Local moviegoers: Eat some popcorn and watch a wrongful conviction
While the popular movies in the theaters recently have been Argo and Wreck-It Ralph, a Fort Collins, Colorado, theater was recently filled with people interested in another story: a true story. A man who was a juror in a Colorado murder case more than a decade ago contributed to the making of a film about a man whom he helped wrongfully convict of the violent crime.
In 1987, a 15-year-old became the center of a murder case involving the violent death of a 37-year-old victim. He was not guilty of the crime, but it tragically took a decade in prison after his conviction in 1999 for the system to realize the truth. And the truth finally set him free.
Imagine becoming a murder suspect at the age of 15 and knowing that you didn’t do anything wrong. Though it took years for a conviction to put the suspect in prison, the entire legal process on top of the wrongful conviction and prison sentence have taken up more of this now grown man’s life than anything else.
What helped set the man free was the passion of a juror member from his trial, the filmmaker and a former detective to ask questions and seek DNA answers related to the case. The new analysis proved that the suspect wasn’t guilty of murder and that the system didn’t work. It has sent an innocent man behind bars for a decade.
It is the type of story that makes for an exciting movie. What makes the movie about this man’s life different than other movies is that it is a true account of what can go wrong in the legal system. Even if a person is innocent of a crime, when he is approached and questioned by authorities he should depend on legal counsel — right away.
The real murderer in this Colorado case is yet to be identified. What matters now is that the wrong person is free and vindicated.
Source: The Coloradoan, “Tim Masters introduces film on his wrongful imprisonment,” Robert Allen, Nov. 3, 2012