Aleida K. Wahn
Hello and Welcome! My name is Aleida Wahn (pronounced Alayda Von) and I am an attorney, award-winning true crime writer, and legal analyst of criminal cases. I cover criminal trials and write stories about compelling and unforgettable cases that impact our world. I have a deep passion for true crime, criminal law, and all aspects of the criminal justice system. I have appeared as an expert on true crime shows, including “48 Hours,” “Snapped,” and “The Dead Files,” and provided legal analysis on high-profile criminal trials on Court TV, the Law & Crime Trial Network, Fox 5 News, ABC10 News, and KUSI News. I also create and host shows with the Del Mar Television Producers Group, addressing criminal justice and social issues in recent criminal trials. Please read about the gripping trials I have covered in my latest books:
I have also been a writer for True Crime: Case Files Magazine, a contributing writer and on the editorial board of San Diego Lawyer, and I host my own true crime website. I have been a blogger for Psychology Today, writing human interest stories, self-help, and motivational articles. In my legal career, I worked at the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office in the Gang Prosecution Unit and Family Support Division, in a prominent family law firm, and in criminal post-conviction law.
My Mission & Work
I know how important it is to help others and to give back to our world. I am a firm believer that everyone needs help at some point in their life. I know I sure did. I was born in Bolivia, South America, to a mother who was mired in poverty and unable to care for me. My salvation came when I was adopted at the age of two by an American couple who were working as missionaries in Bolivia. Had I not been adopted, it is unlikely I would have survived as disease and poverty were rampant in the tiny Indian village in which I lived. As it was, I was very sick and it took a team of medical specialists to make me well. My adoptive parents saved my life without question! It is now my mission to help others through my legal expertise, true crime writing, and volunteer work.
My Work As A True Crime Writer & Legal Analyst
Do you want to know what happened in the most compelling, gripping, and unforgettable criminal trials? I take you into the courtroom for a front row seat in high-profile murder trials, rape cases, crimes of passion, cases involving mental illness, deviant human behavior, and more. You will hear captivating and emotional testimony from the accused, from victims, medical experts, and other crucial witnesses, and be enthralled by the attorneys’ fiery arguments. I am passionate about bringing you all of the details straight from the trial so you can decide the truth for yourself. It is by examining these cases we can learn lessons to allow society to do better.
As trials delve into complicated legal issues, shocking facts, and unexpected twists and turns, I am there to provide my insight and legal analysis. Not only do I find out what happened and why, but I ask the haunting questions that remain long after a jury has rendered a verdict. These true stories have the power to move us all, while highlighting important societal issues which need to be addressed. I have personally witnessed in courtrooms the human devastation which is present in each trial, and I believe there is a lesson to be learned in every single case. It is through awareness and by examining and discussing critical issues we can effect change and even make new laws.
Winner of True Crime Writing Contest
I am honored to have won True Crime: Case Files’ true crime writing contest with my story, “The Murder Trial of Regina Johnson: She Killed Her Husband, But Did She Kill the Daughter She Loved?”
What really happened in the Johnson home on a terrible May day that left a young girl and a father dead? According to the prosecution, Regina Johnson ambushed and executed her daughter and husband, and then “left them to rot for three days while she thought about how to get away with it.” The defense maintained Regina shot her husband, but only after he killed their daughter during a violent family argument.
Did Regina love her daughter way too much to ever harm her? Please read my story about this spellbinding, heartbreaking, and unforgettable case at: https://newsstand.joomag.com/en/true-crime-case-files-winter-2017-winter-2017/0028296001505147443
My Writing for Psychology Today
I have blogged for Psychology Today, writing under the column “Personal Perspectives: The View From Here.” I have written human interest stories and motivational articles, encompassing a wide array of topics. My stories have included the frightening night my family was suddenly surrounded by African elephants while on safari in Botswana, to empowering stories such as the lessons I learned the year my husband almost died, how a victim of abuse and trafficking found healing and purpose, how a successful trial attorney turned childhood pain into power, and my day with the Border Angels leaving life-saving water. You may read my stories at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-view-here
I attended Westmont College in Santa Barbara my freshman year, where I was grateful to live in the dorms and experience a college life away from home. After my freshman year, my family was unable to afford the private school tuition any further, so I returned home to complete my education. I obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from California State University, Long Beach, where I was on the President’s Honor List and Dean’s List for academic excellence, was the President of The Law Society, and interned at the Long Beach City Prosecutor’s Office. I worked continuously throughout my college years, cleaning houses, babysitting, waiting tables, and bartending to pay my bills and to save for my dream to study abroad.
