film / tv / substack / social media / lists / web / celeb / pajiba love / misc / about / cbr
film / tv / substack / web / celeb

GettyImages-956587626.jpg

'Violation' Is An Unintentional Spin-Off of Serial's 'The Coldest Case in Laramie' Podcast

By Dustin Rowles | Podcasts | March 30, 2023 |

By Dustin Rowles | Podcasts | March 30, 2023 |


GettyImages-956587626.jpg

I stumbled upon the Violation podcast because the first episode appeared in the feed for Endless Thread a separate podcast produced by Boston’s WBUR. Originally, I only meant to sample it, but the true crime case that it covered sounded weirdly familiar.

In fact, for those who have listened to the most recent Serial podcast, The Coldest Case in Laramie, the case of Jacob Wideman will be familiar to you, as well. In episode 5 of The Coldest Case in Laramie, Kim Baker speaks to Jacob Wideman, the son of celebrated author John Edgar Wideman, who won the PENN/Faulkner award for his memoir Brothers and Keepers in 1984, which explored the murder conviction of his brother, Robert Wideman. Two years after its release, John Wideman’s 16-year-old son would also be sentenced to prison for an inexplicable murder he committed at an Arizona summer camp.

Jacob Wideman — who lived in Laramie when he wasn’t in summer camp — also confessed to the murder of Shelli Wiley (the subject of The Coldest Case in Laramie). It was a false confession. The podcast explores why Wideman falsely confessed. It also noted that, after 30 years in prison, Jacob Wideman was paroled in Arizona in 2016. After nine months, however, he was rearrested and put back into prison. The Coldest Case in Laramie doesn’t get into why.

I think it’s a mere coincidence that WBUR was working on Violation concurrently, but the podcast centers on that exact question: Why was Wideman sent back to prison? Three episodes in, and it hasn’t explored why in detail yet, but it’s fascinating all the same. John Wideman pushed for the podcast — and agreed to be interviewed for it — because he wanted the case to be reexamined objectively by a journalist, which he found in The Marshall Project’s Beth Schwartzapfel.

The details available online are vague. The parole violation had something to do with the fact that Wideman — who married a psychologist he met in prison — wasn’t allowed to live with her because she had kids, and he wasn’t allowed to be around kids because he murdered a kid (when he was a kid). Wideman subsequently missed a therapy appointment because of a miscommunication. It was enough to put him back into prison. Because he missed one appointment, Wideman may have to spend the rest of his life behind bars.

The question of why and how is that fair is what Violation will explore each week. Three episodes are currently available.