On September 10th, 1988 7 year old Jaclyn Dowaliby is abducted from her parents home in Midlothian, Illinois sometime during the night. Four days later her body was found, and based on the results of a poor police investigation her parents David and Cynthia are charged with her murder. Cynthia was acquitted of the crime, but David was convicted only to have his conviction overturned several years later. American Justice looks at this tragic case that remains unsolved as of May 2015.
The 1997 trial of 19 year old British au pair Louise Woodward is the focus of American Justice. Woodward was accused of a form of child abuse known as "shaken baby syndrome" in the death of 8 month old Matthew Eappen in Boston. Initially convicted of second-degree murder, that verdict was later set aside in favor of involuntary manslaughter and she was released with time served.
American Justice examines the case of Patricia Allanson. In 1974 Allanson goaded her husband into killing his parents. Then after he was sentenced to prison she set her sights on his grandparents by poisoning them, all in an effort to gain a half million dollar inheritance. After serving a short prison term she returned to her evil scheming ways by stealing and poisoning an elderly couple that she was caring for, but this time she enlisted the help of her daughter.
On October 15th, 1988 Peggy Carr of Alturas, FL dies of Thallium poisoning. Tests show that her two sons also showed signs of Thallium poisoning. Immediately detectives suspect Peggy's husband Pye Carr of the horrible crime. But soon investigators start to shift their focus on to George Trepal, a neighbor with a genius level IQ and a self taught chemist. American Justice looks at the events leading to the murder conviction of George Trepal.
The story of serial killer Kenneth McDuff from Waco, TX is profiled by American Justice. McDuff, who became known as the "The Broomstick Killer" after his conviction in the murder of three teenagers in 1966 was placed on death row for his crimes. Due to serious overcrowding in Texas prisons, McDuff was able to be released on parole, but it wouldn't be long before he was killing again. His case would lead to an overhaul of Texas parole requirements and their penal system.
On November 29th, 1992 Sara Tokars is shot to death in front of her two young children by a man who had accosted them at their home in Marietta, GA. After her death her husband Fred Tokars, who was a defense attorney, started to exhibit strange behavior which led investigators to take a closer look at his possible involvement. American Justice takes a close look at the case that led to investigators accusing Fred Tokars of murder for hire, and then his subsequent conviction of the murder of his wife.
The tragic and disturbing death of 6 year old Lisa Steinberg is profiled by American Justice. The horrific abuse that was suffered by Lisa Steinberg and her adoptive mother Hedda Nussbaum at the hands of Joel Steinberg became a media focal point in 1987.
American Justice host Bill Kurtis narrates an hour long look at some of the more infamous cases of criminals who are "cop killers". Included are the case of Ronald Ray Howard. Howard claimed that he was influenced by the rap music of Tupac Shakur when he shot and killed a Texas State Trooper in 1992. And the 1991 shooting death of another Texas officer of the law, Constable Darrel Lunsford. Lunsford's murder was recorded by the dashboard camera of his own patrol cruiser. American Justice also interviews other officers of the law as well as prosecutors, and takes a ...
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, ...