A recent but intense passion of mine is true crime, especially in the form of podcasts. I started with Serial, as most people have, but I was left unsatisfied. I then moved on to Undisclosed, seasons 1 and 2, which is my current favorite podcast. It is through Undisclosed that I discovered Accused.
Told in eight chapters, Accused looks at the 1978 murder of Elizabeth Andes in Oxford, Ohio. Though her boyfriend at the time, Bob Young, was charged with her murder, he was found innocent by two juries in both criminal and civil court. Now, almost 40 years later, even Beth’s parents believe the police arrested the wrong man. However, no further investigations were conducted by the Oxford police, for two reasons. The first is that after being found innocent twice, Young had his records sealed in an effort to move on from the terrible time in his life. The second, and more disturbing, reason this case is unsolved is that despite the evidence, the Oxford police still believe Young is guilty. Until the real murderer is found, Beth’s family is left without closure and Bob Young will still be seen by some as a criminal, despite his legal innocence. Fast-forward to today, the case is brought to the attention of Cincinnati Inquirer reporter Amber Hunt who, along with her producer Amanda Rossmann, begins to take a deeper look into Beth’s murder. In the eight chapters, we are introduced to the crime, the evidence (or lack thereof), and the suspects including and beyond Bob Young.
This podcast is unique in the true crime genre for many reasons. First and foremost, Amber Hunt was invited into the case by both Beth’s family and Bob Young. One of the most heartbreaking parts of cases like Adnan Syed’s is the thought of the victim’s family, whose closure is being disturbed by new investigations. In Accused, this is being done at the request of the family, allowing Hunt and Rossmann to move forward more aggressively, without fear of insulting the family of the deceased. Another intriguing part of this case is the time in which it took place. The teams at Undisclosed and Serial have a hard enough time looking into cases from less than 20 years ago, the Accused duo facing the difficulties of time as well as poor police work and evidence mishandling. Finally, the most unique aspect of Accused is the voice of the podcast, Amber Hunt. Amber is the lead of the podcast, both narrating the story and conducting interviews- you cannot have Accused without Amber Hunt. Amber speaks with authority and passion, while still maintaining a note of compassion for the victim and accused, something I believe Sarah Koenig was sorely lacking.
If you are looking for an introduction to true crime podcasts beyond Serial, I highly recommend Accused. It has the knowledge, depth, and passion found in podcasts like Undisclosed and Truth and Justice without the long term commitment of 30+ episodes.
Interested? Listen to the first episode here.