When a 15-year-old black male is arrested for the murder of Mary Ann Stephensadmin / April 10, 2019
When a 15-year-old black male is arrested for the murder of Mary Ann Stephens, everyone involved in the case–from investigators to journalists–is ready to condemn him, except for his lawyer, Patrick McGuiness and Ann Finell. A true tale of murder and injustice.this documentary how being at the wrong place at the wrong time can land you a life time in prison.If it weren’t for the fact that the sheriffs department not doing there job diligently and gathering strong hard evidence against Brenton Butler they would have probably had a real chance at convicting him for the charges of first degree murder and armed robbery.Their are also other factor that lead to the fact that Brenton Butler was found not guilty such as the witnesses stories didn’t add up.
The documentary “The murder on Sunday morning” was about a young man named Brenton Butler was getting ready to go and apply for a job at his local Blockbuster Video outlet. Instead of applying for the job he ended up in the back of a Jacksonville PD squad car, being charged with 1st degree murder and a armed robbery that was committed on May 7th, 2000 in the parking lot of the Ramada Inn in Jacksonville, Florida 65-year-old Mary Ann Stephens is shot in the head before her husband’s eyes. Ninety minutes later, 15-year-old Brenton Butler is the prime suspect because the husband of the victim ID him from 50 feet away.As the case goes on in court all of these different important characters testify their part they had involved with Brenton Butler. None of these testimonies are substantial enough to convict him of the crimes.police, media and public opinion are ready to sentence Brenton Butler in advance, but Patrick McGuinness begins a battle to restore his client’s rights.Also his christian family is now brought in to testify about his where about.
Butler was interrogated by Detective Glover, without the presence of his parents, and after repeated requests for an attorney. Detective Glover drove Butler out to a secluded area of forest near the crime scene and physically assaulted him with to punches to the chest and one punch to his left cheek because he could not give any details of the crime.Subsequently, a detective named Dwayne Darnell coerced Butler into signing a confession/timeline written by Darnell himself.With the confession in hand, Butler was placed in jail pending the commencement of his trial, which took six months to prepare for.During the trial, defense attorneys were able to prove that there was no physical or any other type evidence linking Butler to the crime, and after less than an hour of deliberation, the jury acquitted Butler of the crime.
One major issues/problems with the case identified by the public defenders McGuiness and finell were the description given by Mr. Stephen the victims husband the only eye witness at the crime.As the case continues Mr. Stephen is called to the stand the prosecutor questioned him asking him what had happened during the time of the crime.he stated the the defendant Brenton butler ask his wife for her purse and as she was taking it off Brenton pulled out the gun and shot her near the bridge of her nose.He was then asked what was the defendant wearing at the time he said he was wearing a shirt with a logo on the back of his shirt and claims that Brenton butler had time to go home and change his shirt.When Brenton was apprehended he was caught wearing a black Nautica shirt with the logo on the front of the shirt with navy blue polo shorts But at the time of the crime police officers asked Mr Stephen for a description of the suspect that shot his wife.He described the person as a skinny black male, about six feet tall, between the ages of 20 and 25 and also wearing a Fishermans hat as you can see this is one issue that is given that might raise questions on was Brenton butler really the murder or the first black person in sight of the crime area.
The second major issue with this case that lead to Brenton butler receiving the verdict of not guilty he claims to only have interviewed Brenton butler and nobody else making him the main suspect just because a 65 year old man spotted him from 50 feet away Mr. McGuiness claims that detective Wallace was negligent at being thorough with his investigation by not following standard procedure such as asking his parents about his where about, not getting a search warrant to find the purse that was stolen or the Fishermans hat that Mr.Stevens claimed to see on the assailant to gather enough evidence to make a stronger case against the defendant.Also detective Wallace told Brenton that he had right to an attorney and that he would get him one then he failed to do so which led him to be interrogated by another detective.Lets not forget the fact that he was a minor being questioned without a parent present.
The third major reason Brenton butler received the verdict not guilty is because of the pocket purse that was stolen from the victim Mary Ann Stephens it was found may 8th mr Stevens collects cans for a living during a morning walk he found the purse inside the trash can in a neighborhood known for drugs he saw her wallet and identification as soon as he saw who it was he walked across the street and called the cops upon further search they found 1,200 dollars still in the purse.The defense attorney states that in order to throw out the the purse the assailant would have had to lift the lids and throw out the purse if the detective would have done their job thoroughly they would have sent out a evidence technician to check for finger prints.he also make suggestions about how far the purse was from the crime scene and how hard it would have been for a 15 year old boy to walk 9 miles would be nearly impossible.in my opinion it is important to address these major issues because if it weren’t for these small issues that make an inconsistency with the story would have put an innocent 15 year old boy in jail because a white old man was 100% sure that that was the person that killed his wife.we should take the process of gathering evidence very seriously if a persons life is on the line.one way these issues negatively impact our criminal justice system in general would be that because race is such a big factor in any case that because the person is dark skinned mean that they have a higher chance of being able to commit a crime and just by the color of your skin your are probably labeled as a criminal already especially government officials.
There are many concepts to 3rd degree interrogation some used in in the documentary “murder on a Sunday morning” were torture and suggestibility to get a confession or coerce someone into admitting to the crime.One way torture is portrayed to get a confession was when detective Glover took Brenton Butler to the woods to find the murder weapon used to kill Mary Ann Stephens and he beat him so that he would admit to the crime he was being accused of.Another detective that goes by detective Darnell was sitting in a interrogation room where Darnell was writing a statement for Brenton butler testifying for the murder.On this this statement was Brenton Butler admitting to the crime but other detectives were hearing the interview and never heard Brenton confessing to the crime therefore detective Darnell was making up his own story so that he can Get a confession. There are many reasons why the united states has stopped using 3rd degree interrogation one reason being is that if you’re torturing some one inflicting pain mentally, physically chances are that they are going to tell you whatever you want to hear in order for you to stop.The problem with this is that wrongful conviction is going to go up and the real assailant of the crime are still going to be out in society committing more crimes that he should’ve been arrested for in the first place and now you have a innocent man incarcerated because you beat a confession out of him.One reason the united states has switched over to using phycological method is because they vary by the sources from which information is obtained and once that information is collected and analyzed we can interpret the physiological data to come to a theory of why the event occurred. Wundt founded the first psychology laboratory in Leipzig, Germany. Other experimental psychologists, including Hermann Ebbinghaus and Edward Titchener, included introspection among their experimental methods.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Experimental_psychology
In conclusions the documentary “murder on a Sunday morning”The police methods to interrogate the suspect and squeeze a confession by any means necessary in this case torture and suggestibility due to the errors of the police department not having enough evidence to indite Brenton Butler for first degree murder means that many eyewitness identifications are one of the many reasons why people are wrongfully convicted.