It was an absolute dream come true when I spent a semester as a foreign exchange student in London, England, where I attended Ealing College of Higher Education and lived with an English family. Following the program, I traveled into East Germany where I saw the Berlin Wall and witnessed heavy military presence and regulations. Seeing people who were prohibited from leaving their country was a powerful lesson in gratitude for our freedom and abundant choices.
I obtained a Juris Doctor degree from The University of San Diego School of Law, where I was awarded the Best Brief in the Alumni Tort Competition and was a legal intern at the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, Gang Prosecution Unit. I conducted pretrial preparation of felony cases, researched and wrote motions, attended felony arraignments and preliminary hearings, photographed crime scenes with criminal investigators, and went on police-ride-alongs through gang territory. A highlight of law school was studying one summer at the Institute of International and Comparative Law at The University of Paris, France. During the program, I attended a lecture at the Palais de Justice and visited France’s important historical sites.
My Legal Background
After passing the California bar exam, I worked at the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, Family Support Division. I was a lead attorney and went to court daily to prosecute paternity cases, establish support orders, and recover money owed to the County of San Diego. I then became an associate attorney at The Law Offices of Sandra Joan Morris, a family law firm representing prominent San Diego families, successful individuals, and professional athletes. I worked on complex and large estate divorces, encompassing division of marital assets, high conflict custody litigation, and establishment of child and spousal support orders. After taking some time off to raise a family, I returned to law working in criminal post-conviction and began writing about murder trials I attended.
My Volunteer Work & Professional Affiliations
I have given back to the community by volunteering at legal clinics. For many years I volunteered at expungement clinics held by the San Diego Clean Slate Program and the San Diego County Public Defender’s Office where I worked one-on-one with individuals who needed legal assistance in cleaning up their criminal records to enable them to obtain employment, housing, and to build a better future for themselves and their family. I have also volunteered helping individuals file domestic violence restraining orders. I marched in the Innocence March with the California Innocence Project to seek exoneration for individuals wrongfully convicted, and traveled with the Border Angels to the Ocotillo desert to leave life-saving water along migrant crossing routes.
My family and I do service projects with Promises2Kids, San Diego Food Bank, Kitchens for Good, Project Concern International, and The Surfrider Foundation. I served on the Children’s Committee of The Del Mar Foundation helping bring educational, cultural, and family activities to the Del Mar community and public.
My professional affiliations include the San Diego Criminal Defense Bar Association, San Diego County Bar Association, San Diego Psych-Law Society, San Diego Society of Professional Journalists, and Partners in Crime/San Diego Sisters in Crime.
My Hobbies & Favorite Things To Do
I love spending time with my family and friends. No matter what we do, it is a blessing. I enjoy traveling, photography, playing the piano, party planning, cooking, and baking. I am always happy to be outdoors bike riding, playing tennis, hiking, and taking long walks on the beach. For a new adventure, I took up boxing and kickboxing. The workouts leave me breathless, but invigorated. For tranquility, I do meditation and immerse myself in the healing power of the ocean. And of course, I read as many true crime stories as I can get my hands on.
My Trek to Mount Everest Base Camp: Never Stop Challenging Yourself
In December of 2019, I opened a Christmas card from my college friend, Cindy, to the following message, “Are you up for hiking Everest Base Camp in a year or two? Looking for a hiking partner.” I was taken aback to say the least. Mount Everest! The images we have all seen immediately came to my mind: mountaineers in huge snow suits and crampons, loaded down with ice axes and ropes, crossing harrowing crevasses and struggling up the mountain in fierce wind and snowstorms. It sounded terrifying! Thankfully, I soon discovered I needn’t go to that extreme, as a huge adventure awaited in the Mount Everest Base Camp trek alone. I told my friend I was in, although the COVID shutdown delayed our plans for a time. Soon enough, we trained in earnest with high hopes.
On April 18, 2023, after an 8-day trek we made it to Mount Everest Base Camp, elevation 17,598 feet! It was a trek which tested me to my limits. The trek itself was challenging, even grueling at times (hiking up steep inclines for hours at a time), but the hardest part was battling altitude sickness for many days. There were times when I felt I could not go on, but I pressed forward. It was an emotional moment when we stood at the foot of the highest mountain in the world.
This truly was an adventure of a lifetime, and I am grateful to out fantastic guide, Khem Regmi, and our hardworking porter/sherpa, Raju, who carried 85 pounds on his back up crazy, steep paths and every terrain possible. My advice now to everyone is to find your own adventure. Do something that pushes you and challenges you. In the process you become alive, and the feeling of accomplishment is phenomenal. I also encourage people to try something new today. You don’t have to hop on the next plan to Nepal to go climb Mount Everest, but you can start a new activity this very day. Take up boxing, study French, learn to play the piano, plant a vegetable garden. The possibilities are endless!