In the late 60's Charles Manson became a cult leader to followers who were known as family members, they were also heavily into marijuana and LSD. Showing his power over them, he would give certain family members instructions to go out and kill, and they would. Among those murdered were movie actress Sharon Tate who was also 8 1/2 months pregnant at the time. Through interviews and archive footage American Justice takes an in-depth look at the killings in 1969 that became known as "The Manson Family Murders".
American Justice follows the case of two American serial killers who terrorized Los Angeles between October 1977 and February 1978, with their nicknames originating from the fact that many of the victims' bodies were discovered on the sides of the Hollywood Hills.
1958. Charles Starkweather, a surly and rebellious 19-year-old teenage malcontent who fancied himself to be just like James Dean, embarked on a crime and killing spree across the states of Nebraska and Wyoming. His 14-year-old girlfriend Caril Fugate served as Starkweather's accomplice. The duo were responsible for the deaths of ten people altogether. They were eventually apprehended by the police in Wyoming. In the wake of their arrest Starkweather was executed on the electric chair while Fugate served seventeen and a half years in prison before being paroled.
American Justice profiles gangsters old and new like Al Capone, Bugs Moran, Daryl Whiting, and some of their more infamous crimes. Also profiled are the men and organizations like Eliot Ness and The Untouchables, The Secret Six, J. Edgar Hoover and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, all who risked their lives in order to bring the gangs and their leaders to justice.
American Justice profiles several women who were intimately involved with mob leaders. Interviewed are Arlyne Weiss-Brinkman, who also became an FBI informant and Antoinette Giancana. Giancana was the daughter of Sam Giancana and known as the Mafia Princess. Virginia Hill, the girlfriend of Bugsy Siegel is also profiled.
American Justice takes a look at the impeachment process that was pending against President Bill Clinton in 1998 by chronicling Watergate and the events that led to the impeachment proceedings against President Nixon in 1974.
The disappearance of Helen Brach, the heiress to the Brach's Candy fortune is the focus of American Justice. February 17th, 1977 would be the last time that anyone would ever see Helen Brach alive. Although her body was never found, she was declared dead in 1984. Profiled are the two main suspects in the case. Her house man and chauffeur James Matlick, who's stories didn't add up to investigators, and Richard Bailey. Bailey was a con-man and was later convicted of defrauding Helen Brach and at the time the judge accused him of conspiring to kill Helen Brach. He was ...
American Justice profiles the 1975 murder of 15 year old Martha Moxley in the rich and well to do gated community of Greenwich Village, CT. Moxely was brutally beaten to death with a golf club on the eve of Halloween in 1975. Initially investigators determined that one of the main suspects was Thomas Skakel, brother of Michael. The Skakel family were neighbors to the Moxley's and part of the powerful Kennedy clan, and it was highly speculated that it was this wealth and power that was able to protect the Skakel boys from the investigation. Former Los Angeles detective...
In the spring of 1981 an usually high number of patients are dying at Community Hospital of the Valleys in Perris, CA. After the hospital is closed for an inquiry investigators discover a sinister pattern. American Justice examines the case of serial killer Robert Diaz who was convicted of murdering 12 patients with lethal injections of the drug Lidocaine.
In the early to mid 1980's Leonard Lake and Charles Ng are believed to have raped, tortured, and murdered over a dozen women at Lake's remote cabin in Calaveras County, California. Investigators found a torture chamber, videotapes of Lake and Ng torturing a couple of victims, and over 40 pounds of charred bones at the cabin. Lake committed suicide before he could be charged for the crimes. Charles Ng, a native of Hong Kong and former U.S Marine, eluded prosecution for 13 years, but is now serving his sentence on death row. American Justice looks at the heinous nature ...
American Justice examines the 1988 murder of Brenda Sue Schaefer by her boyfriend Mel Ignatow in Louisville, KY. Ignatow was acquitted of her murder despite a damning testimony from a former girlfriend. He was later sentenced to prison for perjury in the case and admitted in court that he had in fact killed Schaefer. Despite this revelation he could not be retired for murder because it would have been Double Jeopardy.
