Crime After Crime, a documentary film that premiered in competition at the Sundance Film Festival, makes its debut on Oprah's OWN tonight! It's actually on right now, as I just learned, so I'm late on this; however, I'm sure there'll be repeat opportunities to watch the documentary, and when we have those dates, we'll share here.
As a recap… Directed by Yoav Potash, the film centers on Debbie Peagler, a survivor of brutal domestic violence, who was incarcerated for her connection to the murder of her abuser – a boyfriend who beat her and forced her into prostitution.
The longer story goes… They met in the late 1970′s, when she was just 15 years old. Fearing for her life, Debbie did Wilson’s bidding for years. She tried to escape, but each time was forced back with violence and death threats. Wilson even sexually assaulted her then six-year-old daughter.
Desperate, Debbie eventually turned to two male acquaintances who then murdered Wilson.
In 1983, Debbie and the two men were prosecuted; she was charged with first-degree murder. During the trial, her public defender reportedly didn’t even bother to present any evidence of the abuse Debbie suffered for years. And, as a result, Deborah was forced into entering a guilty plea, after the DA threatened her with the death penalty.
After spending 26 years in prison, a pair of rookie attorneys cut their teeth on her case, attracting global attention to the troubled intersection of domestic violence and criminal justice, as they worked to set her free, and they were eventually successful.
In August 2009, Debbie Peagler was finally released.
As already mentioned in a previous post, Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network acquired television distribution rights to the film soon after its Sundance premiere. The film's producers release it first in theaters, so that it qualifies for Oscar consideration, and it grossed almost $60,000 after about a 14-week run. And now it's making its TV debut on OWN, where I suspect it'll live for a little while.
And there’s even been talk of remaking the documentary into a narrative film, Hollywood-style with Halle Berry in the starring role. I’M KIDDING!!! But only about the Halle Berry part. There is definitely interest in remaking it into a feature film, so that could very well happen down the road.
Trailer follows below: