The Trail Went Cold – Episode 284 – Earlene Barksdale

July 7, 1973. Tampa, Florida. The nude body of 34-year old Earlene Barksdale is discovered in the back office of the children’s clothing store she owns and she has been raped and shot in the head in an apparent robbery. Police soon focus on a suspect named Joseph Green Brown, who was involved in a similar robbery at another location on the exact same date. After he is implicated by an accomplice, Brown is charged, convinced and sentenced to death for Earlene’s murder. However, even though Brown comes dangerously close to being executed, the case against him is fraught with problems, so his conviction is eventually overturned and he is released from prison in 1987. Even though there seems to be evidence which implicates Earlene’s spouse as a possible alternate suspect, no one else is ever charged with her murder. On this week’s episode of “The Trail Went Cold”, we explore a very controversial and complex murder case which has contained a number of shocking developments over the past five decades.

Additional Reading:

“Dead Wrong: A Death Row Lawyer Speaks Out Against Capital Punishment” by Michael Mello

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“The Trail Went Cold” will be appearing at the True Crime Podcast Festival, taking place at the Westin Park Central Hotel in Dallas, Texas on August 27-28, 2022. To purchase tickets, please visit

“The Trail Went Cold” is now doing a weekly livestream show on  GetVokl every Thursday from 7:00-8:00 PM ET as part of their “True  Crime Thursday” line-up. For more information, please visit their website.

The Trail Went Cold is produced and edited by Magill Foote.

All music is composed by Vince Nitro.