Capitol City Cinema in Jefferson City will host the first in a series of Missouri screenings of a new documentary examining capital punishment and the impact it has on jurors.
"Lindy Lou, Juror Number 2" follows Lindy Lou, a woman from rural Mississippi who served on a jury that handed down a death sentence to a man convicted of double homicide. Twenty years later, Lindy Lou travels through Mississippi to interview the 11 jurors with whom she sentenced the man to death, according to a news release from the Missouri Catholic Conference.
The documentary's Jefferson City showing, scheduled at 7 p.m. Thursday at Capitol City Cinema, 126 E. High St., is the first in a statewide screening tour presented by Good Pitch Local in partnership with Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, Equal Justice USA and Working Films.
"We are a state that is actively involved in executions and capital punishment, so in a way this is a form of education. What better place to start that education than in Jefferson City?" MADP Executive Director Staci Pratt told the News Tribune. "Jefferson City is where the Legislature and policymakers come together to devise a best program for the state of Missouri, and it's a place where people are meant to have discussion of difficult issues."
In addition to spurring discussion about issues they see with capital punishment in Missouri — among them racial injustice and disparities in representation — the hosts of the screening tour hope to call attention to the impact death penalty trials can have on jurors.
"Every citizen in Missouri faces the possibility of participating on a capital jury, and it is a part of civic education to understand the full ramifications of this process," Pratt said in the news release. "Every death sentence has a lasting human cost and impacts every individual in its proximity, including jurors. Like Lindy, many of us as citizens may be called to fulfill our jury duty. We each have another duty beyond this one — a duty to consider the realities of handing down a death sentence both for ourselves and for our communities."
The film screening will be followed by a discussion and Q&A facilitated by Mike Hoey and Rita Linhardt, executive director and senior staff associate for the Missouri Catholic Conference.
"The conference has always had a stand against capital punishment. Our bishop, Pope Francis and Pope John Paul II all have spoken out eloquently against the death penalty," said Linhardt, who also serves as chair of the board for MADP, which does not have a Jefferson City-based chapter.
"Lindy Lou, Juror Number 2" also was shown at this year's True/False Film Festival in Columbia, where MADP members viewed it and later partnered with other organizations to bring the documentary back to Missouri.
"It just brings the death penalty all into focus. It's good for people to think about an issue that they don't normally think about," Linhardt said.
While Lindy Lou, the main subject of the film, will join audiences at some of the screenings, she will not be present at the Jefferson City event, Pratt said.
All screenings are free and open to the public. No tickets are needed, as seating will be available on a first come, first serve basis.
Other screenings of "Lindy Lou, Juror Number 2" are scheduled in the Kansas City and St. Louis areas as well as St. Joseph and Springfield.