When her missing boyfriend is found murdered, his body encased in cement inside a watering trough and dumped in a cattle field, a local sheriff’s deputy is arrested and charged with his murder. But as New York Times bestselling author and investigative journalist M. William Phelps digs in, the truth leads to questions about her guilt. In his first full-length, original true-crime book for WildBlue Press, Phelps delivers a hard-hitting, unique reading experience, immersing readers in the life of the first female deputy in Oglethorpe County, Georgia, who claims a sexual harassment suit she filed against the sheriff led to a murder charge. Is Tracy Fortson guilty or innocent? You read and decide. TARGETED: A Deputy, Her Love Affairs, A Brutal Murder-M.William Phelps
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Hi, I'm Jay Farner, ceo of Quicken Loans, thirty percent of Americans who are planning home improvement of five thousand dollars or more will pay for those renovations with a high interest credit card. That may not be a great idea. A better idea may be to take cash out of your home with a Quicken loans. Thirty year fixed rate mortgage. The rate today, in our thirty year, fixed rate mortgage is three point: nine nine percent APR four point: zero. Eight percent call us today at eight hundred Quicken or go to rocket mortgage dot com rates of exchange. At one point, two five percent be receive. The discount rate, all the concentration in conditions because, like license in all fifty states and one hundred thirty, and now I thought from Geico Motorcycle, it took fifteen minutes to take a spirit, animal quiz online. Please be the cheetah, please be the cheetah and learn your animal, isn't the cheetah, but the far less appealing blobfish
come on. To add insult to injury, you could have used those fifteen blobfish minutes to switch your motorcycle insurance to Geico Geico. Fifteen minutes could save you, fifteen percent, or more on motorcycle insurance law.
Hi. I'm Jay Farner, ceo of Quicken Loans, America's largest mortgage lender. Let's talk credit card debt for a minute. If you feel you're carrying too much of it, you're, not alone the average household in the. U S carries over eight thousand dollars in credit card debt, ready for some good NEWS with a cash out refinance from Quicken loans. You can quickly and easily put some of the equity in your home to good use by paying off a lot of that high interest credit card debt. A great way to take cash out is, with our thirty year fixed rate mortgage. The rate today, in our thirty year, fixed rate mortgage is three point: nine, nine percent APR four point: zero. Eight percent call us today at eight hundred Quicken to learn how taking cash out with a thirty year fixed mortgage might be the right solution for you and for a record nine years in a row. Jd power, his right Quicken loans highest in the nation in customer satisfaction for primary mortgage origination call us today at eight hundred Quicken or go to rocket mortgage dot. Com for getting our work for mission is a J part account rates of exchange a one point: two five percent fee to receive the discount rate offer because information in conditions legalizing letter license in all fifty states and one hundred thirty thirty, and now
I thought from Geico Motorcycle. It took fifteen minutes to take a spirit, animal quiz online. Please be the cheetah these be the cheetah and learn your animal, isn't the cheetah, but the far less appealing blobfish come on. To add insult to injury, you could have used those fifteen blobfish minutes to switch your motorcycle insurance to Geico Geico. Fifteen minutes could save you. Fifteen percent or more on motorcycle insurance
You are now listening to true murder, the most shocking killers in true crime, history and the authors that have written about them: Gacy Bundy, Dahmer, the night stalker Dgk every week, another fascinating author talking about the most shocking and infamous killers in true crime, history, true murder, with your host journalist and author Dan Zupansky links missing boyfriend is found, murdered his body encased in cement inside a watering trough and dumped in a cattle field, a local sheriffs do beauty is arrested and charged with his murder, but as New York Times best
winning author, an investigative journalist M, William Phelps digs in the truth, leads to questions about her guilt in his first. Full length original, true crime book for Wild Blue press Phelps delivers Hard hitting unique reading extreme. Immersing readers in the life of the first female DES beauty in Oglethorpe, County Georgia, claims of sexual harassment suit. She filed against the share of lead to a murder. Charge is Traci for Tracy, forts and guilty or innocent you read and decide. The book bookstore during this evening is targeted, a deputy, her love affairs, a brutal murder with especially as journalist and author and filmmaker Filmmaker M, William Phelps welcome to the program, and thank you very much for agreeing to this interview M William Phelps, the men's. Always. Call me Matthew thanks again for having me. I love yourself, so it's really a a pleasure to be honest.
