MULTIMEDIA: PBS Frontline to Air Documentary on Norfolk Four
Frontline’s documentary, The Confessions, investigates the conviction of four Navy sailors for the rape and murder of a woman in Norfolk, Virginia in 1997. The documentary highlights some of the high-pressure police interrogation techniques, including the threat of the death penalty, sleep deprivation, and intimidation, that led each of the “Norfolk Four” defendants to confess, despite a lack of evidence linking them to the crime. The case raises significant questions about the actions of state officials, who relied primarily on the sailors’ contradictory confessions for their convictions, and disregarded DNA evidence that pointed to a lone assailant. The four sailors are now out of prison (one has served his sentence and the other three were granted conditional pardons by former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine), and the person who probably committed the murder has since confessed to the crime while serving prison time for another rape. The Confession is scheduled to air on Tuesday, November 9.