The lives of Escondido, California residents Cheryl and Stephen Crowe change one morning when they find their twelve year old daughter Stephanie Crowe stabbed to death in her bedroom. As procedure dictates, the police take each member of the household away individually to be questioned, and the remaining children – fourteen year old Michael Crowe and adolescent Shannon Crowe – are taken into protective custody until Cheryl and Stephen can be cleared. The police end up placing much of their focus on the sullen Michael, who they question without counsel and without discussion with his parents. The tone of the police questioning is that they believe Michael did kill his sister, the police lying, harassing and coercing in the process. Under the barrage of questioning, Michael eventually confesses, as do two of his friends, both questioned under the same threatening tone. Cheryl and Stephen, who are finally made aware of the questioning and the confessions, enlist the help of sympathetic attorney, Dorothy Sorenson, to clear Michael and his friends while trying to find the real killer, who they believe is a transient named Richard Tuite.
This film recently aired on Court TV and it’s a grim true story of how California police used intimidation to attain a false confession from an innocent 14-year-old whose sister was killed. This family, the Crowes, was victimized twice, once by the killer, and then by the police who destroyed their lives. This film shows the interrogation filmed in very stark lighting where you can’t even see the actors eyes. Ally Sheedy portrays the mother. A warning: this is a VERY depressing film, as the police brand Michael guilty based on the evidence that he likes to play Dungeons and Dragons with his friends. For anyone who’s ever been falsely accused this is a must see. And it’s interestingly relevant as the Central Park jogger case just released 5 innocent kids after 10 years in jail. How many innocent people sit in prison now falsely convicted? We’ll never know the true statistics of our injustice system.
Director: Don McBrearty
Writer: Alan Hines
Stars: Ally Sheedy, Mark Rendall, John Bourgeois
Countries of origin: United States, Canada
Filming locations: Ontario, Canada
Format : MPEG-4
Format profile : Base Media
Codec ID : isom (isom/iso2/avc1/mp41)
File size : 1.50 GiB
Duration : 1 h 30 min
Overall bit rate : 2 382 kb/s