Violation, a podcast from WBUR & The Marshall Project

Violation from WBUR & The Marshall Project
Violation from WBUR & The Marshall Project

In 1986, Jacob Wideman fatally stabbed Eric Kane, his roommate on a summer camp trip to the Grand Canyon. Both were 16 years old. Jacob confessed to the murder, but couldn't explain why he did it.

The crime devastated both boys’ families. For the Widemans, it was also a haunting echo from their history.

Just two years earlier, Jacob’s father and acclaimed author John Edgar Wideman had published “Brothers and Keepers.” The elder Wideman’s memoir grappled with how his own brother — Jacob’s uncle Robby Wideman — was sentenced to life in prison for his role in a fatal robbery. How could another inexplicable crime happen twice in two generations?

Jacob served decades behind bars for killing Eric Kane. Then in 2016, an Arizona parole board granted him house arrest. Kane’s family was outraged.

It wasn’t long before Jacob was back before the board, fighting again for his freedom.

Violation, a new podcast from WBUR and The Marshall Project, tells the story of how this horrible crime has connected two families for decades. It explores suffering and retribution, as well as power and privilege. The series also pulls back the curtain on parole boards — powerful, secretive, largely political bodies that control the fates of thousands of people every year.

Violation is hosted and reported by The Marshall Project’s Beth Schwartzapfel.

About the host:

The Marshall Project's Beth Schwartzapfel at WBUR in Boston. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
The Marshall Project's Beth Schwartzapfel at WBUR in Boston. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

Beth Schwartzapfel is a staff writer for The Marshall Project. She often covers addiction and health, probation and parole, and LGBTQ+ issues. Her work has won many awards and has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today and NPR. Before joining The Marshall Project, she covered the criminal justice system as a freelance journalist for more than a decade.

About the team behind the podcast:

Violation is a production of WBUR in Boston and The Marshall Project:

Beth Schwartzapfel, host, and reporter at The Marshall Project
Geraldine Sealey, managing editor of The Marshall Project
Ben Brock Johnson, executive producer of WBUR Podcasts
Quincy Walters, producer at WBUR
Amy Gorel, editor, project manager at WBUR
Paul Vaitkus, mix, sound design and original music composition, WBUR
Matt Reed, mix, sound design and original music composition, WBUR
Emily Jankowski, sound designer at WBUR
Kate Gallagher, fact checker with The Marshall Project
Diego Mallo, illustrator with The Marshall Project

Special thanks to staff at The Marshall Project, including:

Ruth Baldwin, editorial director
Dacrie Brooks, senior director of strategic communications
Susan Chira, editor-in-chief
Mara Corbett, production coordinator
Ashley Dye, audience director
Celina Fang, senior multimedia editor
Nicole Funaro, communications associate
Ghazala Irshad, copy chief
Gabe Isman, director of technology
Elan Kiderman Ullendorff, director of product
Rachel Kincaid, newsletter manager
AJ Pflanzer, senior development manager
Ebony Reed, chief strategy officer
Eli Stern, chief financial officer
Marci Suela, multimedia editor
Terri Troncale, partnership manager


Celin Carlo-Gonzalez and Jason Criss, Covington & Burling LLP
Louise Carron, Ed Klaris and Akshay Nelakurti, Klaris Law
Jennifer Borg, Pashman Stein

Special thanks to staff at WBUR, including:

Victor Hernandez, chief content officer
Laura Hertzfeld, director of cross-platform collaboration
Kristen Holgerson, director of marketing and promotions
Samata Joshi, senior audience development manager
Margaret Low, CEO
Nora Saks, producer
Amory Sivertson, senior producer
Grace Tatter, producer
Brilee Weaver, marketing specialist


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