Nate on Vanessa’s Picks

By Nate Hendley

I did an interview about my true-crime books and writing process for Vanessa’s Picks, a blog run by mystery writer Vanessa Westermann.

I discussed my latest book, The Boy on the Bicycle: A Forgotten Case of Wrongful Conviction in Toronto, which examines the largely forgotten case of Ron Moffatt. Ron was 14 years-old in 1956 when he was wrongly convicted of murdering a little boy in Toronto, based on a coerced confession.

We also talked about my gangster books and The Big Con, my book about scams and scammers. I gave some advice on how to avoid being defrauded (delete all emails from Nigerian Princes who offer to share their fortune with you, in exchange for a little advance money).

Click here to read the interview, which was posted on July 25, 2020.

(Nate Hendley is a Toronto-based journalist, speaker, and author. His website http://www.natehendley.com/ offers more details about his books and background)

Audiobook Gangsters

By Nate Hendley

For true-crime fans who would rather listen than read, two of my short gangster books are available in audiobook format.

Both books were narrated by talented voice-artist John Campagna.

The audiobook for Al Capone: Chicago’s King of Crime is 4.24 hours long and can be purchased at Audible, Amazon and iTunes.

The audiobook for Dutch Schultz: The Brazen Beer Baron of New York is 3.18 hours long and can be purchased at Audible, Amazon and iTunes.

(Nate Hendley is a Toronto-based journalist, speaker and author. His website http://www.natehendley.com/ offers more details about his books and background)

Night of the Sicilian Vespers and Other Mob Stories

By Nate Hendley

Gangland Wire image

I was interviewed about Charles “Lucky” Luciano and the “Night of the Sicilian Vespers” for the Gangland Wire podcast.

Gangland Wire is hosted by the loquacious Gary Jenkins, a former Kansas City police detective turned true-crime author and podcaster.

Did rising mobster “Lucky” Luciano orchestrate the widespread killing of rival gangsters following the assassination of dictatorial crime boss Salvatore Maranzano in 1931?

Click here to listen to the episode and find out.

I wrote about Luciano and Co. in two books: The Mafia: A Guide to an American Subculture (available at Amazon or directly from publisher ABC-CLIO) and Dutch Schultz: The Brazen Beer Baron of New York (available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Chapters-Indigo or in audiobook format at Audible or iTunes).

(Nate Hendley is a Toronto-based journalist, speaker and author. His website http://www.natehendley.com/ offers more details about his books and background)

The Boy on the Bicycle: “Recommended Reading”

By Nate Hendley

The Boy on the Bicycle has been listed as “Recommended Canadian True Crime Summer Reading” by the Writing About Crime podcast.

Writing About Crime is a fine podcast that focuses on Canadian crime and criminals.

My book, The Boy on the Bicycle, tells the story of Ron Moffatt, who was wrongly convicted of murder in Toronto at age 14 in 1956.

The Boy on the Bicycle is available online through Chapters-Indigo, the University of Toronto Bookstore and Amazon.

Click here for more information about the Writing About Crime podcast.

(Nate Hendley is a Toronto-based journalist, speaker and author. His website http://www.natehendley.com/ offers more details about his books and background)

Netflix Series Spotlights Shaky Forensic Science

By Nate Hendley

A shocking new Netflix documentary series called The Innocence Files has highlighted the role shoddy forensics plays in wrongful murder convictions.

The initial episodes focus on Levon Brooks and Kennedy Brewer, two African-American men accused of sexually assaulting and murdering little girls in Brooksville, Mississippi. The victims were both killed in the same community within a few months of each other, in the early 1990s.

Bite marks on the bodies of the two little girls matched the teeth of the two men. Or so claimed experts in the field of forensic odontology (the name given to the application of dentistry in legal proceedings). Brooks and Brewer were both convicted in separate trials.

The Innocence Project—a legal/research organization founded to investigate wrongful convictions, got involved. DNA analysis revealed Brooks and Brewer were innocent. DNA taken from the victims was a match, however, for a sex predator named Justin Albert Johnson.

Johnson confessed to both crimes and Brooks and Brewer were released from jail, after spending years locked up, accused of horrendous offenses.

As for the bite mark evidence that helped convict the two men, consider it junk science at best.

The 2009 report “Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward” by the National Research Council of the National Academies, cast doubt on the reliability and validity of bite mark evidence. As the paper points out, swelling, healing, skin elasticity and the unevenness of bites “severely limits the validity of forensic odontology.”

“The scientific basis is insufficient to conclude that bite mark comparisons can result in a conclusive match,” adds the report.

A September 2016 report, made by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology had this to say:

“Bite mark analysis does not meet the scientific standards for foundational validity and is far from meeting such standard. To the contrary, available scientific evidence strongly suggests that examiners cannot consistently agree on whether an injury is a human bite mark and cannot identify the source of a bite-mark with reasonable accuracy,” reads the report.

The awful story of Brooks and Brewer sadly parallels Ron Moffatt’s ordeal, which I wrote about in my book, The Boy on the Bicycle: A Forgotten Case of Wrongful Conviction in Toronto.

In 1956, fourteen-year-old Ron was wrongly convicted of killing seven-year-old Wayne Mallette in Toronto, thanks to a coerced confession and bite mark “evidence”. It was claimed that bite marks on Wayne’s body matched Ron’s teeth.

