HLN, a channel affiliated with CNN, has released their first acquired produced content (Nutopia) in Beyond Reasonable Doubt, and true crime fans should rejoice at this news! The first three episodes in this six-part series have already aired and are available On Demand. The next episode, “The Murdered Bride,” airs on HLN on June 25th at 8 pm ET/PT, and it’s definitely not too late to start watching.
Each episode in this series is an in-depth look into one high-profile case from the past century that remained unsolved until advances in forensic science and technology shed new light on old evidence. In “The Murdered Bride,” it was advances in DNA profiling that turned things around. The investigators were heading in one direction when the search came to a dead end. Evidence was lacking, and there were no clear suspects in the 1986 murder of Sherri Rasmussen.
Sherri Rasmussen had just gotten married when her apartment was broken into and she was brutally murdered. It appeared to be a burglary gone wrong, as electronics were moved from their original locations and stacked together as if the perpetrator was getting ready make off with them. There was clearly a violent struggle, and a gun was fired multiple times until, ultimately, Sherri was knocked unconscious by the killer and then shot twice in the chest through a pillow. Multiple burglaries were happening in the area, so it makes a lot of sense that the LAPD would look in this direction for a suspect. But without a lot of physical evidence to go on, the search ended without an arrest.
Fast forward to 2006—the LAPD has created a special task force to go back over unsolved cases and look for any evidence that could be tested for DNA, a technology that wasn’t widely available to investigators 20 years prior. Blood typing using saliva was available, however, so the original crime scene unit had collected and preserved saliva from a bite wound on the victim’s arm. Once it was tested, investigators were stunned to discover that their suspect was a woman, not a man as they had previously assumed. It blew the case wide open, ultimately leading to an arrest that rocked the LAPD to the core.
This new show on HLN does a really fantastic job of quickly going over the details of the case with first person accounts from the investigators involved. The detective describes the case from day one, following his process and leads based on available evidence. Then, new technology is introduced, and the science behind it is explained in a way that’s easy to understand for anyone who isn’t well-versed on the subject. All of the dots are connected in a clear and concise way.
Though the focus is more on the technology that helped solve the case and less on the human elements of motivation and relationships, I found the show to be a fascinating look at how far we’ve come with the technology that helps close cases and how vital it is to an investigation. This show is perfect for fans of shows like CSI and Bones who want a look inside a real forensic science lab.
Make sure to tune into this fascinating new show on Sunday, June 25th, 8 pm ET/PT.
Check out the trailer here:
Ardi Alspach was born in Florida, raised in South Carolina, and now resides in New York City with her cat and an apartment full of books. By day, she's a publicist, and by night, she's a freelance writer. You can follow her on Twitter at @ardyceelaine or check out her website at ardyceelaine.wordpress.com.