This season of Marginalized Murder we dive into "The Case of the 51", the largest active serial murder mystery in the county. Over the course of twenty years at least 51 women were strangled to death in the South and West side of Chicago . I speak with Thomas Hargrove, the founder of the Murder Accountability Project and the creator of the algorithm that cracked this cold case wide open. We also meet some of the victim's family members like Sharon Pritchett, whose beloved sister Gwendolyn Williams was stolen from her by a killer who the Chicago DA refused to prosecute. Then there are community activists and local politicians like Reverend Hood and Senator Patricia Van Pelt, who fight to keep this case alive and bring answers to the heartbroken family members and friends left behind.
Join me as I attempt to uncover who killed the majority of these women, who were murdered by not one, but potentially two to three serial killers. A story with little answers; until the summer of 2021 when a major break in the case is unearthed: the reemergence of a confession tape from a convicted serial killer who admits to murdering victims to death across five states, including Illinois. Help me try to find peace to the victims, justice to the perpetrators, and cast an eye of scrutiny to a justice system that overlooks marginalized victims living on the fringes. It all starts in Chicago....
Episode 7: Breaking the Cycle
Vann’s confessing to strangling women in Illinois points to a profound reality: not only is Hargrove’s algorithm effective at detecting serial murder activity, but it detected two clusters involving the same serial killer…
While many unanswered questions in the case of the 51 remain, grassroots activists and organizations like Mother’s Opposed to Violence Everywhere work towards local and federal legislature reform to prevent violent crimes against, especially black and brown, women.
One of their main policies focuses on Hargrove’s work, including mandating federal use of the algorithm in all jurisdictions across the country.
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