A new Arkansas-produced true crime podcast, Burden, is slated to be released on Sept. 30. 

 

Journalist Karen Tricot Steward and Attorney Stephanie Harris partner as cohosts for this podcast as they walk through the mysterious 1991 death of Billie Jean Letterman in Texarkana, Arkansas, and examine the Arkansas justice system. Letterman was 21-years-old at the time of her death. 

 

Season one of Burden will feature interviews with police, forensic experts, paramedics, friends and family of Letterman and others close to the case. To listen to the season one trailer, visit Burden Podcast’s website

 

Steward and Harris, who both have worked as journalists and in communications roles for the Arkansas Supreme Court, also announced the podcast launch party will take place at The Nest in Little Rock on Sept. 29. Tickets to the podcast launch party are available online. The launch party will feature part of the premiere episode and a presentation from Letterman’s daughter, Ashly Myers, who is also featured on the podcast.  

 

“I’ve been asked if this podcast is going to be ‘anti-law enforcement,’” said Harris. “That is definitely not our intention. But if there weren’t failures, there’d be no need for a story. The goal really is to let these families share their heartaches and frustration, while we look at it from an investigative perspective. We of course have the benefit of hindsight; but there are serious problems with the cases we plan to cover.” 

 

As an attorney Harris works as Communications Counsel for the Arkansas Supreme Court. She also founded Women Lead Arkansas, a nonpartisan nonprofit dedicated to the empowerment of women in politics, policy and leadership. 

 

Burden will be in the immersive NPR style of narrative storytelling,” said Steward. “It will examine larger issues within our criminal justice system and society through the lens of one story every season. The case we cover in Season 1 explores violence against women and the many factors that went into failing to keep a woman, Billie Jean Letterman, safe. It examines the devastating effects of intimate partner violence and how domestic violence crosses generations.”

 

Owner of Power of Pod, a Little Rock-based podcast production company, Steward is a former reporter and anchor for the NPR affiliate in Central Arkansas, KUAR 89.1. Steward also formerly served as Public Education Coordinator for the Arkansas Supreme Court. The first season of Lady Justice: Women of the Court, was launched by Steward in 2020 and was hosted by four supreme court justices from different states, to increase awareness about the number of women and minorities in the legal system. 

 

The date of Sept. 30, is International Podcasting Day, which is also the date of the launch of Burden. The launch of the new podcast coincides with the start of October, National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. 

 

Donations for Women’s Own Worth, an Arkansas nonprofit organization that works to empower domestic violence victims and survivors of violent crime, will be accepted at the launch party.

 

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