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Dead End: A New Jersey Political Murder Mystery
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Dead End: A New Jersey Political Murder Mystery

Author: WNYC

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New Jersey politics is not for the faint of heart. But the brutal killing of John and Joyce Sheridan, a prominent couple with personal ties to three governors, shocks even the most cynical operatives. The mystery surrounding the crime sends their son on a quest for truth.  Dead End is a story of crime and corruption at the highest levels of society in the Garden State.

Episodes release every Tuesday.
12 Episodes
New Jersey politics is not for the faint of heart. But the brutal killing of John and Joyce Sheridan, a prominent couple with personal ties to three governors, shocks even the most cynical operatives. The mystery surrounding the crime sends their son on a quest for truth. Dead End is a story of crime and corruption at the highest levels of society in the Garden State.
On a quiet cul-de-sac, a husband and wife of 47 years are stabbed to death in the stillness of dawn. Honest and unassuming, John Sheridan, famous for never raising his voice, played against type in the rough-and-tumble world of New Jersey politics. Could the Republican lobbyist have killed his wife Joyce—a veteran public school teacher and no-nonsense mother of four sons—then set their bedroom on fire before knifing himself? That’s the version of events authorities say happened in the early morning hours of September 28, 2014. But, in more ways than one, the theory doesn’t add up. Key voices interviewed in episode: Christine Todd Whitman, former Governor Chris Stevens, Joyce Sheridan’s best friend Bob Stevens, husband of Chris’ Stevens Mark Sheridan, eldest of the Sheridans’ four sons, lawyer for Governor Chris Christie's campaign and for the state Republican party for more than a decade Peter Sheridan, John’s younger brother and federal judge in Trenton since 2005 Mary Kay Roberts, hired by John Sheridan at Riker Danzig, a New Jersey law firm. Worked with him closely for a decade in the Trenton office John Farmer, a former state Attorney General and friend of John Sheridan who runs a political research center at Rutgers University
The Sheridans’ eldest son Mark is consumed with getting to the bottom of what happened to his parents. As the lawyer for Governor Chris Christie’s election campaign, Mark is in a unique position to uncover answers. Instead, he’s met with roadblock after roadblock. The questions really pile up when he learns that detectives haven’t even interviewed several key witnesses or completed a thorough investigation of the crime scene. Not only that, a key piece of evidence is missing. New voices interviewed in episode: Barry Jansen, retired forensic technician for the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office Tom Draper, Sheridans’ neighbor Michael Baden, medical examiner hired by the Sheridan brothers
The knife used to kill John Sheridan is just the first of many clues casting doubt on law enforcement’s conclusion of murder suicide. A newspaper crime reporter, a veteran homicide detective out of Philly, and a whistleblower point to significant pieces of evidence that have been disregarded—even thrown into a dumpster. Although Mark has the state attorney general and the county prosecutor on direct dial, he still gets stonewalled. The authorities assure the political insider that his parents had a dark secret, which will eventually come to light. Mark isn’t convinced. Instead, as he goes through his parent’s papers, he stumbles into a different fight. New voices interviewed in episode: • Barbara Boyer, reporter from the Philadelphia Inquirer • Eddie Rocks, veteran homicide detective, retired from the Philadelphia police. • Lawrence Kobilinski, professor emeritus, department of sciences at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York • Professor Keith Taylor, professor, Department of Law, Police Science and Criminal Justice Administration, John Jay College of Criminal Justice (and a former NYPD detective)
After it becomes clear the Somerset county prosecutor’s office couldn’t have done a worse job (unless their goal was to destroy the crime scene), some 200 prominent citizens send a letter to the state attorney general asking for his office to intervene in the investigation. Despite the letter signed by the biggest names in New Jersey legal circles—including two former attorneys general and three former governors—the attorney general never gets involved. The quest to find out why takes us through a brief history of problems in New Jersey's criminal justice system.
John Sheridan’s decision to go work at Cooper University Hospital came at a curious time. It was just months after news about the Palmyra tapes came out. The tapes caught George Norcross bullying and offering a favor to a small town official; they are a rare instance where evidence emerged of the rough and tumble side to the south Jersey political machine. An email shows Norcross' control over the state legislature and city council members in Camden explain what it means to be a "yes yes" person. • Kelly Francis, union organizer and Camden activist • Kevin Riordan, Philadelphia Inquirer reporter who has covered south Jersey off and on for the past 45 years • Micah Rasmussen, director of Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics at Ryder University • Tom Knoche, lecturer at Rutgers University in Camden • Matt Katz, reporter at WNYC • Shaneka Boucher, Camden City Councilwoman • Marilyn Torres, Camden City Councilwoman • Jeffrey Brenner, doctor who worked and lived in Camden during its worst years
A couple months after his parents’ deaths, Mark Sheridan comes across a paper trail: extensive email exchanges, dated memos, and handwritten notes detailing a real estate deal on the Camden waterfront. His father, John Sheridan, wrote himself a note on an envelope: “I have a duty of loyalty and good faith and I need to act in a way consistent with that responsibility." How did John act and what impact did it have? New voice interviewed in episode: • Jeff Pillets, an investigative reporter who spent a year at the Bergen Record looking at George Norcross and his insurance business
In the almost eight years since John and Joyce Sheridan were killed, five state Attorneys General have come and gone in New Jersey. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy recently nominated a new Attorney General, Matt Platkin. Last week, an email came from Platkin’s press office with surprising news.
EPISODE 8: Dead End

