Pushing Up Lilies

The Real-Life Horrors Behind Scream

Episode Summary

Step into the chilling world of true crime with me on this episode of Pushing Up Lilies. We're delving into the shadows that inspired one of the most iconic '90s slashers, Scream. Unveil the sinister tale of the Gainesville Ripper, Danny Rolling, and the copycat murders that echoed the blood-curdling screams of a community. In "Echoes of Terror," we connect the dots between reality and fiction, exploring the macabre events that served as the haunting muse for the blockbuster movie. From the gruesome details of Danny Rolling's Florida murders to the copycat horrors that sent shockwaves through communities, I guide you through a narrative that blurs the line between cinematic horror and real-life terror. * Listener discretion is advised.

Episode Notes


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Episode Transcription

0:06 Welcome to Pushing Up Lilies.

0:08 I'm your host, Julie Mattson.

0:10 Pushing Up Lilies is a weekly True Crime podcast with spine tingling, unusual and terrifyingly true stories from my perspective as a forensic death investigator and a sexual assault nurse examiner.

0:24 Do I have some stories for you?

0:26 Are you ready?

0:31 So hard to believe that we're coming up on mid-January already.

0:35 It's crazy and it's about to start getting colder here in Texas.

0:38 I think they said it was going to be in the twenties on Monday.

0:41 It's a holiday for us.

0:43 I'm hoping at the medical examiner's office that everybody stays calm, stays home, and gets along.

0:50 We don't have many issues to deal with regarding death.

0:53 Today, I wanted to talk a little bit today about one of the struggles that we deal with at our office and I'm sure at most medical examiner’s offices almost on a daily basis, we struggle with getting doctors to sign death certificates.

1:11 We have the descendants who have been on chemotherapy and have cancer and have not been well and are expected to die but have not yet been started on hospice.

1:26 Sometimes we struggle with getting the oncologist to sign the death certificate.

1:31 And a lot of people don't know that this is part of our job we do when we get a call.

1:36 If someone dies at home, we have to follow up with the doctor, we have to confirm their medical history and we have to make sure that the doctor will sign the death certificate.

1:48 It's kind of part of the doctor's duties even after their patient has expired.

1:53 For some reason, a lot of doctors feel like they have to be present when their patients die.

1:57 And if they're not, then they shouldn't be held responsible.

2:01 I think it becomes a legal issue with them for some reason, they are nervous about it.

2:08 They're afraid they're going to be wrong, but it's just part of their responsibility.

2:14 I mean, we have people that have been on chemo for years and then the doctor says we were saving her, but the patient had cancer.

2:23 You know, they've been your patient for 10 years and you're following them, and you have documented medical history and you're seeing them on a regular basis.

2:32 This person should not have to get an autopsy.

2:35 The medical examiner should not have to review these records and sign the death certificate.

2:40 One thing I always said is when you get a physician ask him, hey, are you going to continue to be responsible and sign my death certificate when I'm gone?

2:49 As long as I continue to be a regular patient of yours.

2:52 Because if you have a medical history, you should not have to go to the medical examiner's office unless there's been some trauma or foul play involved, period.

3:04 And this is just a struggle that we deal with every day.

3:07 We have people who are very sick, lots of medical problems and they'll see an oncologist and a nephrologist, and they may not have a primary care physician because they see their oncologist and nephrologists.

3:23 Frequently they may be on dialysis three days a week who has time to go to a primary care physician, especially when you feel like crap.

3:32 A lot of specialists feel like they are above signing death certificates.

3:37 I mean, they're just not, I mean, continue your responsibility with your patient even after they're gone.

3:43 This is something that I don't think they teach in medical school.

3:47 It continues to be a struggle.

3:49 I'm ranting about it a little bit because we had a lot of issues with it just yesterday.

3:54 I just feel like it's the responsibility of these doctors if they see a patient on a regular basis and they prescribe medications and they document every time the patient comes into their office, like they're supposed to, it shouldn't be a problem once we've determined that foul play is not suspected for them to log on to the computer and sign the death certificate for their patient.