Thank you very much here. We are in Halloween so apropos to Talk to one of the masters of true crime, uh Matthew, I will call you so thank you very much Matthew. Let's talk about some of the stuff that you talk about in the beginning of this book, because you say some very, very interesting things about the in history: the fate the future of true time and what's going on in right now and presently, you are involved with dark mines for since two one thousand and twelve, an investigation tell us a little bit about dark mines and what you've just come from the last book we had on. We were. Talking about your relationship with the serial kill
are involved in dark mines. Tell us a little bit about just what you been doing recently. That will inform that has informed you in preparation for this book targeted well yeah thanks Dan, I mean for the most part you dangerous grounds dangerous ground, rather was that the kind of a hybrid cloud man what's up with about my life in crime, my sister in law's murder, in my relationship with the father, happy face just person, a k, rape and a dark mine just to get discovery series, and so that's what started me that hello to where it
This is the first time that I became part of the story. I'd written a book called I'll, be watching you about a serial killer here in Connecticut, and I became part of that story, so I had written about in the first person as as a character in the story myself before and ultimately, as a writer I number of times, if you write a professionally long enough, you're, ultimately going to write about yourself. What it did for me was open up a new way to look at cases from me. You know injecting myself into the story and just telling the story of my investigation, rather than just reporting on it, so with dark minds with dangerous ground hope into these cases, and I talked about how they affected me personally, professionally spiritual, they psychologically emotionally really, and so then, this case of Tracy Fortune came came around and if I can, then I just tell you a little bit about how it came to me, which is another
something that really sparks my interest in case I do. A lot of work not only an investigation discovery, but I do lots of work for oxygen. I do lots of work for other television networks, so I know a lot of producers and one producer in particular Donna Dudek. She produced an episode of a series on oxygen, called snapped and Tracy ports and was the subject of that. Snapped episode, and so Donna was here one day interviewing me on another case she said Phelps. You know you really need to take a look at this Tracy Fortson case. It's got your name written all over it. I mean it's, it's really. It's perfect for your analysis, for you know for you to dig into look at so I said well, send me what you have and I'll take a look just sent me a couple of things, and I started to look at it started the second interesting
So you know I juggle five or six crime cases at the same time, until I take the one that I'm usually going to write about in book form and then my next, my next move was to write to Tracy Fortson to contact some of the people involved. In the case start talking to people see what they thought. And immediately tricky fortune? Was I didn't do it? You know I was framed. I was set up all of this and, as you know, again I I mean I hear this with every murder case I've written about whenever I interviewed the murderer. The murder is always innocent and I think, keep just recently only murder I've ever interviewed. Who said I did it, I did it. Man. So when I started a conversation with Tracy Fortson, I started to listen to you, I'm rolling my eyes if she's talking to me, you know, of course, I'm looking at the evidence in this case and I'm
As you know you, you know, you read the book, you look at the evidence in this case and it's like oh geez. This is a slam dunk I mean this. Is you know, there's there's no question about who did this not question at all right? So I became very interested in that exploring that question of why sixteen years later is Tracy, forcing still stuck on the idea that she didn't do this, so I just started down that route Let me to target it now. You talk about some of the things that happened, but let's talk about the characters themselves. You obviously talk to Tracy, so you got everything in this book from her early life right to how she came into the position.
She did to be involved with this Doug and this case so tell us about Tracy Fortson. You know- and I want to say something about the about the title of this book targeted it's the perfect title really because, but it's her contention that she was targeted and it's the court's contention that prosecutors contention that she targeted Doug Doug by the the victim in this case. So so was the perfect title, not really the anytime, you have a Dule title, it works. So that's the way I us from both sides. So I begin to get to know Traci and she is in a bright this talking abrasive kind of a
personality who likes to tell you how it is- and maybe I maybe I'm describing much tough likes to tell you how it is an kind of get in your face and kind of say. I challenge you. I challenge you to prove me wrong. That sort of thing take a look at this. She's also in another respect, she's also a person who, when you throw stuff in front of a when you put it in front of her and say, look, will look at this here. How to explain this. She wants to look beyond it, move on to the next thing so she's, really a person who, I believe, believes what she's saying now, whether it's the truth or not is beside this point that I'm trying to make is that she believes what it is. She is saying at this point six. Years later, so it was really an obstacle in the beginning and then of course, as you know, reading the book point time, I'm week I cut ties with her. She cut ties with me. We stopped
talking for three months. You know, and then I kind of gave a one more shot. You know, and she kind of came around. You know from all these books and the more you do. This, I think, or more anyone does. As an investigative journalist. Do you realize that you never can come to conclusions without more questions. It's There's never any certainty to anything. The more you look at all kinds of possibilities. Now, what I'm saying might sound confusing. What about the idea that- and you must consider this- that she is indeed guilty, but she is in D, he'd had enough years to look at this and say that she didn't have fair trial, and what do you do with that type of situation? And how do you address the
in your writing and in this book. Those are great questions. An beginning of this is the fact that she's had all these years and she's decided. That's not been a fair trial. Well, all her appeals have been exhausted and all the appeals courts said she has had a fair trial so, legally speaking, judiciously speaking? She's had many fair trials, in fact you know her first trial or second trial. You know so there's been. There was two trials in this case and and and- and I don't want to give away the outcome to either one of them- but you know, she's had plenty of chances in a courtroom to prove her innocence and she has yet to do that and then every time she she doesn't get the chance to do it. An in the chance falls to the wayside and she doesn't accomplish the goal. It's it or is this one's fault for not coming forward or it's this one's fault for not signing in after David or
