Episode 368:

Sharp Elbows

Murders of Adriane Insogna and Leslie Mazzara


Jacques Grelley and the 1955 Le Mans Motor Race Disaster


Episode 368: Sharp Elbows

This week, Georgia covers the 2004 Napa Halloween murders of Adriane Insogna and Leslie Mazzara and Karen tells the story of Jacques Grelley and the 1955 Le Mans motor race disaster.

Listen on Apple Podcasts.

Murders of Adriane Insogna and Leslie Mazzara

Murders of Adriane Insogna and Leslie Mazzara Notes:

Header Image Source: Photo by Sebastien Gabriel on Unsplash 

Other Images:

1. Adriane Insogna & Leslie Mazzara


"In the olden days, All Hallows’ Eve was a ceremonial time during which the ancient Celts dressed in outlandish costumes and performed rituals designed to ward off evil spirits. This banishing of intruders from the netherworld was celebrated each year on October 31st. Over time, it would evolve into the holiday we now know as Halloween.

While this celebratory occasion is primarily regarded as an evening in which children of all ages can knock on a stranger’s door and be rewarded with candy, every now and then, things take a sinister turn. Such was the case in 2004 when one man’s simmering rage finally boiled over, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.

That Halloween night in the pastoral setting of Napa Valley, California had started out like any other for roommates Leslie Ann Mazzara, Lauren Meanza and Adriane Insogna. As they prepared to greet the kids who were sure to come knocking at any minute, they couldn’t have known that only one of them would live to see the sunrise.

The dynamic trio had formed a close bond since moving in together early that summer. Leslie was a former beauty queen who had competed in the Miss South Carolina pageant after being crowned Miss Williamston. A tour guide and greeter at the Niebaum-Coppola Estate Winery in Rutherford, California, she was looking forward to pursuing a career in the wine industry.

Adriane worked as a civil engineer for the Napa Sanitation District. One of her coworkers was a woman named Lily Prudhomme, who would play an unwitting role in the horrifying events to come.

Lauren Meanza had graduated from university with a degree in political science. A talented all-around athlete, she was employed as a volleyball coach at a community college. Though different in many ways, the women had grown close in a relatively short time.

After spending the early part of the evening handing out candy to a steady stream of trick-or-treaters, the roommates turned off the porch light and retired to their rooms for the night. Everything was quiet until around one o’clock in the morning when Lauren — whose bedroom was the only one located on the lower level — was awakened by the sound of her dog barking..."

Source: “One Night of Terror: The Napa Valley Halloween Murders” by Cindy Parmiter (True Crime Detective)

Jacques Grelley and the 1955 Le Mans Motor Race Disaster

Jacques Grelley and the 1955 Le Mans Motor Race Disaster Notes:

Other Images:

1. Bristols, Lotus and Porsche on Lap 1 Le Mans 1955

2. Jacques Grelley (Raphael Gaillarde / Getty)


"They came in their droves. Perhaps, if the skies hadn’t been so cloudless that day, some of them would have stayed at home and the stands would have been less tightly packed. But the sun shone with misleading gaiety and a vast crowd of between 250,000 and 300,000 packed into Le Mans on 11 June 1955 to witness one of the most eagerly anticipated events in the motor racing calendar.

The line-up for the Le Mans 24-Hour race was indeed spectacular. Not only did it contain drivers of the calibre of Juan Manuel Fangio, Stirling Moss and Mike Hawthorn, but it featured three manufacturers at the peak of their powers. Ferrari were the reigning Le Mans champions, while Jaguar had thrown all of their resources at winning the race and regaining the crown they had won two years previously. But there were high hopes for Mercedes-Benz, whose new 300 SLR, with its ultra-lightweight magnesium alloy body, was being operated by a lead car pairing of Fangio and Moss.

The opening stages of the race did not disappoint. Traditionally an endurance event, both Jaguar and Mercedes appeared to be treating it more like a sprint, with Fangio and Hawthorn repeatedly swapping lap records. Hawthorn’s open antipathy towards the German manufacturer, following the death of a close relative during the Second World War, merely added to his determination to crush the Mercedes challenge.

