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Berkshire Murders ft. Josh Hallmark

True Crime Fan Club Podcast

36:06 min | 3 months ago

Berkshire Murders ft. Josh Hallmark

"Hey everyone leaning here. And i hope you miss me as much as i miss you and hosting the show regularly for right now. I'm out on maternity. Leave taking care of my little girl. Tilden and i just really thankful that you guys are giving me that time to spend with her. And that my friend. Josh hallmark from the true crime bullshit. Podcast has agreed to host this episode. For me trust me. It's really incredible content. Josh has an amusing. Because and i'm a huge fan of his show. So please make sure you follow true. Crime bullshit now. A little bit about crumble. Bullshit it's a serialized podcast. That explores one of america's most mysterious meticulous serial killers. The first few seasons are about israel keyes in the latest season is also about israel. Keyes you can find true. Crime bullshit on most social media channels by searching for at true crime b. s. or had to true crime bullshit dot com to learn more okay explicit content found in this episode so listener discretion is advised. Welcome back to the true crime. Fan club. podcast. I'm your guest host josh of true crime bullshit. I'm sitting in for lanee. Who is on maternity leave in two thousand eighteen berkshire county in massachusetts saw an explosion of violent murders in the years between two thousand nine and two thousand nineteen there were approximately twenty five homicides in berkshire county with approximately twenty five percent of these in twenty eighteen. Okay onto the show. The new year began with the murder of krista steel nuts. Lean by her husband. Mark steel nuts. Lean on january fourth. Two thousand eighteen on january fifth. Mark went to the atoms police department and reported that he had done something very bad and that he should be put in handcuffs holding out his hands to be cuffed. He went on to tell the interviewing officer that he had struck krista several times with a hammer and then stabbed her in the back with a stainless steel kitchen. Knife officers found christie's body in the basement of the couple's home wrapped in a tarp. Mark told officers. Krista often belittled him and called him names mark said he snapped at around five pm. On january fourth according to marx attorney he and krista had been arguing although his attorney would not reveal the nature of the argument he simply said that mark krista had been at one another verbally for some lengthy period of time afterwards. According to statements made to the police mark maintained his composure. Cleaning out taking a shower and then going to the liquor store. The autopsy report indicated that krista had suffered blunt force trauma. Some of which was consistent with defensive injuries. According to the medical examiner krista suffered from multiple base alert skull fractures caused by blunt force trauma the stab wound to her back east through the upper lobe of her right lung and punctured her heart which caused her death. By loss of blood krista lease deal nuts. Lean had been born christopher steele in minnesota in nineteen seventy five. Her father willie steele said crista played with barbie dolls and put pajamas on her head as long hair when she was five her parents divorced and krista had to go into foster care when she was in fifth grade she was placed with a police officer and his wife flourishing under their care. She attended sunday. School took piano lessons and went on family vacations. She missed her family and visited her cousins and grandparents on weekends. This created problems with her behavior as after every visit. She was more challenging in eighth grade. She went into a group home where she stayed until she was sixteen. Christie met tina kutuzovsky before being emancipated and the two became a couple. Tina said crista often dressed in women's clothing but thought it was a joke. Tina in krista had a volatile often physical relationship. Starting when chris began a relationship with a male when tina was nineteen she got pregnant and stayed with krista until the baby was three months old. Tina took the baby and left. Krista after this krista transition to living full time as a woman and dating only men krista legally changed her name in two thousand although she continued having struggles. She was homeless at one. Point jobless had no financial support and no family support a tact for being trans suffering a traumatic brain injury which led to memory loss for a decade between nineteen ninety five and two thousand five krista was frequently in trouble with police being arrested for prostitution panhandling and domestic assault. She frequently pan handled outside the mayo clinic along with the man. She her husband and two poodles once she was panhandling outside of a church and came face to face with her former foster parents. Krista fled before talking to them. This was the last time she saw them in the mid to thousands krista rooted and moved to massachusetts where she found her home a place she felt. She fit in in two thousand seven. She married her first husband. A divorced cook also from minnesota. They were married at first churches of northampton. Chris became very active in trans activism and soon realized that the only time the trans community came together was for the annual transgender day of remembrance. Day that honors trans victims of hate motivated violence in two thousand eight she and others in the community created the pride march and rally which was attended by one thousand people krista and her