Terry Carlton is found shot dead in his basement in Tulsa, Oklahoma. When the police arrive, his long-time on-again-off-again fiance, April Wilkens, answers the door. "I shot him, he's in the basement," she says.
But this wasn't exactly an open and shut case. Terry had raped April mere hours before the shooting. It was while he was violating her that he said he was going to kill her and twisted her neck to break it. During the life and death struggle for her life, April knows she had no options--it wasn't a feeling, she had no options.
In 1999, Wilkens was tried by the state of Oklahoma and sentenced by a jury to LIFE. She's now 51-years-old, and 25 years into her sentence. Panic Button is the untold story of the escalating cycles of abuse that led to Terry Carlton's death, and the unthinkable ways survivors of violence get chewed up and spit out by Oklahoma's justice system.
In this first episode, attorneys Colleen McCarty and Leslie Briggs tell the story of the night of the murder, the facts in the record, and April's testimony from the stand at trial.
Detailed Timeline of Events in April's Case: https://aprilwilkensblog.wordpress.com/2022/02/12/timeline-of-events/
Sign the Change.org petition to support April's release: https://www.change.org/p/oklahoma-pardon-parole-board-commute-the-life-sentence-of-abuse-survivor-april-wilkens?signed=true
- See pictures of April's and Terry's houses now and watch a video of host Colleen McCarty driving from April's to Terry's so you can see how close they lived at the time of the murder. https://okappleseed.org/episode-1-show-notes
Donate to keep our work going!: neappleseed.org/okappleseed
Learn more about Oklahoma Appleseed: okappleseed.org
- If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, use a safe computer and contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at www.thehotline.org or call 1-800-799-7233. You can also search for a local domestic violence shelter at www.domesticshelters.org/.
- If you have experienced sexual assault and need support, visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) at www.rainn.org or call 1-800-656-HOPE.
- Have questions about consent? Take a look at this guide from RAINN at www.rainn.org/articles/what-is-consent.
- Learn more about criminalized survival at www.survivedandpunishedny.org/.
- Learn more about the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act at www.nysda.org/page/DVSJA.
- Follow the #freeaprilwilkens campaign on Instagram at @freeaprilwilkens, and on their webpage at https://aprilwilkensblog.wordpress.com/.
Colleen McCarty is one of the hosts, executive director of Oklahoma Appleseed, and producer. Leslie Briggs is the other host who is a civil rights and immigration attorney, and producer. Additional audio production by Rusty Rowe. Support from Amanda Ross and Ashlyn Faulkner. Our theme music is Velvet Rope by Gyom.
Panic Button is created in partnership with Oklahoma Appleseed Center for Law and Justice and Leslie Briggs. Follow OK Appleseed on Twitter and Instagram at @ok_appleseed.
If you want to continue the conversation with other listeners, please join our Panic Button podcast community on Bookclubz at bit.ly/3NRHO8C.
Before we get started, a content warning: this episode contains accounts of domestic and sexual violence.
April Wilkens is a middle aged grandmother who would risk everything if it meant keeping her son Hunter from harm. She's a pacifist, a vegan, and she weighs 105 pounds. She's a health nut, leads Five K's in her spare time. In the early morning hours of April 28, 1998. She changed the course of her life and Hunter's life forever. And she did it to protect him and to save her own life.
In 1998, Tulsa was a small-to-midsize city in the Midwest. It dots the northeast corner of Oklahoma. Scorching hot in the summers, below freezing in the winters, this city in the heart of tornado alley is often known as a city of dualities. Tulsa is largely sustained by the oil and airline industries with some other large-scale manufacturers across the landscape. It's not exactly the kind of place you could leave your doors unlocked in 1998, but go 20 minutes in either direction and you'd find yourself in cow country. The city is largely sprawled across several miles, and public transportation is abysmal. So, most people have to buy and own cars. This will become important shortly. When officer Laura Fadem, a patrol officer for the Tulsa police department, received a radio call to 2272 East 38th Street in Tulsa around 9am on April 28, 1998, she was not sure what to expect. Officer Fadem had been called to the residence several times before. All of them had been domestic violence calls. But this call was different. The radio code indicated it was a shooting call.
