We haven’t covered “Cold Justice” at all on Reel Life With Jane, but I watched the pilot episode this week and found it intriguing. The show follows former prosecutor Kelly Siegler and crime scene investigator Yolanda McClary as they travel around the country solving cold cases.
According to the show’s info, there are some 200,000 unsolved murders every year, and once the case is closed, it’s often never re-opened, leaving the victims’ family and friends to try and move on without closure.
The pilot episode takes place in the small town of Cuero, Texas, where in 2001, paramedics responded to a female victim with a gunshot wound to her head. Her live-in boyfriend Ronnie claimed she shot herself, and the medical examiner also claimed it was a suicide. Still, things don’t add up.
As Siegler notes, small towns don’t always have the resources of larger towns, and murder/suicide cases are always the hardest to solve.
Siegler and McClary go to the sheriff’s office, where Sgt. Carl Bowen takes them through the case, which has been eating away at him for 12 years. Something about it never sat right with him, and Pam – the victim – her kids were there when it happened. They were the same age as Bowen’s son, which is heartbreaking for him.
He explained that Ronnie had a history of domestic violence, and as Siegler and McClary investigate the case – with the help of former homicide detective Johnny Bonds – it doesn’t make sense that Pam and the kids would be packed to move back to her family in Arkansas, and she’d kill herself right before they were scheduled to leave.
Kayla, Pam’s daughter who’s now in her mid-20s, was there the night her mom died. Kayla said Ronnie hit her, and then Ronnie and Pam started fighting. She believes that Ronnie shot her mom.
As the team goes through the details of the case – the gunshot, the lack of testing and swabs that night, the fact that there was no suicide note, and that Pam was leaving and taking the kids with her (and never would have left the kids with Ronnie) – it’s starting to look more and more like Ronnie murdered her. Also, he was angry that she was leaving.
Kayla and the team visit the crime scene again; it’s the first time she’s been there since the night it happened. I like that Siegler and McClary are totally sympathetic to Kayla’s emotions, and even have her leave the house when they get into the nitty-gritty details of what happened.
They also go over the DNA and talk to Ronnie’s family, all of whom give conflicting reports. One brother even said a game warden was there that night and swabbed Ronnie’s hands for residue (never happened).
Meanwhile, Ronnie’s currently in jail serving a sentence for a prior assault. His story has changed as to whether he was in the room when the gunshot occurred. Now he’s saying he wasn’t in the room. He was on the porch with the kids, but the kids say they were inside watching TV.
Then there’s a recording of a phone call with Ronnie and his aunt, which is not good for his case. He wants a lawyer, he says.
Next step for the team: draw up probable cause and take it to the District Attorney, who will then present it to a grand jury – 12 citizens who may indict Ronnie for the murder of Pam. If indicted, the case goes to trial.
And on Oct. 2, 2012, a grand jury did indict Ronnie for the murder of Pam. So I guess it’s in the trial phase now? Tell me in the comments if you know more about the status of this case.
In one way, you wonder how this case could EVER have been ruled as suicide. I mean, it just seems so open and shut, but I guess that’s how they want to portray it on the show. I’m sure there was a lot more that Siegler and McClary did that they couldn’t pack into a one-hour show. They made it look like they were in and out of that town in a day or two.
But it’s good that there are folks like these two who take on cold cases and work to see that justice is served.
Did you watch the pilot episode of “Cold Justice”? What did you think? Want me to keep recapping the show? I think it’s pretty interesting.
I did watch the first episode and loved it!!! Real life drama…..not Hollywood type stuff. I want more!!! They handled it very well considering it was not scripted! I felt like I was there with them. Loved their comments…..same thing a regular person would say. A few times I said to myself, “you took the words right out of my mouth!” I’m now a fan of Yolanda McClary. Want to see and hear more of her! Right On, Dick Wolf
Thanks for the comment, Elizabeth! Agree that it’s nice to see “real” people solving real crimes, rather than the Hollywoodized version of same. And I also love that these are *women – both of whom are tough, but compassionate.
I loved it. I hate that it helped get a mistrial for this guy though. I bet that hurt. When i just read it i felt like it hurt me as well as the family.