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Death Row Stories

Death Row Stories

Death_row_stories_241x208
  • Premiered: 
    March 9, 2014
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: CNN
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
  • Subject Matter: Crime
  • Tags:

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Plot Synopsis

Narrated by Susan Sarandon (Seasons 1-3) & Concetta Tomei (Season 4) and executive produced by Robert Redford and Alex Gibney, each one-hour episode of this documentary series unravels the truth behind a different capital murder case, exploring various beliefs surrounding America's justice system and the death penalty. The series premiere explored how Edward Lee Elmore, a 23-year-old African-American handyman, was charged with the murder of a well-to-do white woman in Greenwood, SC, in 1982. It was not until a legal intern named Diana Holt investigated his case for the defense team that startling new evidence of his innocence began to emerge.

CNN debuted the Season 2 premiere of DEATH ROW STORIES on Sunday, July 12, 2015 at 10pm ET/PT. In the season opener, "Mother vs. Texas," a mother, Darlie Routie, is charged and sent to Death Row for allegedly murdering her two young boys in their Dallas area home. Darlie's sole surviving son, Drake, speaks for the first time about the crime and his mother's innocence.

The third season of DEATH ROW STORIES premiered on Sunday, March 18, 2018 at 8pm ET/PT on a new network: HLN. In the season opener, "Two Brothers," an eleven-year old girl is found suffocated with her own underwear, and two step-brothers, ages 15 and 19, confess to the murder. But with IQs each under 60, they maintain their innocence and claim their confessions were coerced. Despite the lack of physical evidence against them, they sit behind bars for 30 years before an outside commission takes notice of their case and uncovers evidence pointing at another suspect.
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Season 4 of DEATH ROW STORIES premiered on Sunday, June 2, 2019 at 8pm ET/PT on HLN, with actress Concetta Tomei narrating. Season 4 also streams live for subscribers via CNNgo (at CNN.com/go and via CNNgo apps for Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire, Samsung Smart TV and Android TV) and on the CNN mobile apps for iOS and Android. Additionally, all episodes are available on demand the day after their broadcast premiere via cable/satellite systems. Episodes in the fourth season include:

"The Boy's Story" *June 2, 2019): A money order salesman is brutally murdered in broad daylight outside an East Cleveland convenience store. After a 12-year-old neighborhood paperboy tells police he witnessed the killing, two teenage brothers and their best friend are arrested. Despite the lack of physical evidence against them, all three men are sentenced to death. They spend almost four decades behind bars, until a young journalist takes notice of the case and uncovers evidence of the men's innocence - including discrepancies in the testimony of the boy who accused them.

"Web of Lies" (June 9, 2019): The shooting of a newspaper carrier in rural Mississippi lands 20-year-old Marlon Howell on death row. Convicted on the word of two co-defendants and the identification of an eyewitness with a checkered past, Marlon maintains his innocence. His family pins their hopes on an out-of-state attorney, who discovers that false testimony and a faulty lineup are behind Marlon's conviction. As lies are laid bare and evidence of innocence emerges, an overzealous prosecutor vouches to fight to the end, and Marlon's life hangs in the balance.

"A Prison of His Own" (June 16, 2019): After getting arrested for driving a stolen car under the influence of drugs and alcohol, Philadelphia native Nick Yarris tries to negotiate a deal with police, offering up information about the gruesome kidnapping and murder of a young mother of three. But his uncanny knowledge of the crime makes Nick a prime suspect and eventually lands him on death row. 20 years - and one escape attempt - later, new evidence emerges that offers Nick one last hope for freedom.

"A Woman Wronged" (June 23, 2019): A man is found dead in his rural Mississippi home, shot four times with his own 9mm pistol. His 19-year-old son names his hospitalized mother, Michelle Byrom, as the mastermind of the murder, claiming she hired the boy's friend to shoot her husband, and promising to pay him from the life insurance payout. Sentenced to death, Michelle spends 14 years awaiting execution - until a determined team of lawyers unearths a dark history of domestic and sexual violence, and a confession that points to an alternate suspect.

"Body of Evidence" (June 30, 2019): After a month-long search, the body of missing nineteen-year-old Melissa Trotter is recovered in a Texas forest. Local police quickly zero in on Larry Swearingen, who was last seen with Melissa just before she disappeared. After physical evidence and the murder weapon tie Larry to the murder, he is convicted and sentenced to death. Twenty years later, Larry maintains his innocence, pointing out flaws in the State's case - including incomplete DNA tests, an alternate suspect, and forensic evidence that suggests Melissa may have been killed after Larry was arrested.

"Murder in Broad Daylight" (July 7, 2019): Two men are shot at point blank range outside a public housing project on Chicago's South Side. The execution-style hit leads to the conviction of Nathson Fields, a member of the notorious El Rukn street gang. Detectives claim Nate bragged about committing the murders - but over more than a decade on death row, Nate stands by his innocence, arguing police framed him. When the judge who sentenced Nate is convicted of taking bribes to rig murder cases, the case begins to unravel. As Nate's attorneys dig deeper, they discover the makings of a massive police cover-up.

"Caught on Tape" (July 14, 2019): The brutal murder of a young couple inside their secluded Florida home leaves police baffled. Months later, a woman comes forward to implicate her ex-husband, Joe Martinez, a Spanish national living the fast life. When Joe is convicted on the basis of a shoddy surveillance tape and the testimony of a jilted lover, his parents launch an international media campaign to free him from death row. Yet despite discoveries of evidence tampering and alternate suspects, questions about whether Joe is truly innocent remain, and a seasoned homicide detective believes a guilty man could walk free.

"Memory of a Murder" (July 21, 2019): A masked attacker shoots up an apartment in Bucyrus, Ohio, leaving three dead and two young children clinging to life. After witnesses report seeing a "large black man" near the scene, police close in on Kevin Keith, a local drug dealer who was recently busted based on information offered by a snitch. It was the snitch's family that was murdered, leading prosecutors to argue Kevin's motive was revenge. Despite the lack of physical evidence, Kevin has spent 25 years locked up - but a young public defender believes long-hidden case records will shed new light on the Bucyrus murders and clear Kevin's name.

Cast

Production & Distribution

  • Produced by Sundance Productions
  • Produced by Jigsaw Productions