American Justice takes an objective look at one of the most famous murder cases in Texas history. Cullen Davis, who was an heir to his father's massive Texas oil fortune and at one time was worth an estimated half a billion dollars, was charged with the shooting death of his 12 year old step-daughter and his wife's lover on August 2nd, 1976. On the same evening he also allegedly shot his wife and a family friend, they didn't die from their wounds and implicated Davis as the shooter. Davis was acquitted of the murders and the case became the subject of several books, ...
While in the government witness protection program in 1981, Marion "Mad Dog" Pruett goes on a crime spree across several states. AKA Sonny Pearson while in the witness protection program he committed a series of robberies and at least five murders that included his wife Pamela Sue Barker. American Justice looks this case and examines how many blamed the government for allowing this to happen while on their watch.
On July 14th, 1993 eight kids in their teens to early twenty's get together for the evening in Hollywood, Florida (a suburb of Ft. Lauderdale)to hang out. Several of the teenagers gang up on 20 year old Bobby Kent, who was with their group, and stab him repeatedly. Kent dies from his wounds, and despite the efforts of the youths to cover up the incident, the truth comes out and they are all charged with 1st degree murder. In their defense they claimed that Bobby Kent was a "vicious bully and this was his payback".
On the early morning hours of June 6th, 1996 Darlie Routier calls 911 claiming that an attacker had broken into their home in Rowlett, Texas and had stabbed her and her two young sons. All the while her husband was sleeping upstairs, but later was awakened and then had tried to revive the boys. Both of the boys, aged 5 and 6 died from their wounds while Darlie recovered. Shortly after the crime, investigators charge Darlie Routier with murder after she has a birthday party at the cemetery for one of the boys and a television crew films her celebrating and shooting ...
Residents of Hinkley, California learn that their drinking water supply is contaminated with high levels of Chromium VI and possibly making them sick. American Justice profiles Erin Brockovich who put herself at the forefront of the legal fight to hold Pacific Gas and Electric financially responsible for the claims of the residents of Hinkley.
Under provisions of the new Anti-Drug Abuse Act, commonly known as "The Drug Kingpin Law" signed into law by President Reagan in 1988, David Ronald Chandler became the first person to be placed on death row because of it. Chandler had allegedly ordered the death of another man in relation to his drug dealing activities making him eligible for the death penalty. American Justice examines the case of Chandler, an alleged marijuana grower and dealer from Piedmont, Alabama.
He dazzled football fans with his fast moves and outstanding receptions-wide receiver Rae Carruth was a rising star in the NFL, and a local celebrity in Charlotte, North Carolina where he was the first round draft pick for the Carolina Panthers. But in 1999, it all came crashing down, when Rae Carruth was accused of masterminding the drive-by shooting death of his pregnant girlfriend, Cherica Adams. His lawyer claimed Rae Carruth had nothing to do with the shooting, that it was all the result of a drug deal gone bad. But a prosecutors said the victim herself told a ...
Despite his insistence of innocence and a plea for clemency to the Governor of Virginia, Roger Keith Coleman is executed in 1992 for the brutal rape and murder of his sister-in-law. American Justice examines this case that had many in doubt of his guilt.
In the spring of 1997, 16-year-old Terence Garner was arrested and charged with armed robbery and attempted murder. With no physical evidence liking him to the crime, the North Carolina teen was convicted on the basis of eyewitness testimony. Just days after the conviction, a different Terrance confessed to the crime. Despite the confession, Garner spent five years behind bars waiting to be acquitted. Today Garner is a free man and only one eyewitness remains vocally convinced of his guilt, the woman he was accused of shootings. The ordeal began when three men robbed ...
On April 17, 1989 in the small community of Kirtland, Ohio, self proclaimed prophet Jeffrey Lundgren convinces members of his religious cult to help him murder a family of five. Through interviews and archive footage American Justice profiles Jeffrey Lundgren and his 13 member religious cult, and how he convinced them to murder in the name of God.
In 1977 Cameron Hooker kidnaps a 20 year old girl who was hitching through California. For the next seven years he rapes, tortures, and brainwashes her. American Justice reviews the details of this case.
After serving 10 years in a California prison for rape, Rex Allen Krebs is released into society only to commit two more rapes, but this time murdering his victims. American Justice looks at a flawed correctional system that allowed Krebs to be released from prison even after he had asked for help, because he knew that he still had a serious problem.
