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The Execution of Wanda Jean
The Execution of Wanda Jean
Actors: Wanda Jean Allen, Jesse Jackson, David Presson
Director: Liz Garbus
Genres: Television, Documentary
NR     2005     1hr 28min

In 2001 Wanda Jean Allen was given a lethal injection by the state of Oklahoma, making her the first black woman to be executed in America in fifty years. In THE EXECUTION OF WANDA JEAN, award-winning filmmaker Liz Garbus ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Wanda Jean Allen, Jesse Jackson, David Presson
Director: Liz Garbus
Creators: Tony Hardmon, Liz Garbus, Mary Manhardt, Chandra Simon, Julie Gaither, Nancy Abraham, Rory Kennedy, Sheila Nevins
Genres: Television, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Television, African American Heritage, Crime & Conspiracy
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 11/29/2005
Original Release Date: 01/01/2002
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2002
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 1hr 28min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

The Best Documentary I've ever seen.
Sandra Wiley | Up North | 12/13/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This documentary is was well put together using all original characters and the original seen during each time frame. It was very sad; yet, educational. It reveals the controversial over lesbian relationships as well as racial capitol punishment. I found this documentary interesting because I am anti-capitol punishment because I believe that rather a person should die or not should be a decision made by God and not by man. Executing someone for murder will not justify judgment if it's an act of will. Besides, executing someone for murder does not bring the victim back and it doesn't always bring closure to the victim family if the executioner is given an easy death by lethal injection when their loved one died a whole lot worst. I believe that dying is too easy anyhow for convicted murderers; therefore, they need to suffer in prison for life for what they did.

Wanda Jean Allen is no different from other murderers in God's eye, but she was diagnosed with having a mental condition, she did apologize and confess to her Lord and the victims family for her negligence and only wanted her sentence commuted to life in prison. If Charles Manson can have his sentence commuted from death to life in prison for all the victims he murdered, why can't Wanda Jean Allen and other African American death row inmates have their life spared?

Lets not forget the victims who also loss their lives as a result of Wanda's negligence, but even the victims family don't believe in an "eye for and eye," and did not support the decision for Wands Jean Allen to be sentence to death, so where was the justice in all of this? If the wages of sin equals death, then death will come to them instead of them going to the death chamber.
Wanda Jean
Sixx | Earth | 11/12/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Like the other viewer, I watched this with a heavy heart. It's's so sad. It is a documentary, and you can see how Wanda Jeans lawyers tried her case to the end. My heart goes out to the victim the their family, because I don't believe anyone deserves to die at the hands of another human being. This includes Gloria, as well as the judicial system for injecting Wanda Jean with a fatal cocktail.

It's crazy, how someone can be sentenced to death for murder in the 1st degree, or premeditated murder......but isn't the death penalty premeditated murder? Death Row inmates know down to the hour when they will die. I do not support the Death Penalty. The families of the victims still hurt. The victim is still gone. And after the inmate is put to sleep right before that fatal moment, they feel no pain and no remorse. Their suffering is over. They don't have to remember their victims.

I can remember a story where a young man killed someone's daughter by accident. The family took out a judgment to request that he send 1.00 to the family every week until the girl's would have been 18th birthday. That was not about the was about making that young man REMEMBER this young girl. That hurts more than taking a life away...making you constantly remember a life that YOU took away.

I believe in GOD. That is the problem with the government, is that they try to play GOD. At the end of the day, GOD is not going to look at their action any different then HE would Wanda Jean Allen......She murdered someone, and so did the person that put the needle in her vein.
Extremely Real
Coffy6 | Trenton, NJ United States | 10/14/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a very good case study of one woman's life, crimes, redemption, and execution. Wanda Jean Allen killed 2 women, and I believe the death penalty was justified in her case. Had she received an adequate amount of jail time and rehabilitation for the first murder, the second murder may have been preventable.

Wanda Jean Allen was not only a double murderer, she was a disgrace to the system and prosecutors who gave her a plea bargain in the first case. I believe to an extent that she was executed to appease the public, many of whom had a hard time with the fact that she only served two years for her first murder. The system was just as reposnsible for Gloria's death as Wanda Jean was. But, someone had to pay, and that someone was Wanda Jean.

Her upbringing was poor to say the least. Viewers have no problem believing she had a terribly low IQ. Personally, I feel that from watching this documentary, the whole family had low IQs and mental problems. However, this does not justify murder. I felt no sorrow for her when she was executed. Perhaps that's because this documentary never succeeded in making me totally sympathetic to her plight. I felt more sorrow for her first victim, but not her second. The second victim got involved with her knowing what she had done to be incarcerated. Did Gloria think this violent woman would not kill her some day? I did feel intense sorrow for Gloria's mother. No parent should have to see their child gunned down in cold blood right in front of their very eyes.

So many questions remain: Did she really deserve to die? Was she truly sorry before her death? Had she truly found Christ? Would she have killed again if spared the death penalty and granted parole at 65 years old? We will never know.

But, one thing is for sure...her debt to society is now paid in full."
Thought-provoking documentary on a touchy subject
Annie Van Auken | Planet Earth | 12/28/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"THE EXECUTION OF WANDA JEAN is well-made and worth seeing. Clearly the filmmaker had no agenda or axe to grind. All sides are fairly presented; viewers aren't led or told what to think, and that's admirable.

Capital punishment is one of those polarizing topics that few have no opinion on. Since others here have expressed their views, so will I.

I believe in the death penalty and that "an eye for an eye" is an instruction to men and not the province solely of the Almighty. I also believe in "Instant Karma," meaning the wrongs a person does in THIS life will be paid for in THIS life, and sooner than one would imagine. In the case of Miss Allen, that karma took over a decade but it finally got her, and justifiably.

A deciding factor to my mind that Wanda Jean Allen earned an execution day is the overwhelming evidence of premeditation. Besides a similar prior murder, a greeting card that Wanda gave the victim contained in her own hand, "If you try to leave me, I'll kill you." It matters not if this is the threat of a genius or someone with just enough intelligence to hold down a medical-related job, as was the case with Miss Allen. Her prediction became tragic reality after a chase that ended at a police station parking lot. Gloria Leathers was sent to an early grave by a point-blank bullet to the belly, and Wanda Jean's fate was sealed by her own hand."