Sadly, two more Toronto children died in similar fashion before the real killer, a sexual predator named Peter Woodcock was captured. Ron was given a retrial in May 1957. Dental experts testified they had made a mistake, and that Ron’s teeth were not a match for bite marks on Wayne’s body.

Ron was acquitted and Woodcock (who testified at the retrial that he was indeed the real killer of Wayne Mallette) was sent to a psychiatric facility.

Unfortunately, as The Innocence Files points out, U.S. courts are still willing to accept bite mark evidence.

The Boy on the Bicycle is available at Chapters-IndigoAmazon, Barnes and Noble or from Publisher, Five Rivers.

(Nate Hendley is a Toronto-based journalist, speaker and author. His website http://www.natehendley.com/ offers more details about his books and background)

Podcast Episode About Toronto’s Bank Robbing Boyd Gang

By Nate Hendley

I wrote a script for an episode of Kristi Lee’s Canadian True Crime podcast about Toronto’s bank-robbing Boyd Gang.

As led by former soldier Edwin Alonzo Boyd, the Boyd Gang held up banks and terrorized Toronto in the early 1950s, at a time when the city was dull and staid and crime rates were low.

Handsome and charismatic, Edwin Boyd earned a reputation as a “gentleman bandit” who never hurt anyone during his robberies.

But did this image mask a darker truth?

My book, Edwin Alonzo Boyd: The Life and Crimes of Canada’s Master Bank Robber, is available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Chapters-Indigo, Kobo and publisher, Lorimer.

Other scripts I have written for the Canadian True Crime podcast examine the 1912 murder of Joseph Rosenthal in Toronto and serial killer/sexual predator Peter Woodcock (who murdered three Toronto children in the 1950s).

Click here to listen to the Boyd Gang podcast, which aired April 1, 2020.

(Nate Hendley is a Toronto-based journalist, speaker and author. His website: www.natehendley.com offers more details about his books and background)

Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Reviews “The Boy on the Bicycle”

By Nate Hendley

Dean Jobb has reviewed my book, The Boy on the Bicycle: A Forgotten Case of Wrongful Conviction in Toronto.

Dean is a respected true-crime author and professor at the School of Journalism, University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia. His review appeared in the April 2020 edition of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine.

The Boy on the Bicycle tells the story of Ron Moffatt, who was wrongly convicted of murder at age 14 in 1956, based on a coerced confession to Toronto Police.

From the review:

“Moffatt has never received an apology for his mistreatment, let alone monetary compensation for an ordeal that derailed his life for years. Worst of all, his arrest meant that Peter Woodcock remained at large long enough to kill again.”

Among other books, Dean wrote Empire of Deception, an amazing account of little-known con artist, Leo Koretz.

The Boy on the Bicycle is available online through Chapters-Indigo, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and publisher Five Rivers.

Click here to read the full review.

(Nate Hendley is a Toronto-based journalist, speaker and author. His website: www.natehendley.com offers more details about his books and background)

Mysterious Radio Interview with Nate

By Nate Hendley

I was interviewed by the House of Mystery radio show from Los Angeles about my books The Boy on the Bicycle and The Big Con.

The Boy on the Bicycle examines the wrongful murder conviction of 14-year-old Ron Moffatt in Toronto in 1956.

The Big Con examines scams and hoaxes.

The Boy on the Bicycle is available at Chapters-IndigoAmazonBarnes and Noble or from Publisher, Five Rivers.

The Big Con is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and through publisher ABC-CLIO.

The interview aired on March 19, 2020.

Click here for the interview, as conducted by crime author Alan Warren and Mike Browne (host of the podcast, Dark Poutine).

My part begins at the 17:40 minute mark.

(Nate Hendley is a Toronto-based journalist, speaker and author. His website: www.natehendley.com offers more details about his books and background)

Podcast Interview About Al Capone

By Nate Hendley

I was interviewed by the Twisted Podcast about Chicago gangster Al Capone.

Among other topics, I discussed Capone’s weaknesses as a crime boss (he was too visible and volatile, for a start) and the state of organized crime in Chicago during Prohibition.

My short book, Al Capone: Chicago’s King of Crime, is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, the website of publisher Five Rivers and in audio-book format at iTunes.

Part one of the interview was posted on the Twisted Podcast on February 1, 2020.

Here is the interview:

Part two was posted February 15, 2020.

Here is the interview:

(Nate Hendley is a Toronto-based journalist, speaker and author. His website www.natehendley.com offers more details about his books and background)

Vanity Fair Series on Con Artists Looks at Fake Saudi Prince Anthony Gignac (Part two)

By Nate Hendley

Vanity Fair magazine’s online series about cons and con artists examines the astonishing life of Anthony Gignac (part two).

Born into extreme poverty in Colombia, Gignac was adopted by a Michigan family when he was a young boy.

Growing up in America, Gignac proved to be both very smart and prone to telling tall tales about his adoptive family and background.

As a young man, he impersonated a Saudi Arabian prince and tried to hustle investors out of millions of dollars.

Needless to say, things did not work out in happy-ever-after fashion.

I was interviewed for the series because I wrote a textbook called The Big Con about scams and scam artists.

The Big Con is available through Barnes and NobleKoboAmazon and publisher ABC-CLIO.

Click here to watch part two of the Anthony Gignac episode.

Click here for part one.

(Nate Hendley is a Toronto-based journalist, speaker and author. His website http://www.natehendley.com/ offers more details about his books and background)