Sword And Scale is one of the world’s best crime podcasts that explores some of the most gruesome true crimes and goes in-depth on the judicial process that followed it.
Each episode focuses on a different case, with each story being told from both sides of the courtroom. The podcast has been featured by NPR, Vice, and other major media outlets.
The show has a rich audio texture, thanks to its use of many different pieces of evidence such as 911 calls, witness testimonies, trial audio, and interrogation tapes.
If you want to experience the wonder of Sword And Scale for yourself, then start by reading my list of the best episodes the series has to offer!
Table of Contents
Sometimes the law isn’t enough to help seek justice.
Young Colorado native Lea Porter found herself missing in June of 2014, and the slow police reaction to her disappearance led her family and friends to lead the charge themselves.
Despite the horrifying and stressful circumstances of the situation, everyone involved in finding Lea put their brains together to help find her.
When the group comes across their crucial suspect, the challenge then turns to extracting a confession from him.
This episode features a gripping narrative that will remind you of the strength of familial bonds and will have you in awe at the lengths that people will go to save the ones they love.
I strongly recommend this episode because it shows how much can be accomplished when all parties work together.
This episode contains excellent use of interviews interwoven throughout the narrative to create a much clearer picture of the crime and those left in its wake.
This episode is truly horrifying, as it explores the twisted and sordid case of the Bjork Stalker, otherwise known as Ricardo Lopez.
Lopez developed a very unhealthy obsession with the Icelandic superstar Bjork and became very jealous upon learning of Bjork’s relationships.
Lopez fully believed that he and Bjork belonged together and were destined to be lovers.
Unfortunately, Lopez went so far in his attachment towards Bjork that he decided he would prefer her dead than not being romantically involved with him.
Lopez recorded over 22 hours’ worth of confessional video diaries, which clarified his feelings and even featured footage of his suicide shortly after mailing an explosive letter to his idol.
This very unsettling episode will easily keep you up at night as it delves into Lopez’s mind and the problems with toxic fandom that can lead to such a case as his.
I strongly recommend trying this episode if you haven’t, as it will make you uneasy about your own obsessions.
This episode also features great use of interviews and audio directly from Lopez’s tapes, which helps to increase the creepiness of the whole thing further and helps you feel like you are involved in the investigation.
Jenelle Potter, a 30-year-old woman, has been sheltered throughout her entire life!
She has never been allowed a single moment of independence, never allowed to get a job or meet people outside the home, all because of her overbearing mother, who watches her every move.
Jenelle soon turned to social media, hoping that she could use it to connect with the outside world, but her incredible lack of social skills quickly turned her into the enemy of many people.
Unsure of how to deal with this newfound negative attention, Jenelle turned to her father and coerced him into committing murder out of jealousy towards people in the outside world.
Jenelle created an entire online persona to carry out her crimes. It is fascinating to watch this persona unravel throughout the episode and see just how far one person could go to exact their idea of personal justice.
If you want an episode that will give you nightmares for weeks afterward, try this one out.
This episode is also perfectly relevant to today’s online society, in which so many of us are connected 24/7 via the internet.
And it also explores how malleable our identities can be on the internet and the dangers inherent to that.
I have no trouble recommending this episode, as it is incredibly creepy and disturbing, and I think it is crucial to hear stories like these.
Andrea Curry Demus of Pittsburgh lives a relatively ordinary and happy life. Still, she will soon be reaching her late thirties, and the clock is now definitely ticking for her to decide if she wants to start a family.
Her intense quest for a healthy baby and an ordinary family life would soon turn ugly as those involved in her life would begin to see the dark side of this seemingly ordinary woman.
This episode will leave you feeling uncomfortable and unsettled, and I highly recommend listening to it.
The story itself is fascinating and compelling, and how it unfolds makes it easy to follow along. The complex moral quandary of the episode makes it intensely challenging to listen to and requires that you get involved with some of the more difficult questions.
It is also a great tale about motherhood and the impact that it can have on any woman.
I recommend this episode if you are looking for something truly unique and different and something that will challenge your perceptions of life and the morals that dictate your experience of it.
Conservatorships exist as a system intended to keep vulnerable people safe by placing them under the complete care of a persona or a group of people.