4:20 When they don't, it delays funeral services, it upsets the family and causes a lot of issues.

4:29 It's not every doctor.

4:30 I mean, we have some that we never, never struggle with.

4:33 We have some who… Oh, sure, I'll sign.

4:36 And it always amazes me when the doctors know the patients immediately, they don't even have to go to the computer and look them up.

4:43 They know the patient, they know their family, they know their medical history that always amazes me.

4:51 I love it.

4:52 I love when they carry out their responsibility.

4:56 I know that again.

4:57 Not a lot of people know that that's something that we even have to deal with.

5:01 But on a daily basis, we are calling specialists, and we are calling primary care physicians.

5:08 We're calling clinics, all these places to try and contact doctors to sign death certificates.

5:17 And like I said, once we've ruled out foul play and there's no history of trauma.

5:22 Come on.

5:23 If you see a patient on a regular basis, sign their blooming death certificate, just think about the family and the struggles they're going through and not how difficult it is to log into the computer and type a few words anyway.

5:36 That's my rant for today.

5:37 But I want to talk a little bit about the scream murders because I know the movie Scream.

5:46 My four-year-old granddaughter loves the movie Scream.

5:49 And I find it kind of funny because she was always wanting to watch it and of course my daughter won't let her, but she always wants to watch.

5:55 The white-faced man is what she calls it.

5:58 I always kind of giggle and say she's going to be my horror movie fan when she gets older because my dad and I used to go to late night scary movies and just eat our weight and popcorn and now that he's gone, I'm like, I want my granddaughter to do that with me.

6:12 Maybe when she's a little bit older, I think four might be a little too early.

6:16 But I don't know if y'all heard of Daniel Rolling.

6:18 He was known as the Gainesville Ripper.

6:22 He went on a four-day murder spree that left five Florida college students dead.

6:29 This story scream was written by Kevin Williamson and directed by Wes Craven after these murders on Friday, August 24th and this was in 1990.

6:45 He broke into a Florida apartment in the middle of the night where two young students slept, one of the girls who lived there.

6:54 Christina Powell was asleep on the living room couch.

6:59 Now he watched her for a little while, didn't do anything to her initially.

7:04 But then he went upstairs and found Sonja Larson asleep in her bed.

7:11 He woke her up and taped her mouth shut and then stabbed her to death.

7:17 He went back downstairs and sexually assaulted Christina Powell and then killed her.

7:26 He posed their bodies and then showered in their bathroom before he left which you know, go ahead, and leave your DNA.

7:36 Thanks for that because that's very helpful.

7:39 The very next night he entered the home of Christa Hoyt.

7:43 Now, Christa wasn't home.

7:45 He waited for her all the way until the next morning to come home.

7:51 When she got there, he bound her, assaulted her and then again, stabbed her to death.

7:57 Now, he posed her body as well.

8:00 But then he decided to cut her head off.

8:04 Of course, the citizens in Gainesville, Florida were a little bit freaked out.

8:11 Left in shock wondering who would do this and why?

8:16 Two days later, he broke into another apartment, and he made his way to the bedroom of Manny Taboada.

8:24 Now he murdered him.

8:27 And this was the first time that he had attacked a male.

8:33 Manny's roommate was Tracey Paules, and she was in another room.

8:40 She heard a scuffle in Taboada's room and went to check on him and then Rolling attacked her.

8:49 She ran to her bedroom and locked the door, rolling, broke through the door and then stabbed her.

9:00 He posed them together.

9:02 And if for some reason, he stopped and went inactive for months.

9:09 But these were not his first victims.

9:12 He had killed the year before.

9:14 In 1989 November 4th of 1989 he had murdered a family of three in Shreveport, Louisiana.

9:25 He broke into their home, killed a grandfather named Tom Grissom, his adult daughter Julie and her eight-year-old son Sean.

9:35 Now he posed the female and left the male bodies untouched.

9:41 Investigators started to notice similarities between these two murder sprees and believe that they were connected.

9:51 I believe in both murder sprees.

