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podcasts: Breakdown

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Breakdown podcast returns with hosts Bill Rankin and Christian Boone. In our seventh season, we examine the deadly police shooting of Afghanistan war veteran Anthony Hill. Hill was not only unarmed when he was gunned down in March 2015, he was naked. The 26-year-old was struggling with bipolar disorder and was off his medication. But Police Officer Chip Olsen didn’t know that when he responded to a 911 call about a nude man wandering around a metro Atlanta apartment complex in the middle of the afternoon. The AJC's Breakdown podcast is just that — the breakdown of the story and the systems. The largest newsroom in the southeast delivers investigations and true crime cases that you cannot find anywhere else.

Most Recent Episode:

S07, Ep9: The verdict

Topics: Chip Olsen's fate is now in the hands of the jury. Will the ex-cop end up behind bars? We take you through the murder trial's dramatic conclusion and its aftermath. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Posted: November 18, 2019

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More Episodes:

S07, Ep8: The State Strikes Back

Topics: After a rocky start, prosecutors come out swinging in the murder trial of Chip Olsen. One of their star witnesses: Olsen's own police academy instructor. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

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S07, Ep7: Three eyewitnesses

Topics: Testimony begins in the murder trial of Robert "Chip" Olsen and a trio of witnesses who saw Anthony Hill's final moments take the stand for the state. But do they help or hurt the prosecution's case? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

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S07, Ep6: Unarmed. Unclothed. Unable to Harm?

Topics: A jury is seated and Chip Olsen's murder trial is finally underway. The ex-cop's defense lawyer said he fired at Anthony Hill because he was terrified as the naked man ran at him. But the prosecution offers a surprising new theory. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

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S07, Ep5: A trial run

Topics: Chip Olsen's legal team turns to a mock jury to road test their defense strategy. Jurors had a lot of questions and some strong opinions. And what will the lawyers be looking for when they select a real jury? This murder case could turn conventional wisdom on its head. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

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S07, Ep4: Policing a mental health crisis

Topics: When Anthony Hill was killed by DeKalb County Police Officer Robert “Chip” Olsen in 2015 he became the latest casualty in a growing crisis: One in every four people shot and killed by police is suffering from mental illness. Why do police encounters with the mentally ill turn deadly so often? And would Hill be alive today if DeKalb had done more to train its officers? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

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S07, Ep3: 'Impervious to pain, superhuman strength'

Topics: Former Police Officer Chip Olsen takes the stand in a risky gamble to try to get the murder charges against him dismissed. Does it pay off? And his lawyers push a controversial defense used by cops to justify the use of force. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

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S07, Ep2: The road to indictment

Topics: Who is Chip Olsen? The cop who shot and killed Anthony Hill followed an unusual path to the force. We’ll tell you why it’s so rare to indict police officers who kill in the line of duty. And we’ll take you inside the surprising revelation that convinced the DeKalb DA to not only charge Olsen, but to charge him with murder. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

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S07, Ep1: 'They're here to help me'

Topics: On March 9, 2015, the manager of the Heights at Chamblee apartment complex called 911 to report that a man was wandering the grounds naked in the middle of the afternoon. Soon afterward, he was dead, shot and killed by the DeKalb County police officer who arrived at the scene. Who was Anthony Hill, the 26-year-old Afghanistan war veteran whose life ended that day? And how did he end up dead at the hands of police? We introduce you to Hill's life — his music and his family — as well his struggles with mental illness. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

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Coming soon: The 7th season of Breakdown

Topics: Anthony Hill was a loving son, talented musician and an Afghanistan War veteran. In 2015, Hill was shot and killed by DeKalb County Police officer Chip Olsen, who was responding to a 911 call of a naked man wandering an apartment complex. Hill was unarmed and off of his medications. Olsen claims he acted in self-defense. In our new season of Breakdown, hosts Bill Rankin and Christian Boone tell the story of Hill's life and death, and will follow the trial of Officer Olsen, who is charged with murder. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

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S05, Ep11; The verdict on Tex McIver

Topics: The jury in the McIver murder case finally comes back -- after four days -- and delivers a confusing verdict that appears to say McIver intended to shoot his wife, Diane, but didn't intend to kill her. The closing arguments, four separate addresses by some of the best lawyers in Georgia, were every bit the spectacle that you'd imagine.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

