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Documentary on the wrongful conviction of Roy A. Brown to be screened April 7 in Newhouse 3
Documentary on the wrongful conviction of Roy A. Brown to be screened April 7 in Newhouse 3March 16, 2009Jaclyn D. Grossojgrosso@law.syr.edu
The story of Roy A. Brown’s conviction for a murder he didn’t commit will be retold in the documentary film “Blanchard Road: A Murder in the Finger Lakes” on Tuesday, April 7, at 6 p.m. in the Joyce Hergenhan Auditorium in Newhouse 3. After the film, a discussion will take place with Brown and Alex Dunbar, one of the independent filmmakers. The event, which is free and open to the public, is co-sponsored by the Carnegie Legal Reporting Program at the Newhouse School, the College of Law and the Institute for the Study of the Judiciary, Politics, and the Media at Syracuse University.
“The conviction of an innocent person fundamentally undermines the integrity of the criminal justice system, and this film provides valuable insight into the causes of, and potential strategies for preventing, such tragedies,” says SU assistant professor of law Sanjay K. Chhablani.
Brown is a former Cayuga County resident freed in 2007 after serving 14 years in state prison. Brown was convicted of the 1991 killing of Cayuga County social worker Sabina Kulakowski. Her body was found outside her home on Blanchard Road in Aurelius, N.Y. She had been beaten and stabbed. Bite marks were found on her body. Her house had been set on fire.
Brown eventually solved the crime himself while still in prison, studying documents he obtained from his case file. That evidence led him to suspect Barry Bench, the brother of Kulakowski’s former boyfriend. Bench committed suicide in 2003.
“Stories like this one need to be told so that all members of the public, including journalists covering the justice system, remember that the truth is not always told in the first chapter of the narrative,” says Newhouse School associate professor Mark Obbie, director of the Carnegie Legal Reporting Program. “We’re excited to bring this screening to campus and to hear from Alex Dunbar about his work.”