A double murder captivated the Texas city of Houston in 2012, there was nothing simple about the case which surprised everyone and took investigators more than five years to close. With the ‘Motive For Murder’ podcast that comes from the team which brought us captivating podcast ‘Thing About Pam’, NBC crime show ‘Dateline’ moves off the TV screen and into the realm of podcasting.
In ‘Motive For Murder’, hosted Josh Mankiewicz it takes a deeper dive into the page-turning story of the 2012 murders of Iranian activist/researcher Gelareh Bagherzade and Coty Beavers. While a double murder might not be that unusual in the world of true crime stories, these two knew each other but were interestingly not killed at the same time.
The TV version typically covers the story of neighbourhood murders with rather simple and obvious motives, such as love, power, money and pride. However, this time it takes us on a rather unexpected journey and reveals an unexpected motive that doesn’t fit into the usual box. With a new lense, it zeroes in on one of the most “twisted and confounding cases” they have ever covered on the show.
10 months separated the killings but they were most definitely connected and it was only after the second murder that detectives were able to connect the dots and reveal what really happened. Speaking on the story Mankiewicz reveals “There were theories that explained one victim’s murder but didn’t explain the other victim’s murder,” he says, “and the explanations just didn’t make sense.”.
We hear the original 911 calls, clips from previous interviews from some of the suspects, the people who were closest to the victims and the detectives who investigated the crimes themselves. Throughout the gripping 6-part series, detectives reveal all the different theories that were looked at by the police during the investigations, who the suspects were and how they got the information to make a conviction which has led to one man sentenced to death, another to 20 years, while the third is still on trial.
In the first episode, we learn Gelareh Bagherzade’s shooting murder took place while she driving home while on the phone to her friend and ex-boyfriend Robeen Bandar. After hearing a roaring “scream followed by silence” and unaware of the fatal event which had just taken place, he called 911 to ask for help presuming it might have been a crash. We hear a clip from his panicked call to operators, the operator asks if he needs Police, Ambulance or Fire, he responds heartbreakingly with “I don’t know what I need”.
After his call, Bandar rushed to her house to discover the gruesome scene of the crime – a move that would land him as one of the first suspects. Eventually, phone records would clear him, and he sits down with the host to let us know about that moment and tell listeners a bit more about what Gelareh was like and we learn the other piece of information made the detectives suspect him.
In episode two we continue to get a background on the case and the lines of investigation the detectives took. It features another key interviewee, Cory Beavers – no not the second victim we mentioned, but his twin brother who at the time of her death was dating Gelareh. He reveals finding out about her murder upon visiting her house the next day, greeted a swarm of news reporters asking about her when he arrived. They had only been dating a few months at the time and the first time he meets her family, he’s informed by her father that she was shot and killed.
As the show continues, investigators recall the various leads they followed incluing her boyfriend Cory, as well as surrounding crimes, gangs and a possible connection to a lawsuit that Gelareh’s father was involved in at the time – all which fall flat. After months of no developments or arrests, we then hear audio from a press conference whereby the family put up a $200,000 reward for information which again turns up no results.
The first major twist comes in the third episode when we learn about the second murder through a chilling 911 call from Nesreen Irsan, the wife of Cory’s brother, Coty Beavers. At this point, the show gets very interesting and we find out about the common connection between Gelareh Bagherzade and Coty Beavers.
We won’t reveal much more as it’s worth your time, the show hit #1 on Apple’s podcast charts in its first week and each episode has ranked well since. There are currently four episodes of “Motive for Murder” available at the time of writing and a new episode will be made available every Thursday finishing in total with 6 Episodes.