She arrived at the scene to find two other officers already present. She saw movement in the house and the front door was opened by none other than April Wilkens. Remember the vegan grandmother we mentioned earlier? Yes, her. But at this time, she was a 28-year-old single mother who had just survived the most harrowing night of her life.
Like, I knew that I was gonna die. You know? I had made - I just like - I was gonna die - and I did - I just knew I was gonna die. Like, you just get to the point. Okay, as long as my son is safe with his dad, you know?
"I shot him. He's in the basement," April tells the officers at the door to officers go down into the basement. Officer Fadem stays with April. April tells officer Fadem that she came to the house on 38th Street to make peace. She wanted to make peace with a man who had made her life a living hell for the last three years, whom she had once loved. The man who lay dead in the basement, Terry Carlton.
April keeps talking. She tells officer Fadem everything she can remember, all the while waiting for the other officers to return. April tells officer Fadem in a fast talking, high pitched voice that Terry had a box of douche in the bathroom. He had raped her violently with a gun to her head and then forced her to douche so there would be no evidence of his semen. She told officer Fadem that she would find the box in the upstairs bathroom trashcan. April says she was fighting for her life and she shot Terry eight times. She covered his body and held his hand. The other two officers return and remind officer Fadem to read April her Miranda Rights. Officer Fadem describes April as very excitable, quote, "She was excitable but yet she was somewhat you know, calm and was answering all the questions that were asked of her", end quote and April goes on.
The officers who went down to the basement found a grisly scene. They're syringes littering the basement, drug residue and paraphernalia surround them. They find a loaded gun on the back of the rec room couch, ther are handcuffs covered in han - hand sanitizer, and there, in the center of the room, is Terry Carlton's body. A subsequent search of the basement revealed five hand grenades which later had to be destroyed by the Tulsa police department Bomb Squad. April has a bruise on her face. Her bike pants are ripped from where Terry yanked them down in order to rape her at gunpoint. Officer Fadem later testified that April told her that she wasn't sorry it happened. She felt like it was the right thing to do. But she wasn't upset that it happened. In truth,
April's mind was reeling partly from the adrenaline and partly from the psychotropic drugs that had been administered less than 24 hours before in the mental institution where the police had had her involuntarily committed. "I was a basket case," April admits from the warden's conference area Mabel Bassett prison almost 25 years later.
April thought the fight for her life was over that night. She maintained one shred of hope that the system that had failed her over and over again, would this time finally understand what she had been going through and afford her mercy. In fact, the system that abandoned April for three years prior begins to churn into motion. Because for all the times it failed to arrest and prosecute Terry Carlton, it only took one time for the system to arrest and prosecute April Wilkens for first-degree murder. This is Panic Button. I'm Colleen McCarty.
And I'm Leslie Briggs.
Chapter One: the shooting. This is a different kind of true crime story. This is the one where the woman survives against all odds. This is the one that wakes me up at night sweating. This is the one where the usual heroes we come to count on - the hardworking beat cops and the homicide detectives who always get it right -are nowhere to be found. This is the one where the system fails you so many times. And then for extra measure the system commits you and calls you psychotic, all while you're fighting for your life. This is the recurring nightmare you have where you're screaming as hard as you can. But no sound is coming out. I'm an attorney. I've been working in Oklahoma on criminal justice reform for four years. I've helped to commute over 100 low level drug crime sentences and worked on criminal legal legislation.
