Podcast Produced in Arkansas Examines Suspicious Death of Texarkana Woman
Attorney Stephanie Harries and Journalist Karen Tricot Steward
partner for podcast examining Arkansas justice system
A new true crime podcast to be released Sept. 30 examines the suspicious death of 21-year-old Billie Jean Letterman in 1991 in Texarkana, Arkansas. A trailer for Season 1 of Burden is now available on the website burdenpod.com.
The season is based on extensive interviews with police, forensic experts, paramedics, Billie Jean’s family and friends, and others close to the case.
A podcast launch party will be held at The Nest in Little Rock on Sept. 29, 2022. Tickets are free and available on Eventbrite.
At the launch party, attendees will get a first listen of a portion of the premiere episode. Billie Jean’s daughter, Ashly Myers, who is featured on the podcast, will speak at the event.
Co-hosts Stephanie Harris and Karen Tricot Steward have both worked as journalists in Arkansas, as well as in communications roles for the Arkansas Supreme Court.
Harris is an attorney and has worked as Communications Counsel for the Arkansas Supreme Court. She also founded Women Lead Arkansas, a nonpartisan nonprofit dedicated to empowering women to engage in politics, policy, and leadership.
Steward is the owner of Power of Pod, a Little Rock-based podcast production company. She is a former audio journalist and anchor for the NPR affiliate in central Arkansas, KUAR 89.1, and former Public Education Coordinator for the Arkansas Supreme Court. In 2020, she launched the first season of Lady Justice: Women of the Court, a podcast hosted by four supreme court justices, all from different states, that aims to increase the number of women and other minorities in the legal profession.
“I’ve been asked if this podcast is going to be ‘anti-law enforcement,’” said Harris. “That is definitely not our intention. But if there weren’t failures, there’d be no need for a story. The goal really is to let these families share their heartaches and frustration, while we look at it from an investigative perspective. We of course have the benefit of hindsight; but there are serious problems with the cases we plan to cover.”
“Burden will be in the immersive NPR style of narrative storytelling,” said Steward. “It will examine larger issues within our criminal justice system and society through the lens of one story every season. The case we cover in Season 1 explores violence against women and the many factors that went into failing to keep a woman, Billie Jean Letterman, safe. It examines the devastating effects of intimate partner violence and how domestic violence crosses generations."
The release of Burden coincides with the start of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which is in October. Donations will be accepted at the launch party to share with Women’s Own Worth, an Arkansas organization that aims to empower victims of domestic violence and survivors of violent crime through supportive self-worth opportunities.
The Sept. 30 launch is also on International Podcasting Day, a day to celebrate the power of podcasting.