However, if things such as the ‘#freebritney’ movement have taught us anything, a conservatorship can quickly turn toxic and lead to immense abuses of power.
This happened in the case of 29-year-old Daryne Gailey, who ultimately lost his freedom when his elderly mother gained full conservatorship over him.
This allowed her to control every aspect of his life, which soon gradually began to destroy everything he had known.
This truly illuminating episode can be difficult to listen to as it deals with a subject matter that we don’t often discuss openly. It is a topic that has been covered before, but never from such a perspective.
The toxic side of conservatorships has only recently been openly discussed, making this a crucial episode for anyone interested in some of the darker sides of the law.
If you want to listen to an episode that will open your eyes to a world that most people aren’t aware exists, then this is the episode for you.
Domestic abuse is a truly horrifying topic, and this episode is dedicated to exploring it in all its terrifying detail.
This episode not only explores domestic abuse to an incredible degree, but it also uses interview audio of three domestic child abuse survivors who can give first-hand accounts of the kinds of horrors they have experienced.
This episode is not an easy listen and will have you feeling unsettled. Still, it is a seminal episode of the series that will help you to fully appreciate just how horrifying and, unfortunately, frequent domestic child abuse can be.
You should check out this episode because it will make you feel sick to your stomach, and you’ll probably need a few days afterward to recover.
The things that some people will do for fame can get your stomach-turning. Carey Shane Padgett decided that the best course of action have his name in the history books was to commit murder.
His friend Cara Marie Holley from Roanoke was just 18 years old when she went missing. She was later found in a shallow grave mere miles away from her childhood home.
This sent shockwaves through her local community.
To make matters worse, her killer, Carey, made no attempts to hide his horrible deeds, as he went out on the town in her car and used her credit card just days after her disappearance.
Many investigations have tried to unearth Carey’s true motive, but sadly, his motive is straightforward, and it will make you sick to your stomach.
This episode will quickly become one of your favorite podcast episodes, as it can leave a significant mark, and you will be thinking about it for days after you first listen to it.
It is frightening to your very core.
If you want a harrowing episode, this is the one for you.
This special episode is dedicated to two of the most popular stories that have been shown on the Sword And Scale blog.
The first story that this episode discusses is that of the Harvey’s Wagon Wheel Casino, a popular casino and tourist destination which became the site of a bombing.
The bomb used to damage the casino is considered one of the most complex bombs ever created, and this episode seeks to explain how such a bomb was built and why it was used at such a location.
The second story covered in this episode is truly one of the most despicable crime stories ever recounted on the show.
Juno Furuta, an 18-year-old girl in Japan, was abducted while on her way home from a work shift by four young boys and subjected to 44 consecutive days of torture.
This crime is considered one of the most heinous ever committed, as Junko didn’t die until the 44th day of her difficult endeavor.
This episode explores details of the case, what happened as a result, and the waves it made across the country.
If you want an episode that will send chills throughout your body, this is one of the best episodes.
It’s not often that children turn out to be the perpetrators of crimes rather than the unfortunate victims.
This episode explores some horrific cases of horrific children who seemed to take immense and perverse pleasure in killing or harming other creatures and even other people.
This episode will give you nightmares, as these are all actual events, and they were all committed by children.
This helps to make the crimes even more unsettling, as who could imagine children being capable of such horrors.
Thanks to its ability to scare you to death, I recommend this episode. Each story explored in the episode seems worse than the last until you cannot take it much longer.
Be warned, though, that you will not want kids after hearing even the first one!
You’d never normally think that a love story and a murder tale could go together so well, but as it turns out, they definitely can.
This episode is dedicated to recounting the tale of the Gainesville Ripper, who made a name for himself thanks to the horrific murders he committed on a college campus.
This episode also touches on the impact that social media and the current state of the internet have on judicial cases.
Online, it is easy for certain figures to become demonized, no matter what they have done, as there is no judicial process to be found on the internet.
Thus, this episode explores how the internet acts as the judge, jury, and executioner!
This episode will leave you horrified and wanting to read up on the Gainesville Ripper case. It’s a great example of how the internet can play a huge role in a criminal investigation.