He shot a gay man six times in the back. Now he’s free.


THEOn the night of April 1990, 21-year-old Dale Wayne Sigler walked into a Subway store in Brazoria County, Texas, and stole $ 400 from him. When the man behind the counter, John William Zeltner Jr., attempted to escape into the back room, he was shot six times. The “exaggerated” nature of the crime implied that the two were not mere strangers, and the subsequent revelation that Sigler knew Zeltner helped convince a jury that he was not only guilty of the crime – to which he confessed. , after being apprehended – but the execution was premeditated. For this senseless massacre, Sigler received the death penalty, which was later reduced to life in prison following a change in the state’s jury selection laws.A spin-off of the popular true crime series that gives it its name, Netflix I am a killer: published (now streaming) is a three-part affair – each installment lasts around 30 minutes – which first introduces us to Sigler behind bars, speaking about the religious conversion that changed his life. “I am a walking miracle whether you want to accept it or not. You can’t take this away from me, ”he proclaims.

With tattoos adorning his arms and hands, a finely trimmed gray beard, and crooked lower teeth, the tall and sturdy Sigler cuts an imposing figure even as he tears himself apart while discussing the abuse his mother suffered at the hands of his father and sexual assault. he endured and blames him for sending him down the dark path of drugs, theft and homelessness. This descent came to a head when he took Zeltner’s life, for which he now says, “I apologize with my soul and my heart.”

Even though Sigler found himself on death row, I am a killer: published (aired earlier this summer in the UK as A killer without a cage) is not an inquiry into the morality or effectiveness of capital punishment. Rather, it is an open (and formally adventure-free) non-fiction inquiry into whether rehabilitation is possible and, furthermore, whether states should allow its most heinous offenders to have a second chance in society in general.When his sentence was reduced to life, Sigler was also given the option of seeking parole after 30 years. The series from producer / director Itamar Klasmer ends up catching up with Sigler – now an ordained minister who preaches the gospel at every turn, and is known in prison as the “Gentle Giant” – as he manages to be released and moves in. in the house of Carole Whitworth, aka “Mama Carole”. A 71-year-old single woman living in a mobile home in rural Texas with only her cats for companionship, Whitworth comes across as a lonely Christian, which in turn explains why she chose to enter into a correspondence relationship with Sigler. and, ultimately, to let him stay with her in his tiny residence.

It’s a strange arrangement, and one made stranger by the fact that prior to making this offer, Whitworth didn’t bother to ask Sigler the details of his breach. Despite the potential dangers of this situation – which naturally makes his grandson Shannon and his girlfriend uncomfortable – Whitworth enthusiastically greets Sigler when he emerges a free man and arrives at her house. Director Klasmer is here for these opening moments, which are accompanied by Sigler discussing the bizarre process of re-adjusting to a world that has changed dramatically since he last saw it, and his fear and excitement at the prospect of starting over are palpable. Not just wanting to paint a rosy picture of this development, Klasmer juxtaposes these early scenes with interviews with Zeltner’s two half-brothers, Forest and John, who remain bitterly angry at their brother’s death, as well as the Detective Tommy Lenoir and District Attorney Greg. Miller, who both discuss the brutal cruelty of Sigler’s actions.

The eventual revelation that Zeltner was gay and that everyone knew about it is key to understanding what Sigler did. In a state and at a time when being gay was far from safe, Zeltner’s sexual orientation made him an immediate target for hate crimes, although at least at trial it was not presented as a motivator for Sigler. Director Klasmer suspects otherwise, and a conversation with Sigler’s former friend Shawn Anttila – whose killer visited the house after the shooting – raises the notion that Sigler himself could have been living in the closet, thus helping to the reason he shot Zeltner. I am a killer: published, however, has a bigger bomb to drop: Sigler’s supposed “real” reason for committing homicide.

« “I’m a Killer: Freed”, however, has a bigger bomb to drop: Sigler’s supposed “real” reason for committing homicide.«

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