HOUSTON – ‘The Evidence Room’ is the KPRC 2 Investigates national award-winning docuseries, looking back at some of the most notorious crimes in Texas history. In this true crime docuseries, you’ll see how the evidence plays a major role in convicting murderers and changing laws and lives in our community.
- To stream episodes of ‘The Evidence Room’ on demand, go here.
With Season 4 in full swing, we want to share 10 unique things about the show with you. Check out the list below.
1. What is it like going inside the evidence room in Harris County?
First off, it’s a large warehouse-type room that has roughly a dozen aisles containing criminal archive boxes several shelves high. On top of those shelves, you’ll see things like mannequins and other props used in trials, and it can be surprising and eerie to look at them. There is a burnt stove next to a perfectly good one that can become triggering. Plus, there are thousands of murder weapons, each of them telling a callous story.
‘The Evidence Room’ brings people closer to the actual items used to convict criminals in cases that still impact our lives today. Our team has to be very careful when they go inside.
The evidence is usually stored inside cardboard boxes and the team carefully looks through them one at a time. They have to wear gloves and use separate trash bags for each box of evidence to avoid cross-contamination. Each item then has to be placed back into the box it came from.
Jason Nguyen, a producer of ‘The Evidence Room,’ shares that another unique way to think about the boxes of evidence in the room is as time capsules. They can transport you back to the time when these infamous cases happened. Different items inside tell the story of that case, including crime scene photos, flip phones, big car phones, and more.
2. What’s the selection process like?
We have several KPRC 2 reporters who covered some of these heinous crimes when they happened and wanted to revisit them for our true crime docuseries. Other crimes are too historical for the team to overlook. The most important factor the team looks at when choosing the focus of each episode is you, our viewers. Many of you leave comments on ‘The Evidence Room’ articles and videos to tell us which cases you’re interested in.
3. What was one of the hardest cases to work on?
One of the most difficult cases our production team tackled was the 1993 murders of Jennifer Ertman and Elizabeth Pena, the focus of an episode titled ‘The Devil in Them.’
The girls were simply trying to make it home by curfew and had no idea they would cross paths with members of a neighborhood gang partying near the banks of White Oak Bayou. Ertman and Pena were tortured and raped before they were killed.
“That one stood out to me mostly because it was two teenage girls that were brutally murdered. It was awful the way they died. The fact that it was a gang that did it, the details were terrible,” says Adrian Montes, a KPRC 2 photojournalist who works on the docuseries. “You read the documents, you read all the details and you just can’t help but feel bad for these girls. Nobody deserves to die especially, in the way they did.”
4. Were there really two Candy Man cases?
Yes, there were.
One of the cases involves Dean Corll and his two henchmen. Corll and his family owned a candy store in the Heights.
The three men were linked to 28 murders in the Houston area from 1970 to 1973. Corll was later killed by one of his own accomplices.
The other ‘Candy Man’ was Ronald Clark O’Bryan, who we featured in an episode of ‘The Evidence Room’ titled, “The Man Who Killed Halloween.” O’Bryan poisoned his own son and four other children by giving them Pixy Stix laced with cyanide. His son did not survive. O’Bryan is the main reason many Americans, to this day, still check their Halloween candy before they eat it.
5. What case had the most evidence so far?
‘The Honor Killings’ by far had the most evidence to comb through. The case involved Ali Irsan, a Jordanian immigrant who issued a hit on his daughter’s husband and best friend in 2012 because they helped her convert to Christianity. That evidence box contained unusual items including a wig Irsan used as a disguise, hundreds of crime scene photos, and notes about his financial crimes.
During our interview for this episode, investigators told us you could see the evil in his eyes.
6. Can you quantify how much evidence ‘The Evidence Room’ team has gone through?
The team can spend up to a week documenting and taking videos of the evidence featured in each episode of our docuseries. While in production for Season 4, in just two episodes - they looked at more than 5,000 items in two days.
7. Why do you feature different types of TVs in the opening sequence for each episode?
One of our KPRC 2 Investigates producers and editor of the series, Bill Carruthers, came up with the idea to utilize televisions in the production of the docuseries that match the era of the crime being featured in each new episode. An astute viewer was the first person outside our newsroom to notice this, during our first-ever watch party for ‘The Evidence Room’ with KPRC 2 Insiders.
8. How did ‘The Evidence Room’ get its name?
When series producers started brainstorming titles, KPRC 2 Multi-Platform Audience Engagement Director Dawn Campbell suggested ‘The Evidence Room’ because it’s all about the evidence. Director of KPRC 2 Originals Ana Lastra suggested that name was too “on the nose” but couldn’t come up with anything better - no, really! So it stuck, and we can’t imagine it having any other title today.
9. Ever think about making this a podcast?
This true crime docuseries was originally imagined as a podcast, but we work in television, so our bosses wanted us to bring the visual elements of ‘The Evidence Room’ to life. It is the most successful original program we produce and has generated a huge following on the KPRC 2+ livestream - where new episodes stream Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. when the show is in season.
10. KPRC 2 Insiders get an inside look
The most unique thing about ‘The Evidence Room’ is our KPRC 2 Insiders getting to be apart of episode watch parties and talking with the team behind-the-scenes of the series. Several Insiders were selected to watch the Season 4 premiere, ‘The Stiletto Killer’ episode before it was even released.
If you’re not signed up, please do as soon as possible. You never know when the team will come up with their next opportunity to be involved with the show.
Please leave a comment below and tell us what you think is unique about ‘The Evidence Room.’
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