Thank you so much for putting the cast of Trash Humpers on the cover ("Trashville," May 27)!!! I'm proud to say I'm from a city that can appreciate art like that. But in response to a reader who DIDN'T like it being there: I am neither friend nor family to Harmony Korine, yet every film I've seen of his has struck a chord of brilliance for me. He has fantastic ideas for stories and has an incredible knack for storytelling. Korine should be looked to as a pioneer in the art world.
If the Governor submitted a balanced budget as he is required to do by law ("Bottom-Line Feeders," May 27), then the Republicans wouldn't have a need to cut anything and the Dems wouldn't have to complain about what they were cutting, would they?
I want to inform your readers of the latest developments in the case of Teresa "Deion" Harris, who is serving life without parole — now close to 17 years — for the murder of Dennis Brooks Jr. in 1993 in Huntingdon, Tenn. Deion's story, first reported to your readers in 2007 in an article by Sarah Kelley ("To Have, But Not to Hold," Sept. 27, 2007), constitutes a chapter in the mistreatment of women by the state of Tennessee, famously exemplified by Gaile Owens.
I am a psychologist and author in New York City. I began to communicate with Deion's husband, Capt. Tim McDonald, after seeing an episode about Deion three months ago on the TV show Prison Wives. After doing some elementary research and watching a new interview with the murderer televised on May 4, 2010, I am convinced that Deion was framed for the murder of Mr. Brooks, and that the sole murderer of Brooks was her boyfriend at the time, Walter Smothers. At the time Deion was a 22-year-old drug addict with a history of being sexually abused. Deion turned Walter over to the police the day after he committed the murder.
Deion had no power to prevent the murder: As she told the police, Smothers would have killed her had she challenged him. Yet the district attorney general, G. Robert Radford, prosecuted Deion for "felony murder" and asked the jury to give her the death penalty. In exchange for sparing his life, Walter Smothers agreed to be the star witness in the state's case against Deion Harris.
What took place, as detailed in the transcript, was a witch trial — literally. Smothers explained to the jury that the day of the murder, Deion cast an evil spell on him. District Attorney General Radford assured the jury that Smothers was telling "the truth." The jury believed this. Of course Smothers knew, as he wrote in an apology to Deion after the trial, that had he not blamed the murder on her, he would have "fried." In his closing argument, Attorney General Radford told the jury that the murder of Brooks was not really Smothers' fault — he was under Deion's spell. He told the jury that Deion had lusted for the blood of the victim. He told the jury not to be fooled by Deion's pretty face. He pointed at her as she sat crying in the court: "See her for what's on her insides. ... See her for a mean, vicious murdering woman." The jury agreed.
On May 4, WeTV broadcast a show about Deion in a new series called Women Behind Bars. The show included a new interview with Walter Smothers. Smothers told the interviewer that he had been considering killing Deion and Stacy (his neighbor who tagged along) after he killed Dennis Brooks Jr., for fear that one of them would "squeal." This clearly contradicts the state's argument that Deion instigated the murder — or supported it in any way. Smothers also revealed that he had thought about killing the policeman who was pursuing him for speeding after the murder. After he shot Dennis Brooks, Smothers turned to Deion and proudly proclaimed, "I just blew his fuckin' brains out." Deion was terrified, as she had told the jury. But the jury had no sympathy for Deion — Radford had convinced them she was a witch.
Deion Harris is the victim of a terrible miscarriage of justice, of superstition, of ignorance. Deion Harris is a heroine. Had Ms. Harris not turned Smothers in, he might have escaped capture or murdered again. The people of Tennessee owe her a debt of gratitude, and an apology. I think the Brooks family and the people of Tennessee could aptly honor the memory of Dennis Brooks Jr. by asking the governor to commute Ms. Harris' sentence, to free her from prison, at long last.
My full article, "Tennessee Justice — The Scapegoating of Teresa Deion Harris," is available on my website at www.sethhfarber.com.
Seth Farber, Ph.D.
In last week's story on folksinger Caroline Peyton ("Peyton's Place," June 10), we accidentally ran a photo of her performing partner, Mary Flower. The photo has been corrected online.
In J.R. Lind's story about his experience as a contestant on Jeopardy! ("I'll Take 'Thrill of a Lifetime' for $200," June 10), Lind's total prize money should have read $54,801. Also, the text of a message-board meme was misspelled. It actually should read "STAY CLAM" (sic).
The Scene apologizes for these errors and is happy to set the record straight. We also apologize to Chuck Stephens for using the verb tense "treaded" in last week's headline about the Akira Kurosawa retrospective at The Belcourt, even if Merriam-Webster says it's OK. Chuck is a higher law.
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