This is part four of our exposé of Geraldo's exposé on Satanism. If you're just joining us, you can find past chapters here. We last left off, Geraldo was interviewing guests that have been invited to commentate on Satanism and how it may, or may not, be destroying America. So far, Geraldo has cut off anyone who doesn't support the narrative he's trying to create. I had stopped in the middle of his interview of Sean Sellers, a 3-time killer who claimed he was possessed by Satan when he committed his crimes. I covered his case extensively in the last part of this series, but if you want a capsulated version of Seller's Satanic non-sense, Dysgenics has a very comprehensive look at his life.
Sellers had just finished telling Geraldo that he killed a convenience store clerk because he was mad at the world. Geraldo asks the boy what that has to do with Satan, that's when this fat tub of guts chimes in.
Where did this guy come from?:
The interview with Sean Sellers was done live via satellite as Sellers was incarcerated at Oklahoma State Penitentiary. The camera is focused on Sean, but as Sean struggles to give a coherent reply (because he's full of shit) that's when Tom Wedge pipes up. Who is this piece of shit?
The Thing About Tom Wedge:
Tom Wedge was a former deputy sheriff at for Logan County, Ohio. Since 1975, this guy decided to take it upon himself to study up on Satanism and the occult in order to train police forces on the subject. He wrote a book called "The Satan Hunter" in 1987 that also offered his "expert knowledge" on Satanism and the occult. Sadly, "The Satan Hunter" is not available anywhere online and is out of print, but you can still find many copies available second hand. The best review for the book I could find was this:
I've ordered a copy, it hasn't arrived by press time, so I can't personally comment on it, but you'll bet I'll revisit it if it is as whacky as it sounds. Anyway, according to the Washington Post, he apparently has another book that has been published, but I can't find any record of it. He did, however, give seminars to law enforcement, which he was doing out of the goodness of his heart for $350 per person. At some point, Wedge passed away, but I can't find any record of when. I suspect it had something to do with his gargantuan size.
Wedge's legacy lives on in the work of one Russ Dizdar. Dizdar is one of the many familiar faces of conspiracy shows and a regular guest on Coast to Coast AM. He still thinks Satanic Ritual Abuse is still going on, even though the hysteria has since been debunked countless times. This doesn't stop Dizdar from hawking a number of books, videos, and seminars, fleecing his pockets with money from people who get their information from a late-night AM radio show.
Let's Get Back on Track
Like I said, Geraldo asked Sean Sellers what his murders had to do with Satan, Wedge insertshimself into the conversation. Clearly, he's there to coach Sean on what to say, he's got books and seminars to sell of course. Answering Geraldo's question, Wedge says:
“Well, Geraldo, Sean in that particular situation — uh, Sean Sellers — he had broken every one of the Ten Commandments except ‘thou shalt not commit murder’, and after he worshipped before the altar and asked for power from Satan, he went out to do this. Technically, it was a human sacrifice.”
— Tom Wedge
So, Tom Wedge, is suggesting that a 17-year-old kid, broke 9 out of the 10 commandments, and killing the convenience store clerk was the last check on his Satanist Bingo Card? This is interesting since Wedge is suggesting that Sean committed adultery with someone's wife?That's pretty impressive for a kid his age. I'd find those sordid details far more interesting than why there was murder afoot at the Circle K. Unless Wedge was referring to the Seller's assertion that he was molested when living in Los Angeles, I'm going to have to call foul. Being raped doesn't count.
Clearly, Tom Wedge is in this for the money and fame. Look at it this way: If he was a police officer, why would he quit and then sell his expertise with books and seminars? Most police officers who claim they are "experts" in something, usually stay on the job and usually cross train other police forces without charging ridiculous amounts of money. Just saying.Obviously, this guy had a vested interest in latching onto Sean Sellers and coach him on maintaining the Satanic narrative because it helped him sell more books. I would not be surprised if Seller's flip-flop from "it was Satan" to "it was mental illness" occurred shortly after Wedge got what he wanted from the boy.
The Steven Newberry Murder
After a commercial break, Geraldo decides to take a break from interviewing people to go to another video segment. Geraldo went to the town of Carl Junction, Missouri. This town of about 4000 people (at the time) is in the "heart of the Bible belt" and apparently a hotbed for Satan worshipers. He shows the typical images of graffiti and mutilated animals. He then starts going into the Steven Newberry murder. Three teenagers, Jim Hardy, Pete Roland, and Ron Clements beat Steven Newberry to death.