9:53 There was tape residue that matched the fact that he posed the bodies was very similar.

10:00 And then he also apparently used vinegar to clean the bodies.

10:05 Also, there was blood found at both scenes that were type B which was the same as Rolling.

10:13 He made a fatal error because he could not be quiet.

10:17 He could not keep it a secret.

10:20 He was befriended by a Christian couple in Shreveport, Cindy Juracich and Steve Dobbin and they invited him to their home.

10:32 You know, over time you have that friend where they seem normal at first, but the more you hang out with them, you just know something's not right, this was Rolling.

10:44 They started to discover that he was just a little bit demented.

10:49 He told the couple that he like to stick knives in people.

10:53 Ok?

10:53 Somebody tells me that, especially a stranger and somebody I didn't know, well, you're not staying in my house anymore.

10:59 Sorry, you're no longer invited.

11:01 By this time, the Shreveport murders had already happened.

11:06 And so Cindy called Crime stoppers and told them that she felt like he needed to be investigated.

11:13 Now, her call was just in time because it did affect others and keep them from becoming victims because he was, you know, obviously going to continue.

11:25 It also saved the life of Edward Lewis Humphrey who was a suspect in the murders because he had been arrested for beating his grandmother and they were kind of holding him as a suspect.

11:40This gave the police the opportunity to investigate Rolling and arrest him, so that Edward Lewis Humphrey was no longer considered a suspect.

11:51 Some think Humphrey was an accomplice, but I don't think that that ever panned out.

11:56 Rolling was in jail in Florida, Ocala, Florida since he robbed a grocery store months earlier.

12:04 And that was just a week and a half after the last murder, Rollings had tape tools and other evidence that matched what was used in the killings.

12:15 And of course, when they typed his blood, he was type b, he also wrote about his crimes in a diary and that was found by the police keeping his memoirs, you know, and so that kind of gives it away as well.

12:33 He was arrested and put on trial.

12:37 He apparently had suffered severe and constant abuse from his father.

12:43 And, you know, that always comes out when you go to trial.

12:46 You know, I had this terrible childhood, and I just couldn't recover from it.

12:50 You know, a lot of people had a terrible childhood.

12:53 A lot of people turned around and changed and didn't relive their past for their entire life, but not this guy.

13:02 He was going to use that as an excuse to try to get away with murder Rolling was found guilty of his crimes and sentenced to death.

13:10 And on October 25th of six, he was executed by lethal injection during the trial is when Williamson actually wrote the screenplay.

13:21 I found that kind of interesting because as horrifying as the movie Scream is, it's not really considered one of the scariest movies of all time, but it is a true story.

13:34 I mean, that is kind of frightening.

13:36 We always have people who think that they have to copy other murders.

13:43 It always makes me nervous when they talk about murders on TV, or when a documentary comes out.

13:48 I'm always afraid somebody that's crazy is going to think that it's a good idea to kind of try to copy it that did happen in Pocatello Idaho, 16-year-old Cassie Joe Stoddart was murdered by Brian Lee Draper and Torey Adamcik.

14:10 Cassie Joe was very responsible, a good student in school and very trusted by her aunt and uncle who asked her to watch their house while they were on vacation.

14:22 They had, I believe, three cats and two dogs and they asked her to care for them for the weekend while they were out of town.

14:31 September 22nd of 06, Cassie was house sitting, her aunt and uncle Alison and Frank Contreras had gone out of town.

14:41 Her boyfriend Matt Beckham arrived at the residence at around 6pm.

14:48 Matt didn't tell Cassie Joe that he had invited Draper and Adamcik over to hang out.

14:58 She was a little surprised when they got there, but she was very welcoming and gave them a tour of the house including the basement.

15:09 Now, Draper and Adamcik left early.

15:13 They were all four watching Kill Bill together and Draper and Adamcik left to go to a movie at the theater.

15:22 But while they were in the basement, they unlocked the basement door so that they could reenter the house later.

15:31 Now, a little bit about these two guys, they were heavily inspired by the film scream.

