This contemporary story of crime and punishment in the Midwest tells the story of death-row inmate Alan (A.J.) Bannister, who killed a man in a trailer park in a struggle over a gun. The film reconstructs his troubled life from his childhood in a rural, working class community in central Illinois, where he was a good student and active in sports, to his gradual descent into a life of petty crime.
In his three years of researching the case, the filmmaker uncovered startling new evidence that the killing was not a contract killing, as the prosecution asserted, but second degree murder, which would not carry the death sentence. Raising Hell approaches a tense climax as A.J.'s execution date is set. As the day approaches, the viewer is taken inside the death watch cell to experience the countdown. His wife and mother, his friends, the film crew, and prison staff have made their final preparations when A.J. is granted a stay of execution, two hours before he is scheduled to die.
Member of a series: Eye for Justice (Series)
Published and distributed by Filmakers Library.
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