Life and Death Row: Series 2 Life and Death Row tells the story of capital punishment through the eyes of young people whose lives have been shaped by it. With unprecedented access inside prison walls, it discovers what it’s like to live with the threat of the death chamber, as well as hearing from victims and their families, and the family of those on death row – some praying for execution, some hoping for a reprieve. Each episode focuses on different aspects of the system – execution, punishment and the complex nature of ‘truth’.
On March 11 2009, Daniel Lopez was pulled over for driving erratically. The dramatic car chase that ensued killed a police officer and 27-year-old Daniel was given the death penalty. Unusually for a death row prisoner, he is resisting all appeals to block his execution – which is due in five weeks time. The state-appointed attorneys for Lopez are arguing that their client is using the justice system as a form of suicide. His family are also pleading with him to fight the execution and stay alive for them. With access to Daniel, his lawyers, his parents and the widow of the police officer that Daniel killed, this film follows the lead up to ‘execution day’. Will Daniel go to his death, as he insists he wants to do, or will the people who love him be able to save him?
In April 2013, 18-year-old Shawn Ford Jr was charged with killing his girlfriend’s parents with a sledgehammer. Now he is on trial for his life and a jury of 12 ordinary people must decide whether he should live or die. This film follows the court case from the inside, as both the family of the victims and the defendant struggle to come to terms with such a horrific crime. But it is the jurors who must ultimately decide Shawn’s fate. As the details of the shocking murders mount, can an impassioned plea for mercy from Shawn’s mother save her son’s life?
In January 2014, Waynesville, Ohio, 18-year-old Justin Back is brutally murdered in his own home. Two of his 19-year-old friends, Austin Myers and Timothy Mosley, are arrested and charged with his murder. However both give very different versions of events, begging the question, who is telling the truth? With prosecutors seeking the death penalty for the crime, what will each one do to save themselves from the ultimate punishment? With access to the families of all three boys, the devastating nature of this gruesome crime and it’s repercussions are revealed. It’s one crime but will there be two different outcomes?
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