Podcast Coaching
with Christine

Episode

 47

Trauma & Triggers: Can podcasting help people heal?

With

Collier Landry

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Credits

Production

Bright Sighted Podcasting

Host

Christine O'Donnell

Assistant Producer

Editor

Collier Landry is a Los Angeles-based cinematographer, filmmaker and Keynote speaker. He’s most well-known for testifying against his father Dr. Boyle for the murder of his mother when he was just eleven years old. In this episode, Collier and host Christine O’Donnell talk about his film: A Murder in Mansfield, why people smile when they’re coping with trauma and how podcasting can help people use their voice to help them in their healing journey.

Connect with Collier: 

Website: https://www.collierlandry.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/collierlandry/

 

whether whether that’s you want to you want to tell the story about the murder of your mother or you wanted to help give people homemaking tips to make their home a brighter place for their family and children you know what i mean it it doesn’t matter what it is if something is passionate and it resonates inside you you have to get it out

 

podcasting is hard so why not get a little coaching welcome to podcast coaching with christine i’m your host christine o’donnell i’m an emmy nominated tv journalist and podcast coach each week i interview someone who has an exceptional story and talent to help independent podcasters grow their shows

 

hello and welcome back to this season of podcast coaching with christine a resource for growth motivation and community for podcasters i’m your host christine o’donnell i’m an emmy nominated tv journalist and i am also a podcast coach and the founder of right-sided podcasting in this season i have been really focusing on the power that comes from using our voices and how to harness it in the past three years i’ve been working with podcasters and i consistently find that there are sticking points that stop people from achieving their full potential when it comes to podcasting and i feel like that can be so frustrating i have felt that and i still still feel like i get stuck sometimes so my goal is to help podcasters including myself get unstuck and stay motivated and keep on growing so this episode is going to be actually a little bit different than some of the other things you’ve heard from me and it actually i feel like i’m like re-tapping into some of the stories that i used to cover as a journalist um really excited for our guest his name is collier landry and he has been through some an unimaginable situation and has used his voice to get through it he is an la based filmmaker he is a keynote speaker tedx and host of the moving past murder podcast collier welcome to the show thank you so much christine thank you for being here what’d you think of my intro it was great great i love it i love it i tried not to look at you i was like i’m just gonna focus over here look weirdly off into the distance thank you you guys i was getting like a little bit nervous so i was like don’t look at me all right so so we’re going to keep going here so call your and and i mean we’re laughing right now but i mean i’m about to like talk about what you’re most well known for uh and this is his documentary it’s um it’s called a murder in mansfield and it speaks specifically about a horrifying incident that happened in his life uh when he was 11 he heard his father murder his mother and then had to testify in court against him that is correct collier

 

you’ve been talking about this story you said for 30 plus years yeah so let’s not say plus so people think like 39 38. 31 years i don’t want to age myself or maybe i do because then they’ll be like oh wow he looks fantastic for his late 40s but i’m not in my late 40s um i uh yeah i have been so on december 31st 1989 i woke up in the middle of the night about 3 18 a.m uh to the sound of two loud thuds i heard 12 footsteps as they slowly walked down the hallway and they stopped at my door and something told me not to look up uh the next morning when i woke up i immediately ran to my mother’s room and discovered she was missing now i knew in my heart that my mother was dead uh because my mother had never left me before and we were very close my parents were going through a very nasty divorce and my father was a very violent guy i went downstairs in front of my father and he said well mommy took a little vacation call here i on the sly contacted my mother’s friends and i said look mommy’s missing she’s not here and something has happened to her a missing person’s case was filed and police came to the house and they basically treated as a missing persons case my father was a doctor a physician in a very small town in ohio so they weren’t really into investigating people of that sort of stature i did however meet a police detective who picked up the case and i convinced him when no one else believed me that she was dead 25 days later they dug up her body underneath the house that my father had purchased for his mistress in our neighboring state of pennsylvania and my mother was dead i had witnessed a murder essentially and i testified before the grand jury my father was then arraigned and i testified at his months-long murder trial for two and a half days and i put my father in prison uh i say that my father put himself in prison but i was the only witness and everything else was circumstantial and that there was a very strong possibility that my father would have gotten off

 

so i you know my my entire family abandoned me on both sides during this time i went to the foster care system and i basically knew that confronting my father in a courtroom i knew that if this man didn’t go to jail as soon as he gets released he’s going to kill me um but yeah he uh he was uh convicted of her murder and he is still incarcerated to this day so about 25 26 years later i go back to my small town in ohio and i revisit the the crime i revisit the what i can refer to as the ancillary victims so for me one of the the things that i’m most passionate about in life and why i wanted to make the film you know i can talk about the whole genesis of that if you want but in a nutshell i always felt growing up that we as a society you know the bad guy goes to jail the victim is dead right the state gets his restitution the gavel hits and then we go next and then we forget about it we don’t actually look at the consequences of violence the impact these have on ancillary victims on communities uh secondary victims non-combat people when you say when you say ancillary victims what do you mean like who do you mean so you know an ancillary victim would be not okay so the person who is murdered is killed they’re the victim right but this is like myself my mother’s best friend uh my my playmates my childhood playmates see all these people that have been um affected by the ripple of of such a traumatic event and we tend to kind of brush that aside and i don’t even know if we brush it aside because that would take a conscientious that would that would be a conscientious choice that we make i think we subconsciously brush that thing as those things aside and we don’t engage in these dialogues now we are now as a society starting to shift to where we do engage in these dialogues and we have been for quite a while but 30 years ago almost we did not and i grew up in the shadow of that and seeing how people were affected around me um and how i was affecting myself and i was like i have to do something to tell my mother’s story and to allow us to start to examine these types of things uh and have these conversations and that’s why i made a murder in mansfield with investigation discovery so i mean

 

what you’ve been through it’s it’s insane to me and and and i i i talk to you and i feel like it’s so easy to laugh and smile and and like just like quickly like deflect maybe like it’s so easy and i also don’t know if that that might be like a defense mechanism right like i i haven’t been through what you’ve been through but working as a journalist i’ve seen a lot of like really awful awful stuff um sure and i find that people who’ve seen a lot of awful stuff tend to use like dark humor to like cope with that do you i mean do you feel like that is part of like a coping mechanism for you or is it it is for me like i i can’t help myself i think sometimes so it’s interesting you say that so we have a mutual friend eric swanson yeah and he was talking to me yesterday because he was listening to my podcast and he said you know he’s like i think it’s really amazing what you’re doing and he’s like but you know i’m not i’m not saying because i i think you’re you know your story is amazing because your story is amazing but not the murder i’m like i get it but a lot of people approach it that they’re almost like yes there is that dark humor ailment where they’re like laughing at me and we’re having these conversations but then they go oh but this guy’s been through this trauma yeah but that’s not how i look at it you know what i mean and a lot of people forget and why wouldn’t they because they they really in a lot of ways can’t understand because of what i have been through the gravitas of what i’ve been through is so enormous that um they feel almost guilty for chuckling or laughing or assuming certain things and i’m like look you’re just a human being reacting to what i s what i’m saying for me this is my reality and i talk about it all the time and now i’m talking about even more than i have you know since i’ve made the film it’s been my way of life i’ve been talking about this for 30 years and that was my coping mechanism i just want to talk to people i a lot of people say well you know okay well so when you grew up did you go through a lot of therapy yes i went through therapy but for me every opportunity i got to talk to someone about my story because everybody was interested in it was a moment of therapy for me i was able to tell i was able to relate to them and that’s how i related to the world and that is ultimately what helped get me to a place where of acceptance and dealing with it and understanding and feeling good about it um as as good as anyone else as anyone can feel about it so for me when somebody says oh you know i’m sorry i don’t mean to make light of it it’s fine you know you’re not saying oh i’m glad your dad killed your mom no you’re you’re trying to go i think what you’re doing what you’ve been through is amazing and yes i respect that it goes without saying to me and somebody doesn’t need to apologize be like oh i didn’t mean it that way i know what i know you didn’t mean it that way i know you’re not a bad person you know um but for me it’s just how i relate to the world that’s the lens that i mean i’m a cinematographer so i’ll use these sort of uh i’ll use these uh references but uh you know that’s how that’s the lens that i view this world through yeah do you so i i feel like you’re i mean you’re an extreme case but i i know that a lot of podcasters also have like this story that they want to share and this fear that of being vulnerable and talking perhaps like maybe the thing that is like pushing them like the thing that is giving them their purpose the reason for sharing their story is like this deep dark awful thing that happened so it’s kind of i i’m wondering a couple things one how do you do it and and two um every time someone introduces you like when i introduced you to the show today do you relive it for a second sure a little bit absolutely i would say that i do there is a little bit of that you know i go through it and i did it because it’s my life

 

no it’s not a pain it’s um it’s because it’s my reality you know what i’m saying so it’s it’s it’s so hard it’s so difficult to really translate into something that someone who has not been through it understands and that’s on the flip side how i feel that i can do something like moving past murder because i can speak to other people who have dealt with these tremendous circumstances because i come with the street cred right i’ve been through it i can understand i can relate and a lot of times the people that i talk to they’ll be like man i thought my story was that’s a kind of a funny thing they’ll be like man i thought my story was bad and then i saw your movie and i was like what the yeah you know and i’m like yeah it’s and that is that’s my cross to bear but i don’t ever look at it as a cross to bear that’s my gift to the world is really what it is that i have been able to i mean i’ve and i say this and some people like you know girls i’ve danced i’ve made these comments and they go well that kind of sounds but i say i am the most fortunate person i know because i really am in the ways that i have found a way to cope with and deal with what i’ve been through and then been able to take my story and been able to share it with other people and share my vulnerability authentically and help heal people i don’t know what’s better than that and when i set out to make the film a murder in mansfield i wanted to change my life and one other life that was it if somebody could resonate with it and maybe it gave somebody who was considering doing something horrific like this and it gives them pause to maybe not do that or someone some kid who is just like me 12 years old scared out of his mind no family to back him up in a foster care situation that is horrific dealing with this horrific scenario that you’re in front of and nobody’s got your back and that kid watches this or hears my story and goes okay if collier got through it i can get through it if that can give hope to somebody like that i’ve done my job that’s it i’m good that’s my legacy that’s my legacy that’s me continuing on from my mother’s legacy so she wouldn’t die in vain and that is why i came out to los angeles and wanted to be not necessarily a filmmaker i moved out here i went to school for music and i wanted to be a musician but i also wanted to tell the story and i wanted to work in the film business in some capacity to tell that story and i was really fortunate for that to happen and it’s just a gift that i’m able to give the world and so i don’t look at it as a burden i don’t look at it as anything else other than i am able to relate to people and to be able to help people as much as i can and and get and help them find solace that they’re not alone that people go through it you you know what i’m saying does that make sense yeah i mean you’re sharing something with me that i’ve i feel like i’ve learned over like i mean the past you know several years working with podcasters but also in the decade plus before that i was working as a journalist um it’s not the case for everyone i found that sometimes i would interview someone on the very worst day of their life like the worst of the worst thing could have possibly happened i covered sandy hook i covered the boston marathon bombings i’ve got like i’ve covered some really just dark awful things and and when i’m talking to people on this this awful day um some people even if it’s so raw and they’re still in shock it almost is a coping mechanism for them to share it and i don’t know if it always stays that way for everyone and i’m not saying this is the case for everyone but with some some days i would interview someone and afterwards well i mean gosh especially in my early days i would literally just ball through the interview probably most likely with the person i was talking with um but afterwards we would hug like we shared something together and sometimes when you’re talking to a camera lens or you’re speaking into a microphone it’s almost like you can speak past time and space and reality to like people maybe that have passed on and and that maybe that sounds weird to say out loud but i i don’t know sometimes i interview someone all right in the past and it’s felt like they felt like they they had this opportunity to speak to the great beyond and i think that that has been like it’s been a coping wisdom it’s helped it’s helped in some ways to share to share the story to empathize um with someone else whether it’s me or just one other person and and sometimes sharing that story might make a real difference in someone’s life whether oh gosh i mean there’s there’s so many stories i could pick i just i don’t want to um i think i’ve also blocked some of them out but um yeah it’s so so you saying that it’s been a little bit of a healing for you to continue to share your story again and again and again um i’ve heard that also from some other podcasters like some people have like have had dark like depression and trauma and for them stepping in front of the microphone each week has been a way to keep them alive like keep them accountable to other people um so i just i think it’s interesting the power of creating something putting it out into the world whether people listen to it or not you’re still it’s like you’re still packaging something putting it out into the world and and getting rid of it maybe it’s like you’re decluttering yourself or i don’t i don’t know sure i mean they’re um i mean i don’t know anyone i mean look i’m an artist at my at my core um i don’t know anyone who is a true artist who hasn’t dealt with any sort of level of pain there’s no there’s nobody i really know or anybody that’s really been a real what i would say a real respectable artist in my opinion that hasn’t dealt with some level that hasn’t come through some sort of massive journey and come out the other side and it’s just really enhanced who they are and who they be for example like you see even people that do let’s just take the music industry for example you have people who come through maybe even normal circumstances maybe they were born with a silver spoon in their mouth or whatever and they went to you know a great great university everything was paid for wanted life was wonderful they grew up in the hamptons you know yada yada right and then but they really want to be an artist so then they decide to kind of spiral into a sort of you know dark depression of uh you know drug addiction or or they decide to be homeless or whatever and they they sort of uh go into these places and you’re like why did they do that well it’s maybe because they had to see what the darkness was before they could see the light right so or the kiara obscuros i would say in my deep penis but

