This show delves into the US judicial system from the viewpoint of the prosecutors who work the cases.
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On september 18, 1985, the life of a small-town bank president is shattered when he receives a call from an unknown man who has kidnapped his wife. The kidnapper demands a ransom for her safe return. When local police respond to the home, they find the woman dead, shot seven times. The fbi is called in and an intense investigation ensues. The case is broken when a man comes forward with the murder weapon, leading to two arrests. With the testimony of one of the co-conspirators and a mountain of circumstantial evidence, it would be up to assistant district attorneys sam ponder and charlie strauss to prove that lesley lee gosch was the mastermind of the extortion plot, and a remorseless murderer.
Release me chronicles the story of texas killer kenneth allen mcduff who received the death sentence in 1966 for a murderous rampage that left three teen-agers dead. He was paroled years later only to kill again. His subsequent recapture and trial resulted in another death sentence, carried out in 1998. After a public outcry over his parole, there was a complete overhaul of the prison and parole systems in texas. All told, the killer was positively linked to six murders, but it is believed that he was responsible for as many as 13 during his lifetime. Viewers gain an inside looks at the teams of prosecutors who brought him to justice and who put him on death row, not once, but twice.
Pride and Joy
Pride and joy focuses on eric napoletano who brutally murdered his victims, including his wife myra. Protected by a mother, who worked for the new york city police department, napoletano eluded the law from new york to albuquerque, new mexico before he was finally arrested on march 27, 1991. A new jersey prosecutor coordinated a multi-jurisdictional investigation and secured two murder convictions and two consecutive life terms in prison for the killer, who is currently in the new jersey state prison in trenton. This episode recounts the cooperative efforts of law enforcement agencies to catch this serial killer and the challenges the clifton, new jersey prosecutors faced when seeking to put him away for life.
Young love tells the story of a high school student whose overpowering obsession for his girlfriend led him to murder a rival for her affections in the parking lot of their high school in fayetteville, tennessee. The alleged killer, jacob davis, was an honor student involved in the drama club at his high school. The victim was a football player. The shooting shocked the small tennessee town. The prosecution's task was to dismantle the defense's argument that the shooter was acting under a diminished mental capacity and to prove to a jury that his act was premeditated.
Like Father Like Son
This is the story of two young men whose paths tragically crossed on september 29, 1998 in houston, texas. One was a sheriff's deputy while the other, like his father, stayed on the wrong side of the law. The deputy made a routine traffic stop one night that ended with him being brutally shot to death by the other young man, michael lopez. Prosecutors argued that 17-year-old lopez deserved to die, but would the jury agree?
Every Parents Nightmare
This episode recounts a heinous crime that is every parent's nightmare, the death of a child. On an autumn evening in november 1998, a man randomly killed a 9-year-old boy in a public bathroom in southern california. The little boy was only feet away and within earshot of his young cousins, relatives and mother. The murderer was captured days later as he tried to kill again, prompting a startling courtroom confession and an insanity defense. For his crimes, san diego county prosecutors argued that he deserved to be put on death row. This episode is the story of the killer's monstrous acts and the prosecution team that fought to bring him to justice.
The Green Widow
The green widow focuses on mary ellen samuels, a woman whose lust for money and drugs led her to arrange for the 1988 murder of her husband, a successful hollywood cameraman. Worried that authorities were catching up to her, she also arranged for the murder of the hit man. Meanwhile, as investigators continued to gather evidence against her, she went on a yearlong, $500,000 shopping spree with the insurance money from her husband’s death. She bought a brand new porsche and a condo in cancun, mexico. With the hit man dead, little forensic evidence, and no eyewitnesses, prosecutors faced an uphill battle in their attempts to secure a double murder conviction against her.
Lone witness is the story of buffalo, new york gang leader donald “sly” green and a lone witness to a gangland slaying which helped bring green to justice. By the fall of 1988, the east side of buffalo was rapidly becoming a war zone. There was little that authorities could do. Green’s murder of a rival in broad daylight was just another in a string of gang-related killings. But this time there was a witness: James wright. Armed with the testimony of wright, who refused to give in to death threats and attacks by green’s gang, prosecutor joseph marusak put the case before a jury. Green’s conviction would be the first step toward reclaiming the streets of buffalo from the bands of drug-dealing murderers.
In the early ‘80s in southern florida, a major war was declared on illegal drugs. One of the champions of that war was assistant state attorney gene berry, whose tough and unbending indictments of drug traffickers made him respected by prosecutors, and feared by criminals. One of those criminals was steven vance taylor, who was in line to be prosecuted by berry on narcotics charges. On a saturday evening in january of 1982, taylor’s girlfriend, bonnie kelly, knocked on the door of the berry’s residence. When gene came to the door, kelly shot and killed him. Deadly revenge is the story of state attorney joe d’allesandro’s quest to identify, capture, and prosecute the murderer of a fellow prosecutor.
The Missing Heiress
In february of 1977, helen vorhees brach walked out of the famed mayo clinic in minnesota, and into the pages of chicago folklore. The wealthy widowed heiress of the brach candy fortune was never seen again. Early investigations yielded no answers, and in 1984, helen was declared legally dead. It wasn’t until 1989, when successful chicago attorney steven miller was shown a case involving the fraudulent selling of horses, that connections were made between conman richard bailey and helen brach. The missing heiress is the story of assistant us attorney steven miller and how his investigative team waded through the seedy underworld of the equestrian industry and gained 36 indictments and the conviction of the man who had caused the death of helen brach.