so there's, always this or that or this and geez. I you know when I look at the evidence in this case. Like I say in the book, if I'm on the jury, I'm voting for guilty, there's no other possible way. I can vote for anything other than guilty because of the evidence um. Is there some sketchy stuff? Is there some questions? revolving around certain witnesses. Is there some questions revolving around expert testimony and questionable evidence? Absolutely there is, but when you look any trial. There is there's no trial. That's infallible, there's no trial, that is, that is devoid of any mistakes, errors, mistakes, judgment people on the stand? Lying people lie all the time. Of course, that's not not that's nothing! That's new! I mean
now, if you're, a pathological liar or you lie even a lie in court to what does it matter to you? What what really struck me is that. When one avenue didn't work, she changes her tune to another Ave for red flag right there, because, if you, if you get, if you go down the road and you're like well, this is the road that I'm on. And if that world doesn't lead it to the destination, you say well that was the wrong road now and this other road. Well, you know what I questioned your objectivity. I questioned what you're saying question everything really at that point. What's interesting, though too is in this book. You really do have the reader decide and what you do is is providing the nation, where you have the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Ralph, Stone and Yutaka
The crime scene uses crime scene specialist, but he calls himself a crime scene reconstructionist. He had ever been to the actual crime scene. It's just very interesting what could be used if it was nefarious here if there was some intent to cover up or conspire, tell us a little bit about this very interesting crime scene specialist? Well, it is that that's a great point, because you come the rough stone in the book and you like. Okay, he wasn't at the crime scene, but he's the prosecution's crime scene. Reconstruction is and how does he we reconstruct the crime scene photographs through into
use that he's read truth through other at the pieces of evidence. I know one of the past crime scene, reconstruction in the world known personally names. Dr Henry late, runs a school here in West Haven, Connecticut, where he reconstructs crime scenes and teaches you that and it's it's incredible. The amount of work he's done in this field and he goes. Crime scene and he reconstructs what happened. So in this case you know you have a guy, that's given his expert testimony on something he's just seen in photographs and stuff and granted he might be qualified to do that. Well, the more the bigger problem here that I see is that who's challenge in the sky. In the witness stand. He didn't have much of a challenge on the witness stand so. I'm gonna. Take advantage of that situation. I'm not going to lie, but I'm going to take advantage of this situation. You know, and I also think band by the time you get to Ralph Stone in the trial
you absolutely made up your mind about her already. You know he's just kind of he's, just kind of pattern to bow down to make sure the bow isn't like blooming too much off the package, but he's just patting the bow down the same perfect. That boats perfect. You point out, though, that in its very very into testing, exactly how you point out that he's asked to speculate so there's a lot of speculation leading to if you accept that speculation or that conclusion, based on that speculation, that it's somewhat tenuous if to say the least all these things put together- and it is to me surprising that who is allowed without objection, as you point out to be able to do that to be able to make sort of references and
actions and sold, as is as you do in the book, describe a little more what he was able to do. What the prosecution was able to use him to be able to say which is like an if yeah I mean I mean. The point I remember most is- is that I believe it was asked the question who do you think committed this crime, one or two people, and I believe he answered something to the fact of him summarizing. I believe it. I believe it was one person, and I believe that person knew him and that person you know was very angry with him. That's clear speculation, not not to me, is just outrageous defense attorney, I'm standing up in objecting to that having its trick in the whole thing, because.
How to help in this guy say who committed this crime. You know who we just described was Tracy Forks and that's how we described do the other ideas that we haven't talked about the crime itself, but we did mention in the introduction that dog was Tracy's. Husband was encased in cement, an inch, side disguised in inside a watering trough that had been disguised now in this, it doesn't look like it's a it's a slam, dunk that it's Tracy Fortson according to A couple of his friends. There was another interesting apart The investigation, it seems amiss- and you do point out some of the things in the investigation, some of the practices that were done- that don't seem to be normal investigative.
Seizure and one of those was the question of when they talk to Jeff Bennett right after and the idea that somehow how he knew and made a statement Harding cement. Could you talk about that? Just a bit yeah I mean you know and look in any invest Patient me, as the third party, the outside party, who has the benefit of hindsight, mean that I collect all the documentation. I collect all the interviews and I sit down. I look for mistakes, so I wasn't there. You know in real time know look. This was this was something that this this sheriff's,
apartment hardly ever saw I mean here you had a guy Doug Benton, who was Tracy's boyfriend, not her husband, but her boyfriend encased in cement inside that watering trough that watering trough spray painted camel flash. You know crudely, camouflage with spray paint and it was dumped in a field. Pasture with you know, farm animals, cows, etc, Tracy haunted in and it was way out and it was trying to be hidden and you you know you do a quick search immediately. You find that Tracy Fortson bought bags of cement at the local feed store. She bought a brand new galvanized watering trough that inner garage she has cans of spray paint that kind of match the camel flash
dollars she even spray painted or mailbox at some point, the same colors and you know looking at this and there's cement in the back of your pickup truck. You know, how some men and scratches and there's indications on a tree. Next to the cross that she used a wire to pull this thing off and and you're like holy wow. Oh my god uh. And I look at that and then they ask Jeff Bennett. You know a friend did Jeff's about a friend of dogs rather than Benton victim. You know he mentions the word so much and- and I didn't see too much in that- I didn't read too much into that Tracy read more into that than I did. He must that you must, you know, knew something about that from somewhere else. She like to point a finger at Jeff Bennett.