 

i think that when you come through something like that you you want to let everyone know and and you sharing that journey and and that just enhances who you are and it really enhances that authenticity because i feel that this medium especially is all about authenticity right and there were moments when we were making the film that i had that i stopped and said okay you know i’ll just give you an example and a spoiler alert but please go watch the film of murder in mansfield it’s on investigation discovery asl and discovery plus amazon hulu uh but there’s a scene in the movie when i go when i’m interviewing the detective at his home and talking to him and this is the detective that believed me and we bonded and they were his family was looking to adopt me and all of these things and that didn’t end so well i was adopted to another family which was wonderful but um it was a different scenario that said we were sitting in the room and the director of the film barbara koppel has won two academy awards for documentaries she’s very talented she’s done documentaries on just about everyone and i said well what are you guys i was gonna go to the gym right we’re done with the interview and i said what are you guys gonna do like well we’re going to go look at the case file i was like oh and then barbara is very good at getting people to do what the you know she wants them to do she’s a filmmaker and she said would you want to come look at it collier and david messmore and his wife were like absolutely not because it has photos of my mother’s body and i stopped everyone i said no i said guys this is what we’re doing this is what this is about this is about going into the trenches this is about exploring the depths of trauma the effects and coming out the other side this is about being as authentic as possible i was like no i need to i was like because by the way i’ve imagined those photos my entire life just because i haven’t seen them doesn’t mean i don’t have some sort of picture in my mind of what my mother’s body looked like and in the film i look at the case file and i see these photos and it’s tremendously painful and it’s a very you know it’s it’s a it’s a heavy scene for sure but it’s that moment it’s those moments that you can just be so vulnerable in front of a camera to show the audience that you two can get through this and that’s what’s really cool

 

i have seen that scene um so um

 

do you remember your last moment with your mom i do um i do and i remember it was like 8 30 at night and i had gone to bed i was sitting in the living room and she was like okay you got to go to bed and you know i gave her a kiss some you know kiss and i said good night mommy and went up to bed you know um she was wearing her pajamas i had one i think i i used to wear like this at the time like this long like giant t-shirt that was like a sleep shirt and it like went down to like my knees or something and uh i think it was like a mickey mouse christmas shirt or something and uh yeah um i do and i remember a lot about her i remember

 

the summer after it happened and i would like i said i was in the foster care system and i believe this is this was right after the trial and after my father was convicted and

 

my foster parents wanted to take they had a kid and and then my adopted sister was with them and they wanted custody of her so they took us all to um chautauqua new york and kind of like they went off and did things as a family and i was just kind of left on my own to just figure it out which was crazy but i remember i was in downtown chautauqua and i was walking around and i remember maybe i even had a bike no i was just walking and i enjoyed these moments by myself because it always made me think of my mother but i remember i smelled her perfume which was chanel number five and i like looked around and i started like and i saw this woman and my mother always wore her hair in a ponytail she blonde hair crystal blue eyes like myself and i remember seeing this woman i started chasing after her and then she disappeared and then i looked and then she was over there it was like i was in a chris nolan movie right and i follow a little bit more and then okay she’s gone again i was like oh man but i kept smelling my mother’s perfume which smells like yelling yelling i think it’s what they make chanel number five out of but i would have these moments that would sort of carry me along throughout my life that would remind me of those final moments that i have with her but they were like little bit of flashback snippets but they were in my reality if this this might make no sense to anyone but it makes total sense to me but you have these moments where you you experience that and you know you’re going through maybe these dark moments in your life or you’re sort of contemplating okay what am i doing with my life or what do i want to do and i’ll smell these smells or i’ll think of her i’ll remember her voice and yeah that’s i do so to answer your question i do remember those things um and now i feel bad cause i made you tear up and cry you know i’ve got a three-year-old son and a seven month old baby and i’m still nursing i’m just and collier

