19 November 2018 :
Joseph Amrine was sentenced to death in 1986. Wednesday, he'll be at Ragtag Cinema. Amrine, who in 2003 was released from prison 17 years after he was sentenced to death, will attend a screening at Ragtag of "Unreasonable Doubt: The Joe Amrine Case," a 50-minute documentary. The producers are John McHale, Dan Huck and Ryan Wylie, who graduated from MU in 2001. Amrine and Wylie are scheduled to attend the discussion session after the screening, according to the city of Columbia website. Also, Lindsay Runnels, a professor of the School of Law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and Rodney Uphoff, MU law school professor, will join them. Also, Reginald Griffin, another exonerated man whose death sentence was overturned in 2011, will join the discussion, Wylie said. After the documentary is shown, there will be an additional 15 minutes of footage that shows Amrine getting out of the prison, answering questions from the press and seeing his family again. When Wylie was at an Innocence Project meeting in fall 2001, he was shocked to know that Amrine was going to be executed with no witnesses linking him to the crime. After that meeting, Wylie, an experimental filmmaker, made up his mind to make a film about Amrine as his first documentary. "I had a strong sense of justice," he said. Because Amrine was in prison and officials weren't willing to let Wylie and other producers inside, interviewing Amrine was difficult, he said. He finally got the interview once Amrine's lawyer, Sean O'Brien, intervened, he said. Wylie said the film is about humanity - that is, understanding others, including someone sentenced to death. "This is my fellow human being," he said. "Whatever they did or didn't do, they deserve dignity, and how we treat them, that defines who we are." Wylie said the screening would be a valuable opportunity for the public because Amrine will talk about his story, and a discussion on the death penalty will take place afterward. "We don't have to execute people," Wylie said. 'So why do we do it? Do we do it because we are vengeful people? I hope that we are not." In an interview Amrine looked back on the day he was released, saying it was indescribable. Being free was a dream, he said. People should watch the documentary because it humanizes a solemn topic, he said. "When you see the news or you read an article about someone who was sentenced to death or executed, it's just an article," he said. "But once you put a face to the article, it's not just an article anymore."