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News

  • The father of the Florida man accused of killing his wife, three children and family dog, also had a history of violence, according to court records dating back 40 years. Robert Todt was convicted by a jury in 1980 for a murder-to-hire plot. It bears an eerie parallel to this week, when his son, Anthony Todt, told Osceola County detectives that he killed his wife, three children and family dog at their Celebration home, WFTV reported. Alan Rubenstein is now a judge in the same Pennsylvania community where he was an assistant district attorney in 1980, and prosecuted Robert Todt’s case. He said the Todts appeared to have a picturesque life. Neighbors had great things to say about Robert Todt, who was a special education teacher and wrestling coach at a Pennsylvania high school. Then, he was arrested for hiring one of his students to kill his wife, Loretta Todt, on March 19, 1980, at their Bensalem home, People reported. The student, John Chairmonte, pleaded guilty to his involvement, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported in 1980. At the time, Chairmonte was characterized as a “burglar and a drug addict,” the newspaper reported in a Dec. 13, 1980, Inquirer story. “Who do you expect Bob Todt to hire to kill his wife, Donny Osmond?' Rubenstein told the newspaper. “A shot was fired right into her skull,” Rubenstein told WFTV on Friday. “It landed through her left eye and blinded her. She should’ve died, but, amazingly, she survived.” What originally seemed like a home invasion didn’t add up, Rubenstein said. “Then we did some background checking on (Robert) Todt,” Rubenstein told WFTV. “We found out about his being engaged to this woman while he was married, about his various girlfriends, the fact that he was having a relationship with one of his students.” When Robert Todt was convicted in 1981, “everybody was wailing, especially his family members and Loretta,” Rubenstein recalled. “The calmest person in the courtroom was Robert Todt.” Robert Todt served about 10 years in prison. Investigators said Anthony Todt was in the home when his mother was shot. A local newspaper reported he woke up to his mother’s screams. Many have described Anthony Todt as a loving father and husband, devoted physical therapist and soccer coach to neighborhood kids. Investigators said they found Anthony Todt’s family’s bodies Monday, but believe Todt killed them weeks earlier. The FBI is also investigating Todt for Medicaid fraud, and records show he was being evicted from their Celebration home.
  • Will moviegoers finally find out what’s on Page 47? That’s a possibility as reports of a “National Treasure 3” movie are beginning to circulate. Chris Bremner, who was tapped to write a “Bad Boys 4” movie, told The Hollywood Reporter he would be writing the screenplay for “National Treasure 3.” “National Treasure,” released in 2004, starred Nicolas Cage an amateur cryptologist Benjamin Franklin Gates. The movie pulled in $247 million worldwide for Disney, Variety reported. The cast, including Cage, Diane Kruger, Justin Bartha, Jon Voight, Harvey Keitel and Armando Riesc, returned for the 2007 sequel, “National Treasure: Book of Secrets.' That film made $457 worldwide, Variety reported. The sequel ended with the characters looking at 'Page 47” of a secret book owned by the president of the United States, but no explanation was given. Jerry Bruckheimer is reportedly producing the upcoming film, People reported. Jon Turtletaub directed the first two films. A Disney spokesman did not respond to the magazine’s request for comment.
  • Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are no longer working members of the Royal Family, Queen Elizabeth II announced Saturday in a statement. The Queen said the Sussexes “will continue to maintain their private patronages and associations.” The couple also will no longer formally represent the Queen, the statement said. 'Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much-loved members of my family, the Queen wrote. “I recognize the challenges they have experienced as a result of intense scrutiny over the last two years and support their wish for a more independent life.” The couple will forgo state funding and repay millions of taxpayer dollars used to refurbish their official residence in Windsor, The New York Times reported. The agreement will go into effect later this spring and will be reviewed by the palace after a year, the newspaper reported. “The Sussexes will not use their HRH titles as they are no longer working members of the Royal Family,” according to the statement from Buckingham Palace. The agreement was made to end the crisis that began 10 days ago when the couple announced plans to step back from their royal duties and spend time in North America, the Times reported.
