Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction, even Hollywood fiction. Imagine if your brother or sister was convicted of murder and you believed him to be innocent. How far would you go to try to overturn his conviction, how long would you try and what would you be willing to give up to do it? A woman in the US, Betty Anne Waters, went further than most. Convinced of her brother’s innocence and with all appeal avenues exhausted, whilst working and raising 2 children as a single mother, she obtained her High School qualifications and then a law degree to be able to represent her brother. In the face of stubborn authorities who refused assistance and cooperation for their own reasons, witnesses who had lied, police manipulation of witnesses, police corruption and the apparent official destruction of exhibits after the passage of time, she managed to obtain her brother’s release as not being guilty. This was done when she located blood evidence and had it DNA tested to show that the offender’s blood at the scene was not her brother’s and when witnesses swore affidavits as to police pressure to lie at the trial. This was done with the assistance of The Innocence Project, a nonprofit organisation dedicated to overturning wrongful convictions.
The film tells the above story.
Hilary Swank, Minnie Driver
Abra Rice: We’re gonna be friends ‘cos we’re the oinly ones in class who went through puberty.
· Kenneth Waters died in 2001. 6 months after his release from 18 years in prison, when he slipped and fell off a wall while taking a shortcut to his brother’s house after dinner with his mother. He died from head trauma injuries. Be4tty Anne Waters has said of her brother’s death “It’s sad, but the greatest part is Kenny died free and innocent.”
· In 2009 the town of Ayers and its insurers settled his estate’s civil rights suit for $3.4m.
· Betty Anne Waters has gone on to obtain a Master’s in Education and a Doctorate in Jurisprudence. She now works with the Innocence Project.
The real Betty Anne Waters and her brother Kenneth, leaving court as a free man.