Crime Con is only two years old but is fast becoming the must have ticket for true crime fans all over the world, so without hesitation and lots of sun block the Just Killin’ Time crew packed our bags and took a trip over the pond to Nashville, Tennessee for this year’s event. We spent around eight days in Music City and definitely recommend visiting even if it’s just to drink bourbon, eat some amazing food and listen to music in one of the many bars, cafes or saloons.
We checked into the Gaylord Opryland resort & convention centre on the same day CrimeCon started, Friday 7th May. After finding our room in this massive hotel we went to check in and grab our pass for the convention, which was a very easy process with no huge ques, no confusion and no stress, we were in and ready to take in everything CrimeCon 2018 had to offer. Keep reading for a look at the sessions we attended.
The main ballroom of the convention was packed, excitement was in the air as everyone took their seat and waited for the convention to be kicked off. The lights dimmed and a video played on two huge screens ether side of the stage before the rock star of true crime Jim Clemente takes the stage complete with a cowboy hat. Jim talks about how much bigger this years CrimeCon has turned out compared to last years and then asked people to think about what their motive is for being at CrimeCon, are people there to network, do they just love the genre or maybe they want to pick up skills that will help them solve a cold case. We got a real community feel and huge buzz from this opening session that set us up for the weekend.
Truth and Justice Live
True crime podcasts are huge at the moment with Truth and Justice being one of the big players, the show is hosted by Bob Ruff but is a listener driven and devoted to investigating wrongful convictions and cold cases using a unique crowdsourcing approach.
This session was a Q&A that was being recorded for his listeners, some of our crew were big fans of the shows while others had never listened but we all enjoyed the session. Bob was funny and had a great rapport with his audience answering every question that was put to him with charm and charisma. After the session we found ourselves wanting to know more about the podcast and the cases it covered.
Golden State Killer a Deep Drive
The buzz in the true crime community following the recent capture of a strong suspect in The Golden State Killer case was undeniable as the audience waited for this eagerly anticipated session. Hosted by Paul Haynes and Billy Jensen, who both worked with author Michelle McNamara on her best selling book I'll Be Gone in the Dark, the true story of their search for the Golden State Killer. They were joined on stage by Paul Holes (former detective who spent decades on the case), GSK survivors Jane Carson-Sandler, Margaret Wardlow, and Debbi Domingo (whose mother was killed by GSK in 1979).
It was a privilege to share a room with the awesome people who worked so persistently to capture GSK, the energy in the room was one of celebration and triumph as Paul Holes told of when the suspect came onto his radar. He was very close to retirement, so much so that on his last day he drove out to the suspects house with the intention of asking for a DNA sample but decided to drive away and pass the information on to the officers taking over the investigation.
Emotions ran high as the survivors of GSK told of how they found out about his capture and what they felt as the news broke, the emotions on stage were not sad ones and nobody cried, these woman are total bad asses and the overriding feeling that came from them was one of togetherness and determination.
This session was one of the standout talks of the weekend and everyone who attended seemed to agree that we were very lucky to be at an event where these people are celebrated.
Francey Hakes: The Virtues of Vigilance
This talk was one of the more informative and educational of the weekend that really made us think about the perceptions and ideas we as a society attach to certain groups of people. The speaker Francey Hakes (pictured below) spoke with such passion and conviction about the subject it was impossible to not listen about this very important issue.
There was overwhelming theme that we should cast off the pop culture bad guy stereo type we were taught as kids. Predators can look like your next door neighbour, the friendly guy at church or even that "hot" teacher your teenager has a crush on. And most importantly if someone wants to spend more time with your kids than you do, you should be asking questions.
Francey took us through some cases from the states aimed to break through perceptions about how sexual predators might look. Some cases highlighted were Debra Lafave, a school teacher convicted of having sexual intercourse with a student and Glee actor Mark Salling, who killed himself after being charged with receiving and possessing child pornography. These cases certainly changed our ideas about what a paedophile looks like.
All parents and care givers would have their eyes opened from a session like this so if you get the chance to attend anything like this we would definitely recommend it.
Laura Richards: Profiling Murder in Slow Motion
Laura is a renowned international expert on domestic violence, stalking, sexual violence and risk assessment, her session directed us to recognise the signs of abuse and stalking before physical signs appear or someone ends up dead.
She reviewed famous cases such as the the relationship between Nicole Brown
Simpson and her estranged sports personality husband, including some difficult to listen to 911 calls from Nicole in which signs of abuse could be heard but nothing much was ever done by the police.
These days the police do a lot better at responding to domestic violence and stalking, but there's still a lot of work to be done and Laura is at the forefront of that. She took us through how she trains police officers and legal professionals on what kinds of questions to ask and what signs to look out for to determine if domestic violence is taking place.
We came away from the talk with a greater understanding of coercive control and how this leads onto physical abuse and even murder. Laura clearly cares passionately about the work she does and its good to know people like her are pushing for more to be done around these issues.
Wow, what a day! We had a cram packed day and made it to the sessions that appealed to us most, the hardest part of the day was choosing between the content on offer. The Friday alone had 28 sessions with 2 extras for VIP's and podcast row, which is basically all your favourite pod-casters in one room ready to chat and get in that selfie with you. We were worn out by the time Friday was over but couldn't wait to do it all again the next day.
Look out for out Saturday review coming very soon.