As we look toward the new year, we wanted to start a new fixture within Luna Shark: a monthly Corruption Watchlist.

Our team has been keeping our eyes, ears, and inboxes open and are tracking some of the biggest cases as well as less reported but equally important cases of corruption.

Our goal with this list is to eventually fund independent journalists to partner with us for boots-on-the-ground reporting on cases YOU find most interesting or important. Keep an eye out for more information regarding this feat as we bring you along to expose the truth wherever it leads.

This month, Luna Shark Media Producer Sam Berlin narrowed down our February list to four cases located around the country. 

Karen Read

Canton, MA 

The pressure is rising in Canton, Massachusetts as Karen Read’s murder trial quickly approaches on March 12, 2024. 

Read, 44, was indicted back in June 2022 for the murder of her boyfriend, Boston Police Officer John O’Keefe. However, Read and her defense team say she is the scapegoat in a multi-agency police cover up. 

While the prosecution claims that Read hit O’Keefe with her car, injuries discovered on his body were reportedly inconsistent with a car accident. According to initial reports, O’Keefe’s eyes were swollen shut and his arm had several bloody lacerations consistent with a dog attack. 

Click here for a timeline of the night of O’Keefe’s death. 

Read and her team maintain her innocence and believe the Albert family’s close relationships with members of various police forces is hindering the investigation. 

Click here for a Who’s Who in the case. 

Recently, a local blogger and vocal advocate of Read was arrested twice on multiple charges including witness intimidation.

Over the past few months, Read’s defense team and the prosecution have presented numerous motions including motions to compel evidence and discussion about an ongoing FBI investigation

Following a Jan. 18 hearing, a judge unsealed letters between Norfolk County District Attorney Michael Morrisey and the Department of Justice regarding a federal probe. In the letters, Morrisey cited concerns about the investigation including alleged animosity from the former Suffolk District Attorney. 

Read is due in court Feb. 15. Luna Shark plans on live-streaming the hearing. 

Soak Up the Sun Premium Members will have access to the live broadcast and chat during Read’s trial on Tuesday, March 12 at 9:00 AM EST.

Joey Watkins

Atlanta, GA

After serving over 20 years for a murder he did not commit, Joey Watkins was released from prison and reunited with his family over recently discovered misconduct.

On Jan. 11, 2000, Isaac Dawkins was shot in the head while driving on a highway near Rome, Georgia. Dawkins, 21, later died from his injuries. 

Despite a confirmed alibi, investigators arrested Watkins and his friend Mark Free about a year later, claiming Free shot Dawkins while Watkins drove the car.  

Both men were tried separately and while Watkins received life in prison as the alleged driver, Free was acquitted of all charges.   

Watkins’ lawyer Noah Pines, a friend of Luna Shark Media, discussed the specifics of the case and how Watkins was exonerated in COJ Episode 65. You can listen to the full interview here

Missouri Compromised

Louisiana, MO

The overdose of two young boys at the Sheriff’s house unraveled an alleged web of corruption within the small town of Louisiana, Missouri.

What began as an investigation into the overdose death of 24-year-old Gabriel Thone revealed the alleged past of Sheriff Willie Jones, 50, and his ongoing criminal accusations. 

When police arrived at Sheriff Jones’ home on Oct. 18, 2022, they discovered 24-year-old Gabriel Thone and his younger brother, 21-year-old Chase Thone, suffering from fentanyl overdoses.

While Chase was treated with narcan and survived, his older brother was not as lucky and was pronounced dead at the scene. 

The men were the brothers of Sheriff’s girlfriend, 25-year-old Alexis Thone. 

Jones currently faces numerous charges including second-degree murder, trafficking, and tampering with evidence.

Jones was also charged with Receiving Stolen Property and is accused of obtaining methamphetamines from the Louisiana State Police evidence room. 

His four day trial is set to begin Monday, March 11, 2024.

Marion Kansas Newspaper Raid

Marion, KS

A local police chief resigned following the surprise raid of a family-run newspaper based in Marion, Kansas on Aug.11, 2023.

The newspaper’s 98-year-old co-owner died one day later from a heart attack. 

Police-worn body camera footage from the raid quickly circulated online, causing outrage at how the situation was dealt with and questions about what this could mean for future newsrooms around the country. 

Why Did Police Raid the Paper?

The raid began after local police accused a journalist at the Marion County Record Newspaper of unlawfully obtaining information regarding local restaurateur Kari Newell and her past DUI charge and her suspended license. 

At the time, Newell was seeking a liquor license for her restaurant from the Marion City Council, and the information regarding the DUI was discussed during a city council meeting. 

The then-newly-elected (and now resigned) Marion Police Chief Gideon Cody believed the information about Newell’s past charge was illegally obtained by the paper and requested a search warrant of the newsroom and homes of the paper’s publisher and a councilwoman. 

Even though the information was legally and rightfully obtained by the paper through a simple search through the public records, the search warrant was executed. According to local reports, Cody kept Newell updated during the raid. 

Although police seized equipment from the newsroom during the raid, the Marion County Record published on schedule with the headline  “SEIZED … but not silenced.”

In October, Cody resigned as Marion Police Chief. 

Premium Members can expect more updates on each of these cases.

Our premium members also have access to livestreams of various trials and court cases including live chats with the Luna Shark team. 

Thanks for your help as we continue to shine sunlight on corruption around the country. 

Stay Tuned, Stay Pesky, and Stay in the Sunlight. 

Follow Sam Berlin

Sam Berlin

Sam is an award winning-journalist originally from Raleigh, North Carolina and currently living in Brooklyn, New York.

She graduated from Syracuse University in 2020 where she studied magazine journalism, photography, and sociology.

She joined Luna Shark Media in 2023 where she assists with research, producing, recording and editing for True Sunlight and Cup of Justice podcasts.

Through her detailed, ethical reporting and multimedia experience, Sam creates enterprise stories and works to unravel the truth around her.


Sam is also a talented artist creating everything from miniatures to funky custom jewelry, each piece is made by hand in Brooklyn, NY. Embracing bright colors and unconventional designs, BERLINbyHand is all about self-expression and being bold.

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