Murder on a Sunday Morning
Title: Murder on a Sunday Morning
Author: Academy Award (2001)
When a 15-year-old black male is arrested for the murder of Mary Ann Stephens, everyone involved in the case, from investigators to journalists, is ready to condemn him, except for his lawyer. A true tale of murder and injustice.
The Academy Award-winning documentary Murder on a Sunday Afternoon, which originally aired on HBO as part of its America Undercover series, is a troubling look at modern police investigation that unfolds in a story as compelling and suspenseful as any fictional drama. French director Jean-Xavier De Lestrade’s intimate camerawork pulls viewers into the jury box to help decide the fate of 15-year-old Brenton Butler, a black resident of Jacksonville, Florida, who becomes the prime suspect in the shooting death of an elderly white woman simply because he was seen in the vicinity of the crime. Butler’s attorney, a magnetic public defender named Patrick McGuinness, must pit his legal skills against a mountain of shoddy investigative work and corruption to save his client from life in prison. Similar in intent to HBO’s Paradise Lost, Murder’s white-knuckled pacing and a wealth of courtroom fireworks should leave true-crime and documentary fans breathless—and angry. —Paul Gaita