Murder on a Sunday Morning Paper

Murder on a Sunday Morning Paper

Fall 2019 CRIM 101 B5; 9 questions Do not cut and paste your answers from other sources. Use your OWN words.

YouTube link for documentary:


Murder on a Sunday Morning

  • Describe each person below and their roles in Brenton Butler Case/Trial. (12 points total)
Character Description
Pat  McGuiness


 Very confident and determined. As an attorney representing Butler Pat addressed issues concerning Butler in a very confident manner. Besides, Pat was very determined to prove the innocence of Butler and hold the real culprits responsible for their actions.



Ann Finnell   An attorney from the public prosecutor’s office. She represented Brenton Butler in a murder case. Ann applied her experience as a lawyer and discovered that Brenton was coerced to the murder charges by police officers who subjected him to the brutality.





James Williams


 A corrupt, remorseless detective who coerced an innocent young man into confessing to a crime not committed. Collaborated with the husband to the victim in identifying the wrong individual.
Michael Glover  

A corrupt, unprofessional and brutal detective who took part in arresting Butler. Broke professional code of ethics and coerced an innocent person into confessing to a crime they did not commit.

Dwayne Darnell  The detective who took the statement from Butler but later admitted to having written the statement using own words. Darnell jeopardized the integrity of the police force by forging a wrong statement incriminating Butler.Murder on a Sunday Morning Paper




Brenton Butler  A young, naïve, African American man who was wrongly accused of the murder of Mary Ann Stephens. Butler was coerced by the police to confess to the murder charges
State Prosecutor Very confident. Called the media after the jury declared Butler innocent and claimed she still believed that Butler was guilty.


Please Answer in Complete Sentences (6 points each)

  • Who was murdered (and how) at the beginning of the film?

Mary Ann Stephens was murdered using a gun at the beginning of the movie by an armed African American man who wanted to snatch a hand bag.


  • What makes the victim’s husband identify Brenton Butler as the suspect?

Butler was identified due to his African American origin as the real killer was also of African American origin.

  • Identify scenes/moments that would lead the Public Defender to believe that Brenton was innocent.

Brenton had no previous criminal record and showed no sign of violence, at the time the crime was committed Brenton was at home, and there lacked forensic evidence against him.Murder on a Sunday Morning Paper


5) Identify the type of evidence that the prosecution had against Brenton.  Do you agree that it was enough?  If not, what additional critical evidence would be needed?

The prosecution relied on the coerced statement as an evidence against Brenton and the husband to Mary which were not strong enough to convict Butler. Conviction would happen if Brenton was found in possession of the murder weapon and the hand bag stolen from Mary.

6) What did the African-American detective (Mr. Glover) do to Brenton Butler that was unethical and unlawful?  Mr. Glover applied physical abuse into forcing Brenton to confess to a crime.

7) Name three (3) things the prosecution had to present during trial.

  1. The statement from Butler
  2. The murder weapon
  3. Eye witness (Mary Ann Stephen’s husband)

8) Name three (3) things the defense attorneys showed during trial to present its case.Murder on a Sunday Morning Paper

  1. Butler’s confession of being cajoled into confessing of the murder.
  2. Photographs of Butler’s bruised eyes
  3. Butler’s mother as a witness to the case

9) List the U.S. Constitutional rights of Brenton Butler that were violated? Then explain in one sentence what the violations were for each of them.    

  1. Freedom of movement. Butler’s freedom of movement was violated while in prison.
  2. Freedom of speech. Freedom of speech was violated when Officer Glover denied Butler the chance to express self.
  3. Freedom of assembly. While in prison, Butler could not interact with friends and relatives.
  4. The right from bodily harm. Butler was physically abused by detective Glover in order to confess.

5. The right against a fair trial was jeopardized by coercive confession Murder on a Sunday Morning Paper

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