The Real Killer

By AYR Media and iHeartPodcasts

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Category: True Crime

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In 1982, JoAnn Tate and her two young daughters, Melissa and Renee, are savagely attacked in the middle of the night. JoAnn dies; the girls barely survive. One month later, Melissa identifies Rodney Lincoln, one of JoAnn’s ex-boyfriends, as the killer. Two trials later, Rodney is found guilty and sentenced to two life terms plus 15 years. In 2015, thirty-two years after Rodney is convicted, Melissa recants and says Rodney didn’t do it. So who is the real killer? Follow true crime TV writer, producer, and director Leah Rothman as she maps the story from its gruesome beginnings to new bombshell revelations that could expose a miscarriage of justice and a killer still on the loose.

Episode Date
Episode 7: Tommy or... Who?
Melissa is convinced serial killer Tommy Lynn Sells is the one behind the sadistic attack on her family. Crime writer Diane Fanning, who interviewed Sells at length, says the JoAnn Tate murder has his name written all over it; however, Sells’ whereabouts at the time of murder is hotly debated. But, there is someone else, someone much closer to home, who many say may have done it… and even confessed. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Jan 20, 2022
Episode 6: I Need To Go Back
In 2015, Melissa is interviewed about her story for a syndicated true crime show. On the program, she is adamant that she knows, with every fiber of her being, Rodney Lincoln is the one who murdered her mom and viciously attacked her and her sister, Renee. But after the show airs, something unexpected happens which changes the lives of those closest to the case and jumpstarts a legal battle of epic proportions. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Jan 13, 2022
Episode 5: Tell Me If I'm Guilty
Kay Lincoln is on a mission to prove her dad is innocent. When new evidence is accidentally discovered and existing physical evidence is re-tested, the case looks like it may take a dramatic turn. Melissa, still reeling from the trauma of her mother's murder and her own violent assault, fights back. Meanwhile, a new suspect emerges, leaving some to wonder if he may be the real killer. To see bonus materials from The Real Killer, including Rodney Lincoln's lineup photo and St. Louis Metro PD's suspect sketch, see: Learn more about your ad-choices at
Jan 06, 2022
Episode 4: Life Imprisoned
With the dramatic trials finally behind them, Melissa and her sister, Renee, are ready to move on with their lives. Unfortunately, it’s an uphill battle. Rodney Lincoln fights to stay alive in prison while his daughter, Kay, takes matters into her own hands. She launches her own investigation into the case—and what she uncovers is stunning. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Dec 30, 2021
Episode 3: JoAnn and Rodney
A chance meeting in a neighborhood bar brings JoAnn Tate and Rodney Lincoln together; now police are investigating him for her murder. But Melissa’s memory of Rodney Lincoln and the record of his criminal past aren’t helping his case. Although he maintains his innocence, after two trials, Rodney is convicted and sent away. That should be the end of it. Instead, it’s only the beginning. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Dec 23, 2021
Episode 2: The Hunt Is On
The search is on for JoAnn Tate’s killer. Melissa becomes Metro P.D.’s most prized eyewitness, but it takes a nearly month and a look into the pages of JoAnn’s diary before Melissa points the finger at Rodney Lincoln, an ex-boyfriend of her mom’s. Lincoln’s daughters watch in horror as their dad is taken away by detectives. What happens next will rock the family’s world forever. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Dec 16, 2021
Episode 1: A Bad Feeling
As TV producer Leah Rothman sets out to reinvestigate the horrific murder of 35 year-old JoAnn Tate and the savage attack on her two young daughters, she travels back to where it all took place: St. Louis, Missouri. Melissa, who barely survived that night, shares the moment-by-moment, gut-wrenching account of what she and her family endured, including what happened when her uncle found them and screamed “Who did this to you?!” To everyone’s surprise, Melissa gives him a name. The hunt is on for the killer. WARNING: This episode contains explicit descriptions of a violent crime that may not be suitable for all listeners. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Dec 16, 2021
Introducing: The Real Killer
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Dec 01, 2021