She like to say that he knew things you should know, but I never found any of that. You know I found a guy to be just a good friend who didn't like her. You know, that's what I found. I found a lot of his friends. Didn't like her. I found a lot of people didn't like her, but she was an unlikeable person. I think the bigger piece of evidence to me that that I I don't question it, but I do have questions about it. If you can understand that Dan is the neighbor, the need for hears a gunshot in dogs house, remember, Doug shot once in the top of the skull. What if he doesn't come forward with that information for like six months, I'm not that I wondered why and yeah. So there's a lot of questions you know so so what I'm saying is this neighbor hears a gunshot? She reports
gunshot I come outside, I'm thinking someone's hunting, but then I see Tracy come out of the house an hour later, get her truck and leaves from Doug's. What does that tell you? You hear a gunshot, Tracy walks out or now are later gets in a truck and leaves and how mature I'm thinking mostly shot him and then she cleaned up, and then she left right right. So so there's a lot of questions here, and I say that is opening pages of this book. There are so many questions that need to be answered. If someone wants to dig further into this, I'm satisfied with the break time. Satisfied this: what happened to Tracy, you know, I don't know that further investigation will dig up anything, but I think, there's questions that need to be answered, and I could say that about every case. I look in Sudan yeah. What was it
again we talked about how many books that you have written thirty one four history books. So thirty, five in total, is that correct yeah. I think because my beautiful cool mix, 30s. We didn't quite hear that those a little garbled but you're saying about thirty six. What I'm going to ask is with all this experience, and you do in the beginning of the book? Talk about the state of true crime today? What is it that you? I have brought to this book to this book and wild blue Press on what does Wildblue preps offer you in terms of free
what freedom to do? What with this book? And what do you bring from all that experience all the work that you've done? The experience dark minds, investigation, discovery, everything you've done and I agree with you taking. These stories, you have to become part of the story you're such so. Immersed in these things that you have to be part of the story. What is all that experience brought to this book? That's different. We You hear me a fine. I just want to make sure you can hear me dance, ok, cool yeah. I mean I just in the big in this book. I I really I I actually toned it down right before press. It was a little bit more severe about the true crime industry and you know true crime, writers of always been looked down at By the literary establishment and
those books with the tawdry covers and the deadly an evil on every cover and black and red colors will judge those books without even opening them. I know- and I think that's disingenuous- I think it's mean spirited. I think it's, I think it's people who think they're better writers and then other people doing. I think it's ridiculous and it angers me because I work my ass, off on these books- and I know other journalists at work, their asses off on these books and You know there snubbed and because your book is sold at a drugstore in Iraq, that it's cheap, it's ridiculous. Stephen king has been mounting that argument for thirty years. The same argument but in a different genre- and I just wanted to
to talk about that- a little bit in the opening of this book that you know not nothing against my other publishers owned and run by true crime, author and it's Steve Jackson novels the business. He knows the work, that's involved in these things and look. This book was vetted by attorneys and everything just like any other book, it's the same type of book if that's been I've written for other publishers. What what? What what are Britney was my experience when I call Steve Jackson up on the phone, and I see I got a great case for you and I want to tell it my own way. He says thought you were in that respect. For me, you've written thirty four blocks your New York Times, bestseller yeah, the respective the industry, you, whatever you want to do south, go ahead, I'll, publish it so so that that that that to me right there,
it's it's not like I have to. I have to go jump through a bunch of hoops for an editor who's asking me. Well, you know, I know it doesn't have an intricate female character. It doesn't have a you know. You know this is true. True this is nonfiction. This is journalism, Steve know is that I know what a good story is, and I know how to tell a good story, and he doesn't question that- and I was just so appreciative and humbled by that- an add any you know, and and that's you, while Blue press office, you know and and and look I'm writing a book now for the publishing my old publisher, the one, the publisher, to publish dangers from writing the book for about that we talked. My editors have spoke to go back and forth with their stories that I need to tell. I go, find the right place to tell them you know, but yeah
I'm a little pissed off, as you can see in the author's note about this true crime explosion were having an people jumping on the truth, crime bandwagon all sudden trying to shine up true crime from their previous description of it. You've got people in true crime right now that basically shunned it fifteen years ago. That's basically what I was trying to say in that authors know that we have some pretty big names now doing crime who, ten years ago last that you, the writing. A true crime book you know yeah it's it's it's interesting in that and encouraging that true crime has again pull a few years ago were talking about. Well, how could you watch that or how could you read that it's all Gore and they were dismissing something that they hadn't even read and now It seems it seems encouraging at least that we're not people that are true cry fans. Art seems so freakish, but, like you say, everybody is
getting in on it, whether they shunned it years ago. Ups, I'm in I'm in Canada and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is like that. Now, the wouldn't even report on things through their news agency regarding picked in urban are bring home Alka, but yet now they're producing american stories in Canada for a canadian audience again, most totally against their whole ethic. You know, but still a band wagons of bandwagon. So what I think, though, is encourage ing is, while Blue Press some of the more interesting guests that have been on this program that once were with Kensington, are now with wild blue press. Wildwood is going over and beyond what normally, I think the true crime imprint would do and being allowing authors, like you say, to tell their own stories, trusting them enough to be able to produce the books that they feel that the audience will
accept, and the audience obviously is accepting it so I agree with you there. I know well with my audience wants at this point in the game. If I didn't know, I wouldn't be in the game anymore, my audience would allow me to be in the game. I mean what they want on tv. I know what they want in book form. An Steve Jackson, wildly plus press is a place where I can go to them and say you're going to love this and Steve is going to say you're the guy. Not me, The other thing I want to say is you're in Canada. Just want to shout out to trailer park boys, I love that show my God. I've been a fan, that's for. Oh my god, but it's funny. You say that about canadian television, because it's it's one hundred fold here. You know there's there's networks doing true crime novel. I I should you wouldn't even didn't even know what the words true crime met ten years ago right, you know so it's it's! It's really is, and then
anyways it's in many ways it's disgusting, but in other ways it's empowering for me, because I look I like being able to go to Kensington publishing with certain stories and I like to be able to go to wow Bill Press with certain store, true crime stories, and I like to take on his oracle to crime cases the lines for us in and I've written four books, for you know historical, true crime. So I like to diversify my publishers. You know I I like to go to the best place. You can do the best job for, for that particular case. Absolutely now, with this book targeted You got to speak with Tracy Fortson, any say in the book. It was essential that you would be able to speak with her. You wouldn't even have done. The project would have considered it without her cooperation. Correct now with this would not tell us tell us about,
again these this many years of experience, huh, did you approach this interview with her differently and then say. Twenty years ago you are looking at interviews. What did you bring? What new techniques did you bring to this interview that you hadn't brought the previous ones? That's a great question Dan, because I knew that I could tell the story anyway, that the story dictated it to me. So sometimes you working on a case and it changes. It changes your whole perspective of how you going to tell the story to your readers.
