Saturday, December 03, 2011

CNN Presents: a convict goes undercover and redeems himself

CNN Presents on Dec. 3 featured a narrative documentary of Jimmy Keene’s autobiography “In with the Devil, A Dangerous Bargain for Redemption”, written with Hillel Levin (publisher, St. Martin’s, as of Dec. 20, 2011, Amazon link here). 

Keene had been a popular high school football player, but his affability led him down the wrong path, drug dealing, and easy money, until he was caught. In the meantime, his father had a stroke.  Federal officials agreed to commute his 10-year sentence if he would befriend another kidnapping convict, Larry Hall, from Indiana and try to gain information on the location of his victims, working undercover. 

He did not quite meet all the requirements but did well enough to get a prosecutor (Larry Beaumont) to convince a federal judge to let him go home. The most interesting aspect of the documentary was the way Keene used his "people skills" for good within prison when he had done "bad" with the same skills to get there -- call it reverse karma.

The documentary also told the story of Larry Hall, who would confess to many crimes and then recant. Nevertheless, federal prosecutors had been able to put him away for life on one kidnapping charge. The challenge was to bring closure to the parents of many female victims in the Midwest. Eventually Larry's twin brother would help get him to overcome the recantations.

The transcript for the documentary (“CNN Presents: To Catch a Serial Killer”) is here.

CNN says a dramatic film is planned but it didn’t announce the studio or director or time.

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