— Two-Hour Special Probes Hanging Deaths Ruled Suicide by Authorities But Suspected To Be Vigilante Lynchings —
(Silver Spring, Md.) History relegates lynchings to the Deep South’s bygone era of Civil Rights injustices, when racial intolerance spawned crimes so hateful and politically charged that they divided a nation. In Investigation Discovery’s new special, THE INJUSTICE FILES: AT THE END OF A ROPE, investigative filmmaker Keith Beauchamp probes the shocking claim that lynchings may still be a reality in modern-day America. The special considers four mysterious hanging deaths, which authorities ruled suicides but families of the deceased believe were murders, echoing fears of an underground resurgence of vigilante hate crimes. THE INJUSTICE FILES: AT THE END OF A ROPE premieres on Tuesday, February 21 from 8-10 PM ET on Investigation Discovery.
“In this second rendition of THE INJUSTICE FILES, Keith Beauchamp examines whether these tragedies are the result of men taking their own lives or unthinkable acts of terror,” said Henry Schleiff, president and general manager of Investigation Discovery. “Beauchamp does what he does best by searching for answers in the murky waters where injustice, racial tension and rash judgments can distort the truth.”
“I am truly thankful that Investigation Discovery continues to provide me with a platform to share these stories of families stricken by agony as they question if their loved one’s death was an unthinkable hate crime, not simply suicide,” said Keith Beauchamp, investigative filmmaker. “The next installment of THE INJUSTICE FILES ensures a huge awakening for many who will have to confront the unsettling thought that lynchings still may occur in this country, proving how far we have to go to obtain true justice for all.”
In THE INJUSTICE FILES: AT THE END OF A ROPE, Beauchamp examines the four hangings and evidence that led investigators to rule them suicides with the assistance of a criminologist, a psychologist and a forensic pathologist. He then tempers law enforcement’s take with the impassioned claims of loved ones and experts who believe that these are cases of modern-day lynchings. For years, these families have been on a merry-go-round searching for answers to confirm their deep-rooted beliefs that foul play is at hand. But for investigators, the cases have been closed as suicides and the evidence speaks for itself to support these conclusions.
INJUSTICE FILES: AT THE END OF A ROPE investigates the circumstances surrounding each of these four hangings, including analysis of the available evidence, interviews with officials who led the original investigations, and testimony from families on the inconsistencies they believe shroud these cases in mystery:
- Raynard Johnson, age 17, Kokomo, Miss.
Found hanging from a pecan tree in front of his parents’ home in June 2000, Johnson’s death was ruled a suicide. His family believes he was murdered because of his personal relationships with white females in the community, which echoes the circumstances of the murder of Emmett Till in nearby Money, Miss., more than 45 years earlier. Calls by the Rainbow Push Organization and the NAACP were heard all the way in Washington, D.C., urging authorities to take a closer look at this controversial case.
- Nick Naylor, age 23, Porterville, Miss.
In the winter of 2003, Naylor walked his dogs on the property of a local deer hunt club and never returned. The following day, his family found him tethered to a tree with one of his dogs’ leashes. Beauchamp talks to former investigators of this case with wide ranging theories including the death being the result of a gang initiation. With the incident that inspired Mississippi Burning in neighboring Neshoba County, Miss., the region has a history stained by lynchings.
- Keith Warren, age 19, Silver Spring, Md.
Warren’s body was found hanging from a tree in a suburban neighborhood in July 1986. Questions were raised about his ability to orchestrate his own death due to the elaborate rope configuration from which he was hanged, but authorities ruled Warren’s death a suicide, outraging his family and friends. The search for answers surrounding Warren’s death has been championed by his mother and sister, who brought the story to ID’s attention at a Capitol Hill event showcasing the original INJUSTICE FILES in February 2011.
- Izell Parrott, age 61, Glen Falls, N.Y.
A popular BBQ chef, Parrott’s sudden disappearance in February 2005 puzzled the community. More than a year later, his badly decomposed body was found hanging 35 feet high from a tree. Parrott’s family doubted his ability, as an overweight man, to climb and hang himself so high up, but authorities ruled his death a suicide in the end. Parrott’s daughter is on a quest to find answers and to bring closure to the loss of her father.
INJUSTICE FILES: AT THE END OF A ROPE is produced by CBS EYE Productions with Keith Beauchamp and Brett Alexander as executive producers, and Emily M. Bernstein as producer. For Investigation Discovery, Diana Sperrazza is executive producer, Sara Kozak is senior vice president of production and Henry Schleiff is president and general manager.
About Investigation Discovery
Investigation Discovery (ID) is America’s leading investigation network and the fastest-growing network in television. As the source for fact-based analytical content and compelling human stories, ID probes factors that challenge our everyday understanding of culture, society and the human condition. ID delivers the highest-quality programming to more than 77.8 million U.S. households with viewer favorites that include On the Case with Paula Zahn, Disappeared, Unusual Suspects and Stolen Voices, Buried Secrets. For more information, please visitInvestigationDiscovery.com, facebook.com/InvestigationDiscovery, ortwitter.com/DiscoveryID. Investigation Discovery is part of Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the world’s #1 nonfiction media company reaching more than 1.5 billion cumulative subscribers in 210 countries and territories.