  • Odell Beckham Jr.'s legal problems might be behind him. The Superdome officer who was slapped on the rear by the Cleveland Browns wide receiver after LSU’s championship victory Monday has decided not to press charges, NOLA.com reported. A video of the encounter has gone viral. The website, citing several anonymous sources, said the 48-year-old officer had signed an affidavit saying he did not want to pursue legal action against Beckham, 27, who is from New Orleans and played for LSU. The New Orleans Police Department had obtained a warrant for Beckham’s arrest on a count of simple battery, WAFB reported. New Orleans police could rescind the warrant or continue to pursue it, NOLA.com reported. According to the website, the officer had ordered LSU players to put out celebratory cigars lit in the locker room. While talking with one player, the lieutenant said he was struck in the rear by a man who was identified as Beckham. The Browns issued a statement Thursday and said Beckham’s representatives “are cooperating with authorities to appropriately address the situation,” WAFB reported. Beckham has already come under scrutiny for reportedly throwing cash at players after the Tigers’ 42-25 victory against Clemson, potentially violating NCAA rules.
  • Professional wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson posted a loving tribute to his father, who died Wednesday. Rocky Johnson, who wrestled for 27 years and broke barriers for black wrestlers, died at age 75. Dwayne Johnson posted a long tribute on Instagram, along with a video. “I love you. You broke color barriers, became a ring legend and trail blazed your way thru this world,” Johnson wrote on Instagram. “I was the boy sitting in the seats, watching and adoring you, my hero from afar. The boy you raised to always be proud of our cultures and proud of who and what I am. The boy you raised with the toughest of love. The intense work. The hard hand. The adoring boy who wanted to know only your best qualities. Who then grew to become a man realizing you had other deep complex sides that needed to be held and understood. Son to father. Man to man. That’s when my adoration turned to respect. And my empathy turned to gratitude. Grateful that you gave me life. Grateful you gave me life’s invaluable lessons.” The elder Johnson was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2008, along with his former father-in-law -- and the Rock’s maternal grandfather -- Peter Maivia. Tony Atlas, who along with Rocky Johnson became the first black tag team champions in WWE history, also posted a tribute on Twitter. “We changed wrestling by paving a new path, knocking down doors while showing what movin’ n groovin’ is all about!” Atlas wrote.
  • Amazon said Saturday it will open another massive warehouse in metro Atlanta that will create 500 new jobs, part of an ongoing courtship of the e-commerce giant that spun out of Georgia’s attempt to land the company’s second headquarters.  The company said Saturday that the 1-million-square-foot facility — roughly the size of an average mall — will be built at the Cubes of Bridgeport site in Newnan. The facility’s employees will pack and ship customer orders for Amazon, the world’s largest retailer. Gov. Brian Kemp said Amazon’s announcement was a testament to Georgia’s “logistics infrastructure, top-ranked workforce and nationally recognized business climate.” The firm did not say when it expected the construction to be complete.  It’s the second major Amazon project for metro Atlanta in the past year. The company announced in July it would build a warehouse in Gwinnett County that would eventually employ 1,000 people, and construction is well underway.  The warehouse is part of a construction spree by Amazon to expand its shipping footprint. The company now operates more than 75 fulfillment centers in North America that employ more than 125,000 staffers, including 3,500 in Georgia.  State economic officials have grown familiar with the company after years of recruiting. Georgia offered billions in incentives and Atlanta made the short list for Amazon’s massive second headquarters before losing out to New York and Northern Virginia in November 2018. Documents released to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution showed that the state offered more than $2 billion worth of publicly funded incentives to lure the corporate campus, including an academy to train its employees and an exclusive lounge at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.  Also in 2018, Amazon picked Nashville, Tennessee, for a new operations office where it plans to hire 5,000 workers. The company later scuttled its New York plans, briefly raising speculation that the Big Apple’s loss could be Georgia’s gain. But economic development officials were also focused on enticing the company to bring smaller projects to Georgia. Amazon operates several other fulfillment centers and warehouses in metro Atlanta, including East Point and Lithia Springs, and in other parts of Georgia, including Macon.  The warehouse project will make Amazon one of Coweta County’s largest private employers, joining other major firms such as Yamaha Motors and PetSmart, which also has a distribution center that employs about 500 people.  It’s not immediately clear what incentives were offered to Amazon to lure the project. An AJC review showed that nearly $20 million in tax breaks and infrastructure improvements were required to secure the Gwinnett project.  The company also did not immediately say how much it will spend on the site. Trae Westmoreland, head of the Coweta County Development Authority, said the “significant capital investment” will strengthen the local economy and help other firms bring in new business.