Mississippi

Was it suicide or murder? True crime podcast ‘Culpable’ looks at death of Mississippi man

The death of Christian Andreacchio — a Meridian man — is the focus of the true crime podcast, “Culpable” and tells the story of his family members trying to find the person responsible for his tragic death.

Officers from the Meridian Police Department found Andreacchio, 21, upstairs in his apartment bathroom slumped over his tub from a gunshot wound to his head on Feb. 26, 2014, according to a story at people.com. The department, after a 45-minute investigation and an autopsy, ruled Andreacchio’s death a suicide.

Andreacchio’s family, however and in particular his mother — Rae Andreacchio — believes foul play was involved in her son’s death. As a result, she hired a team of private investigators who have worked to determine the truth about her son’s death.

Dennis Cooper, the host of the podcast that started on June 17, has conducted interviews that uncover evidence and facts surrounding Andreacchio’s death as a premeditated homicide, according to a podcast trailer.

Before he was found dead, Andreacchio left his job on a tugboat and was picked up by Dylan Swearingen, one of his friends. Andreacchio was driven home to confront his girlfriend Whitley Goodman about her alleged cheating.

Throughout the 20-episode season, Cooper spoke with friends of Andreacchio, witnesses, family members, members of the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, the Meridian police department and private investigators associated with the case.

Sheila Wysocki, one of the private investigators, said working with the authorities has been the hardest part of this case.

“You expect people to want to serve and do their job,” Wysocki said.

“But, it hasn’t been that way in this case.”

According to evidence revealed in the podcast, two people were with Andreacchio in his apartment and were initially apart of the arrest warrants.

However, in 2017, a Lauderdale County grand jury decided not to indict the two in connection with Christian’s death.

Then, forensic experts concluded that the blood splatters in the bathroom and the location of the bullet hole by the sink did not line up with the official explanation that Andreacchio had shot himself while kneeling over the tub, people.com reported.

Andreacchio’s family believes that local and state authorities have shut out their plea for justice in Christian’s death because the MPD still stands on the ruling of suicide.

However, on Aug. 23, District Attorney Kassie Coleman of the 10th Judicial District said she would reopen the case if new evidence was presented, the Meridian Star reported.

That came in response to the attention of the case from the podcast.

In an episode released two weeks ago, the private investigators revealed that Meridian Police Capt. Jay Arrington believed that the charges he wanted for manslaughter by culpable negligence should have and could have been carried out in 2017 had then-District Attorney Bilbo Mitchell allowed him to present to a jury.

Mitchell, however, recused himself from the case in 2017 and requested that Attorney General Jim Hood review it, according to a statement released by the district attorney.

The podcast, which aired its finale Monday, gives final thoughts on Christian’s case from various inconsistencies to how poorly the case has been handled.

As for Christian’s mother, according to Wysocki, she does not plan to give up on the case.

“As a mom, she’s not going to give up until she gets answers,” Wysocki said.

“She is determined and persistent.”

Since its debut, Culpable has remained in the top 20 on Apple podcast charts. Produced by Tenderfoot TV and Black Mountain Media, the producers of the podcast are offering a $100,000 reward for additional information that could lead to the arrest of Andreacchio’s death.

Wysocki also said the podcast has received a lot of tips and help in pursuit of Christian’s death. And for every tip and piece of information, she said it helps tell the story and brings a sense of peace to the Meridian community.

“Giving a voice to the people that have been silenced in Meridian that want to talk and have a place to tell their story and help has really been rewarding,” Wysocki said.

For more on this story, go to ClarionLedger.com

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