Gerald Wright's Movie Coverage
Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father
Directed by: Kurt Kuenne
Running time: 93 minutes
Release date: October 31, 2008 (NY), November 7, 2008 (LA)
Distributor: OscilloScope Laboratories
In memorial of Dr. Andrew Bagby (1973-2001), filmmaker and childhood friend Kurt Kuenne decided to make a film for Andrew's infant son Zachary. Andrew died prior to Zachary's birth. He was murdered on November 5, 2001 in a parking lot in western Pennsylvania by Dr. Shirley Turner, his ex-girlfriend and mother of Zachary.
This film examines the life of Andrew as a boy, interviewing close friends and relatives. His parents David and Kathleen Bagby share their gut wrenching story of perseverance in dealing with an inadequate Canadian legal system.
It all began for David and Kathleen when Andrew was found dead and all clues pointed to Shirley Turner. When Shirley was dumped by Andrew, she retaliated by putting several bullets in him and fleeing to Canada. In Canada, extradition back to the United States can be a lengthy procedure under Canadian law. At this time Shirley declared her pregnancy and stated it was the late Dr. Andrew Bagby's child. David and Kathleen decided they would move to Canada's Newfoundland community and deal with the legal issues. Once the baby boy Zachary is born David and Kathleen, now grandparents, assume responsibilities and fight for custody. Between custody issues and extradition issues in the Canadian courts, these two older people are given the legal runaround.
As the Canadian legal system failed the Bagby family, it also enabled Shirley Turner by allowing her bail without her putting up tangible currency. Thus, Shirley Turner was given her freedom to walk around the Newfoundland community, while the Bagby family still resided there.
POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERT: The most painful part of this story is that Shirley later kidnaps her son Zachary and wanders across the U.S. and Canadian border back to the U.S. Authorities find out that she had murdered her 13 month old son in some strange and bizarre situation concerning another man.
Several points of issue are questioned in this very disturbing documentary against the Canadian Legal System. However, filmmaker Kuenne finds that Canadian officials refuse to answer questions until David and Kathleen become more assertive in quest for justice. Shirley Turner has killed two people. Agencies and perhaps a nation should answer for it.
This a masterful documentary giving proper recognition to David, Kathleen, Andrew and little Zachary.
This film is more of a movement against passive laws and what collateral damage causes.
FILM RATING (A)