Directed and Produced by Derek Jones & Samantha Thornhill
One night in August of 1996, four black men were arrested in connection to the shooting of Michael Lahood Jr., a white 26 year-old San Antonio law student. They were also found guilty of two robberies that took place hours before the event that changed many lives forever. This film project reveals the stirring narrative of this story’s getaway driver, Kenneth Foster Jr., who exemplifies the term guilty by association. Under the lesser known law of parties, though Foster was factually innocent of the killing, in the eyes of Texas law he was regarded equally as guilty as the triggerman for letting him back into the car and fleeing the scene. As a result, Foster found himself on a path that was to define his life. Tried jointly (distinguishing his case from any other) with the shooter, Foster was charged guilty of Capital murder. At age 20, Foster began his decade on Texas death row. Daddy’s Glass House begins with the unforgettable story of Foster’s circumstance, who built from behind bars a worldwide campaign that successfully saved him from lethal injection–five hours before the fact–followed by his continued struggle to return home to his aging grandfather and teenage daughter Nydesha– who has aspirations of becoming a lawyer to help (those like) her dad.
What’s Unique About This Story
Being the first person to receive clemency from Governor Rick Perry of Texas, what’s furthermore exciting about this story is the passion that galvanized people all over the globe for a common cause involving the American Justice system as it relates to one man, Kenneth Foster. Such a turn out for a cause like this is rare, and so was the people involved in the outcome. From an Arch Bishop, to a former president, to the Roman Coliseum, to Bronx high school students, University professors, a former judge, and almost 18,000 people worldwide, the support behind this cause has been unfathomable. What they saw is what this film plans to reveal.
Widening the Lens
To intimately capture Kenneth Foster’s personal narrative would expose audiences to a tapestry of concerns, one being the Texas Law of Parties that allows factually innocent people to be sent to death for the actions of others. Secondly, is the mass incarceration of fathers, and the debilitating effects of the legal system on common people. Though to focus on the Law of Parties inevitably draws viewers into the larger discussion of capital punishment, the film’s aim is raise consciousness on the LOP as an aspect of the death penalty that is worthy of national focus. Alongside the case of Foster, the film will also highlight the narratives of two other victims of the LOP that are currently fighting for their lives on death row, Rudy Medrano and Jeff Wood. Their stories serve to strengthen Foster’s own narrative and personalize the LOP plight at large.
Kenneth Foster is serving a life sentence with the possibility of parole, and will be up for review in 2036. Foster and his support team refuse to accept this fate. Across borders, they are re-mobilizing to make possible his release from prison by the age of 40–which would mark half his life behind bars. (Foster is currently 36.) Daddy’s Glass House is seeking your support to capture the process of freedom for Foster and his integration back into society. In doing so, DGH seeks to expose the effects of the legal system on the forgotten lives of the incarcerated and their families, as well as show that someone that has served a sentence as long as Foster can still be an asset to society.
While not covered on CNN, the prison system is one discussion that is increasing momentum due to the growing abolitionist movement, as well as recent documentaries on the debilitating effects of the prison system such as The Interrupters and The House I Live In, produced by Russell Simmons, Danny Glover, and others. Also, as more states are outlawing the death penalty, the controversial execution of Troy Davis in Georgia as well as the recent release of the West Memphis three have peaked society’s doubts about this final application of the law. Furthermore, if the Law of Parties is not addressed on a legislative level, someone not worthy of the death penalty is likely to be executed, as there are several LOP inmates currently on death row fighting for their lives.
Daddy’s Glass House seeks to reach every corner of the American public, as we are touching on an American issue. The possibility of an injustice reaching an American citizen is beyond race, class or gender. Therefore, it is our aim to enlighten, educate, and empower as many people as possible as this film speaks to the dormant power that resides in everyone.