And with this case when she started talking to me and we started to get into it and we started to disagree and we started to butt heads and fight and she started to question my ethics. I said that's part of this story, whereas one thousand and fifteen years ago that would have been in an Apologue two pages in an epilogue in the back of the book sure now I can corporated in real time as part of the narrative which I did hear because it it really added an extra layer of reporting to this story. It showed just a deeper, deeper aspect of Tracy Fortson's character that when I pushed her- and I pushed her on those hard questions questions that readers would ask when the reading the book? When I pushed her, if I'm innocent, I say in the over and over again, if I'm innocent, I'm going to answer any question off the top of my he had without any argument whatsoever, because I do not have to remember the truth. The truth is inherent,
it's part of who I am it's in my soul. I don't have to recall it it just it's who I am so so when I push and you push back harder at me and then you disappear, I suspect to me. You know that the IBM to question that and that's what I did to her. I kept I kept. Owner in size. I wrote in the book. Look I don't care how you feel. I don't care what you think. I don't care about your speculation. All I care about is the truth. How do you get me to your troops that you're saying it is? How do you get me there Tracy? I want to get there with you. Take me there. And then should say something I'd say, but that's speculation, but just know there's no way that there's no way that corroborate that at all, so you know We we were, I ran into this brick wall over and over and over again like like this one section band, you might recall this. Was she coldly MIS read the document written by the
medical examiner? She totally misread the statement in it and she thinks it's in the Feria statement and I said, he's only guilty of not put in a comma in the right place in that document. That's the only thing he's guilty of and she tried to say that he was lying in a document submitted to the court felt bought something that could be easily checked. It made no sense to me, you know, so those are the types of things that I I really was like she's this this is, you know this is stupid. You know, let's get to the point here. Let's get to the point here,
you know she talks about recorded conversations that her daughter made with with I didn't name the guy with someone so recorded conversations that the guy she made the conversations with would not back up with an affidavit that you could assign that to David. You could submit to the court right and you know so. The court looks at this. The public court looks at this and they say where's the signed Apfa David wears his testimony about this conversation. You wouldn't testify he wouldn't sign in after David. So what does that tell? You tells me a lot that tells me that person is not willing to back up what he said or he never said it. That's what that tells me. You would think now in this same theme, you must have before you will go to do this interview. You must realized or wonder what would the expectations for Tracy to dude, This interview, you say she's, exhausted all their appeals.
She knows who you are you're, probably not prob. But you were likely said this is forthright about your intentions and how we're going to conduct yourself. What do you think are expectations were for this interview and how sensable was she during this entire thing and even expecting something from this interview tell us about this. I mean that that that that to me is, is the question right because it's like, I was totally up front with her I'm going to report on everything I thought.
I'm gonna tell your story, sure you, you want to say this person lives in this is framed I'll quote you on that. But then I'm also gonna tell that person story and I'm an account with you know documentation, except with such a, and why do I think she ultimately talked me was alternately they all? They all want to talk.
