Shotgun Justice | 2000
On one night in 1973, two attendants at gas stations miles apart were brutally murdered with shotgun blasts to their heads. Seventeen-year-old Michael Pardue was known as a troubled teenager with a police record and was questioned for several days about the murders. While he was being questioned, another murder victim was discovered. Pardue soon confessed to all three murders, was convicted and sent to prison. Over the next two decades, Michael escaped from prison three times and was recaptured. In 1988, Michael got married in a prison ceremony and his wife, Becky, began a battle to win his freedom. Michael claimed his 1973 confessions were coerced. Several officers involved in his questioning had been subjects of previous complaints about abusing suspects.
In 1995, a federal judge decided that Micheal's attorney in 1973 had not done enough to defend him. His original murder charges were overturned. Michael was retried and convicted again, but the conviction was overturned because there was no proof he had been read his Miranda rights. All three murder convictions were now off Michael's record, but Michael was still a criminal. His three escapes had resulted in a life sentence. Eventually, Becky and Michael also got the life sentence overturned. In February 2001, Michael Purdue was released from prison after spending nearly 30 years behind bars.