How Geraldo Tells It:
Geraldo sits down and has an interview with one of the killers, Pete Roland. Pete explains that he used Satanism to try and get power, money, and women. To which Geraldo replies:
“You’re a good looking guy. Smart. Wouldn’t you have those things anyway? ”
— Geraldo Rivera
Pete's answer was simply "It just seemed easier with the devil."It then cuts to police footage of Pete going over the crime scene with police officers. Geraldo states that Pete and his friends committed the murder as part of a Satanic sacrifice.Back to the interview, Pete says that they started by killing animals. Blames it on heavy metal music and the drugs. At this point, he believes the devil was inside him and that drove him to commit these horrific acts.We then cut to Pete's mother, Penny Baert, who comments on how her son became withdrawn from the rest of the family and would listen to heavy metal. Geraldo rolls with this, saying this is another connection. He asks Pete what this music did to him. Pete's response?
“It was kind of like when we killed animals. lt’s like... things would go through my mind. I could see my thoughts. See myself hurting people, you know. Torturing people and just along with the words too. It was all ‘Hail Satan’, ripping apart, severing flesh, gouging eyes, things like that. You know? After that, you listen to this three, four hours a day for years, or months, and it can get to you”
— Pete Roland
He goes on to say that they picked Steve Newberry as their victim only because he was human, and they could deceive him easily. When describing the brutal assault on Newberry, Pete recounts his victim asking "why me?" the response from them was "because it's fun Steve." Steve then tells Geraldo that he can't believe his hands were the ones that committed murder and that he feels like a zombie.Geraldo, feeding this kids' disassociation suggests that the devil double-crossed him, a statement Steve agrees with. We then go back to mom, who admits that she didn't pay attention to things that she should have. However, she blames it on the album covers, saying...
“I thought, they sell it, so it’s got to be okay. ”
— Penny Baert, Worst Parent Ever
She says that she thought her son was going through a phase and warns parents that it's not, and their kids will never get over it.
What Geraldo Got Wrong:
Admittedly, this segment was one of the more balanced ones, but just barely, and it wasn't anything that Geraldo said, but rather the people he interviewed. Still, he chooses to focus on heavy metal music and its apparent influence on children. At the time the trial was going on, the LA Times actually did a comprehensive investigation into the story.Again, Satanism and heavy metal music are used as scapegoats in this story. Like the other examples, this was a perfect storm of many factors that had nothing to do with either.Particularly in the case of Jim Hardy, who had a troubled childhood, was doing drugs since the age of 12, and was sent to a county mental institution. Also, in a town of fewer than 4000 people, there isn't a whole hell of a lot of things for kids to do, especially in the Bible belt. Drugs were a problem in the community. Kids were acting out. The other thing is, these kids didn't hide any of their doings. People just dismissed it and ignored the warning signs. Then, when the murder happened, they quickly went to the usual blame game. Meanwhile, the killers did the usual, tried to blame it all on demonic possession. They tried to use that as an insanity defense, but the jury wasn't swayed. These kids knew what they were doing as wrong. Facing the death penalty, most of them made plea deals to life in prison.
Now Here's Ozzy With the Weather
After this segment, Geraldo turns it back to Ozzy Osborn. Geraldo admits that Ozzy's lyrics aren't as extreme as other metal groups, but points out that Ozzy's name is seen all over the place in graffiti and tattoos. He asks if Ozzy feels a sense of responsibility for any of them.Ozzy stammers around, saying that the last thing he wants people to do is that "Satanism crap" and that he doesn't want them to harm themselves. He's a musician after all. Geraldo then presses him on if he feels guilt over any of this.
“I don’t feel guilty. I feel like I’m being persecuted by everyone. I’m not a bad guy. My intentions are not to harm anyone. In fact, it’s the opposite. When people come to my concerts I want them to have a good fun evening out, you know. It seems to me that people judge a book by its cover more. So they write things about me without knowing what they’re talking about.”
— Ozzy Osborn
Geraldo, dismissing all of this, goes on to say that there are people in the audience who have a very different point of view.
When We Come Back...
Can you believe there's still an hour more of this? This has gone from a rabbit hole to black hole. Still, I soldier on. Next up, the Satanists speak! Geraldo asks the tough questions to Zeena LeVay, daughter of Anton LeVay, and Michael Anquino of the Temple of Set. Shit's going to get real! Be here tomorrow!