It seems that most people have become completely addicted to true crime documentaries in recent years, us included. If you enjoyed documentaries like Making a Murderer, The Keepers, The Confession Tapes and The Ted Bundy Tapes then our list of the top ten true crime documentaries won’t disappoint.
10. Tales of the Grim Sleeper
The notorious serial killer known as the Grim Sleeper terrorized South Central Los Angeles over a span of twenty-five years. Lonnie David Franklin Jr. was arrested in July 2010 as a suspect in the span of the murders that lasted from 1985 – 2007. Police attributed the arrest to 20 years of solid investigations. In 2014, director Nick Broomfield set out to find out more about the Franklin’s background and his arrest. He visited the alleged killer’s neighborhood and there, he speaks with Franklin’s neighbours who suspected for decades that there might be some connection between their odd neighbor and the dozens of women who had been going missing.
9. Who Took Johnny
12 year old Johnny Gosch vanished while doing his paper route on September 5th in 1982 between 6-7am. He was last seen by two witnesses who told authorities they saw Johnny talking to a large stocky man in a blue car shortly before he disappeared. The documentary focuses on his mother, Noreen, and her tireless quest to find out what happened to her son.
8. Evil Genius
This four part series follows the incident often referred to as the “collar bomb” or “pizza bomber” case. In 2003 pizza delivery man Brian Wells entered a bank with a bomb strapped to his neck and calmly passed a note to the teller demanding $250,000. Upon his exit from the bank he was arrested, handcuffed and left sitting in the parking lot. Police kept a distance, for fear of the bomb going off, while Wells shouted that when delivering a pizza three strangers took him hostage and strapped a bomb to his neck. They then gave him a shotgun and told him to commit the robbery and several other tasks or they would detonate the bomb. The documentary follows the incident as it unfolds.
7. Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills
In West Memphis Arkansas, in 1996, teenagers Jesse Misskelley Jr, Damien Echols and Jason Baldwin, who would become known as the West Memphis Three, stood trial accused of the 1993 murders and sexual mutilation of prepubescent boys Christopher Byers, Michael Moore and Stevie Branch. The film documents the arrests and trials of the West Memphis Three for the murders of the young boys. It’s followed by two sequels which followed the evolution of the case through the years: Paradise Lost 2: Revelations in 2000, and Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory in 2011.
6. The Central Park Five
In 2012 28 year old Trisha Meili was discovered naked, gagged and tied in a shallow ravine in a wooded area of Central Park after being raped and almost beaten to death. Five juveniles, Antron McCray, 15; Yusef Salaam, 14; and Korey Wise, 16; and two others were found to be among 30 teenagers, who were at the park that night, harassing, beating and robbing people as they passed through the park. The documentary covers these teenagers arrests, interrogations, trials, convictions and their eventual exoneration of all charges. The teens became known as the Central Park Five.
5. The Imposter
In 1994 young teen Nicholas Barclay went missing after playing a basketball game with friends at a local park near his San Antonio home in Texas. However three years later he was miraculously found and reunited with his family, but not all was what it seemed.
4. Matt Shepard Is a Friend of Mine
This documentary follows friends and family as they reflect on the life and death of 21-year-old Matthew Shepard, who was murdered in a targeted homophobic attack in Wyoming in 1998.
3. The Staircase
The documentary series follows the life and trial of author Michael Peterson who stands accused of the murder of his wife Kathleen. The series follows Peterson’s defense team and their theories that Kathleen had actually accidentally fallen down the stairs.
2. Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father
This 2008 documentary was created by Kurt Kuenne. Kuenne’s close friend Andrew Bagby was murdered after Bagby ended his relationship with Shirley Jane Turner. Shortly after she was arrested as a suspect, Turner announced she was pregnant with Bagby’s child, a boy she named Zachary. Kuenne decided to interview numerous relatives, friends, and associates of Andrew Bagby and incorporate their loving remembrances into a film that would serve as a cinematic scrapbook for the son who never knew him.
1. The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst
This five part documentary series is by far the most twisted, mind blowing, true crime documentary of it’s time. It focuses on New York real estate heir Robert Durst; an accused murderer, and his time spent with the documentary film maker Andrew Jarecki. The series follows the unsolved 1982 disappearance of Durst’s wife Kathie, and an investigation of two other murders that have been linked to him.
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