After I recommended that you watch The Staircase, some of you have left comments and emailed me about it. The final installment has aired, so now I feel free to wrap things up.
If you didn't watch it, The Staircase is a documentary about a guy arrested for murdering his wife and the subsequent trial in North Carolina. His wife was found at the bottom of the stairs, blood everywhere, with lacerations to the back of her head.
The documentary is great because the case is filled with twists and turns, and tons of weirdo characters that only the south could produce. Some of the twists and turns:
It comes out right before the trial that the husband is bi-sexual. And there's a really funny male prostitute who testifies.
His two adopted daughters believe in their dad. His step-daughter, doesn't.
The husband, along with his kids, are living in the house where the wife died, and the blood is still there. This is years later! They are living in a bloody house. It would be like OJ's kids living at Nicole's condo and no one ever cleaning up. Very creepy.
Coincidentally, 17 years before, another woman who was last seen with the husband was found dead at the bottom of a staircase. Oh, and that woman, just happens to be his adopted daughter's birth mother.
The prosecutors claim that the lacerations made to the wife's head were from a fireplace blow poke, which they say has mysteriously disappeared. Near the end of the trial, the blow poke is discovered, and it's pretty clear that it wasn't used in the murder.
By the end of the trial, it seems like the jury has to come back with a Not Guilty verdict. The prosecution is made up of a bunch of hillbillies and they are bad at their job. The defense is pretty great. Alas, the verdict comes back Guilty. Because the jury is a bunch of hillbillies too, and they only understand hillbilly language.
He goes to jail. And that's the end of the documentary. But then there's an update...
All of his appeals have failed. He's still in jail. He looks like he has a foot in the grave. It's just depressing. But then, in another twist, it is discovered that the Prosecution's star witness is a liar. He has tampered with evidence in hundreds of cases, causing a bunch of verdicts in North Carolina to be reviewed and overturned. Including the husband's.
So he gets out of jail. The state still has to decide if they want to retry him. I doubt they will.
BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!
The craziest part about this crazy documentary is that the craziest twist of all isn't even in it. And that is...
The Owl Theory
Throughout the case, you become resigned to the fact that you're never gonna know what really happened that night. You know the husband is bizarre, and his version doesn't totally add up, and neither does the prosecutions. It just becomes about the case and if there is reasonable doubt.
But after going to jail, a new theory is presented, and an attempt to explain what really happened. A theory that, as insane as it is, seems to make a shit load of sense. That theory is that an owl did it. An owl killed the wife. An owl caused the lacerations on her head. She ran inside, and fell at the stairs. And she bled out and died.
Seems pretty improbable. However, the wife just happened to have a feather from an owl clutched in her hand, along with clumps of her hair and needles from a tree. The lacerations match an owl's talons. In the neighborhood they live in, owl attacks are fairly common.
I never thought this would end with a guilty owl, but I am sold.