In the Executioner’s Shadow
Directed by Maggie Burnett Stogner (2018)
This documentary concerns the death penalty in the US, the only remaining Western industrialized nation to retain execution as punishment for both legal and political crimes.*
In public opinion polls, 50% of Americans favor the death penalty and 50% oppose it. The annual number of executions peaked during the 1930s, when lynchings were popular entertainment in many communities. In 1936, following massive public backlash against the execution of Rainey Bethea, whom many believed innocent, most states moved to hide their executions inside in death houses. With the advent of DNA evidence, roughly one in ten death row inmates is ultimately proven innocent.
For many years, electrocution was the method of choice. This changed to lethal injection in most states several decades ago.
The film profiles the emotional struggles of two families of murder victims and a former Pennsylvania…
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