A gripping new documentary series has just begun airing on HBO and Sky, and if you’ve not seen it yet, you should definitely start watching: Mind Over Murder’s second episode is on tonight, and if the first episode is anything to go by, the series will be a cracker.
The doc tells the story of six individuals who were convicted for the 1985 murder of Helen Wilson, a 68 year old grandmother in the city of Beatrice Nebraska. What makes the case and six part series intriguing though is that the “Beatrice Six”, as they were dubbed, were all eventually exonerated of the crime two decades later- even though five of the accused confessed that they did do it.
Throughout the six parts, you’ll see everything from the case covered, from the original murder itself, the subsequent criminal investigation, the trial, the eventual exoneration and lawsuits that followed. Having assumed the case closed, the townsfolk and family of Helen Wilson were angered and divided by the revelation that none of the six had perpetrated the crime. The docuseries investigates how there was an effort to get the six convicted quickly- with threats of the death penalty used to gain confessions from them.
The six supposed "killers" had no memory of the event
What’s also amazing about the case is the psychological elements involved, and how despite the fact that the six supposed “killers” had no memory of the event, were convinced into believing that they really had done it. The series dives into the process of criminal convictions, and unreliable memories and confessions. The police had claimed to them at the time that, due to the horrific nature of the event, that they had simply repressed the memories of the murder.
The other interesting element to this docuseries is that it also follows a production of a play based on the murder and events following it, put on by a community theatre in Nebraska. In the official trailer, we see the difficulty that the actors involved in the play have with playing murderers and re-enacting events that happened in their community, as well as the divisions of the local people over the truth of what really happened. “That’s what the whole case hinges on” says an interviewee on the fact that five of the six confessed. “But humans lie” counters the interviewer. “That’s a point” is the response.
The incredible story of the case and it’s oddities, twists and turns unfolds across the six episodes, which will be airing weekly. You can already catch up on the first part through NOW in the UK, with the second part releasing tonight (27th June) and the subsequent episodes following every Monday.
CATCH UP ON THE FIRST EPISODE OF MIND OVER MURDER ON NOW