first husband struggled financially in those first years in northampton living in their van for a while until they could afford an apartment then the van finally gave out so krista body used scooter to go to end from activists events even traveling on busy highways after the rally and march were established. Krista turned her attention to pageantry. She created miss trans northampton in two thousand nine pageant for more on. The contestants femininity and beauty. Unlike other trans pageants were more about costumes. This was christie's world. According to her close friends she loved managing the pageants and she created a positive environment for trans women. Although they were and are severely oppressed the pageant in two thousand and ten was expanded to be the miss trans new england and then later miss trans america in two thousand fourteen krista and her first husband were divorced. The grew apart essentially living separate lives. She met a man online and a new relationship started in two thousand fifteen. She married her second husband even though he had been convicted of armed robbery by twenty sixteen the relationship had taken a turn and krista filed an affidavit for restraining order. She said she was scared for her safety and that her husband had stabbed her in the past and tried to stab her friends by the end of two thousand sixteen. She was divorced from her second husband. She had also met the man who would become her third husband. And ultimately her murderer mark man was divorced macho and seemingly adored krista however one of christopher's friends said mark was wicked nice when he was sober but when he got drunk he became violent. Many calls were made to the atoms police department. One time resulting in mark being arrested however krista forgave him and he came back the couple married in april. Twenty seventeen at windsor lake. Krista was wearing a wedding gown. She made herself with beads stitched into the bodice mark. Who had take christie's last name to become mark steel nuts. Lien told her that she was unlike anyone he had ever met. And that's why i fell in love with you. Unfortunately transgender people are more vulnerable to violence than those who identify as the sex they were born with a two thousand fifteen study found that thirty one percent of transgender people have experienced domestic violence compared to twenty percent of non trans people. The reasons are many and complex for one. Many transgender people do not have a support group air estranged from their families and fear going to the police transphobia still a very real issue as many transgendered individuals report being fired because they were trans. They are harassed frequently and almost half have been sexually assaulted in their lives. Additionally straight men dating or married to transgender women have their sexuality questioned which can lead to tension mark steel nuts. Lean finally gave a reason for the murder. The couple had been sleeping on an air mattress on the first floor of their home because it was hot upstairs. Krista yelled at him for moving around too much and mark got up went to the basement and retrieve the hammer. he beat krista wave. he plunged the knife into her back with so much force. It was still stuck during the autopsy mark initially entered a plea of not guilty but change that to guilty and he was sentenced to life in prison. Krista was the first transgender person of two thousand eighteen to be murdered. The next violent homicide occurred on april tenth of two thousand eighteen. That evening hatfield. Police were called to a fire in a field off bridge lane around nine thirty pm. When officers arrived they found body burning. It was later determined to be a man and to be that daniel cruise aged forty four daniel had been shot in his neck and torso as listed on his death certificate. Thermal injuries were listed as factors contributing to his death. But not the actual cause on april. Ninth two thousand eighteen. Daniel went with his cousin to meadow brook apartments where his cousin was attempting to get money. He was owed from nerkin. Omar morales nerkin. Wasn't there but pedro soto rodriguez was. He and daniel got into a shouting match as daniel and his cousin were walking away. Pedro sent a text nerkin describing what happened and said i want to shoot so bad the next day. Nerkin and another person went to pedro's apartment where daniel was allegedly waiting in the hallway. Pedro and daniel got into a fight in the hallway and annual cut pedro pedro yelled for newark in who came out of the apartment with a gun and fired five to six shots. Three of these hit daniel. One bullet hit a spinal cord and lodged in his body another round hit his colon and lodged into his abdomen. Third hit a rib fracturing it and perforating his liver and lung pedro and nerkin put daniels body in pedro's room and left the apartment going to a friend's apartment. There told friends what happened and the group of ten people went back to patriots apartment and wrapped the body in a sleeping bag. The group smoked marijuana. While daniels body lay on the floor often kicking it and sang things. Like you shouldn't have come here later. They put the body and patriots closet and cleaned up the crime scene. Pedro told one individual identified as l. are not to call the police which eventually led to a charge of witness intimidation. Seven people went to pedro's mother's home in connecticut to plan what to do with daniel's body. They decided that purchasing machetes to cut up the body was the best bet but after they returned to pedro's apartment with machetes they gave up