15:39 They had recorded videos about how they were horror movie fans and they wanted to reenact a similar murder in real life to Rollings murders.

15:50 And they had a death list of potential victims.

15:54 These kids were a little bit demented just like Rolling.

15:59 Basically, they wanted to reenact this and that's how they wanted to be famous.

16:04 They were enamored with horror films.

16:09 Again, Cassie Joe, very welcoming.

16:11 Showed him around the house.

16:13 These guys unlocked the basement door so they could re-enter.

16:16 Now later that evening, they returned to the neighborhood, and they parked down the street, put on dark clothing, gloves and white painted masks.

16:29 They entered through the basement and when they were down there, they were trying to scare Matt and Cassie Joe.

16:37 They were making loud noises in the basement to try and lure them downstairs to scare them.

16:44 And so when that didn't work, you know, Matt and Cassie Joe were like, whatever, I don't know, I mean, it's like a horror movie, right?

16:51 I mean, you don't go down in the basement, then the two boys turned off the power hoping at that point that Matt and Cassie Joe would then come downstairs and when they didn't, they turned the lights back on.

17:08 Well, one of the dogs kept staring down the basement stairs and barking and growling.

17:13 Obviously, this is going to scare Cassie Joe and probably Matt too.

17:18 Beckham called his mom and asked if he could stay there with Cassie Joe because she was uneasy.

17:25 She just didn't feel safe.

17:27 You know, the power had gone off and they kept hearing these loud noises in the basement.

17:33 Naturally, she was a little bit scared and nervous about it.

17:38 Beckham's mom said no that he could not stay there, but she did offer Cassie Joe to stay at their house.

17:45 Now, Cassie Joe again, very responsible, hired to care for the animals, trusted by her aunt and uncle declined the invitation because she felt like she needed to stay at their home at around 10:30 p.m. Beckham's mom picked him up Draper and Adamcik were still in the house, they're still in the basement.

18:07 At this point, they heard him leave.

18:11 They decided that they were going to, you know, continue to scare Cassie Joe and they turned the lights back off.

18:17 She did not go downstairs, and they went upstairs and they're armed with a dagger and a hunting knife.

18:26 Now, they had purchased these at a pawn shop.

18:30 Once they got upstairs, they opened and closed a closet door again, making noises and loud noises to try to scare Cassie Joe.

18:40 She was lying on the sofa in the living room at that time and she's braver than me because I would have been freaked out.

18:47 I probably would have gone to Beckham's house, especially with the noises.

18:52 But you know, hindsight's 20/20 they go over to her on the sofa and stab her 30 times.

19:01 They actually recorded their plan to murder her, her on videotape, which was shown at their trials.

19:11 They were arrested on September 27th of 06 and charged with first degree murder and conspiracy to commit first degree murder.

19:21 I mean, they had videotaped their plan and of course, when it went to trial, they blamed one another.

19:29 You know, Adamcik said Draper was the murderer and he was just there, and he was scared of him and had to follow whatever he asked him to do and vice versa.

19:40 It was, you know, just a blaming type of scenario.

19:45 Draper said again that Adamcik had commanded him, but afterwards, they had disposed of the clothing and weapons and also the VHS tape revealing their plans in Black Rock Canyon.

20:02 They had attempted to hide all of the evidence.

20:06 Now, these boys were nicknamed the scream killers because again, they were inspired by this film Scream, which came out after the Rolling murders.

20:16 Cassie Joe's body was discovered two days later because her aunt and uncle returned home and found her stabbed.

20:27 Draper was convicted on April 17th of 07 and Adamcik was convicted on June 8th of 07 on August 21st of the same year, they both received a mandatory life sentence plus 30 years for conspiracy to commit murder.

20:50 Both are at the Idaho State Correctional Institution where they belong.

20:56 Don't say that this was not planned and that you did not both have a part in this when you have a VHS tape where you videotaped your intentions, you went as far as getting clothing to disguise yourself and then you're going to go to a pawn shop and buy knives.

21:17 I mean, if you're truly just going to scare somebody, you're not going to use real knives because you know, we all know accidents can happen, but 30 times, you know, they stabbed her 30 times in 2010.

