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Show Notes

Welcome to The Miami Chronicles:
Booby Trap

Booby Trap is a true crime series about the murder of a 14-year old boy in the suburbs of North Miami Beach, Florida, in the summer of 1979. Told by one of the victim’s friends, the story centres around boy scout Richard Brush Jr., who was killed by a booby trap device set up by his scoutmaster, Carmine ‘Chuck’ Falco in Falco’s home.

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S1E1: The Official Story

James and Mike discuss the murder of 14-year-old Richard “Richie” Brush, as it was originally investigated and reported by the authorities. Episode one also provides a macro description of South Florida in the late 1970s, adding a sense of historicity to the narrative.

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S1E2: The Cassette

Mike revisits the date Richie was shot and remembers that he was on an adventure of his own that night, eventually finding himself in the presence of a very creepy guy. Was this man somehow connected to Richie’s shooting? Mike then explains how he met and befriended Tony Simmons. He describes Tony’s unique characteristics, but most of all, his tendency to exaggerate and lie. Mike also talks about Tony’s obsession with a shoebox tape recorder.

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S1E3: The Scapegoat

Mike discusses how he reconnected with Tony Simmons in 2009 and mentions Tony’s initial reluctance to dredge up old memories. Then, Mike returns to 1979 and tells James about a strange afternoon that he spent with Gerry Berkowski, as well as a series of bizarre encounters he experienced with Tony. One of these encounters leads Mike to a frightful meeting in his neighbourhood park.

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S1E4: Scouting Troop 85

Mike and James dive into the depositions that Tony and Gerry gave back in 1979 and sympathize with District Attorney Kenneth Drucker’s utter futility in trying to get any straight answers. Despite the lying by both kids, Mike explains how pieces of the puzzle can be found by ‘reading between the lines’. Then, returning to the 1979 narrative, Mike shares a shocking revelation about Richie and Chuck’s scouting troop #85.

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S1E5: Friends For Falco

After the booby trap shooting of Richard ‘Richie’ Brush, Chuck Falco was arrested for manslaughter. In Episode 5, Mike and James welcome Leanna Echeverri to the discussion. The three of them discuss the ramifications of the booby trap shooting within the North Miami Beach area, as many of Chuck’s neighbours and members of the community rallied to Chuck’s defense in the form of a petition. Mike shares a shocking realization about one of Chuck’s benefactors, and Leanna describes some of her own personal trauma, resulting from the shooting.

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S1E6: Inconsistencies, Discrepancies and Revenge

Mike continues his narrative into the 1980s, primarily following the actions of Chuck Falco. Mike and James review the police reports and surviving evidence, looking for inconsistencies with the official version of the shooting.

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Meet the TEAM

James Archer  Host

James is an American expat currently living in Montreal, Canada. As a professional musician, James spent many years touring throughout Europe and North America as a side-man keyboardist for such acts as Wire Train, Cath Carol and Alan Rankine, as well as a three year stint busking throughout Europe as part of a vaudeville act featuring gypsy guitar and a harmonica playing tap dancer.

His connection with Booby Trap co-host Michael Fragomeni goes all the way back to San Francisco in the late 1980s, where they were both part of the local music scene, eventually forming their own band, the Small Time Napoleons in the early ’90s. The Napoleons were infamous for showing up at clubs where they couldn’t get a gig, and insisting that they were on the bill that night and that the booking agent made a mistake. It worked, most of the time.

More recently, James has turned his creative talents to producing and narrating podcasts, and after connecting with his old friend, Mike, Booby Trap was born.

Michael Fragomeni  Host

Michael was born and raised in North Miami, Florida. The Miami Chronicles: “Booby Trap” is based on his own personal experiences. He has been living with this story for over 40 years, and he feels he is the only person who can present it in a way that is both riveting and honest. He has immersed himself in the police records and court documents in an effort to verify his claims and support his narrative.

He received his B.A. in History (magna cum laude) from UC Berkeley (2008). Thereafter, he earned a Ph.D. in Germanic Linguistics, also from UC Berkeley. Before returning to school, he spent 20 years in the music business as a musician and songwriter, signing a major label recording contract in 1991 with MCA Records. His unique talent-set enables him to approach podcast subjects in a creative/unorthodox manner, while still providing the listener with an easy-to-follow, casual voice.

Leanna Echeverri  Researcher

Leanna was Richard Brush’s girlfriend during the time of the shooting in 1979. In 2009, she began assisting Mike with his forthcoming book and has been his research partner ever since.

She was born and raised in South Florida and relocated to the mountains of Western North Carolina. She has spent the last 20 years working in design as the owner of a sustainable clothing brand, and more recently, has leaned towards photography as her primary creative endeavor.

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