But on the 35th lap, in the third hour of the race, disaster struck..."

Source: “Le Mans 1955: the disaster that changed motorsport forever” by Benjie Goodhart (GQ Magazine) 2020

Georgia's Episode Sources

  1. “Forensic Files - Season 12, Episode 15 - Good as Gold - Full Episode”
  2. “Moms healing slowly after murders” by Carlos Villatoro (The Weekly Calistogan)
  3. “Nightmare In Napa” produced By Paul LaRosa (48 Hours, CBS News)
  4. “One Night of Terror: The Napa Valley Halloween Murders” by Cindy Parmiter (True Crime Detective)
  5. “Parallels in Idaho stabbings, 2004 Napa murders” by Keleigh Beeson, Tyler Wornell, and Ashleigh Banfield (News Nation)
  6. “Sole Survivor of Napa Killings Speaks” (ABC News)
  7. “Suspect Consoled Victims’ Families” by Rone Tempest (Los Angeles Times)
  8. “The 2004 Napa Halloween Murders” by Lori Johnston (Medium)
  9. “The Cursed Tale of The Nightmare in Napa aka Eric Matthew Copple” by Rebekkah Rosewood (Thrice Cursed Podcast)
  10. “The Napa Halloween Murders // 91” (Going West: True Crime Podcast)
  11. “Woman who survived night of murders still seeking perspective, peace” by Julissa McKinnon (Napa Valley Register)

Karen's Episode Sources

  1. “Le Mans 1955: the disaster that changed motorsport forever” by Benjie Goodhart (GQ Magazine) 2020
  2. “PROFILE RACER ON THE EDGE” by Jan Jarvis (Dallas Magazine) 1985
  3. “THE TRAGEDY AT LE MANS” by Bruce Newman (Sports Illustrated) 1986
  4. “The deadliest accident in motorsport history” (The History Guy)
  5. “His Heart Belongs to a Sports Car” by Kay Loring (Chicago Tribune) 1962
  6. “Jacques Grelley, D-Day witness, ex-racer, dies at 78” (The Dallas Morning News) 2014
  7. “On Auto Racing’s Deadliest Day” by Brad Spurgeon (New York Times) 2015
  8. “Jacques Grelley recalls his experience as a spectator at the deadliest race, Le Mans 1955” (Autoweek) 2005
  9. “Racer Kills 70 at Le Mans After Explosion in Mid-Air; Parts Rain of Spectators” (Democrat and Chronicle) 1955
  10. “DEATH TOLL AT 78 IN LE MANS CRASH” (New York Times) 1955
  11. “D-Day” (History) 2009
  12. “Jacques Grelley in Sebring Race” (The Macon Telegraph) 1962
  13. “British Driver Win Le Mans” (Associated Press) 1955
  14. “'It was the most frightening thing' Men's shared D-Day memories spawn friendship 50 years later” by Michael E. Young (DallasNews.com)
  15. “Foot tripped up big dream” by Terry Box (The Dallas Morning News) 2007
  16. “Arlington adventurer ambling through Asia” by Terry Box (Dallas News) 2009
  17. “Paris-to-Beijing trip turns into a medical adventure” by Anna M. Tinsley (Fort Worth Star-Telegram) 2007
  18. “The Fitch Barrier” (Race Safety)
  19. “Pierre Levegh” (F1)
  20. “At 75, another sojourn for Grelley” by Terry Box (Dallas News) 2011
  21. “Vintage signs and posters capture golden age of racing: Jacques Grelley keeps motorsports history alive with iconic images” by Jeff Bolton (Autoweek) 2012
  22. “Ex-Race Displays Rare Poster Collection” by Marion Simon Garmel (The Indianapolis News) 1974
  23. “Veteran, Normandy native look back” by Leif B. Strickland (Fort Worth Star-Telegram) 1997
  24. “The little car that might” by Terry Box (Dallas Morning News) 2007
  25. “Jacques Eugene Grelley” (Legacy.com)
  26.  “German military administration in occupied France during World War II” (Wikipedia)
  27.  “Urban Street Design Guide” (NATCO)