They all want to believe that they can get out of that place. They all want to believe that someone's going to hear them someone's gonna believe that and that one piece of evidence in quotes is there out there that's going to get them out of jail or we're just going to. You know, get some time again to pull on because tell the story again it. It is only part of this. It bothered me was how much of a slam dunk it was, and I think I even mention that in the book I'm like well, this is a freaking out lamps. I mean the evidence is just over overwhelm overwhelming. Is it too overwhelming. And then I come to the question and I comment in a book: well wait a minute for that to happen for there to be some elaborate frame up, it would
Five agencies involved FBI, Gbi, Sheriff's, department, police, department. Judges prosecute me that stuff. This doesn't happen. It doesn't happen, you know and and Warsaw so today work so conspiracy, driven So making a murderer! Type of cops are framing everybody. Thinking that just the mention of it today gets peoples attention right, so yeah, so so I'm working in that world today you know and maybe she's trying to take advantage of that world. Maybe that's why she helped write is she's trying to take manager that world that we live in today. But for me- and I appreciate you saying it earlier than that for me-
just laid it all out. This is with Tracy said this is what the cop said is with the public records said: here's what I dug up for information that I it wasn't hard to find, and here it is, you know, here's all of it. And you decide, and the overwhelming decision of readers does far as she's guilty as hell you very much like every other, true crime book that you've done. Do you have gotten all the information to background information on Tracy Fortson's life? Now you talk about, she had to give you this information. Obviously, how much was she directing that information towards
Even though she said she's innocent how understandable, based on her background, the information she gave, you the talk about her father and and the break up with her mother and her broken heart with her boyfriend, Billy Jackson, how much of this so directing towards an excuse, or was she able just to give you this information, and you just saw it as well? That makes sense that she ended up in the place that she did yet that information there was like tell me about your childhood and then she'd. Send me four pages. Alright. Tell me about your first love. There. She send me five pages. Alright. Tell me when you first met. Doug should send me ten pages and I'd left. I just let it go right and what I would try to do is call people involved and say: hey, you know the remember this and
One of those people didn't want to talk about it. It was so insignificant to them. So what I did in the book is just door be with the disclaimer that you know this is her voice. This is her story, just kind of repeating it for take what you will and there's little nuggets in that in that whole narrative of her life, that that show you know pieces of who she is there's all so what she left out right, so I know their stuff. She left out. There's plenty of stuff. She left out, she's not going to tell me something about the bumps and bruises she's not going to tell me about the trouble. You know an yeah, but you when you look at that. When I
look at that, I also look at court testimony of people who knew her and repeatedly you see in both trials repeatedly. You see people will just said she's, not a good person. She is mean vulgar controlling over and over and over not one person, not two people, not three people, but Jesus, but all the neighbors, all dogs, friends. You know, in fact the the only one person that really was one hundred percent behind a save for her daughter was the stranger sing to me was done better mother. The victim's mother believes that Tracy is innocent and that was the first time ever ran into that, and I just found out to be it just blew my mind: yeah hello, my mind, but then again talking to the mother talking to Carol button. I can see that she's been. You know.
Uh, I hesitate to use certain words, but her and Tracy had been talking for a long time. We talked about this in the introduction to this. In that do it was a sexual harassment suit and she claim the sexual harassment suit. She filed against the sheriff led to a murder charge again with interesting, and I find continually that it look like on the base of it, at least from her statements that there might be something to that at least that there might be some motive now. I don't know if she had time to work on that, but. What did you say I think you're at and how she seemed pretty convinced about the part, and it was some it well at least circumstantial evidence to back up what you said regarding that and
you know, if you look at it on the surface, you might come to that conclusion, but then you, get a little bit more. What you see is this and I had a hard time believing that and when we talk about sexual harassment, we're not we're not talking about the Harvey Weinstein type of sexual, her so we're seeing today. What we're talking about is. Men around the office, Sheriff's deputies you'll crack in
man jokes with a woman around, so nobody was touching her or or nobody was. You know, making accusations against. In fact, what I heard from other people in that same office was, she was cracking her own sexually charged jokes though so so then we have this fact that God Benton the victim is the one who pushed her into filing those charges right. Ok, so then she claims well, the sexual harassment against the sheriff was. The motivation was the impetus
for them to frame her for murder, because she made the sheriff look bad. I don't believe that for one minute I think that's bs total bs, but now, on the other end of that she says. Oh, but Doug Benton was a ci, a confidential informant and I believe he was feeding information, his sheriff's department and he got killed over that information. So now now you have two totally different story: she's telling in the same best, what you say in the sexual harassment was the impetus for the murder, but then, when that doesn't work when I start to push on matches well, well, dug was a ci. You know he was the ci and I know there were people after him and there I call him in the book. I called the drug deal I don't name. I use a fictitious name and and well this guy must have been killed. You know so it's like. Okay will pick you argument here. Ma'am, you know. Thank you Harding here. You know.