on that idea. They wrapped his body in black trash bags and then took to a field in hatfield and lit it on fire afterwards. They rented a room in west springfield to party and stay out of town. Pedro was arrested two weeks later. Pedro was charged with accessory after the fact to murder burning personal property. Two counts of withholding evidence from criminal. Proceeding two counts of conspiracy improper disposition of a human body and intimidation of a witness. Pedro was sentenced to seven to eight years. One charge of withholding evidence from criminal proceeding and sentenced separately on each of the other charges. But all of those will run concurrently with the seventy eight year sentence. Pedro must complete the sentences from two prior cases before these sentences even begin the shooter. Nerkin morales was sentenced to fifteen to twenty years on a charge of voluntary manslaughter. As part of a plea agreement he was also charged with improper disposition of a human body and conspiracy as well as other charges mercedes. D is right was charged with accessory after the fact to murder burning personal property. Two counts of withholding evidence from criminal proceedings two counts of conspiracy improper disposition of the human body intimidation of a witness unlawful possession of a firearm unlawful possession of ammunition without identification card misleading. A police officer and subornation of perjury mercedes was called the ringleader. By her co-conspirators. She cleaned up the apartment and then hid the firearm. Afterwards she was released on assuredly bond under the condition she wear. Gps monitoring device and follow a curfew of nine pm to seven am. Kimberly perez was charged with accessory after the fact to murder burning personal property withholding evidence from criminal proceedings two counts of conspiracy and improper disposition of a human body. She was released on her own recognizance and had similar restrictions to mercedes except her curfew was midnight to five am. Matthew ross was charged with accessory to murder after the fact while joshua it ely was charged with perjury in relation to the grand jury investigation. A laundry gillan chelsea rodriguez were also indicted on charges of accessory to murder after the fact and charges information about their trials is not available and it could be because the covid nineteen pandemic has slowed or halted many trials on march thirteenth. Two thousand eighteen around eight am in the community of sheffield. Firefighters found five people. Dead inside the five include. Couple lou karpinski and his wife justine wilbur. And their three children son merrick three years old and alexander zoe seven year old twins. One adult was found on the first floor and the other adult was found on the second floor with the three children. It was later determined. That jus- team was by herself. While luke was with the kids lucan justin both worked as patent attorneys for different companies look was a federal chemical patent examiner and justin worked for a law firm where she worked on patents on a broad range of topics including nanotechnology and cancer treatments. She was considered an expert in his field. Both in the us and internationally firefighters arrived at the scene. Justin subaru was parked halfway down the driveway facing the road with the key. Still inside. firefighters had to move the car to get their trucks to the house. Also found inside was a box with families financial paperwork justin's purse and luke's wallet neighbors told investigators. This was not where she normally parked. She usually parked just off the garage door facing the house it had been parked in. Its normal spot the night before at around seven pm. Luke's truck was parked inside the garage. Which was also abnormal. According to the neighbors over the following days more information came out about the deaths there were two twenty pound propane tanks found upstairs and accelerate was used and the smoke detectors had been disabled justin's throat had been brutally slashed. Well beyond her windpipe. Most neighbors said they had never heard the to arguing but their closest neighbors said they had heard the couple fighting once a month or so including the night of march eleventh. The children had been picked up from school on march twelfth by luke who told the school they all had dental appointments. However luke took them home to kill them and lay in. Wait for justin. Investigators said all of this led them to believe the murders had been premeditated. The children and justin were found wearing the same clothes they'd had on at school and work. Although justina smothers said that there were no marital issues. Investigators found that. Luke suffered from a sex addiction and subsequently had extramarital affairs. Justin told a friend that he possibly had sex with prostitutes and was addicted to internet porn. This had left in setting parental controls on luke's electron ix including the television. This episode is brought to you by better help. Is there something that interferes with your happiness or preventing you from achieving your goals. Trust me i have been there. And i still struggle with these issues but better help online. Counseling is there for you like it's been there for me. You can connect with your professional counselor and a safe and private online environment which is so convenient for me and it really makes me feel comfortable. You can now get help on your own time and at your own pace you can schedule secure video or phone sessions plus and text with your therapist whenever you need to. They have licensed