I'm also an attorney. I spent the last few years working on federal civil rights litigation, mostly on the employment side of things. But I also got to witness a few cases of extreme police misconduct. Both of us work to uncover and justices in the system. In every case, there's a journey to uncover the truth, the truth should always be the goal. But in April's case, we see the truth obscured again, and again, by power, money in a midsize city's small town justice system. There was no combination to the lock of safety for April, she could not crack the code. Instead, the system cracked her. And she's the one - she's the one who has to pay the ultimate price. Sure, she may have been a battered woman, but she made the choice to pull the trigger. Sure, she may have been raped over and over and over, stocked to the point of not being able to return to her home. But she made the choice to go to Terry's that night. She knew what she was getting into.
April's story will piss you off. It will wake you up. It will show you that even when you will do whatever it takes to survive, you will be shoved into another system where all your greatest fears, loss of freedom and control, surveillance, fear and violence are your everyday reality...
The problem with a story like this is it's hard to know where to begin. There are a lot of twists and turns and rabbit holes. We want to take you down all of them but we want to avoid giving you tinfoil hat vibes. Sometimes, in order to understand what happened to April, you have to understand what was going on with the Carltons, what was going on in Tulsa, and the reality that April lived every day after she met Terry in September of 1995. We're going to start in the middle of the story and begin on April 27, 1998 - two days after April's 27th birthday. It's 2pm. And April has just been dropped off at a substance use program in Tulsa after serving two weeks of involuntary commitment at Eastern State Hospital in Vinita. She breaks out and runs from the program hitchhiking back to her house in the Brookside neighborhood of Tulsa.
When she gets there, she finds her home totally destroyed. April hasn't been home in a little over two weeks. But there are sticky notes all over the house with disturbing and threatening messages. The only one that April can remember now is one that says, "April, It's been real." After April went to jail, her mom and her sister Mary had the unfortunate task of cleaning up her house. Here's Mary's description of what they found.
They had made like bed on the floor with - with blankets and pillows and towels and - but everything was soiled. It was just disgusted. I've never seen anything like it my life. I mean, I had to ask mom "What has gone on here?" And my mom looked at me she says "I don't even want to know." You could not use the bed the bed was that soiled and that destroyed.
And it was - you believe it was semen?
Ah. And um -
I don't know that for fact. You'd have, you know - But I don't know what else it could have been. I mean, it was just it was awful. She didn't have any pets. And I just know I've never seen anything like that in my life.
Never had I seen her home like that before, in the few times that I had been in it. Yeah, April didn't do this. I'm like, "I can't imagine her allowing this." My mother was a clean fiend. Absolutely. She felt dirty. She'd been abused as a child. And - and she was just - it was ridiculous how clean our home always was. And so April and I tended to be the same way and I'd never been in April's home when it wasn't immaculate. So this was just - I said, "What happened here?" That's all I kept saying. How could this have - I just couldn't - you couldn't, you know, I couldn't get over it. I'd never seen anything like that in my life. It didn't - I don't want to ever again. Alcohol bottles everywhere. Joints - ends of joints. Syringes. It was - this stuff was everywhere.
When April described the home to us, she told us that it looked like Terry had poured liquid all over the floor and the furniture inside her house. Here's Mary's take on that.
It looked like at the least urine. But I would - I would have thought it looked like semen. It didn't look like any liquid I've ever seen other than -
And I should - maybe, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe it was something else.
Did it seem like -
It looked like urine or semen. It didn't look like anything else other than that to me. We didn't touch any of that. We just didn't. I just - mom said "Be careful. Anything you touched for - for needles and stuff." We just collected her clothing so she - and pictures and things like that so she wouldn't lose everything.
...April's house has been ransacked. She's missing clothing and electronics and various other pieces of personal property. And April is scared. She knows who did this. She doesn't know what to do about it. She can't call the police, partly because she has in the past and it has never helped the situation. Partly because she literally can't. Her phone lines were cut a few weeks earlier by the same person who destroyed her home and took her stuff. April leaves the house as quickly as she can. She goes walking around Brookside and Riverside for hours. Eventually she stops at the Blue Rose Cafe and tries to page her friend Luke Draffin. He doesn't answer and doesn't call back. She eats fries, drinks a coke and she's out of there and a little under an hour. She keeps walking, trying to clear her head. But then dusk comes on. And April heads back to her house, which is, of course, still a very frightening scene. So, April changes clothes, puts on running pants, a biking vest and top and grabs her rollerblades. She rollerblades to her neighbour's, the Hugheses. And she visits with them for about an hour and a half to two hours, catching up on the neighborhood and trying to figure out if things have been relatively quiet, or if there have been more disturbances at her house.
