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Podcast Review: Murder in Illinois

The podcast Murder in Illinois is about the Christopher Vaughn case. Vaughn was convicted of murdering his wife and three children. It is hosted by Lauren Bright Pacheco who is an Emmy awarding winning producer and podcast host of Happy Face, Murder in Oregon, and The Murders at White House Farm. Through research and interviews with private investigators such as Bill Clutter, she presents the possibility that Vaughn is innocent. Pacheco does a thorough analysis of the case and provides a balanced view of Vaughn’s innocence versus guilt. The suspense of this podcast makes you excited to listen to the next episode.

There are similarities between Murder in Illinois and the first season of Serial. This has to do with circumstances surrounding the protagonists: Adnan Syed and Christopher Vaughn. Both Syed and Vaughn are described as looking bewildered at the time of their arrests. This suggests a disbelief that they are charged with murder. At the same time, Syed and Vaughn cannot remember where or what they were doing at the time of the murderers. From the first episode of Murder in Illinois, you can tell the duality of guilty vs not guilty is a frequent question you will have to ask yourself during this podcast. This speaks to the thorough research presented.

One of the arguments in Vaughn’s defense is the lack of effort by his attorney in controlling the proceedings in court or questioning details argued by the prosecution. Pacheco talks about once Vaughn’s attorney found out he was not getting the death penalty, he felt Vaughn should be happy enough with that. This sets the stage for future episodes which are sure to cover proceedings in court.

From the prosecution perspective, Vaughn’s erratic behavior after the murder is a sign of guilt. Not only does he state that he does not remember what happened, but as journalist Erika Wurst states, he disappeared from the crime scene. Wurst wonders why he did not try to fight off the attacker who murdered his family. These details provide a taste of what you hope to find out about in future episodes.

Murder in Illinois  is a gripping, suspenseful podcast. Those who are interested in true crime stories will especially enjoy it. Like Serial, more details are gradually revealed that makes you eager to find out the whole story. Pacheo’s attention to details makes you confident that you are getting all of the available facts about the murder case. Once you listen to the first episode, you will be wondering when the second one will be released.

Murder in Illinois can be listened to on podcast apps such as Apple Podcasts and Spotify. You can also listen to it on the iHeart Radio website. As a warning, there are graphic descriptions of crime scenes. This podcast is recommended for mature audience only.