And look the sexual harassment suit never went anywhere, never went anywhere. She also filed for unemployment compensation he for the sexual harassment suit is filed, so there's all kinds of little red flags would stick up when we we try to place the sexual harassment suit motivation from for frame into the matrix, there's all kinds of red flags that just pop up to make. What was the theory by the prosecution white Dog was killed? Eight eight field theory in the ball. It's it's! The oldest love murder story in the book. Okay said get out of my life. I don't want you in my life,
no more, no more you're a menace. You won't! Let me work out with my friends. We know that Douglas Big into Bodybuilding can steroids. You know competition, all of that and he had to work on partner. Jeff Bennett worked out all the time they worked out at the house. Soon, as Tracy came into the picture, she started working out with Jeff. She started causing problems. Finally, she's just she's, just this man in his life. She just starts really really becoming this domineering controlling person to dog, pushing him around basically telling him who he should hang
out W, where we should go when she, he should do it where he should work, how much he should work controlling his money and dogs just up to here with it all, and he says you get outta here get out of my life. I don't want you in my life. No more leaves they get in argument. She leaves she comes back that night. He tells you to get outta here again and he's dead two days later and when you look at Traceys anger issues, you look at issues in the past when you look at the means and the motives it all smells of someone who just snaps kind of you know who snapped and kind of might have had the horse troughs and the paint and all of this on hand and
but it's a man and just you know, snaps. You know there's that whole cover up of the crime scene that we didn't talk about. That will leave for your listeners to read in the book. That's a major part of the story where yeah tuition. Belize dog is killed on one day in two days late, someone goes into the crime scene, to try to burn the place down and there's only one person who could have known that this murder investigation was going on and that one person had to be in law enforcement and Tracy was adept. So you know,
they are when it when you don't want. The answer is just that obvious answer. It's just that obvious answer. You know that yes, she's, not the smartest killer because of the mistakes she made and where she bought stuff and when she did it. But yeah yeah, another argument, Tracy Fortson makes is how could they possibly know it was Doug at the you know when they, when they lifted up that horse troughs in the in the field and an and I they identified mountain that field. How could they possibly know? Who is an easy explanation for that in the report? A report? Obviously she never saw easy explanation- is someone spot tattoo on his arm,
one of the deputy said. I know that guy hangs around the sheriff's department, that's Tracy forcing boyfriend, that's done, but I know and sure enough they look up and ugh Ben's been missing for two weeks for shit sent. You know, that's not Columbus stuff. Let's just you know a small town. People know each other. You know I'm saying damn yeah. What about her strategy with all of this? What do you think of because it seems unusual for a person to keep repeating that their innocent instead of thing Bing or someone advising at some point that, because there's no witnesses could at least it seems to be popular to claim self defense and then try to build something later, that as they did the steroids and cast doubt on other potential people, but it
what do you make of that her continual insistence that she's not guilty? Sometimes you run into people who well most of the time not sometimes most of the time I mean out of all the female murders, I've written about, and I've written about female murderers, I've written about now, probably twenty six female murderers right, I've never ever interviewed one. That said, you know,
And I panicked and I'm sorry and I tried to cover it up and it was never. It's almost cannot deny deny deny deny till the end till the end, and in this case, what you have is you have you have the sheriff's department immediately on to her and her backtracking right away. If you look at it from that perspective, let's take a look at it, not perspective for a minute that she is guilty and that they did a great investigation which led directly to her and start questioning her well she's back to back in now and she's trying to come up with the answers, and these are the answers she comes up with. You know she never made, which we back with the the comment you made in the beginning, that she's had one thousand six hundred and seventeen years to think about it all now, yeah of what she hangs on now is that bullet fragment and the testimony of
Bernadette Davie, the the ballistics expert and sure enough. I dig up reports of some really bad report. Writing on her part. If you look at the things Bernadette Baby head, they were done out of laziness. They weren't done outta nefarious like oh geez. I want to frame this guy everything she did a few mistakes. She made that she admitted to those periods was basically done on the latest. Well, she didn't want to connect conduct twelve pulls of the trigger. She only did pan.
All right all right can not twelve right doing that is like leading to anybody. You know trying to frame somebody. You know you know, does that bad just money, one quart, absolutely not night night, you know, and he was fired. You know, and all of that for that, what does it mean that freaking fortune is innocent, hell nah? It doesn't help now that, well what that they took on a dog Skal match the gun at her house. Don't I mean there's just no doubt about that, scientifically speaking, it backed period? Why? I think it's important that you bring up, though, with Bernadette Davey, and then your investigation to show that she had been cited sanction she had been. You could at least look at what that might imply.
I and then see how trials and appeals or mounted again based on that and then not based not to depict everybody's ignorant, but that's a lot different than being innocent where somebody's credibility comes into play and in those cases are reviewed, like you say that they might open the floodgates to cases to be reviewed because of the ethical infractions at this Davie did. When I see, though, in all of this those- and maybe I'm getting the wrong impression, it seemed that once law enforcement is absolutely with this slam, dunk sure that someone is Convict Obel and they're guilty that sometimes they skip certain procedures and steps and, like you say with the crime scene, analysis some things that maybe should have been able to be said again get through appeals. But.
It seems that once they know someone's guilty that they do a lot of stuff to support that, and I think that shows sometimes it can be dangerous to do that. Oh you're, one hundred percent right I mean we just double back to the Oj Simpson case slammed on, but Jeez were there mistakes made, oh my god, yeah right and I can just see investigators walking around nervous, like oh, my god. This is a slam dunk, he did it. The blood leads to expand like we gotta make sure we button up everything on this. We leave no stone unturned and you know what starts happening there is you do start making mistakes and you do start looking kind of stupid a little bit because you're overwhelmed you're over well, I mean, if you look at the reports in the beginning of this case, which I did I mean I studied up and down you can '
see. These cops are. Are our writing the reports in there? Like you know you can just see it see it in it? It's all leading to one person and it's like alright. She doesn't have a phd in how to murder somebody 'cause she bought the cement. You know five miles away, you know what I mean. Or she bought a whole horse watering trough. You know the couple days before you know: okay, so she's, not the smartest killer, but she's still a killer right, and if you look at these records I mean you know my my whole thing one And I made this point in the book I stink pretty clearly that. No one would I know about investigations if it was up to me if I was running that investigations, what what I would have done was I'd have taken a step faction, Tracy and how to put a tail on her and I'd. Let her go about her business for the next.