That's right, because leading up to the night of April 28, there had been a lot of disturbing things going on in and around April's home.
Exactly. And we're going to get into each of those horrifying incidents throughout this podcast. But, so, April visits her neighbors and uses her phone, tries to page Luke again, no answer. She calls her friend Shannon Broyles and asks her to contact an ex-boyfriend, a former police officer, to see if he can help her get a guard dog. She's with the Hugheses until about 10pm. And after that she just rollerblades around for hours. She rollerblades back to the Blue Rose Cafe about midnight, has a pop, and watches the band for about an hour. She tries to page Luke again. He doesn't answer. She keeps rollerblading.
Eventually, according to April, a cab passes by and asks her if she wants a ride. She accepts and asks the cab to take her to Luke's hotel. She has a key to his room, and she doesn't feel safe at home. It's dark. April remembers it being very dark, the middle of the night. She goes to Luke's Hotel, which is at about 11th and Mingo. He had previously given her a key. Even though she had a key, she didn't want to be rude and simply go up to his room. So she asks the front desk to page him. And they do. He won't see her.
We're going to learn later - and Luke draft and actually testifies at trial - that Terry Carlton had offered him $5,000 to stay away from April at this point. There's also some question about whether or not Luke had been given Terry's Harley Davidson motorcycle, which April had heard that he'd been driving around town.
Yeah, we're gonna learn just exactly what fucked up lengths this person is willing to go to to isolate and control April. But in any event, Luke refuses to talk to April or see her. She's upset. April will tell you that at that point, Luke was the only person who made her feel safe when dealing with her abusive ex, Terry.
So, Luke. He's so integral to the story. I met him late summer, fall-ish or I dont know somewhere '97 in there. And he had told me as I get - got to know him that, um, because we - he told me that he was married - previously married - to someone that I grew up's with relative. A relative of someone I grew up with, Ed Willingham, the Undersheriff, for Creek County. He told he about what's been going on with Terry and that's when he's telling me his history in law enforcement. He said that him and Ed worked together a lot. And him knowing people I knew, and being married to Ed's - one of Ed's relatives and have kids with him - like that, to me was this is my hometown people, that sort of thing. And so this was - this was just a familiarity for me. He just seemed to carry - carry his own. Like Terry - and even Terry wouldn't mess with me. He didn't really know him, but, and it was just the way that Luke carried himself. So that's the story with Luke and that's why I really gravitated towards Luke and he was like, you know, hay man, I do all this work in law enforcement, I can - I'll help you, I can help you.
And now Luke won't even talk to her. She goes outside, throws her backpack on the hood of his car and puts his hotel key on the visor. According to the testimony of Officer Jane Masek, someone anonymously reported a disturbance of a woman beating up a car in the hotel parking lot. But when the officer arrives on the scene, no disturbance and no woman, Officer Masek is leaving. She comes upon April rollerblading in the dark. April flags her down and asks for a ride home. Officer Masek runs for information in the case there are any warrants. No warrants come back, but April's record of police reports comes up. She's been a person of interest before, which means, basically, that she's made reports. So Masek knows that April has been involved in an increasing number of domestic violence calls leading up to this night, although Masek testifies later that she can't remember what came back on April's warrants and records check.
In any event, Officer Masek gives April a ride back to her house. It's about 2am at this point.
It's 2am April 28, 1998 and April Wilkens takes off her rollerblades and puts on her tennis shoes. She leaves her house and walks about a mile towards Lewis up to 38th to make peace with her tormentor. When she gets to the home on 38th St., she knocks on the door and Terry Carlton abuser, intravenous drug addict -
Son of Don Carlton of Don Carlton Honda fame -
More on that later - Terry answers the door, gun in hand.