 

like it’s a lot yeah i know so um don’t touch you shouldn’t feel bad um i uh i just you know i i was worried about this um so i think the takeaway here is that for you consistently sharing your story has been helpful to you and maybe even at times does it make you still feel close to her absolutely and it’s very cathartic and you know there’s a moment in the film when i go and i’m with my mother’s best friend and i’m like going through like like a school book diary type thing and my mother had written in it and then i’m like when you know my name is collier landry boyle and i am in the fourth grade and when i grow up i want to be a lawyer and i just bust out laughing in the middle of the movie i’m like well well that didn’t end very well that didn’t work out so well again my mother always wanted me to be a lawyer but i remember she had this plan for me and i had just started taking piano lessons right before she was murdered and unfortunately after she was murdered there was like only one person that taught piano in town and i wasn’t i was like completely isolated from everyone so i never got to take piano lessons and then it just you know it just didn’t happen um so i couldn’t continue my piano lessons right but she was like okay so we were at nordstrom’s my mother loved shopping and we were at nordstrom’s and she kept saying okay so collier you’re going to take piano lessons and you can play piano like the guy in nordstrom said where’s the tuxedo because you can do that for your summer job when you’re in law school and i’m thinking to myself oh okay mommy because you know she wants me to make a good living and what mother doesn’t want the best for their son and of course okay you can be a lawyer and you know and i probably would have been a really great lawyer um but i have no desire for anything that represents any sort of real job in society i’m an artist and my mother was very encouraging of my artistic side but also you know she went to penn my father went to penn education was a big deal in my household and i would you know i was the kid that you know um oh it’s summer vacation okay great you can have fun with your friends for like a week and then you’re going to go into summer school and you’re going to take science classes and art classes and reading classes and i loved it i love education i am a voracious reader listener rabbit hole diver of any and all things like even with podcasting i’ve just started and it’s like i’ve just dipped down the rabbit hole of okay what do i need to get what do i do what are the metrics what do i need like it’s a whole thing and i just i’m one like a sponge with the things that i absorb um and that all came that all stemmed from my mother and that artistic side that she promoted is just kind of what i ended up doing but at the end of the day because she helped me develop that or was encouraging of that that is what has led me to be able to tell her story what i think is in a really fantastic way and to get her message out there and so she doesn’t she didn’t live in vain or die in vain right and there’s nothing better i think than my mother would feel right now than me sharing her story and my experiences and using those experiences to help others because i was telling somebody earlier today i was saying i wasn’t like a clubhouse thing and when they were talking about like female not female empowerment but like men who find strength in strong women that’s what this topic of conversation was and i said my mother was a very strong woman and placed a very high value on education um but uh you know through that strength that i learned from her is how i was able to really come out the other side and the things that i learned from her before she was taken from us is what ultimately allowed me to the next morning waking up and going okay what is my what is my what now what’s next how am i going to find out how am i going to put this sob in prison is that really what you you thought at 11 though like 100 100 i was on a mission youtube immediately and as we’re oh go ahead no go no i’m sorry i just i just am wondering i mean at 11 though don’t you still love your dad like don’t you still like didn’t you have some loyalty was there some conflict like how were you able i mean i’m just trying to figure out like at 11. well my father is a sociopath and a psychopath and he’s very manipulative and he’s a narcissist and all those things go hand in hand uh and he’s very manipulative and at the same time he was you know i had met his girlfriend i knew that he was cheating on my mother and i my father had rampant affairs on my mother for decades and i had no idea if this i was a kid right so i didn’t know their history but it was really until he introduced me to his mistress um that it became an issue for my mother because i guess my mother’s arrangement with him was like look do whatever you want jack you involve our kid it’s done and she and he did you know and um that’s when she filed for divorce went on so i was already in a position that he was already not a nice nice person to me to begin with in a lot of ways now i had bonding moments with my father and but i do say on the witness stand people are like oh that’s exaggeratory but it wasn’t hyperbole um you know i spent like 99 of my time with my mom and like one percent with my father my father wasn’t around he was a workaholic he was a doctor and i would you know my times with my father were going to the hospital with him on his rounds which was a very positive thing for me because i did get to see you know and help like i would go and i would i was into tap dancing and music when i was a kid so i would like tap dance and sing for the patients and play harmonica and do all this stuff and um but i got to see some sides of