his wife and his doctor thought spending a week sleeping on the ground could be detrimental to his health.  That decision may have cost Randi Trimble her life.

Randi was murdered in January 2003.  Initially the police suspected her husband Brian Trimble, however Brian had a verified alibi.  Detectives had a tough job ahead of them, sorting between fact and fiction, movie scripts and reality, to uncover who killed Randi Trimble and why.  After Randi’s death her mother, Nancy Chavez, worked tirelessly to raise awareness about domestic violence, creating multiple charities in Randi’s name to support local domestic violence centers in Cumberland County, PA.  This episode is as much Nancy’s story as it is Randi’s.

TwistedPhilly is researched, hosted, and produced by me, Deana Marie, and available biweekly wherever you listen to podcasts. Follow me on Tiktok and Instagram at twistedphilly to see many of the locations and histories I discuss in the show. 

Emlen Physick and the Physick Estate

Episode 63 – Originally Released September 2018

At the very bottom of New Jersey is a tiny Victorian town called Cape May.  This is my home away from home.  Filled with historic charm, and “painted ladies” – what we affectionately call the vibrant Victorian homes – you feel as if you’re transported back in time to the 1800s.   One particular house has ties to Philadelphia: the Emlen Physick estate.  Built by Philadelphia architect Frank Furness in 1879, the Physick estate was home to Dr. Emlen Physick Jr., grandson of Dr. Phillip Syng Physick, known as the “father of American surgery.”

Dr. Emlen Physick never actually practiced medicine.  Instead, he left the bustling streets of Philadelphia for the life of a country gentleman in Cape May.  There he farmed on 11 acres, raised dogs and lived with his mother Frances and his maiden aunts Isabelle and Emilie.  The estate passed out of the Physick family in 1935, with the passing of it’s last Physick family resident Emilie Parmentier.  But some people believe Emilie never left and claim her ghost, among other spirits, lingers in the estate today.  Join me on this trip down the shore to Cape May, NJ, as we visit the Emlen Physick Estate and do a little ghost hunting!

TwistedPhilly is researched, hosted, and produced by me, Deana Marie, and available biweekly wherever you listen to podcasts. Follow me on Tiktok and Instagram at twistedphilly to see many of the locations and histories I discuss in the show.