0 4 min 6 mths

When 22-year-old Elma Sands is found battered and dead in a well in downtown Manhattan on January 2nd, 1800, her lover—wealthy and well-connected Levi Weeks—is accused of the barbaric crime. In the new Lava for Good series Erased: The Murder of Elma Sands, Weeks brings in the nation’s best legal defense team, Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, to take the U.S. Constitution for a test drive and clear his name. Erased is distributed by iHeartPodcasts, the #1 podcast publisher globally.

The 6-episode season reimagines America’s very first murder trial, in modern language, based on historical court records. Through both narration from the series creator and host, Allison Flom, and dramatized courtroom reenactment and flashbacks, the audience is drawn into 18th-century Manhattan, listening in as Hamilton and Burr team up to defend their well-heeled client from a charge of murdering his fiancée.

Flom uncovered the compelling tale of Elma Sands while working as an NYC tour guide. She was stunned to discover that the well where Sands met her tragic end over two centuries ago still exists, concealed in the basement of a Soho clothing store. Based on historical records including the actual trial transcripts, Erased: The Murder of Elma Sands showcases Elma’s story and the courageous women who rallied for justice on her behalf. Elma is the first season of Erased, a multi-season anthology that investigates history’s chronic erasure of women.

Erased: The Murder of Elma Sands is executive produced by Allison Williams (M3GAN, Get Out, Girls), who also stars as the woman who took on the patriarchy to preserve Elma’s name. The series features Tony Goldwyn (Scandal, King Richard) as Alexander Hamilton, Barry Scheck (Innocence Project co-founder) as Aaron Burr, and Jason Flom (Lava for Good and Lava Media co-founder) as Judge John Lansing.

“Because Elma Sands’ story was inconvenient to men in power and the system they were trying to build, she was erased from history,” said Allison Flom. “With this show, I’ve written her back in!”

“Before Allison Flom told me the full story of the Elma Sands’ murder trial, I’d only heard the passing reference in Hamilton: ‘This is the first murder trial in our brand-new nation…our client Levi Weeks is innocent,’” said Williams. “No mention of Elma, as she’s essentially been erased. This series is deeply resonant with today’s culture and context. Our criminal legal system was broken then, and so, of course, it’s broken today.”

Fans can listen to Erased: The Murder of Elma Sands on the iHeartRadio app, at www.lavaforgood.com and on all popular podcast streaming platforms. To listen to all six episodes now, ad-free, subscribe to Lava for Good+ on Apple Podcasts.

About The Author