21:31 The Stoddart family filed a civil suit against the Pocatello school district.

21:38 Now, the civil suit was dismissed by the Supreme Court because the school had no way of foreseeing what these two boys were going to do.

21:49 And so the school kind of denied responsibility and the Supreme Court said that the actions were not foreseeable that case was dropped.

22:00 But this case was, I don't know, it's scary to think.

22:04 I mean, because I've seen Scream and to me, because it is a true story, it is something that can actually happen.

22:11 And those are the movies that kind of freak me out a little bit.

22:14 The scary horror movies where they're a little bit unrealistic.

22:17 Those are kind of like, this is not real, I don't have a problem with those.

22:22 It's the ones where, you know, it's a true story and it could easily happen to anybody.

22:28 I think what scares me the most about a lot of them is again, the fact that somebody can go in and decide that that looks like fun and copy the murder.

22:38 Yeah, I found that story a little bit different again because Rolling had committed the murders and then these two boys just decided that they wanted to do that too and I'm sure they weren't normal, like when they were at school, I'm sure they talked about killing and that kind of thing.

22:56 I'm sure raised some red flags.

22:58 A lot of people probably thought they were never going to follow through with it.

23:01 You know, they were juniors in high school.

23:04 They were all classmates.

23:07 That's even worse, you know.

23:08 But they were all in 11th grade.

23:12 Just a really, really sad story.

23:14 But good thing that these two boys are in prison for life.

23:19 No possibility of parole.

23:21 Thank goodness.

23:21 I know that I get on another soapbox sometimes about people that get out on parole and then continue to commit murder and other crimes.

23:30 And then Rolling was not a good guy.

23:32 I mean, armed robbery, murdered multiple people.

23:36 He is right where he belongs as well.

23:39 Anyway, I think another screen movie just came out around Halloween.

23:44 I'm not sure.

23:44 I'm not sure there's so many different 12 and three of all these different movies.

23:50 I lose track, but I haven't been to a scary movie in a long time.

23:54 I do love going to them.

23:56 My husband on the other hand does not, like I said, I'm hoping that my granddaughter turns into my little horror movie buddy, and we can go together when she gets a little bit older.

24:05 I think four is too young.

24:07 I do see a lot of small kids in movie theaters when the movies are scary.

24:13 I guess that some parents don't think about it, or they hope their kids will fall asleep.

24:17 I don't know.

24:18 How do you feel about that?

24:19 I'm not a big fan of it.

24:22 Number one, those kids are going to be sleeping in your bed for like the rest of their life until they're 21.

24:27 Be ready for that because that's probably going to be a possibility.

24:31 If you let your kids see horror movies again, we are going to start buckling down for some cooler weather this weekend and Monday it's going to be super cold.

24:43 We are closed.

24:46 Well, I say closed, we're never closed, but our office is closed for Martin Luther King Day on the 15th.

24:52 And so I get to work from home, which is great.

24:55 Since it's supposed to be chilly, I'm hoping I can just snuggle up on my couch and watch TV and not do much.

25:00 But we will see if the county is good for us.

25:04 School has started for me.

25:06 I think many of, you know, I'm in the nurse practitioner program at the University of Texas at Arlington and I have two classes that just started yesterday.

25:15 That is a challenge and keeping up the med spa and working two jobs and going to school and doing the podcast and life is just crazy, but I have to say Christmas was great and amazing as always, but I am glad it's over and I have my tree put away.

25:35 I am ready to make 2024 the best year ever.

25:39 I hope y'all have an amazing week.

25:41 Stay safe and stay warm and I will talk to you next week.

25:45 Bye.

25:47 Thank you so much for joining me today on Pushing Up Lilies.

25:50 If you like this podcast and would like to share with others, please do me a quick favor and leave a review on Apple podcast.

25:58 This helps to make the podcast more visible to the public.

26:01 Thanks again for spending your time with me and be sure to visit me at PushingUpLilies.com for merchandise and past episodes.