Murder on a Sunday morning

Murder on a Sunday Morning

This documentary tells the trial of Brenton Butler, a 15 year-old black high school student who was arrested in Jacksonville, Florida, in 2000, for the murder of a tourist white woman. There is nothing special from a technical point of view about how the story is shown, in that respect the documentary feels like a larger version of the true crime series shown on Court TV.

Other than that, this is one of those stories that one should watch and think about. During the trial we see how the police did not appear to conduct anything resembling a serious investigation; Butler was arrested two hours after the crime, was intimidated and physically threatened into signing a confession and it mattered little that his family accounted for him at the time of the murder. Lacking almost any evidence, the officers involved in the case still insist on their conclusions, unwilling to admit a mistake. The victim’s husband’s visual identification of Butler is the only evidence the police has, and the defense attorneys also shed doubts on its accuracy.

Jean-Xavier de Lestrade, the director, specializes in documentaries about justice and what he calls societal taboos. Murder was awarded the Oscar for Best Documentary of 2001.

The Wikipedia page on the case has some updates.

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