of people and some signs of compassion from my father because my father despite his nature was a very good doctor which was a massive issue in the community because he had all these patients they i mean somebody said to me you know he when my father was arrested they had estimated that over his four years of his private practice in mansfield ohio he had seen something like 80 000 patients that’s a lot of people i’m like i’m always wondering like did my father like never sleep um because he had all these affairs then he had all these solutions my father’s patients loved him because he was a really good doctor he really was a great doctor very intelligent very good and he had this compassion for people in that way which is so weird and one of the things the prosecutor said i think in his closing argument is he said you know he was a healer by day and a killer by night it’s very true but my relationship with my father was very fractured he was a very violent man and uh had just a rage inside him and his temper was just it was terrifying and uh when i woke up and i said you know i came downstairs and i said where’s my mother and he goes well mommy took a little vacation call here i knew let me write that and there i knew before that because i ran into my mother’s room the next morning looking for blood on the sheath i was tearing the fed apart looking for blood in the sheets and i didn’t find any um because i knew something happened her i knew she was dead and you know that’s a scary feeling to have and i was terrified of my father and so for me to even be running around uh because i would i would go to school because this is obviously during a holiday but then a couple days later we go back to school but i would tell my principal i would say please call lieutenant messmore at the police station have him come down i want to talk to him and i’d be like okay so today when i go home i’m going to like distract my grandmother downstairs who was my father’s mother who had come to stay with us when my mother right before my mother disappeared and she was really close with my mother too she was like my mother’s mother um because my mother didn’t really have a very good relationship with her real mother and her mother passed by that time anyways but they were very close but i would literally like run upstairs like distract her run upstairs and now we had these bookcases and they were like in crawl spaces and you know and i grew up in the middle west so in houses in the midwest have these things they pull out and there’s a crawl space and you pull the shelf out i was looking for her body i would literally like say to dave must work okay when i go home i’m going to pull the bookshelf out in this one room and i’m going to see if i can find her body or i can see if i can find her purse because i know that she wouldn’t leave the house without this one blue doony and burke purse and if i could found that of course i found it and i told him and but it really wasn’t until i was telling us when i was on dr phil i have an episode of dr phil that i do and he says well you were the one that found the house and i said yeah i said my father went in i was in his truck he went into a gas station to pay for gas and when he went in and i could see him through the windshield and i went through his truck and i found these two polaroids in the truck and one was of a of his girlfriend and her two kids and they were sitting in front of a fireplace that was wrapped in plastics it was brand new and then the other was of a house and i literally found those pictures and i told dave messmore the next day i said i found these pictures of sherry and her kids in the house and this house and i don’t know where it is but it’s in his truck and that was when they started looking into a house in another in another state and that’s when they found the house and that’s where they ultimately found my mother’s body so it was a roundabout way of answering what my relationship was like with my father but that was what my relationship was like with my father so that when you had to go and and talk on the stand in front of everyone including your father but how did you like how were you able to do that at 11. well i remember angry well the thing is is that okay so how it was pitched to me was we don’t need you to testify collier and you know the expression come hell or high water come hell or high water i wasn’t going to testify against him i was like i was like no no i’m testifying because everybody i was talking to a woman a couple of months ago and her sister and a friend their lives were taken in a very public international case involving a a very famous athlete and celebrity in the early to mid 90s and the first thing that she and it took place here in los angeles and she the first thing she said to me is she was like i can’t believe that they made you testify because she did her best and and protected her sisters children and children of this gentleman who was on trial um from testifying against their father or testifying on behalf of their father whatever being involved in the criminal process and they said she said i can’t believe they did it i said no no i said don’t mistake this i wanted to testify in fact they were they would have there was no way they were not going to let me testify and i sat there and i stared my father down in court and he wouldn’t look at me and um i remember and i had never seen the trial footage until i went to the screening of the film in new york city when we premiered at nyc fest and there is this shot of me in slow motion like walking past my father as i leave the courtroom on my last day of testifying but i was watching i was like man i just wish i had just kind of gone like this and then like just stared him down