professional counselors who are specialized in lgbtq plus matters grief self esteem trauma relationships anxiety. You name it. Anything you share with them is confidential. And if you're not happy with your counselor for any reason you can request a new one at any time at no additional charge. They have over three thousand. Us licensed therapist across all fifty states and they're available worldwide start communicating and under twenty four hours. The best thing is it. Secure convenient professional affordable and. It's not a crisis line. Best of all like you said. It's truly affordable option true crime. Fan club podcast listeners. Get ten percent off your first month with discount code. Tfc so why not get started today. Go to better help. Dot com slash. Tfc simply fill out a questionnaire to help them. Assess your needs and get match with the counselor. You'll love that's better help dot com slash. Tc to get ten percent off your first month. Lucan justin were high school sweethearts at were kuna in nineteen ninety six justin sister. Kristen also graduated that year out of class of one hundred thirty two students. The couple were remember as to outstanding students. The couple moved away to pursue their careers returning in two thousand sixteen to build a house. The house was completed in late. Two thousand seventeen right before christmas and the couple called it their carriage house as they hope to build a bigger home on the land someday. Justina was highly regarded by her colleagues. Who said of her. She was smart knowledgeable dedicated and hard working. She was a devoted mother to her wonderful children and a true friend to everyone in our firm. The deaths were hard on the small community. It was hardest of all on. Justin's mother terry who held a special birthday dinner for justina a year later terry wrote to my beautiful daughter in heaven. I send these birthday wishes. I'm sure you are as amazing in heaven as you were in life and to those of you she left behind i give my heartfelt thanks for being such a long part of my daughter's life a million wishes would not bring you back. I know because i tried a million tears would not bring you back. I know because i tried. On friday april thirteenth of two thousand eighteen and nine one one call was placed about a possible shooting at fifty. Three ash mir drive. When officers arrived they found the body of twenty four year old cassette he clark inside a vehicle to cd had been shot multiple times an autopsy later determined. She had gunshot wounds to her head torso and upper extremities. The morning of the incident case workers from the department of children and families were sent to the address to assist the children present. At the time there was no idea how many children were there or who their parents were. Michael s boulet cassette. He's boyfriend and the father of their children was arrested and charged with murder. He was held without bail before his arraignment the investigation revealed michael was the one who made the nine one one call when he placed the call. He said i just killed my ex. It sounded like he was throwing up throughout the call. When officers arrived they found michael sitting on the ground beside a dodge journey. Suv holding a nine millimeter handgun. Police told him to drop the gun and then took him into custody. The gun had an empty clip but he had a full clip in his pocket. Michael told police that he and cassidy had been dating for about nine years. Sometimes they're fights had escalated into islands. The morning she died she had shown up to pick up their children and a fight had erupted. Michael said cassese verbally assaulted him which caused him to lose his temper. He pulled out his pistol from the small of his back and fired until the gun clicked. Cassivi and michael had four children together and michael had another child from another relationship. Qasidi was studying to be a midwife and was slated to graduate in two thousand nineteen. Michael was set to go to trial in early. Twenty twenty but in order to spare cassini's family the pain of enduring trial. He pleaded guilty of homicide and was sentenced to life in prison. Cassidy's mother kim forest read a victim impact statement during the sentencing. She said every day. I wake up hoping this was a terrible nightmare and every day my heart and soul large crushed a new the fact she was taken from us not by accident but by the hands of someone we considered family was at the trail doubly hurtful. She also described cassivi as a shining light. That help illuminate my path in this world in may two thousand eighteen police making a routine traffic stop for a broken tail. Light uncovered a serial killer living in springfield. Once the officer approached the vehicle. The driver sped off but crashed into a police car. When police approached the car again they saw the passenger a- badly beaten woman who said she had been held captive by the driver. She said he had held her for thirty days and had sexually assaulted her shed. A broken arm possible broken jaw stab wounds bruises from being struck with a blunt object and a leg infection. She was taken to the hospital for treatment. Investigators searched stewart's home and property which actually belonged to his mother. They found three bodies over two days both inside and outside the house the other residents of the home were safe and unharmed. Although the department of children and families took emergency custody of a child stewart had been found guilty of burglary and theft in new jersey in two thousand seven he had also been found guilty of assault and battery breaking and