A federal judge in Mississippi has ordered Karen Yax — aka ‘The Critical Kay’ — to pay half a million dollars to a grieving mother after accusing her of bribing witnesses, “getting young people drunk” and contributing to the death of two young men, including the woman’s own son.
Rae Andreacchio of Lauderdale County, Miss., filed the lawsuit in 2021, after she became a target of Yax, whose true crime webcast reaches 17,000 listeners, according to the complaint.
Listeners of the show — ostensibly moved by Yax’s “reporting” — began harassing Andreacchio, who is a psychiatric nurse, and even tried to get her fired.
“After the webcasts, people filed complaints about Andreacchio with the Mississippi Board of Nursing, which opened an investigation and found nothing,” U.S. District Judge Carlton W. Reeves wrote in his order Thursday. “People called Andreacchio’s employer. They accused her of embezzlement via complaints filed with the Mississippi Secretary of State, which commenced its own investigation and (again) found nothing. For a sense of how baseless these allegations were, listeners even accused Andreacchio of overprescribing opiates, a class of drug that Andreacchio does not prescribe.”
In 2014, Andreacchio’s 21-year-old son, Christian, was found dead from a gunshot wound to the head in his Meridian, Miss., apartment. Police immediately investigated his death as a suicide despite substantial evidence that pointed to the possibility of murder.
For the past nine years, Rae Andreacchio and her family have fought battle after battle to get Christian’s case looked at appropriately by law enforcement and the Attorney General’s Office.
The case has resulted in shocking backlash to the family, to include retaliation from investigators, who released the family’s text messages and photos from Christian’s autopsy to the public.
Yax of Lapeer, Michigan, is known in the true crime community for her purported “devil’s advocate” view on high profile cases, often taking sides with the accused.
Shortly after the murders of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh in 2021, Yax began posting wild conjecture and often inaccurate “facts” about the case. After being called out for her behavior online, she eventually created her own Murdaugh discussion group on Facebook.
True Sunlight Podcast co-hosts Mandy Matney and Liz Farrell have been targets of Yax’s vitriol.
Andreacchio’s case against Yax was the subject of episode 7 of True Sunlight, which aired July 13. Listen to that episode on your Premium Feed or click the link here:
The strongly worded order handed down Thursday made it clear that the court deemed Yax’s statements to be worthy of a punishment.
“For a parent to be accused of contributing to their child’s death is its own kind of pain. Having that broadcast to thousands of people amplifies that pain,” Judge Reeves wrote.
Yax did not attend the damages hearing held in May despite being urged to do so by the court, which had already sanctioned and fined her for her lack of participation.
At the hearing, Andreacchio testified that knowing tens of thousands of people had heard Yax’s lies “makes you very paranoid. It makes you feel very uncomfortable in public. … You don’t know who’s listening and who’s believing what she’s saying, you know, or who knows that what she’s saying is crazy. And so . . . you do become very isolated and very — you don’t go out to eat. You don’t go do things that you normally did, because you don’t really know where everybody stands that’s around you.”
Yax is ordered to pay $325,000 in compensatory damages, $165,000 in punitive damages and $11,000 in attorney fees to Andreacchio. Her debt will include a 5.36 percent annual interest rate until it is paid in full.
Contact Liz Farrell
Liz is the Chief of Fresh Hell Media, but also collaborates with Luna shark Productions to write and edit MMP and COJ episodes.
Liz was named 2018’s top columnist in the state by South Carolina Press Association and is back after taking a nearly two-year break from corporate journalism to reclaim her soul.
Liz has lived in the Lowcountry since 2003. She is an award-winning journalist and co-host of Murdaugh Murders Podcast – now True Sunlight Podcast – and Cup of Justice podcast. Liz has been investigating the Murdaugh story for four (very strange) years.
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