 

it was like kobe bryant would do after he dunked on somebody and just looked at them like yeah that’s right um but no all all jokes aside um yeah i didn’t know it was not there was no way i wasn’t going to testify against him because at the end of the day i knew the truth that i told the truth and the truth is the easiest thing for anyone to remember and his lawyers tried to trip me up and it was i was like a broken record because i was telling the truth so every time i would say something i’d be like nope this is what happened nope this is what happened nope this is what happened i was consistent and it was to the point where people and he filed a lawsuit afterwards and said oh i was coached by the prosecution and they told me what to say and it was like no i knew what happened and i spoke the truth that’s it sorry you just got caught you just underestimated me and one of the things we talked about in the film is my father was arrested on january 25th 1990 in the morning i was taken from the home at 6 a.m on january 24th my mother’s body was found in the erie pennsylvania home the more like the early morning hours of uh january 25th so

 

about three or four days prior to me being removed from the home my father said to me and i’ve been talking to the police and all this stuff and i’ve just been doing everything behind his back and i was terrified but of my father but i was like this is it like this is the only chance because he’s going to get away with this if i don’t do something it’s only me you know and thank god dave mesmer believed me and my father said oh you know collier i have this medical conference that is down in in florida and my father would go to medical conferences in florida so this wasn’t totally off the uh off the wall but he’s like so you know you’ll come down with me and we’ll go to a metal conference and i went to dave mess when i was like he wants to take me to florida and i am a really good swimmer but i guarantee you i am going to drown in the gulf of mexico

 

and he was like yeah and that’s when he filed with children’s services and said we gotta get this kid out now and they did yeah because my father my father i think at that point had realized that the writing was on the wall that i knew way too much and like he had marks on his hands he had me run rub ben gay on his back because his shoulders were sore because he was jackhammering and making a grave for his you know wife in the basement of this home that he purchased for his mistress so you know um i knew what was going on and uh yeah so that almost happened that almost happened so and and you know i was terrified i said you know i said dave i said you know i’m gonna i’m gonna have a terrible accident i’m gonna drown something’s gonna happen you know food poisoning whatever i’m not gonna make i’m not coming back from florida just so you know and those are sobering things to say as a child but i was in i was so locked in you know when you you know you hear about these stories and you watch people like i was making a basketball reference because i love basketball but like you know you watch michael jordan or kobe bryant or you watch you know uh you know very famous athletes just seem to lock in and they’re just like there’s nothing that will distract them that’s how locked in i was so i was like okay here’s the reality of my situation my father is violent he could easily kill me he’s twice my size and three times my weight um he uh my mother is most certainly dead and nobody believes me except for one guy and nobody knows what to do and i’m stuck um i gotta just go as hard as i can to to just do everything in my power to make sure this happens that he is brought to justice and that’s what i did and at the end of the day and and look it it doesn’t escape me that i’m saying all this about my own father

 

with regard to the murder of my mother by him so it’s not lost on me the the sort of gravity of the situation but at the same time it was i was on a mission that’s it you know i think the

 

i think the thing that like gets me like catches me up as you’re talking and i’m just like thinking about your experience is just how much your mom probably just wanted to hold you during that whole time sure of course and how much i would have wanted it had been held by her too yeah yeah

 

i almost broke there get a little misty yeah um that’s for sure i had you know there was a lot of i mean i’m telling it as if it’s um you know it’s it but it really is the hero’s journey it’s it’s you know it’s just it’s joseph campbell it’s you know you you yeah there is the break with a breakdown and you know there i i went through that plenty in my life and i went through that plenty in those moments you know i mean i was in a foster care situation where i was alone yeah and it was just me and i was like you gotta do this dude this is it you gotta do this this is for all the marbles as my mother used to say this is the brass ring you get one shot to grab the brass ring she was really big into carousel horses he’s like you grab the brass ring and i’ve always said that in my life like for many opportunities i’m like this is the brass ring it’s even the scenario in the film when i confront my father and one of the interesting things is when people watch the film they don’t know the whole backstory in my podcast i’m going to get into episodes where i do discuss the backstory of this film yeah you’ve mentioned your letters yeah well the letters but the the the making of the film to me is way more interesting than the film because of all the roadblocks and all the things that almost happened but my f it was a very long pro it’s a very long process first of all just to speak on the film industry in general to make a project that one creates and to get it anywhere near completion or let alone sold and on television is is like getting a winning lotto ticket and it’s it’s it’s so difficult to do it just this industry is just it’s it’s insane it’s like finding a needle in a field of haystacks um so you already have that but my father when you see the scene when my father comes into the room and i’m confronting him about ready to confront him he comes in he has this he’s like upbeat and he’s like hey you know hey bumper my father called me bumper as a kid because i grew up on a naval base for the first five years of my life and i used to point at the jets the nose cones of the jets and say bumper bumper so that’s how i got the nickname bumper so if my parents called me that um but he comes in the room he’s got this sort of like yeah okay yeah and the reason he’s like that is my father and this is just the core of sociopathy and narcissism my father thought that i was making a film to help him get out of prison

