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Suspect Convictions

Barton McNeil discovers his 3-year-old daughter's lifeless body in her bed the morning after breaking up with his girlfriend. McNeil insists that she was murdered by his former girlfriend after pointing to a cut screen in the bedroom window. Police agree a murder has been committed, but arrest him.
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Jul 23, 2017

Clyde "Buddy" Spence will soon be released from prison. Scott Reeder visits him in prison and asks why he shot two people in a daycare center. One of his victims was holding a 3-year-old girl when she was shots. Reeder talks that child, now a mother in her 30s, about how the crime impacted her life.

 

On Dec. 7, 1988, Clyde “Buddy” Spence entered a Texas daycare center and shot two workers in front of dozens of screaming children. One worker, Joyce Marques, suffered three serious bullet wounds but survived. The other worker, her daughter in-law, Charlotte “Dawndy” Marques suffered two bullet wounds and died climbing a playground fence as she fled the gunman.

After three months on the lam, Spence was arrested and sentenced to 30 years in prison. Scott Reeder, then a cub reporter at the Galveston Daily News covered the 1989 trial of Spence, where he was found guilty and sentenced to 30 years in prison. The case has long haunted Reeder, a veteran journalist who now produces the hit podcast Suspect Convictions. Questions that he has asked over the years are: What impact have those two minutes of terror had on the community  almost 30 years after the crime? Does a family ever reach closure after suffering such a loss? How has the trauma affected the children who witnessed the crime? And what becomes of man after 30 years in some of Texas’ most violent prisons?

Reeder returned to Galveston County and interviewed the woman wounded in the attack, the sisters of the person killed, one of the children narrowly missed by the bullets, detectives who worked the case and prosecutors who have kept him behind bars. He also visited Spence in the Texas prison where he is being prepared for release into society. The answers he received were surprising and go to the heart of society’ most challenging questions regarding grief, forgiveness and healing.

 

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