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Take A Deep Dive Into The World Of 'Cold Justice'

Oxygen's hit investigative series, which returns on Saturday, November 6, has helped bring about 21 convictions over the years.

By Becca van Sambeck

When a homicide case goes cold, it can be devastating for the victim's loved ones, as it often feels like answers won't ever be discovered and justice won't ever be served.

This is when Kelly Siegler and the rest of the "Cold Justice" team step in.

"Cold Justice," Oxygen's hit investigative series from executive producer Dick Wolf and award-winning producers Magical Elves, follows veteran prosecutor Siegler and her rotating team of seasoned detective — Steve Spingola, Tonya Rider, and Abbey Abbondandolo — as they travel to small towns and dig into unsolved homicide cases that have lingered for years. By working alongside local law enforcement across the country, the "Cold Justice" team has successfully helped bring about 51 arrests, which so far have led to 21 convictions and many active prosecutions.

"I knew there were so many [cold] cases on the verge of being solved if someone would look into the little-bitty details."

Before the series returns on Sunday, November 6 at 8/7c on Oxygen, take a deep dive into the world of "Cold Justice."

The Purpose Of "Cold Justice"

"Cold Justice" began because Kelly Siegler, a former prosecutor, knew how difficult cold cases are to solve but also understood their importance for the victims' loved ones. 

"I knew there were so many [cold] cases on the verge of being solved if someone would look into the little-bitty details," she told TVLine in a 2017 interview.

The show has now looked at over 80 cases over its six seasons and many culminated with justice for the victim and their family.

"We make a difference in people's lives, we uncover the truth, and bad guys go to jail."

"It is the only show that exists today where we solve cold murder cases and we truly, truly get results," Siegler told Oxygen in a recent interview.

"I forget that it's a TV show. We make a difference in people's lives, we uncover the truth, and bad guys go to jail," Abbondandolo said in an Oxygen interview.

Of course, Siegler and her team stress that it isn't a matter of underperforming local law enforcement  — instead, "Cold Justice" is able to bring the necessary time and resources to solve these difficult cases.

"The system is oftentimes just overwhelmed," Abbondandolo said in a 2020 CrimeCon: House Arrest interview.

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So, how does a case get featured in "Cold Justice?"

"We have a group that has learned how all of this works over time and through trial and error. Their job is to be on the phone looking for cases all across the country and particularly focused on rural areas where they need more of our help. They run it by me on the phone and then I have to get the case files — you always have to get an entire case file and we can't do a case unless the family wants, it the local cops have invited us, and the DA has approved it, so we jump through a lot of hoops," Siegler said in a 2017 HuffPost interview.

"It is the only show that exists today where we solve cold murder cases and we truly, truly get results."

If you'd like to submit a case for consideration for “Cold Justice,” please click here.

While the team does frequently deliver results, Siegler emphasized that when this happens it's more of a relief than pure excitement.

“Mothers and fathers’ hearts are still breaking,” Siegler told “Martinis and Murder” in 2019, adding, “Somebody’s gotta do this job.”

Meet The "Cold Justice" Team

The four members of the team in the new season of "Cold Justice" come from varying professional backgrounds.

Spingola has retired from the Milwaukee Police Department, where he once supervised the homicide unit, while  Abbondandolo was a homicide detective with the Houston Police Department and Rider is a retired detective, formerly with the Toledo Police Department.

"As investigators, all four of us have different strengths," Rider told Oxygen.

The team demonstrates great chemistry on the show — and they confirm it's reflective of real life.

"Everybody is basically a big family. Behind the scenes stay in touch," Spingola said in an interview with CrimeCon: House Arrest.

After all, they're frequently working on tough and brutal cases together.

"Most of our cases, they're not cold, they're really cold," Spingola said, adding that he takes refuge from work with his three dogs, told Oxygen. 

The Most Memorable Cases Of "Cold Justice"

"Most of our cases, they're not cold, they're really cold."

This season, the aim of "Cold Justice" remains centered on giving victims and their families the justice that has eluded them for years, and sometimes decades.

"Every time I hear the word closure I wanna slap somebody. Where I come from and all the horror and tragedy of cases since I was 23, there is no such thing as closure. What we do try to get is justice. What justice means is that on this earth while we're alive in this courtroom we hold someone accountable for the murder they’ve committed," Siegler told Oxygen.

With that goal, "Cold Justice" has found success. The show's team has helped bring about 51 arrests, which so far have led to 21 convictions and many active prosecutions over the years. For example, they helped law enforcement make an arrest in the murder of 26-year-old mother Heyzel Obando, who was found dead in her Florida apartment on Feb. 14, 2016. Three years later, Earl Antonio Joiner, her boyfriend at the time and a former player for the Florida Gators, was arrested.

In another case, the team's work led to an arrest in the murder of Johnnie Allbritton — 34 years after he was found shot dead with his own gun. His wife, Norma, was arrested in connection with the 1984 murder. The case is pending.

In a memorable episode, 73-year-old man Jesse Hogue was arrested for the 1994 murder of his wife, Jackie, after the team found a witness who claimed to be friends with the victim. They said Hogue had tearfully told them that "if he could go back to that day that Jackie would be alive," and  "No they can't convict me unless they find the gun."

While Hogue did deny killing his wife in an interview with "Cold Justice," he was arrested in March 2019 — partially due to the circumstantial evidence the team uncovered.

Earlier this season, audiences saw Siegler and her team aid law enforcement in two new arrests

Of course, the "Cold Justice" team isn't always sure they'll find answers; Siegler cited the 1988 murder of Cynthia Smith as one such case in her interview with Martinis and Murder.

"I didn't think we were gonna solve that one," she said, emphasizing that the witnesses were at a bar and drinking decades ago. But in September 2019, an arrest was made. Lawrence Timmons was taken into custody after Siegler and the team tracked down witnesses who claimed Timmons sexually harassed women, as well as someone who alleged they saw a person who matched Timmons' description with Smith on the night of her murder. Another witness told them Timmons' wife, who is now dead, was convinced her husband had murdered a girl and left her in a cemetery -- which is exactly where Smith's body was found. The case is pending.

"There is no such thing as closure. What we do try to get is justice."

What's Next For "Cold Justice"

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The "Cold Justice" team continues to actively work for justice for murder victims in small towns all over the country. The series returns for all-new episodes on Sunday, November 6 at 8/7c on Oxygen. Here's what happened in earlier episodes this year:

“Holiday Homicide”

Kelly and Abbey Abbondandolo head to Stafford, Texas to investigate the cold-blooded killing of tow truck business owner Jerry Don Humphrey. Their investigation uncovers a twisted world of abuse allegations, infidelity, and a possible murder-for-hire plot.

“Deadly Premonition”

Kelly and Steve Spingola try to solve the mysterious murder in Rosenberg, Texas of a doting father beaten and shot to death in his home with his 6-year-old daughter asleep nearby. The key to identifying his killer may be found in the secret audio recordings discovered in his attic. 

“A Touch of Evidence”

Kelly and Tonya Rider investigate the shocking murder of Leola Jordan, a 91-year-old grandmother in Picayune, Mississippi who was stabbed nearly 40 times in her bed. New DNA technology may help identify her killer and reveal a tragic family secret.

“Unnatural Causes”

In Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, Kelly and Steve Spingola investigate the strange case of a man who appeared to have died from natural causes. But when a post-mortem CT-scan revealed a bullet in his body, his death became a murder investigation. Is it too late to crack the case?