So there's April, in her athletic gear, up almost 24 hours straight, having just been released from involuntary commitment in a mental institution.
She'd had french fries and a coke for dinner after walking all afternoon and rollerblading most of the night.
And there's Terry, April's longtime abuser, with gun in hand. Immediately when April interest his home, he starts trying to get her to go upstairs where the bedrooms are. She resists and they go downstairs into his basement, which is like an entertainment area. There's couches, guitars and drug paraphernalia. A lot of syringes.
He also had a bunch of April's stolen stuff, which she noticed was missing when she got back home from the drug abuse center earlier in the afternoon.
Right, he had all of her belongings strewn about his basement rec room, totally unafraid to be caught with a stolen goods. And April tries to laugh this off. It's totally bizarre but she's trying to keep the - envi - the mood, light and cordial. She wants Terry in a good mood so she can make peace with him move on with her life. All April wanted when she went over that night was to make peace with Terry and have some kind of resolution so that she could live her life safely and without being stalked, harassed or threatened.
Right. That's unfortunately not at all how this night plays out. Everything leading to this moment has been one violent escalation after another. And we promise we're gonna break all of that down for you guys on this podcast. But in the early morning hours of April 28th, everything is about to get much, much worse.
So now, April and Terry are in the basement lounge. Terry has April's stolen goods all over the place, and his tone and demeanor begin to shift from cordial to short-tempered.
I think it's important to remind everyone here that even though you don't have all the details of their history together, this shift in demeanor is something that
April has experienced a lot in the past.
Right. She knew what this shift meant. She knew how quickly things could escalate if she did not tread lightly, and at this point, Terry becomes insistent that they do drugs together. As we've mentioned, Terry is a drug addict. April has been abusing drugs.
Despite what's about to unfold, she tests negative for any substances once the police arrive. So April tries to resist taking the drugs. She rebuffs Terry's insistence. This of course agitates him. April can tell he's beginning to lose his temper. So, she relents. She convinces him to let her mix her own methamphetamine, and she makes a weak solution - makes it as weak as possible. They shoot up meth. It's about 5am now, and Terry is getting more and more agitated. And April asks to use the bathroom to get away from him for a moment so he can cool off. She goes to the upstairs to the second floor, bypassing a bathroom on the first floor.
And that fact is going to become a bit of a piece of contention when we get to the trial.
There's a lot of contention at trial. At this point, Terry was agitated, short-tempered, but not making direct threats toward April. All that changes when she opens the bathroom door. She opens the door on the second floor and there's Terry with a 22 in hand. Terry tells April, he's tired of waiting around on her and that she's never going to come around. He has the gun pointed at April and he's blocking her exit to the stairs. He tells her that she "owes him a fuck." And he's going to take it. He drags and pushes April to the bedroom.
So there's going to be a discussion of rape here in some detail. And we just want to give you a little extra warning if you want to skip forward a bit. But at this point, April is terrified. Terry is trying to get April to commit to being with him if he will agree to go to drug rehab again. April cannot and will not make any further commitments to Terry. Not after three years of increasingly violent abuse. Terry pushes April onto the bed. At first he puts the gun on the nightstand and then he changes his mind, places it on the bed within his reach next to her head. Terry tells April he's gonna rape her and then kill her. He rips her shoes off and throws them across the room. He's trying to rip her pants off but he can't get them off all the way. They remain stuck around her ankles. They're running pants that have these little zippers. He lifts her shirt up and he begins to physically assault April.
He penetrates her digitally and then he vaginally rapes her. He tells her she is "going to be a dead bitch." And as she begged him not to, she asked him to go ahead and kill her so that she won't have to feel him raping her. He begins to beat her about the head and body.
This is important because Terry had never beaten April on the face or the head before. In fact, he tries to break her neck by snapping it he's doing all this while he's still penetrating her.
