“A Mother’s Revenge” is a 1993 movie starring Leslie Ann Warren. It is most likely based on two true stories. The movie first aired on ABC as a television movie of the week.
According to Variety, the movie is “adapted from a novel, not “based on a true story.” However, the novel, “Desperate Justice” was written by Richard Speight, a criminal attorney from Tennessee.
Further research on the novel indicates that it is based on two sensational murders that occurred. Speight fused those two crime stories to come up with the book. All of the names, dates and locations were changed in his book and in the movie. Richard Speight worked as a lawyer and an Assistant District Attorney for twenty years.
Here are a few possibilities for the basis of the novel and the movie:
The Ellie Nesler case comes to mind but the timing of that case would make it an unlikely basis for the book and movie. It is the only documented case of a mother who shoots and kills a man in a court room for violating her child around the time the book was written.
Nesler shot and killed the man who violated her son in the Spring of 1993. Perhaps this was added in the movie. In fact, one of the headlines at the time was Ellie Nesler “Vigilante or Hero.” A similar statement was made in the movie. Nesler’s defense attorneys at the time tried to plead insanity.
The public rallied and supported Ellie Nesler. Nesler had her own run in with the law some years later as well as her son. She died in 2008 from breast cancer.
The two murders are more difficult to narrow down. There was one well-known case that involved the murder of a student who played on the volleyball team. She was murdered by a janitor in 1980.
She was found on school grounds by one of the janitors at the time. There were three janitors who were considered suspects. Two of the suspects were White. The other suspect was Black.
The Black janitor was accused and convicted for her murder. The first trial ended in a hung jury. There was talk of him being released as early as 1987 because it looked like he had not committed the crime. He still sat in prison for several years. He was eventually freed in 1990. There was a movie made about him too. His name was Clarence Brandley.
The murder case most likely took place in a Tennessee courthouse. An unnamed source stated that in Tennessee there was a mother who confronted the man who raped her daughter. When the man made a sarcastic remark, the woman shot him six times. She was able to use the insanity defense.
If anyone knows any more information about that Tennessee case, please write to me at the sites below.
Movies Based on True Stories Archives
Movies Based on True Stories Database