Documentary series about hate crime in the US told through murders with elements of love and passion as well as prejudice. Each film tells the story of one unfolding case.
Part 1: Double Lives
A young man is led into court and sentenced to life for the savage murder of the woman he loved. The camera follows him into prison, where he starts to explain his story and how he reacted with blind rage when he found out a secret his girlfriend was holding from him. But is he telling the truth, and what really happened? Slowly his story unravels as more and more information is found out about him.
Filmed with amazing access to the killer in prison and in court, the film tells the story of a hate crime and the danger of being different in the USA. The film also traces the victim’s story through speaking to the police, others who investigated the murder and those who were close to her.
Part 2: Murder in Mississippi
When a black man is murdered in Jackson, Mississippi, an FBI investigation uncovers a campaign of attacks by local white kids. But what is the true role of one 18-year-old girl?
When James Anderson was run down in the street by a gang of white youths, it was condemned as a modern-day lynching, a sign that the old race hate of the southern states was as strong as ever. This is the story of one of the white teenagers, Sarah Graves, then 18, who was in the truck that ran Anderson down. The film follows her family as they try to come to terms with what happened that night and looks at why Sarah became part of a gang that carried out a racist attack.
The story is also told by James’s family, the police and the African-American judge who tried to get to the truth of what Sarah’s involvement was. This is a film about the nature of prejudice and whether one person’s role in a dreadful murder can be traced to the influences around them.
James was alone in a hotel car park when two trucks carrying a group of white teenagers pulled up. They were from the white-flight suburbs that surround Jackson, the 80-per-cent-black capital city of Mississippi. A couple of the boys beat James to the ground and stole his wallet. James staggered away. An eyewitness heard a shouted racial slur and then saw a green dodge truck run him down. CCTV recorded the moment the truck struck him and then ran over his body.
Police picked up the teenagers later that night, still drunk and still joking about what they had done – all apart from Sarah Graves, who seemed full of remorse. The police thought this girl was probably in the wrong place at the wrong time. The driver was charged with murder, but Sarah was not charged and released.
Protests marches in Jackson demanded greater police action and more charges. In the suburbs where the white gang came from, people portrayed them as drunk and foolish teenagers who had made a terrible mistake. But an investigation by the FBI was to find something more sinister. This was not the only time the teenagers had made a late-night trip to what they called Jafrica. It was actually just the latest in a series of vicious racially motivated attacks they had carried out.
The subsequent investigation saw ten youths sent to jail, including Sarah. The film explores what the role of Sarah really was that night. It culminates with her mother Mary meeting Judge Wingate, who sent Sarah to jail and who humbled Mary in court by questioning why she had used racial slurs when raising her daughter. It is a meeting that will change Mary’s view of her own responsibility for what happened that night.
This film from director Ben Steele and executive producer Darren Kemp is ultimately about the nature of prejudice and how one person’s role in a dreadful murder can be traced to the influences around them.
Part 3: Killer with a Camera
This film goes inside the mind of a murderer using the video footage he shot during the planning and execution of his crime, and his intimate journal, along with access to the court case that must decide whether to accept his insanity plea.
When coastguard officer Adrian Loya breaks into the Cape Cod apartment of married couple Lisa and Anna Trubnikova and opens fire, it is the culmination of many months planning. With Lisa dead, Anna badly wounded and a policeman shot, Loya is taken into custody. Police find he is wearing a video camera to record his actions and also find videos made over many months when he was planning of the attack. There is also a journal charting his obsession with and hate for Lisa and the twisted thought process that lead to his decision to kill.
Using his videos and journal, this film goes inside the mind of a man as he decides to carry out a multiple shooting, and it watches the trial as the jury tries to decide whether the obsessive, meticulous Loya should have his insanity plea to be accepted.