Hilary Swank stars as Betty Anne Waters
in the new film Conviction. Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight.
On May 21,1980, Katharina Brow of Ayer, Massachusetts was found dead in her mobile home, beaten and stabbed more than 30 times. The brutal murder shocked the small town in Middlesex County—and would forever reshape the relationship between Kenneth and Betty Anne Waters a brother and sister.
"I knew he was innocent because I know my brother," says Betty Anne Waters, who is portrayed by actress Hilary Swank in the new film Conviction.
While Betty Anne may have been certain of her brother’s innocence, a jury wasn’t. More than two years after Brow’s murder, Kenneth Waters was tried, convicted, and sentenced to life without parole, for a crime Betty Anne—a married high school drop out with two children—says she knew her brother didn’t commit.
"I knew that my brother was questioned because he was actually in court that morning and I thought they were just harassing him. I knew the whole story. I knew he was at work the night before, I knew he was in court, I knew he had the perfect alibi. And he was arrested two and half years later, so I always knew from day one that he was innocent."
Betty Anne devoted the next 18 years of her life to exonerating her imprisoned brother. She completed her GED, got three college degrees and after passing the bar exam in 1998. Her first and only client was her brother, Kenny. And in 2001, thanks to Betty’s determination and new DNA evidence, Kenneth Waters was finally set free.
"It is surreal, absolutely. Along the way I just took one step at a time, one hurdle at a time, never really knowing if I was ever going to finish, or get my brother free. All along the way I was scared to death that it wasn’t gonna happen, so, I’m happy that it happened and that my brother was free," Waters said.
Hilary Swank and Tony Goldwyn in the new film Conviction.
Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight.
Now, their story is the subject of Conviction, opening in theaters nationwide Friday, Oct 15, co-starring Hilary Swank as Sam Rockwell as Kenneth.
Conviction is more than an extraordinary story. As Director Tony Goldwyn says, it is "an in-depth examination of family, and the unique ties that bind a brother and sister."
"I remember when I was a little kid doing a kind of morbid analysis of my life and thinking 'What can I survive without in my life?” says Goldwyn. "Like if my parents died could I survive that? That would be awful, but yeah, I think I probably could. But the one thing I felt I couldn’t survive would be the death of my brother. I just remember that so well. Me and my brother are very close in age, same as Betty Anne and Kenny. We were so close that I felt if he died I’d have to die too, and I know Betty Anne felt that way. Betty Anne will tell you that’s what motivated her, that she promised Kenny that she would go to law school and figure out a way to get him out if he would stay alive."
Hear what Jared and the Moviola producers had to say about Conviction, and whether or not it's worth a trip to the theater.
katherine commented on 11.09.10
Wow great review Moviola. I have a sibling and grew up 20 minutes from Ayer this story is just so compelling to me. I was rattled at first by Swanks accent in the clip, but by the end of it was 100 sold. She is incredible.
Corey commented on 11.01.10
I want to check out the interview and the film review but the links are down...
Lisa commented on 10.19.10
Sounds very interesting!! Looking forward to it!
Kenneth commented on 10.18.10
@MARGARET, if youre still looking for a showtime for Conviction, try this link, all you need to do is put in your zip code http//www.moviefone.com/movie/conviction/36474/showtimes
Debbie commented on 10.18.10
I dont recall the story as I was not living in Massachusetts at the time. After reading and listening to the story line as told here, it sounds like a must see for me. Great job Movieola!
MARGARET commented on 10.16.10
Heard your review on Thursday, sounds like a good movie. I couldnt find it playing anywhere today. Will keep looking.
Chuck commented on 10.15.10
Glad to see a good review. I really like the audio reviews.
Janet commented on 10.15.10
Really interesting and entertaining looking forward to more!
maggie commented on 10.15.10
Enjoyed the review and looking forward to the upcoming ones!
kerry commented on 10.15.10
what a great idea especially where so many movies are based in our area! great story and i look forward to the next one!
Lindsey commented on 10.14.10
As an avid listener of WGBH I can usually tell what is locally produced, like Daily Dish, and what is from Morning Edition. Not the case here! The quality was so superb. Glad to hear WGBH putting some intersting, original, professionalsounding new stuff on the air! Kudos.
kara commented on 10.14.10
very interesting. im excited for the program.
katie commented on 10.14.10
Cant wait for more!
Amanda commented on 10.14.10
Watching The Making of Conviction on HBO right now...I still stand by my review, but this story is just so compelling
Sam commented on 10.14.10
Really intriguing and caught my attention right away! Cant wait for the next segment!
john commented on 10.14.10
It was a great program
Deborah commented on 10.14.10
Caught my attention right away as I heard the title of the movie, yet didnt know the specifics. Thanks for the info, will definitely go and see it. The unbias account was just what I was looking for. Very well written, cant wait until next week!
Maria commented on 10.14.10
Awesome, sounds like a great program!
Adam commented on 10.14.10
I remember hearing about this murder while a college student in the Boston area in 1980. However, I was long gone by the time of Kenneths conviction. This story is as intriguing as the movie "Hurricane" about the plight of Ruben "Hurricane" Carter. As for Moviola, I loved the honest banter between the host and producers. I look forward to the next segment. Good luck with this program!
Joe commented on 10.14.10
Insightful and thoughtful critique great idea and chemistry on air thanks and best of luck!
Julie commented on 10.14.10
I was on the fence about seeing another Hilary Swank tearjerker, but this interview with Betty Anne and Tony Goldwyn piqued my interest. Sounds like itll be worth the $$. Thank you!
Laurie commented on 10.14.10
Kathleen commented on 10.14.10
It is really wonderful to have a program that not only informs you about good movies but also fosters awareness of local connections tothe movie industry. This program will be supportive of the listening piblic on many different levels!
Mary commented on 10.14.10
Geri commented on 10.13.10
This is such a good idea. Who doesnt like to get "behind the scenes?" Cant wait to hear more.
Amanda commented on 10.13.10
Moviola = awesome idea. It is great to learn about movies with ties to our area.
Richard commented on 10.13.10
What a great program! I really enjoyed the review of conviction what an inspiring story!