“The Real Killer” Premieres Thursday, December 16 on iHeartRadio and All Podcasting Platforms
LOS ANGELES – (December 15, 2021) – Aliza Rosen’s AYR Media (iHeartRadio’s Queen of the Con: The Irish Heiress, Audible’s Bitter Blood: Kasem vs. Kasem) and iHeartMedia, the No. 1 podcast publisher globally as per podtrac, have partnered to launch The Real Killer. Host Leah Rothman, a Daytime Emmy-nominated producer, writer and director (Crime Watch Daily) brings listeners along as she investigates one of the most gruesome crimes in Missouri history; a case that baffled law enforcement and resulted in a St. Louis man being sentenced to life in prison. Now, almost 40 years later, as new evidence emerges, the question remains… who is the real killer?
The first two episodes of The Real Killer premieres on Thursday, December 16, with new episodes dropping weekly, every Thursday on iHeartRadio and all major podcasting platforms. The 11-episode series is distributed by the iHeartPodcast Network; it’s executive produced by Rothman and Rosen (who previously collaborated to produce The First Wife: John Meehan’s Reign of Terror).
In 1982, seven-year-old Melissa Davis woke in the middle of the night to find her mother, JoAnn Tate, murdered. The murderer, still in the house, then attacked and nearly killed Melissa and her four-year-old sister, Renee. When police interrogated the traumatized child, Melissa eventually identified one of her mother’s former boyfriends as the killer. That man was later arrested, convicted and sentenced to two life terms in prison.
Decades later, Melissa realized she may have put the wrong man behind bars.
The Real Killer analyzes this twisted tale, from its gruesome beginnings to the imprisonment of a potentially innocent man, featuring first-hand accounts from Melissa, the man convicted and those closest to the case – including other family members, a juror from the murder trial, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, renowned defense attorney Sean O’Brien and, for the first time ever, an inmate at Hutchinson Correctional Facility who may be the actual culprit. Rothman provides listeners with an intimate look at what many believe to be justice gone awry, and her pursuit to find the real killer.
“This story is more than a true crime mystery – it highlights a case that has gone decades without resolution and exposes major flaws within our justice system,” said Rosen. “JoAnn Tate’s murder investigation and theeventual trial is riddled with missed details, neglected evidence and coercion. We’re pleased to partner again with Leah and with iHeart on this podcast that reopens the case and allows those involved to share their story – many for the first time.”
“I’ve covered and investigated a number of incredibly heinous crimes over the years, but I just haven’t been able to shake this one,” said Rothman. “I’ve long contemplated the best way to tell this story, and teaming with Aliza and AYR on this podcast has given me the opportunity to dive deeper into this case than I ever could have imagined.”
About AYR Media
AYR Media is a full-service production company focused on premium unscripted and documentary content, encompassing podcasts, television and film. Founded in 2019 by veteran producer and development executive Aliza Rosen, AYR podcasts include iHeartRadio’s Queen of theCon: The Irish Heiress and upcoming true-crime thriller The Real Killer, as well as Bitter Blood: Kasem vs. Kasem, The First Wife: John Meehan’s Reign of Terror and The Murder of Robert Wone, all for Audible, among numerous other series set to launch in 2022. Other AYR projects include additional series for both Audible and iHeart Media, as well as other IP currently in development for television and streaming. For more information, please visit AYR Media’s website.