Crime Film Documentaries

Instructor: James R. Elkins

"Conviction: The True Story of Clarence Elkins"

[55 mins.] [film by Mike West & Bill Ward]


"One summer night, Melinda Elkins’ mother was raped and murdered, and her husband, Clarence, was convicted of the murder and sent to prison for life. Melinda knew her husband was a victim of mistaken identification. Proving it would take years. A do-it-yourself detective, Melinda discovered a person she believed killed her mother – a convicted sex offender overlooked by police. In a twist of fate, the suspect was incarcerated in the same prison as Clarence. In prison, Clarence picked up a cigarette discarded by the suspect. DNA testing showed that the man was, in fact, the real killer. Because of his wife’s tenacity and conviction, Clarence walked out of prison a free man." ~ Durango Independent Film Festival  

"When a man is wrongly convicted of murder and rape, his wife devotes her life to proving his innocence. Conviction is not only a gripping story of justice gone wrong, it's also a meditation on the role of luck in the criminal justice system. In order for Clarence Elkins to prove his innocence, all of the stars had to align. It's a story that would be unbelievable if it weren't true." ~ Michael West

Internet Movie Database

Wikipedia Film Trailer

Clarence Elkins bio
[provided by Clarence Elkins for his appearance at the College of Law,
West Virginia University]

Ten Years to Convict the Real Killer: Case Chronology

CBS News, Ohio Murder Mystery
[video; 4:31 mins.]

Dateline NBC, Killer Instinct
[with video on the Melinda & Clarence Elkins story]

Clarence Elkins: Innocence Project Profile

Wrongfully imprisoned man thanks UC students for freedom
[UC Magazine, February, 2006]

CNN Larry King Live Interview
[aired December 26, 2005]

Shadow of a Doubt: The Clarence Elkins Story
[TrueTV Crime Library]

Innocence Project Reveals Key Find in Elkins Case

First Christmas at Home in Eight Years for Man Falsely Convicted of Murder
[ABC News, December 22, 2005]

Beacon Journal news accounts

Links to news accounts

Innocence Reform Bill Crafted at UC College of Law On Verge of Becoming Ohio Law
[University of Cincinnati News, March 16, 2010]

Ohio City to Pay $5.25M to Settle Wrongly Convicted Man's Lawsuit
[November 19, 2010]

Discussion & Summary: Clarence Elkins Case
[video; 5:18 mins.] [Ed Esposito, WAKR & Phil Trexler, Akron Beacon Journal, discuss
another chapter in the long saga of Clarence Elkins.]

Prosecutors' Opposition to DNA Testing

Overturning Wrongful Convictions Through DNA Testing

Prosectors Block Access to DNA Testing for Inmates
[New York Times, May 18, 2009]

Prosecutors Still Opposing DNA Access for Prisoners Despite New Laws
[Jonathan Turley, blog]

Prosecutors Blocking Access to DNA Testing
[The Agitator]

Prosecutors Justify Oppostion to DNA Testing
[Grits for Breakfast, a blog on Texas criminal justice]

Thwarting Justice by Denying DNA Testing
[Judge H. Lee Sarokin, Huffington Post blog]