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The king of death row | Morning Newsletter

And maybe there will be snowflakes soon.

Happy Sunday! I wanted to start off today by talking about your many, many opinions on the time change and daylight saving time.

Thanks to everybody who replied to last week’s newsletter. Many of you agree that we shouldn’t do the time change anymore. Several people felt that we should be on daylight saving time year-round, specifically so that kids would have light in the morning as they head to school. And I would agree that getting up and going to school or work in the dark is much less appealing.

But, for now, we have to live with the time change. Here’s what you should know for the week ahead in Eastern standard time.

Homicide prosecutor Roger King put more people on Pennsylvania’s death row than anyone else. In the “high 30s,” he estimated. But now, findings of misconduct have tainted his record.

At least seven of his cases have been overturned amid allegations that he made improper statements in court, hid evidence, or manipulated witnesses by intimidation, threats, or undisclosed benefits. And many other of his cases with similar allegations are still being argued in appellate courts.

But despite all this, King was never disciplined during his career. In fact, he was often celebrated by supervisors as “the best.”

Dive deeper into Roger King’s career and the allegations against him, from reporter Samantha Melamed.

The week ahead

  1. It’s gonna be pretty cold in the Philly area this week, and tomorrow, we could get some snowflakes.

  2. There’s not a verdict yet for labor leader John Dougherty and City Councilmember Bobby Henon in their corruption trial. Tomorrow marks their fourth day of discussions and jurors will continue deliberations this week.

  3. A man who went into space with William Shatner died in a plane crash in New Jersey.

  4. Artists and fans are happy to have indoor shows back in Philly, but COVID-19 anxiety is still very real.

  5. These Pennsylvania farmers are aiming to take organic milk to a new level, with some help from groundhogs.

  6. And the Eagles are playing the Denver Broncos this afternoon. Be sure to check out Gameday Central to share your thoughts on the game and get instant analysis from our Eagles writers.

This week’s most popular stories

Behind the story with Gina Mizell

Each week we go behind the scenes with one of our reporters or editors to discuss what they do. This week we chat with sports reporter Gina Mizell on her work covering the Sixers.

What does your average day look like?

My job is to follow the Sixers wherever they go and chronicle the layers of the season by writing a variety of stories ranging from breaking news and analysis of their play on the court, to deep-dive features about the players’ lives and enterprise pieces about trends involving the team and league as a whole. This involves covering (nearly) every practice, shootaround, and game, home or away, and building sources inside and outside the organization during the in-between time. So my specific work can vary depending on the day, but my job in a nutshell is to discover, report, and write interesting stories that lift the curtain on the Sixers and how they operate.

What drew you to sports reporting? What makes you stay?

I was a massive sports fan growing up in Phoenix, starting with Arizona State football and the Phoenix Suns and branching out from there. The story my mom likes to tell is that, when I was young, I used to make comments while watching games that the broadcasters would then say on-air about three seconds later, and then she’d point to the TV and say, “You should do that.”

It sounds cheesy, but what makes me stay is how much I love our craft. Sports and the team I’m covering are just the vehicle for storytelling. There are so many rich and fascinating layers to covering a professional sports franchise.

What’s something you’ve learned through your reporting?

I literally learn something every day, which is my favorite part of the job. That can range from why a specific basketball play worked (or didn’t work), to the journey a player took to reach the NBA.

What are a few stories you’ve worked on recently that you’re proud of?

My favorite story I’ve written since I joined The Inquirer was about new Sixers backup center Andre Drummond, who has known coach Doc Rivers for a decade because he is close friends with Rivers’ adopted son, Adam Jones. This is a factoid that Drummond and Rivers had mentioned in passing multiple times, but I wanted to dive deeper into their relationship and how cool it is when life can come back around.

What’s something about basketball that casual fans may be confused by?

Not necessarily about the game itself, but I think people would better appreciate the grind the players go through during an NBA season if they experienced a slice of it. I love traveling and am so thrilled to be back on the road this season, but there are a lot of late nights into early mornings (into another late night into another early morning) that can take a toll on your body and mind. I feel it during the dog days of the season, and I don’t physically exert myself on a basketball court every day.

What are some things you do for fun in your free time?

I’m a huge Broadway musical fan. I grew up as a competitive dancer in the studio my family owned in Phoenix for more than 20 years, so seeing shows is a way to continue tapping into that side of myself. I’ve already seen eight shows in New York since moving to Philadelphia, and I can’t wait for the awesome lineup at the Kimmel Center this season.

Email Gina Mizell at and follow her on Twitter at @ginamizell.

🧠 Philly Trivia Time 🧠

We’re a couple of weeks from Thanksgiving, so you might be planning your dinner spread. Do you know what Thanksgiving side dish is Googled the most in Pennsylvania? Check your answer here, and you’ll get a recipe too.

Weekly Playlist

I’m in a very fall mood with a cold front and changing leaves in Philly, and also with the release of Red (Taylor’s Version). So, I pulled together some fall jams and moody songs for you to enjoy this season.

What are some of your favorite songs for fall? Let me know by replying to this email.

Photo of the Day

Sending some positive vibes for your Monday tomorrow. Hope it’s at least a decent day, if not a good one!