entering and robberies in massachusetts. He'd been arrested three separate times in springfield in two thousand seventeen including one arrest where he was accused of assaulting a woman on the street while being arrested he bit an officer on the leg as the police investigated these crimes. They uncovered witnesses. Who had been assaulted by stewart. One woman was walking home late at night. After ankle surgery. She was tired and wanted to go home. So in the dark car pulled up on cider and the driver asked if she wanted a ride home. She only hesitated for a moment before she got into the car when she got into the car he smelled of body odor and she could tell he had been drinking heavily. She soon realized he was going the wrong way and he locked the doors stewart. Weldon was well known in the drug ring areas of springfield and chicopee. He was considered violent and was known for being a crack user himself he would find vulnerable women who were drying out or going through withdrawal and give them drugs soon. Who would abusive. Most people who knew him said he was given to sudden and public outbursts of brutality focusing on sick or struggling women one woman who was familiar with him said he was odd but always seemed gentle until the night. He cold her on the street in late. Two thousand sixteen she screamed rape and he ran off. Her husband said she was bruised for days. After one unnamed man new stewart fairly well and would hang out with him often stewart had a girlfriend and the man said stewart would beat her frequently hewa tell stewart to leave her alone but the girlfriend would still show up beaten and bruised once while stuart and his girlfriend were on the street stewart began slapping her the unnamed man and others got involved but the girlfriend asked them not to get involved because they would make it worse. Investigators are not sure when the women found on stewart's property died but can narrow it down slightly based on the dates. They were reported missing. The first one reported was america liden. She was reported missing on december. First two thousand seventeen. America had two daughters but had struggled with drug addiction ever since her sister had died of a drug overdose in two thousand. Ten america was known for being friendly generous with hugs and always quick to smile and laugh. America had started calling herself jordan. Which was the name. Her sister had often used she. I fell the radar in late summer of two thousand seventeen but no one was worried at first as she often disappeared for small periods of time. But when she didn't show up for thanksgiving they knew something was wrong. her boyfriend. Jason walsh felt like america had started using again and somehow became known to stewart. The next missing woman was ernestine ryan's who was reported missing on march eighteenth. Two thousand eighteen. She had last been seen on march. Eighth two thousand eighteen. She also had two daughters and had struggled with drug addiction. Her brother said she had always tried to be a good mother despite her issues when she went missing the family i held out hope that she had just gone to connecticut. The third victim kayla escalante had never been reported missing. She'd been homeless for years and was estranged from her family. In addition to her addiction issues she struggled with mental illness. Kayla said she wanted to be clean and in two thousand fifteen people who knew her thought she had succeeded. That's when she joined the new day church of springfield and was baptized. The members of the church took her under their wing and through her. A baby shower as kayla was expecting a baby girl however she stopped going to church justice suddenly Had started in january of twenty sixteen chicopee. Police took her to the baystate medical center in springfield when she threatened to kill herself several months later springfield police arrested her for possession of crack cocaine. These women were known to many people in the area particularly at the methadone clinic. But there was no clear. Indication of how stewart had met these women. The owner of a liquor store in the area said that stewart and all three women patronized store and america and ernestine often came in with stuart after his arrest his dna was taken and entered into a database where it matched against unsolved sexual assault cases from two thousand nine and two thousand seventeen stewart was indicted on fifty two counts including murder rape kidnapping and strangulation and october of twenty twenty. A hampton superior court judge granted to mental health evaluations for stuart with an expert for the defense and prosecution. Stewart's trial was supposed to begin in april twenty twenty but all jury trials and massachusetts were delayed to covid nineteen o k fan club members as i conclude this episode. My one question to you is how will you sleep tonight. Thank you for listening if you enjoyed this episode. Please leave a positive review and rating on apple podcasts. Or your podcast player of choice. It really does how you can find us on most social media channels twitter at t. Cfc pod facebook dot com slash t. Cfc podcast instagram at true crime. Fan club pod and of course our website is true crime fan club dot com. If you have an episode suggestion send us an email at t. Cfc pod at g mail dot com. This episode was written and researched by susie. Saint john content editing by brittany martinez.

krista Krista Pedro atoms police department daniel pedro mark nerkin berkshire county northampton Tina christie crista justin Josh hallmark krista steel Mark steel mark krista krista lease