Was Wrong Man Jailed for Murder of Grateful Dead Fans?
A podcast series exploring the “dark” history of the Grateful Dead will present evidence that a man who was sentenced to death for murdering two fans was actually innocent.
Billed as “rock history wrapped in true crime,” Dead and Gone is co-hosted by Payne Lindsey and Jake Brennan, both of whom have focused on true crime in the past. You can listen to the first two episodes now.
“In August of 1986, the bodies of Mary Regina Gioia, 22, and Gregory Allen Kniffin, 18, two fans of the Grateful Dead, were found beaten and shot to death in the San Francisco Bay,” producers Tenderfoot TV said in a press release. “Thirty-one-year-old black man Ralph International Thomas was arrested and sentenced to death for the murders. Dead and Gone will look deeper into the lack of evidence, conflicting witness testimonies and potential new suspects to uncover whether Thomas was actually guilty of the crimes.”
Thomas died in jail in 2014 while his case was still being argued over.
“I’ve studied the history and culture of the band for years, and I think people will be surprised to find that there is a darkness at the core of the Grateful Dead’s music and that darkness is present throughout the band’s history," Brennan said. "This darkness and the violence and mystery it’s spawned runs contrary to the good intentions of the band and the Grateful Dead’s image of peace, love, good times and music, and that contrast makes for fascinating storytelling.”
The series will also explore the stories of “a small group of missing, murdered and unidentified” Deadheads. “One fan died in a car accident and went unidentified for 20 years, one was murdered and left in a ditch and numerous others mysteriously disappeared and continue to remain missing to this day,” the release noted.