Picture it. Sicily. 1963.
Franca Viola was 15 years old, and engaged to a mafia member named Filippo Melodia. When Filippo went to jail for theft, Franca broke off the engagement. She moved on with her life. She became engaged to a childhood friend. Life seemed pretty good, until Filippo came back into the picture. He stalked her. He threatened her. Then, he and a band of douchebags stormed her family’s home. They beat up her mother. They kidnapped Franca, and her little brother, too. Filippo held Franca captive for eight days. He sexually assaulted her many times. He was pretty pleased with himself. After all, in those days, that meant he’d found a bride.
Then Brandi tells us a story about Paul Warner Powell, the biggest idiot to walk the planet. In January of 1999, Paul was a 20-year-old self described neo nazi who had a crush on his 16-year-old neighbor, Stacie Reed. One day when Paul was over at Stacie’s house, he became incensed to find out that her boyfriend was black. He attempted to rape Stacie, then murdered her as she fought back. Paul went on to commit more crimes against Stacie’s family that day. At one point, he thought he’d gotten away with everything. So he began bragging.
And now for a note about our process. For each episode, Kristin reads a bunch of articles, then spits them back out in her very limited vocabulary. Brandi copies and pastes from the best sources on the web. And sometimes Wikipedia. (No shade, Wikipedia. We love you.) We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the real experts who covered these cases.
In this episode, Kristin pulled from:
“A brave young woman fought a centuries-old cruel Sicilian tradition and won,” by E. L. Hamilton for The Vintage News
The book, “Italian Sketches: The Faces of Modern Italy,” by Deirdre Pirro
“Franca Viola says ‘No’” by Daisy Alioto for Mashable
“Franca Viola” entry on Wikipedia
In this episode, Brandi pulled from:
“Inmate Lands Back on Death Row for Taunting Letter He Sent to Prosecutors” lifedaily.com
“Death-row defense argues double jeopardy” The Washington Times