The case of Willaim Heirens is examined by American Justice. Heirens was arrested in 1946 for the murder of 45 year old Josephine Ross, 34 year old Francis Brown, and six year old Suzanne Degnan in Chicago. After the dismembered body of Degnan was found an outraged public and media put intense pressure on the Chicago police department to find the killer. Heirens is pegged for the crime and then confesses. In an interview with American Justice he claims he is innocent and forced into confessing.
In Florida in 1997 Shelia Bellush is brutally murdered in front of her children by a young man who seemingly traveled all the way from Texas just to commit the crime. An investigation reveals a murder for hire plot masterminded by her millionaire ex-husband Allen Blackthorne.
In November of 1998, San Joaquin, California detectives who are searching for missing 25 years old Cyndi Vanderheiden learn that Loren Herzog and Wesley Shermantine are linked to not only her disappearance, but to the disappearance of 16 year old Chevy Wheeler, and to the murders of two other men as well. American Justice profiles the case in which Herzog turned evidence on Shermantine in return for a lighter sentence. Shermantine was sentenced to death, and the remains of Wheeler and Vanderheiden were finally discovered on Shermantine's former property in 2012.
Garrett Wilson is accused of killing his 5 month old infant son by his estranged wife after she discovers he is having a relationship with another woman-6 years after the death of their child. Investigators learn that another infant from a previous marriage had also died and that he had a total of $190,000 life insurance on the two infants. Consequently he is charged and convicted of their deaths. American Justice examines this case that had some people convinced that Garrett Wilson was a murderer while others believed it was just a case of a woman scorned.
In Phoenix, AR 1989,Debra Milke is convicted of arranging the murder of her four year old son Christopher. The case hinges on the testimony of one man who confessed to committing the crime along with Milke's then roommate. American Justice takes an in-depth look at this case in which authorities are accused of shoddy police work putting the convictions in doubt.
Thurman Martin is murdered by his grandson along with the complicity of other family members who claim that their grandfather was extremely abusive. American Justice looks at the case that became know as "The Tomato Patch Murder."
On Nov. 7th, 1994 Tim Boczkowski calls a Pittsburgh 911 dispatcher to report that his wife had drowned in a hot tub. Almost immediately detectives are suspicious of Boczkowski's behavior. An ensuing investigations reveals that his first wife had drowned in a bath tub on Nov. 4th, 1990 in North Carolina after she had decided to pursue a divorce. American Justice interviews the Boczkowski children and the investigators in this case that finally found him guilty of murdering both wives.
In 1981 a Catholic priest is found murdered in a seedy motel room in Odessa, Texas. One year later James Harry Reyos confesses to murdering Father Patrick Ryan. But did he really commit the crime? American Justice takes an in depth look.
In 1999 Sharee Miller is convicted of arranging the murder of her husband by manipulating her online lover. When the lover realizes he was being used he commits suicide, but not before leaving enough evidence behind to lead authorities to his accomplice.
The 1999 rape and murder case of 18 year old Hannah Hill of Akron, Ohio is examined by American Justice. From the very beginning the investigation of her disappearance and then discovery of her body is grossly mishandled. Prosecutors were still able to build a murder case against another Akron teenager, Denny Ross. But that too was bungled and ended in a mistrial in 2000. However, in 2012 Denny Ross was convicted of the murder of Hannah Hill, 13 years after her murder.
Kathleen Bush earned the nation's sympathy and admiration as she struggled to care for her grievously sick child. 8 year-old Jennifer was afflicted, her mother claimed, with a variety of complaints, including a rare intestinal condition that had required over 200 hospital stays and nearly 40 surgeries. With no health insurance, Jennifer's family was devastated financially. Largely through the publicity her mother drew to her plight, Jennifer became the "poster child" for health care reform in the early 1990s. Kathy Bush courted so much attention for her chronically ...
American Justice reviews the case of Stan Naramore, a small town Kansas doctor accused of attempting to murder a 78 year old woman and of killing an 81 year old man while treating them for their illnesses that had reached their end stages.
The small town of Waurika, Okla. is rocked by the sexual assault and murder of a 16 year old girl at the hands of three of her acquaintances. American Justice examines the case with interviews from her mother and one of the accused.