EPISODE 8: Dead End


In February 2015, the Somerset prosecutor announced that John Sheridan had murdered his wife in cold blood and then killed himself. In 2017, the manner of death was updated to “undetermined.” From the local detectives to the state’s Attorney General’s office, a lot of people walked away from these murders. If a family as powerful and well-connected as the Sheridans gets such bad treatment, what does this say about the justice system in New Jersey? New voices interviewed in episode: • Ben Barlyn, lawyer who filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the Chris Christie administration.  • Peter Sheridan, younger brother of John, and a federal judge in New Jersey.
The new Attorney General for New Jersey opened an investigation into the Sheridan deaths, and another investigation into the real estate deals in Camden. While there's been no news on the murder investigation, the subpoenas are flying in Camden. State investigators appear to be looking into real estate deals on the waterfront, whether state tax breaks were given out fraudulently, and how land in Camden owned by public agencies was sold at a cut rate.New voices in this episode:  Ron Chen, associate dean of Rutgers Law School and the co-chair of a task force that investigated the New Jersey tax break program.Jim Walden, a private attorney in New York City and a former federal prosecutor who specializes in investigative law. He was the co-chair of the task force that investigated the New Jersey tax break program.
Dead End host Nancy Solomon introduces us to a new, five-part investigation from the WNYC Newsroom called “Imminent Danger: One Doctor and a Trail of Injured Women.” The doctor in question — an OB/GYN named Thomas J. Byrne — was negligent and incompetent, according to officials in New York State. And yet, he is still practicing medicine today. This series explores why that is and what it says about the system for vetting doctors.Listen to the whole series here:Episode 1: Wrongful DeathEpisode 2: License RevokedEpisode 3: The GatekeepersEpisode 4: LoopholesEpisode 5: New York, AgainYou can also read more about the series at Gothamist.“Imminent Danger” originally ran on NYC NOW, a weekday podcast that delivers local news from WNYC and Gothamist every morning, midday and evening. Subscribe here.The series was supported by the Pulitzer Center.
Big news for Dead End listeners.On Monday, June 17, George Norcross was charged in a 13-count indictment from the attorney general of New Jersey, Matthew J. Platkin. Norcross, whose entry into politics was chronicled in the fifth episode of Dead End, was once widely regarded as the most powerful unelected person in New Jersey.The indictment says the longtime Democratic power broker led a "criminal enterprise" that used threats and extortion to promote business and political interests in his home turf of Camden County, securing lucrative tax credits and development rights along the Camden waterfront.In this episode, host Nancy Solomon talks with WNYC’s Sean Carlson about the news.Expect a longer episode about what this indictment means for the Sheridan case, and for New Jersey, coming soon.
Comments (6)


Too many ads, too much repetitive information. This did not need to be more than one or two episodes.

Jul 30th

jems bond

My issue has been solved!

Jul 26th

Susan Mark

This initial investigator of the crime scene is lying. It's so obvious.

May 31st

Billy Weinheimer

Just listening to what Democrats vote for.

May 28th


Jansen saying evidence lead to a murder suicide conclusion but no evidence what so ever that says it was a double homicide. Either Jansen and colleagues are covering up for someone or they are the dumbest detectives in the world.

May 22nd

Ryan Ainlay

This initial investigator of the crime scene is lying. It's so obvious.

May 6th