The Execution of Wanda Jean Directed by Liz Garbus, 2002
In 2001 Wanda Jean Allen was given a lethal injection by the state of Oklahoma, making her the first black woman executed in America in fifty years.
In THE EXECUTION OF WANDA JEAN, award-winning filmmaker Liz Garbus (The Farm: Angola, USA, Girlhood) continues her investigations into the American criminal justice system with the compelling story of convicted murderess Wanda Jean Allen. Allen was sentenced to death in 1989 after shooting her lover, GLoria Leathers, whom she met in prison while serving time for another killing. This quietly powerful film chronicles the tragically methodical way the state of Oklahoma proceeds to execute Wanda, a woman with a low IQ bordering on retardation, despite the deperate efforts of her family, legal team, and mental health and anti-capital punishment advocates. As pleas for clemency and legal maneuvers are gradually exhausted, there’s a chilling inevitability to Wanda’s plight, which she bears with a rare strength and introspection.
THE EXECUTION OF WANDA JEAN is an intimate account of a uniquely American story. Its power lies in its portrait of simple human dignity in the face of inevitable death.
Filmmaker Audio Interview; Filmmaker Biography; Interactive Menus; Scene Selection