Fresh from the season 1 repeat on Netflix, the brand new series of I Am A Killer makes its world premiere on Crime+Investigation.
The series has been commended as an intimate and humane study of Death Row prisoners and the impact of their crimes on their communities and families Featuring in depth interviews with some of the longest serving prisoners in America and new for season 2 two women ‘ I Am A Killer explores themes of repentance and redemption.
The first season was hailed by critics as true crime at its most ’captivating and unsettling’, and re-opened the debate over rehabilitation and restitution in America’s criminal justice system.
Episode one – Lindsey Haugen: Tuesday 22nd October , 9pm.
This episode tells the story of Lindsey Haugen who strangled her boyfriend, Robert Mast to death.
Haugen was an army veteran and had a history of abuse from men. Mast had a documented previous history of suicidal idealisation and Haugen claimed Mast had told her on numerous occasions he was depressed and suicidal. Haugen claimed to be following his request when she took matters into her own hands and murdered him.
While sitting in Mast’s car on the morning of September 15th 2005, Haugen killed him by putting her arm around his neck and choking him for 20 minutes. When officers arrived they found Haugen frantic and crying. However, while testifying at the police station, Haugen mentioned 'I guess I just wanted to kill someone with my bare hands'. Haugen was found guilty of premeditated murder and sentenced to 60 years in prison. She will be into her 90’s before she has served her completed sentence, but may be eligible for early parole. Despite this, Mast’s Christian mother and step-father have forgiven her. They visit her regularly in prison and claim they 'lost a son but have gained a daughter'.
This episode explores themes of forgiveness, sexual abuse, assisted suicide, manipulation and teen depression. Contributions from the investigating officer, psychologists, Lindsey Haugen and Robert Mast’s mother and stepfather give the viewer a 360 perspective of this case.
Haugen’s next possible date for parole will potentially be in 2031.
Episode two – Leo Little: Tuesday 29th October 9pm
This episode tells the story Leo Little who at the age of 17 years old kidnapped, robbed and murdered Jehovah’s Witness minister Christopher Chavez.
Little came from a middle class family, his father worked as a bus driver and his mother was an insurance clerk, but they had witnessed a change in his behaviour after they divorced, with Little becoming angry and violent. It was recommend he received therapy, support which he was never given.
On January 25th 1998 at the age of 17, Little kidnapped, robbed and murdered 22 year old Chavez execution style with a shot to the head, later dragging and leaving his body in a ditch. Two weeks prior to the killing Little had robbed another victim, Malachi Wupts in a similar style to Chavez as well as committed a host of other crimes in the months leading to the murder.
Originally sentenced to death, Little’s sentence was overturned due to his age at the time of the crime and now, after 20 years in prison, he is an erudite, intelligent communicator and committed Christian. Some however ask if this is an act and the actions of a textbook psychopath.
This episode explores themes of psychopathic tendencies, parenting a killer, warning signs and possibility of intervention. Contributions from Leo Little, Lieutenant Thomas ‘Butch’ Matjeka (investigator), Malachi Wupts (victim of Little) & Jose Zavala (Little’s co-defendant, currently serving a life sentence in Texas for his part in the killing) give the viewer a 360 perspective of this case.
Little will next be eligible for parole in 2038.
Episode three – Joseph Murphy: Tuesday 5th November, 9pm
This episode tells the story Joseph Murphy, who spent 24 years on death row before finally having his sentence commuted by the then Governor of Ohio, John Kasich a week ahead of his scheduled execution.
This result followed a remarkable campaign for clemency which gathered the support of religious groups, psychologists, a former supreme court judge and even a family member of Murphy’s victim.
Their campaign didn’t centre around Murphy’s innocence, instead they argued that the horrific details of his life had meant that he did not deserve death as he could not fairly be held fully accountable for his actions in taking the life of 72-year-old Ruth Predmore.
Murphy slashed the throat of Ms Predmore when he went to rob her home to pay for his sister’s medical bills. He claimed he acted without thought or premeditation having been surprised to find the woman at home.
In a panic Linda rolled up his body in a carpet and left him the basement
The campaign to save his life focused on the fact that Murphy had been subjected to the worst family upbringing imaginable. He grew up in abject poverty, he says he was regularly beaten and was even sold for sex at age 6 by his father for a bottle of moonshine.
Murphy claims to have been set on fire by his father to hide the signs of previous beatings from social services. After 24 years on death row, the extreme nature of Murphy’s upbringing was finally recognized. He will still die in prison, but not through execution.
Contributions from Joseph Murphy, Joseph’s brother, Michael, Ruth Predmore’s niece, Peg Predmore & Neuropsychologist, Michael Gelbort give the viewer a 360 perspective of this case
Episode four– Linda Couch: Tuesday 12th November 9pm
This episode tells the story This episode tells the story of Linda Couch who shot and killed her husband Walter Couch.
On October 13th 1984, after 15 years in an unhappy marriage Linda was planning to demand a divorce and according to Linda Couch that night a fight broke out and a gun discharged accidently, shooting Walter in the back of the head, killing him.
In a panic Linda rolled up his body in a carpet and left him the basement. Lying to her children she told them their father had walked out on them in order to cover his disappearance.
Five days after the incident Linda moved a bundle of ‘old dirty carpets’ into the garden which had been freshly dug by the children, believing they were doing chores.
As police investigated the case, Linda’s claims of self-defense seemed increasingly dubious. In the weeks prior, she had fraudulently transferred the deeds to the house to her name, purchased a gun and on the day of the murder, sent her kids away for the night.
Despite claims of abuse in court, Linda was ultimately convicted unanimously of aggravated murder and given the max sentence of life.
This episode explores themes of abuse, accidental manslaughter claims and family drama. Contributions from Linda and Walter Couch’s daughter, Roxanne Wagner & former neighbour, Joe Ackerman give the viewer a 360 perspective of this case.
Couch will next be considered for parole in 2020
Episode five – David Barnett: Tuesday 19th November 9PM
This episode tells the story of David Barnett, who in 1996 murdered his adoptive grandparents Clifford and Leona Barnett, stabbing them over 20 times with five different knives.
His motivation for doing so remained a mystery until it was discovered that David Barnett claimed to have been subjected to years of physical and sexual abuse, not by his grandparents but by their son, his adoptive father, John Barnett.
Episode 6 – Cavona Flenoy: Tuesday 26th November 9pm
This episode tells the story Cavona Flenoy who was convicted of the murder of Sudanese student, Hassan Abbas Prosecutors argued that she had lured Abbas with a promise of sex before shooting him and stealing his wallet and car Cavona Flenoy pleaded guilty so did not go to trial. However, little of Cavona’s background appears to have been taken into account Aged just 12 years old, she was first attacked and raped on her way home from school.
Months later, having tried, and failed, to press charges against her attacker, Flenoy was sexually and physically assaulted again. The murder took place many years later when Cavona had been talked into visiting Abbas at his home following a date When there, things began to take a familiar turn Naked, Abbas advanced on a fully clothed Cavona, urging her to partake in sexual activity using explicit language. Despite a psychological assessment which supported Flenoy’s claims that she was acting in self defence and as a result of suffering PTSD from her previous assaults, the court sentenced her to 25 years in prison. This episode explores the themes of sexual assault, post-traumatic stress disorder, mental stability, and disparity of sentencing for black and female offenders. Contributions from Cavona Flenoy, her mother, Stacey Lewis, Psychologist, Marilyn Hutchinson Prosecuting Attorney, Eric Zahnd give the viewer a 360 perspective of this case.