And that's when he said, you know, "You're dead bitch" and he tried to break my neck.
Tried to break my neck, punched me in the head. Tried to break my neck and then I got so angry and that's when I started you know asking him how can you stand to be inside someone, you know that - or, how can you be inside someone that can't stand, you know, can't stand having you inside? How can you get an erection? I can't wrap my head around this I - you know - I didn't say all that, but.
Couldn't wrap head around it - like how? You know? It is disgusting to me. How can you even be excited?
And then that just made it worse. It's where you think it's never going to end.
And she is in so much pain. She asks him to just stop so she can get to a point where it's not as painful and he can take his fuck, and she can pretend to enjoy it. She starts asking him: How can he really enjoy this knowing that she isn't interested in having sex with him at all? She's never had the courage to speak to him like that. It works. He stops, he starts to masturbate. He can't finish.
April, pulls her clothes back into place. She's decided she's gonna convince him to go down for bed - to lay down - so she can sneak out. He won't let her put her shoes on. She asks and he says he doesn't want her to run. He lays down in bed. He gets back up. Down, up - over and over until he decides he's going to go back down to the basement with her. He's trying to get her to do more drugs. This time, heroin. She's refusing. He's getting angry. He makes his a concoction of heroin and meth and demands April shoot up from this mixture.
April's never done heroin before and tonight isn't the night she wants to start. April manages to squirt her syringe out on the ground, pretending to shoot up while Terry is having trouble finding a vein. Terry is spinning out. He makes April clean syringes for him so he can try a new syringe in the vein.
While Terry is struggling to shoot up his mixture April asks to use the phone. And to her surprise, Terry lets her. She goes upstairs to call for help. But she doesn't call the police. And you're going to learn why throughout the course of this podcast, but for now, you just need to know that anytime the police got involved, it always made Terry more violent afterward. So she's upstairs. She sees the gun from her earlier rape and Terry's police scanner. She gathers up some money, Terry's credit cards, the gun, the scanner, his keys, and the garage door opener. Remember, it's the 90s in April doesn't have any money or wallet on her. If she's going to flag a cab or get a hotel to hide, she's going to need some money.
April's frantically trying to prepare a bag so that she can escape. That is the ultimate goal. She remembers the gun in the top dresser drawer and she grabs it and sticks it in her back pocket of her biking vest, right in the small of her back. When asked leader at trial why she grabbed the gun she stated, quote, "My first instinct was so that he couldn't use it on me. And secondly, to be able to protect myself you know?" End quote. She's listening intently to Terry's movements in this old house. You can hear every creek and step he makes. She's packing her son's camera case with cash cards and keys. Then she puts the camera case in a backpack and sets it by the back door. She quietly creaks open the back door so that it won't make any noise when Terry ultimately goes to lay down.
April knows from experience that Terry is faster than her and she knows that he can catch her if she just breaks for a run. She knows this because he has chased her and caught her by the hair and dragged her back inside. This was witnessed by April's - both April's neighbor Glenda McCarley, and Terry's neighbor, Dr. Laughlin. She is afraid to make a run for it due to her past experiences. April goes back to the basement, still waiting for Terry to lie down so she can escape. And suddenly without warning he barrels back downstairs frantic. April's sitting in a chair sterilizing syringes as Terry had asked her to do. He burst into the room and he handcuffs her with her hands in front.
And he says "Bitch, where's the gun?" And he jerks her out of her seat and begins to pat her down on the sides for the gun. Internally April is panicking because she knows if he finds it, she's dead. Terry doesn't find the gun on her, quote, "He told me he couldn't trust me - that he didn't believe that I didn't have the gun. He said he was going to kill me. But first he was going to rape me up the ass. Then, he was taking me to the couch." End quote. For some reason, Terry forgets what he's doing for a second and he lets April go. Her mind is racing. She knows when he goes to sodomized her, he's going to find the gun. He briefly turns back to her continuing toward the couch. While he's turned, she twists her handcuffed arms back and is able to grab the handle of the gun. She wasn't sure if she could reach it. And she wanted to see but also she was restrained and terrified for her life.
