A documentary by Jean-Sébastien Desbordes, Matthieu Martin, Nicolas Berthelot.
20 years later, Beaumont, a little town in southeast Texas, hides the secrets about the murder of Elmer Rode.
Are the two men in prison truly guilty?
Has justice really been served?
On December 25 1994, Elmer Rode the Dean of Admissions at the prestigious Lamar University, in Beaumont, is found dead at his house, with four gunshot wounds to the head.
The physical evidence – or the political will – necessary to identify the suspects is missing.
The case is a sensitive one: in the middle of an US House of Representatives’ election period, the private life of the victim is a potential scandal: he enjoys the company of young men, sometimes underage, and plies them with illicit substances.
The District Attorney and Sheriff need to find the culprits as soon as possible to bury the whole affair.
2 young men from Beaumont are found, denounced by one of their friends, Mitch, himself embarrassed by an extensive criminal record.
Christopher and John, 20 and 17 years old, will be sentenced on the basis of this sole key testimony: resulting in a life sentence for Christopher and a sentence of death for John. The latter, a minor at the time of the offense, will get his sentence commuted to life in prison in 2005.
20 years later, the UK-based investigator, Chris, engaged by the French charity “Lutte pour la Justice” (Struggle for Justice), begins a new and comprehensive investigation, starting from the very beginning.
He returns to Beaumont, Texas, to track down each witness present at the time of the crime; back and forth along the Texas roads, collecting fresh information about the case that has never before come to light.
In this delicate investigation, Chris has doors slammed in his face by some of the people questioned, reluctant to talk 20 years after the crime, but others share secrets buried a long time ago, information seemingly ignored by the police at that time.
In this rare film, the team of 13h15 have been able to follow Chris’ investigation and even meet John and Christopher Dewberry in prison. Voiceless men, “white trash”, as the sheriff used to describe them. Two men who have been claiming their innocence, tirelessly, for now more than 20 years.
On the trail of the secrets of this affair, Chris the investigator will make a major breakthrough…