 

and i pull a letter out and i read him this letter and you can just see all the air get and feel all the air get sucked out of the room because that’s really what happened i literally am so shocked that they allowed us to continue the film because they thought that i was going to make a film about this big come to jesus moment with my father which it could have been if my father would have admitted his guilt but he’s but as i say in my ted talk you know layered beyond underneath the layers of um narcissism and self-protection he just couldn’t admit anything it’s crazy it’s something to say for sure um collier what would you say to a podcaster who also has something to say but may be too afraid to share it um

 

it might sound cliche but just do it you have to get it out there if you

 

there’s something to be said about um when you’re an artist right and because that’s what i consider myself an artist and we say this amongst ourselves we don’t do we don’t choose this line of work and it’s not like the line of word chooses us we do this because we cannot there’s no choice we cannot do anything else because that burning desire to tell that story or to share that which you hold with such conviction overwhelms any desire for comfort creature comforts any sense of normalcy that anyone looks at you as you just have to literally take what you have that you want to give the world and just find it in you to put it out there you you get you just go inside go within and say this is the story i want to tell this is who i want to be this is my authentic self whether whether that’s you want to you want to tell the story about the murder of your mother or you wanted to help give people homemaking tips to make their home a brighter place for their family and children you know what i mean it it doesn’t matter what it is if something is passionate and it resonates inside you you have to get it out whatever your chosen medium is if it’s podcasting if it’s video if it’s photography if it’s art sculpture if it’s standing on a street corner on a on a soapbox with a megaphone and saying this is what i feel this is what it is you got to get it out there people might look at you like you’re crazy they certainly did to me but at the end of the day the the reward that you get from doing something that is so authentic and true to yourself is nothing that you could that can be measured by dollars and cents

 

the reward you give yourself is that what you said the reward you get well the roar and then the reward that you get from doing something like this is it’s unexplainable it’s una it’s you know you can’t put a price on it to be able to give something of yourself so purely that was incredible advice and i just want to pull out that not only are you giving something to the world but you are also doing something for yourself i mean absolutely you’ve talked about that like how it can it can heal you like this might be the thing this might be the way to the next version of yourself sometimes when we don’t know what to do next because we’ve experienced something insane talking about it is this is the bridge a 100 and especially i think especially now at this point in our in our collective human history right where we are we have just come through a global pandemic yeah not like okay this happened to california or this happened to paris france or there was a or a community that was riled by a murder or a mass shootings but this is something that we have that has that has echoed and the ramifications have been felt in every single human being for the most part across the entire planet at least in the free world as we know it right um i think people are now more than ever looking internally and saying what is the story that i have to tell what is the gift that i want to give the world because oh tomorrow is not guaranteed that’s what it’s just taught us i think there are a lot of people i’ve never taken things like that for granted but i think that a lot of people i think we as a culture have have through the internet and just the availability of being able to live a pretty decent life in a free society we have taken certain things for granted and i think the covet 19 pandemic has taught a lot of people that may have taken things and it’s not it’s not a bad thing this isn’t a read on anyone i’m guilty of it as well i think we all are to a certain degree um we took advantage of certain things that that we thought okay they’ll just be here tomorrow i’ll be able to go to a movie theater i’ll be able to do this i’ll be able to see my family i’ll be able to to go to work i’ll be able to go to starbucks and see you know joe that serves me my morning latte every day on my way to work whatever it is right

 

now we we’ve we’ve been forced to look within especially being quarantined right okay this is what i’m doing and i think that a lot of people are now starting to which is wonderful being able to find their inner voice and then going okay you know what i can do this too i got a gift i want to share with the world too and it’s is gonna make me happy and that’s really one of the coolest things you can do in my opinion and on that note be cool be cool thank you collier so much for being on the show you’re welcome it’s my pleasure thank you this is wonderful um is there anything else you’d like people to know before we say goodbye um you know i would just say if you are interested please uh check out a murder in mansfield on investigation discovery discovery plus uh my website is collier landry dot com c-o-l-l-i-e-r landry dot com forward slash podcast to check out the moving past murder podcast and um on that note just uh stay true to you guys that’s all thank you so much thanks for being on the show thanks christine and that’s a wrap thank you for listening to another episode of podcast coaching with christine for more information on this week’s episode be sure to check the show notes you can also find more information on my website christine donald.com there’s a bunch of resources over there as well and more information about my community if you would like to join it again that’s christine o’donnell.com if this podcast helped you in any way please let me know you can always screenshot that you’ve listened to this episode and then share it in your stories and tag me on instagram i am happy to re-share your story and let more people know about what you’re doing your podcast thank you again for listening and i will see you next time

 

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