“A critically important film, depicting a horrible injustice that should not happen,
but does – far too often.” – Richard Linklater, director “Boyhood”
(Silver Spring, Md.) – Hannah Overton is a mother, a woman of God, a former nurse and, in Texas’s prison system, known as Overton 1478117. In October 2006, a four-year-old from Corpus Christi named Andrew Burd died mysteriously of salt poisoning. Overton, his foster mother, was charged with capital murder, vilified from all quarters, and sent to prison for life. Was this churchgoing young woman really a vicious child killer, or had the tragedy claimed its second victim? The two-hour documentary UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT chronicles the gross miscarriage of justice that sent Hannah Overton to jail with a life sentence and the fight to win her freedom. Making its exclusive television premiere on Thursday, December 1 from 9-11pm ET as part of Investigation Discovery’s (ID) ID FILMS documentary strand, UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT is told entirely through first-person interviews with Overton, her family and closest confidants, and experts and key figures involved in the high-profile appeal, including Texas attorneys Cynthia Orr, Gerry Goldstein and John Raley.
“The unbelievable tragedy of a child’s death was compounded by the prosecution of an innocent person for murder,” said Kevin Bennett, general manager of Investigation Discovery. “The truth set Hannah free in the end, and ID is proud to tell the story of those who worked tirelessly to overturn her conviction.”
ABOUT THE CASE
Andrew Burd’s short life began turbulently. His mother was only 16 when she gave birth, and Andrew spent his first two years surrounded by substance abuse and child neglect. By the time he turned three, his mother and father had lost parental rights and Andrew was placed in the foster care system in Corpus Christi, Texas. Hannah and Larry Overton met Andrew at church, where they fell in love with him and felt compelled to adopt him into their family that already included five biological children. Andrew spent his first night with the Overtons on Mother’s Day in 2005, and seemed to quickly grow attached to his new family.
Four months later, on October 2, 2006, Andrew fell suddenly and acutely ill while he was alone with Hannah. The Overtons rushed him to a nearby urgent care clinic after he became unresponsive and his breathing labored, but by the time they arrived, he had fallen unconscious. The following evening, Andrew was dead. The cause of death was determined to be salt poisoning, an extremely rare occurrence that, in children, results from either a child inadvertently ingesting too much salt or a caretaker deliberately forcing the child to do so. People who knew the Overtons were certain that Andrew’s bewildering death was accidental. But law enforcement and emergency medical personnel who treated Andrew thought otherwise. The following week, Hannah—who had no history with Child Protective Services and no previous arrests, and had never had so much as a parking ticket—was charged with capital murder.
In a special premiere event, UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT premieres on Thursday, December 1 at 9/8c as part of the ID FILMS strand, the television home for projects that shine a light on important, overlooked aspects of our justice system and showcase compelling stories of mystery, intrigue, and determination.
UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT is produced by P+R Productions with Kelli Weinzierl and Pamela Colloff as executive producers and Jenna Jackson and Anthony Jackson as directors. For Investigation Discovery, Liz Massie is executive producer, Sara Kozak is senior vice president of production, Kevin Bennett is general manager, and Henry Schleiff is Group President of Investigation Discovery, American Heroes Channel and Destination America.
About Investigation Discovery
Investigation Discovery (ID) is the leading mystery-and-suspense network on television. From harrowing crimes and salacious scandals to the in-depth investigations and heart-breaking mysteries behind these “real people, real stories,” the always revealing network challenges our everyday understanding of culture, society and the human condition. One of our nation’s fastest growing cable networks, ID delivers the highest-quality programming to more than 86 million U.S. households and is available in both high definition (HD) and standard definition (SD). For more information, please visit InvestigationDiscovery.com, facebook.com/InvestigationDiscovery, or twitter.com/DiscoveryID. Investigation Discovery is part of Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the world’s #1 pay-TV programmer reaching nearly 3 billion cumulative subscribers in 220 countries and territories.