The First Degree

Join Ladygang's Jac Vanek, true crime TV producer Alexis Linkletter, and investigative journalist Billy Jensen on a chilling ride into the darkest corners of your worst nightmares. We're talking murder, serial killers, cults, conspiracy theories and beyond, all told through the eyes of a guest who is one degree of separation from the story itself. From Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer to an unknown heinous murder in your very own hometown, The First Degree will bring a new and refreshing perspective to the true crime phenomenon. And who knows... you may be our next guest.


The First Degree

Episode 31: The Smiley Face Killer Theory, Part 1

Dozens of young men found dead in bodies of water in the northeast and Midwest. Most were last seen leaving parties or bars. Most of their deaths were classified as accidental drownings. But a group of retired detectives believe their deaths are the result of something much more sinister?an elusive network of individuals who are murdering these young men. On episode 31, Jac, Alexis & Billy explore both sides of the "Smiley Face Killer" theory. The various cases, the shared characteristics between victims and interviews with the detectives while at the same time weighing the conflicting evidence?that most of these cases were just tragic accidents. Buffy - Go to Buffy.CO and enter Degree for $20 off your comforter Care Of - Go to and enter code degree50 for 50% off your first month of personalized care of vitamins
01:03:00 3/13/2019

Past Episodes

22-year-old Todd Geib goes missing after an orchard party in rural Michigan. For 20 days, his family and friends frantically search for him. On the 21st day, they find his body, floating upright in a private lake. Was Todd's death an accident, or did he fall victim to something sinister? In episode 30, Jac, Alexis and Billy speak with Todd's mother, examine the evidence, and deconstruct the curious case of Todd Gieb. Buffy - Go to Buffy.CO and enter Degree for $20 off your comforter
01:07:00 3/6/2019
A married couple is found murdered in the bedroom of their home. Their teenage daughter runs out of the house screaming that someone killed her parents. In episode 29, Jac, Alexis and Billy discuss the case of Sarah Johnson, shedding light on the motives, the opportunity, and the pink bathrobe that held one of the secrets that led to a conviction. But they also show the coverage and concern it received in contrast to the same-town murder of Maggie Guardado, the focus of episode 28. A memorial scholarship has been established in Alan and Diane Johnson's memory: Kopari - Check out for $5 off your first subscription Living Proof - Visit or use promo code FIRST for a free sample of dry shampoo
01:20:07 2/27/2019
On episode twenty eight of The First Degree, Jac, Alexis and Billy tell the story of the vicious murder of Maggie Guardado. When the charred body of 16 year Old Maggie was discovered in front of her house, suspicion immediately fell on her much older boyfriend. But Maggie also had a jealous ex. Police use cell phone records and a dried blood stain to piece together who killed Maggie and set her on fire. Daily Harvest - Go to now and use Promo code FIRST for 3 free cups in your first box Green Chef - Visit for $50 off your first box Zola - Check out to get $50 off your registry
01:03:17 2/20/2019
Have you ever gotten mad at a sibling? Sure. But have you ever conspired to kill them? On episode twenty seven of The First Degree, Jac, Alexis & Billy dive head first into the curious crimes committed within the Hawes family, a case as perplexing as it is gruesome. A family conspiracy, numerous crime scenes, hidden weapons, and a second death that remains a mystery to this day. Care Of - Go to and enter code degree50 for 50% off your first month of personalized care of vitamins Kopari - Check out for $5 off your first subscription
01:30:00 2/13/2019
In episode twenty six, Jac, Alexis and Billy conclude with part three of the Ted Bundy series. Covering Bundy's time on death row, his bizarre romantic relationships, his desperate last minute confession, the ensuing media circus, and finally, his execution. The chilling details of Ted Bundy's final moments are shared by First Degree guest Tony Panaccio, who at 23-years-old watched Ted Bundy die in the electric chair. Kopari - Check out for $5 off your first subscription
01:13:00 2/6/2019
In part two of this First Degree three-part special on Ted Bundy, Jac, Alexis and Billy detail his horrific killing rampage in Florida following his second escape, his capture after killing a 12 year old girl, and his trial where he represented himself and cross-examined witnesses.
01:08:00 1/30/2019
January 24th is 30 years to the day that serial killer Ted Bundy was executed at Raiford Prison in Starke, Florida. In part one of this special three-part First Degree series, Jac, Alexis and Billy revisit Bundy's infamous reign of terror, examine what drove a charismatic, educated and attractive man to kill and how he escaped justice for so long. They speak with Tony Panaccio, who was 23-year-old journalist when he won the lottery to become an eyewitness to Bundy's electric-chair execution. Daily Harvest - Go to now and use Promo code FIRST for 3 free cups in your first box Zola - Check out to get $50 off your registry
01:11:00 1/23/2019
In episode twenty three, Jac, Alexis & Billy delve into the 2011 Tucson mass shooting and assassination attempt of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, an attack in which six people were killed and thirteen injured. While they explore the mind of the shooter and his last steps before the massacre, they focus on one of the heroes of the day, Gabe Zimmerman, who was safely inside while the shooting starting and rushed outside to take bullets meant for others. Kopari - Check out for $5 off your first subscription Lola - Visit and enter FirstDegree for 40% off when you subscribe
01:07:00 1/16/2019
On Episode twenty two, Jac, Alexis & Billy discuss Father Yod and The Source Family Cult. With the help of former member Magus The Aquarian, they detail all of the bizarre sex practices, the murders, the ruined lives and the Manson Family crossover?all the makings of one of the most fascinating stories of cult behavior that you've probably never heard of.
01:02:00 1/9/2019
On episode twenty one, Jac, Alexis & Billy explore a baffling murder case that stretches from the bright lights of Hollywood to the wheat fields of Northeast Colorado - two fledgling actors, a secret life, and a deadly high speed chase. Sunday Scaries - Check out and use promo code FIRST DEGREE for 10% off and free shipping
01:12:00 1/2/2019

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