You know, and I and I just watched her- you know, instead of just rushing to to bring her in. You know what I mean I would have Watched her make mistakes or to watch to make one mistake after the next and watcher just bury herself, if you will no pun intended so so yeah I mean you know, and then Tracy makes this whole big deal about the forks in the tractor that probably punctured dog, and it wasn't a nice right that makes this whole case for this. And what do I say in the end? It doesn't make any difference. It doesn't make any difference if a nice did it or the forks that it makes no difference in the end. What makes the difference is? The guy was shot in the head on that couch as he was laying down who was shot,
the head and then somebody allegedly stabbed him all over them. Inspection won't really don't matter to me. If I'm looking at, who did this, you know they don't matter to me. What matters to me is what happens afterwards, to clean up trying to burn the crime scene down that whole thing, you know yeah. So, as you know, fuck look. Sometimes you look out into the water and. You see a duck swimming by an you know, you're certain that it's a duck and you get closer to it and you're like damn at all. That's a duck. You know what I mean. Very rarely you say well
no that's alone. You know because the loon is much bigger right so so look is. It looks like a duck acts like a duck. It's a duck, and I have seen nothing nothing in this case that tells me that Tracy forcing his innocent. I just see questions questions that can answered it seems interesting to like you say that it seems a little lax in this investigation because you say you might have one of them to survey her for a little while gather some more information later make some mistakes be cautious and consider? It may be a sheriff's deputy, might know something about the law and be able to cover our tracks. But interesting to me was when there's the search for Doug Benton. It's. The police aren't, aren't really so cancer.
With her reaction to that right, I mean that's great, for you know the it that's the point and if you don't the other biggest point investors that that you bring up really made me. Think of this point, and I and I- and I say this in the book- is let's say the finder okay- that somebody stranger. That means that that person would have been watch, Tracy, forts and twenty four seven watch her go to the feed store and buy the cement and by the trial, take it home and then steal it and then very dog yeah. She said when she sees friend that's what she's saying that's what she said that they stole that stuff from her in Frank deal with it that she bought, and I find that to be the most ridiculous statement of this type. Thank because the that just it's impossible when you look at the logistics of that in the time frame and when he's missing and
when is buried it's impossible. For that to happen. It's just impossible, it doesn't add up, does not add up, but I could say it's fascinating for especially like you said you're part of this book, and then you go interview her and she has every opportunity to say whatever she wants. She has years to have planned she's, not a dummy. This woman. She might have been careless and not a again and not really a career killer, but she wasn't a stupid woman and she was it. Parents are an enforcement, so it seemed so unbelievable that, faced with a journalist like your health, who tells her right out, 'cause, not everyone does listen. This is what's going to happen and yet, like you say,. This obvious lying, where you do have the opportunity to be able to answer answer your door,
questions and yet she's deflecting and offering alternative motives. It is really the the trademark or the Tell tale liar her doing this. In spite of knowing that she has an opportunity. This last opportunity to be able to. Provide a plausible not guilty defense for herself with this book and she has failed miserably. And you know, and one more thing I mean now, she would say to make things like off. You need to talk to this. Guy, unfortunately, is this guy. It could have summed it all up. I've heard that, over and over and over again from these women that have been convicted of motor. Hopefully you could speak to this person like she mentioned
that guy who she doesn't know the last name or where he lives, and he has information, it's nothing. It's absolutely nothing! It's just speculation! It's! So. I think this is a great book in the respect that resents the case from all sides and the reader get out to say well. This is what I think you know the court thought this that and I think this yeah, no, it's a credit Would you put yourself in this and- and you have provided all of that, it is a unique variance for reader to be able to have all of that information, and I applaud you for this- thank you very much Matthew for coming on and talking about targeted a deputy, her love affairs, a brutal murder. Thank you very much William for those people that might want to just see what else you've done. Do you have a face
book, page or website. Tell us about that. Please yeah W. Do you www dot, Mwilliamphelps, dot com and then Twitter is at M William Phelps and same with Facebook. Just Google M William Phelps face spoken we run into my page. I think I'm going to start doing these lives. Facebook things. Once a month, maybe or once every six weeks. I did one last week and it went over big, so I couldn't start connecting my readers that way too and yeah. You know you know with the climate today of true crime, you gotta gotta change it up a little bit. Absolutely- and I think really it is the trendy really is that people are going on true crime cruises and wanting to talk and listen to stories by authors, and I think that's an encouraging part of this, and I think that the cream of the crop, like you, said another really deserving authors- will rise as people get educated, get through the schlock get through that preliminary stuff.
And get onto the real, serious, true crime. So thank you very much Matthew, we're coming on and talking about targeted. It's always been a pleasure. It is been a pleasure. Thank you very much have a great night. Thank you. Dan talk to again goodnight. Let's say you just bought a house, bad news is you are one step closer to becoming your parents, you'll, probably mow the lawn and ask if anybody noticed you mowed the lawn tell people to stay off the lawn, compare it to your neighbor's lawn and complain about having to mow the lawn again good news. Is it's easy to bundle home and auto through progressive and save on your car insurance, which
of course, we'll go right into the lawn, progressive casualty, insurance company, affiliates and other insurers discount available in all states of situations left. He is all about being there day in day out: Tripoli thanks, you for being there with loyalty, rewards like when you get savings on triple a auto insurance, just for being a triple a member, and when you switch to triple a auto insurance, you could save more based on how long you've been a triple a member and how long you've had your current insurance insurance. Not just insurance, learn more about triple a auto insurance and loyalty, rewards click now or visit Tripoli, dot, com, slash insurance,
Transcript generated on 2019-10-19.