Terry turns around and he sees April with the gun. He becomes consumed with rage. He was incredulous that she would have the gun and he lunges at her. April shoots Terry within three feet range. She shoots until she empties the clip. After the first shot, she's she later remembers that - or she thinks, anyway - that Terry shouted out "I'm paralyzed, call an ambulance." But she keeps shooting. This is how her dad taught her. She grew up - and we'll talk about this in later episodes -but she grew up in Kellyville. She grew up around guns and she knew how to shoot. Her father taught her if you're shooting to protect yourself, you always empty the clip.
In the spring of 1999, a year after the shooting, April was tried by the state of Oklahoma. The case is called state of Oklahoma versus April Rose Wilkens. The state, the district attorney, represents us, the people of Oklahoma. After her trial, a jury convicted April of murder in the first degree. Premeditated, malice of forethought murder is what we call it here in Oklahoma. The only sentencing choices were life or life without parole. It was left up to the jury and they chose a life sentence for April. She was transferred to Mabel Bassett Correctional Center, Oklahoma's only maximum security women's prison.
We visited April for the first time - the first of what I hope are many visits - a little over a week ago. Mabel Bassett is about an hour and a half from April's old house at 35th and Quincy in Tulsa. During April's testimony at her trial, her attorney asked her "Did you feel like you had any options at that point when you fired the gun?" "I had no options. It wasn't a feeling. I had no options." That's April's response. Her attorney says "Why didn't you?" April testifies, "My only option was to risk my own life and safety again in the chance that he wouldn't kill me. And that wasn't an option. That wasn't an option. I didn't even think about it." So what should she have done, lived or died? Those were her choices.
I'm sure the people on the jury felt there was another option - that April should have just left. She should have left Terry, left her home, left her city, and left her son. The people of the jury had never been abused, chased, stalked, threatened, raped, or made to feel powerless. They had never been dragged back inside by their hair. They had never been abused as children or if they had they didn't disclose it during voir dire. They didn't have all the information. But we do. Thanks to the tireless efforts of April's nice Amanda, who was a librarian, we have access to all the court documents, all the police reports, and all the evidence that wasn't heard at trial. This season on Panic Button, can money buy you a murder conviction? Could April have been an intelligent woman who also made extremely complicated choices that put her life in danger? Could April have been a traumatized abuse victim and a mental patient and still have been smart enough to plot a premeditated murder? Can we look at the mistakes of our past and reckon with the injustices of a sexist cruel justice system? Has our understanding of domestic violence changed enough to accept that 25 years is long enough to serve on a crime for which you were simply defending yourself? When power and money buy you everything the voices of those you've oppressed will eventually grow to a voluminous roar. We hope you'll listen as we take you through what happened to April, what happened to Terry, the trial, and the aftermath, and the 25 years since April has been sent to Mabel Bassett. Join us for season one of Panic Button. I'm Colleen McCarty.
And I'm Leslie Briggs.
Panic Button is a co-production of Oklahoma Appleseed Center for Law injustice and Leslie Briggs. We're your hosts, Colleen McCarty and Leslie Briggs. Our theme music is Velvet Rope by Guillaume. The production team is Lesley Briggs with occasional help from Rusty Rowe. Special thanks to Lynn Worley, Amanda Ross and Ashlyn Faulkner for their work on this case. If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, use a safe computer and contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at thehotline.org or call 1-800-799-7233. Help others find our show by leaving us a rating and writing a review. Follow us at OK_Appleseed across all social platforms. You can subscribe right now in the Apple podcasts app by clicking on our podcast logo and then clicking the subscribe button. If you want to continue the conversation with other listeners, please join our panic button podcast community on Book Clubs. Join for free at Bit.ly/3NRHO8C. Thank you so much for listening.
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