I am a Killer (2018) s02e08 Episode Script

Crossing the Line

[distant conversation.]
[door opens.]
[woman.]
I feel like I need to tell my story because I don't feel like a killer.
I just was a hurt little girl that, um, had a lot of pain.
I'm not a bad person.
I just made a mistake.
It could have been different.
I could have, um, walked away, 'cause it's it's not it's not right to take somebody's life.
And if I could take it back, I would.
I would, because it was wrong.
[man 1.]
This is a true story.
I'll start it off like that.
[man 2.]
I just wanted to rebel.
I wanted to cause chaos.
I looked over at him.
We're gonna see who kills who.
[woman.]
I made the choice.
I took his life.
[man 3.]
It's something that I never intended to do, I wish I didn't do.
[man 4.]
I knew I was gonna get out of that car and murder those two men.
[man 5.]
As he kneeled in front of me, all I remember is pulling the trigger.
[man 6.]
I'd killed them both.
I'd stabbed them to death.
My name is Cavona Flenoy.
I've been incarcerated for ten years for a shooting.
[train horn blares.]
I was born in Kansas City, Kansas.
[birds singing.]
I grew up, like, in the middle class and, you know, I had everything I wanted.
I didn't go without anything.
You know, my mother was a minister.
I used to help her at her church, and I helped her, um, sing and clean our house.
I just liked my big mama.
I'm a big mama's child.
It all got bad when I went to middle school.
I got into kind of a back-and-forth thing with this little boy.
He pushed me down and he lifted up my shirt.
He started, um, licking my breast.
I had many forms of abuse.
You know, I lost I lost the best part of me.
I lost my virginity.
I lost hope.
I lost my self-esteem.
And I feel like they got away with it.
They just got on the wrist, easy.
No justice for me.
I was very lost and confused and I wanted to ask God why it happened to me.
That's when I started being a little girl that was bitter and angry.
They got me a counselor.
So, when I start talking about it, I get angry, because I'm just like, you know, it's just bringing up the past issues.
Then, when they put me on medication, I stayed asleep.
How is that dealing with my problems? I started using drugs and alcohol to numb my mind, numb my heart.
And I just feel like I'm living in hell.
[birds chirping.]
I was 16, turning 17 years old, when I had my son.
That was the most beautifulest thing, because I felt like my son was going to be the only man that probably wouldn't hurt me in life.
I had to say, "No more," to hurt or pain, because now I had to be a protector for him.
So, if I couldn't protect myself, how can I protect my son? And then I felt like, "If I go and get a boyfriend myself, then I will have somebody to protect me.
" And that was no good either.
When he started drinking and smoking with me, his mind kind of got mad.
He used to punch me and got very abusive with me.
And he hit me so hard to black me out that I had to get rushed to the hospital.
And when I was in the hospital, the police asked do they want to make a police report.
I said no because what was he just gonna get? Probation? After that, I was scared, so I called my cousin.
And I told him what was going on.
And he said that there was a gun for sale and he said it was $100, and I got the gun.
I took my gun, like, everywhere with me.
It was always in my purse.
At this time, I was living on 78th and State in Kansas City, Kansas, right up the street from the liquor store where I met Hassan.
I drove down to go and buy liquor.
And the man that was at the counter told me that he know this wasn't my ID.
And that, you know, I can have the liquor if I go on a date with Hassan because he's looking for a friend.
So I agreed to go on a date.
The day of the date, I dropped my son off at my mother's house.
And my mother didn't want me to go anywhere.
She was telling me that, you know, she feel like something bad is about to happen, you know.
I'm like, "Mama, it's okay.
Everything will be fine.
" Hassan picked me up in front of my house.
So I went out and he said that he was taking me to Golden Corral.
Then we got on the highway.
As we was going, I'm like, "We're driving a long time.
" And he said, "Yes, I feel like that I wants to go to the house and take a shower.
" So, thinking, you know, me you know, having a job myself, I get from working, I would want to take a shower too, so I had very much understanding.
So when I went to the house, he asked me did I want some Hennessy and I said yes.
And then he gave me something that I didn't even know what it was and he said that it was PCP.
And so I tried it.
When he got out the shower, he was butt naked with a condom on.
And he told me that I owed him.
You know, for the liquor and everything else and he told me that I had to suck his dick or fuck him or I wasn't going anywhere.
I told him, "Please, no.
Just please let me go home.
Let me go back home to my son.
" And he said, "No, you're staying.
You're staying with me.
" And this man is like 6'7", 200 pounds.
In my mind, I felt like there's there's no way I can get away from this man.
[sighs.]
[groans.]
And so he laid down and when he laid down, I tried to go the other way.
He said no.
So, at the first instant, I grabbed the gun out of my purse.
And I closed my eyes and I shot.
[gunshot.]
After I shot, he ran towards me.
And when he ran towards me, I'm like, you know, me as a kid looking at the movies, like, when you shoot, you know, they cannot move anywhere.
And, no, he came running after me and told me to give him the gun.
I shut the door and I tried to He tried to bring the door this way.
So I'm shooting through the door and I'm like, "Please stop.
" So then, after that, I ran, grabbed his car keys and he's still chasing me out.
And I got in his car.
And I didn't know where I was going, so I just kept on going straight.
And I went to my cousin's house and I told him, I said, "I'm scared and I did something bad and I don't know I don't know what I should do.
" And I wasn't going to call the police, because I'm like, "Well, um, what would they do to help me?" [woman.]
I don't believe that my daughter wanted to hurt this man.
He tried to make her do some things sexually that she didn't want to do.
My name is Stacey Lewis and I'm Cavona Flenoy's mother.
She was very unique, even as a baby.
You know, she had these big, bright bubble eyes and stuff like that, but her main thing was dancing.
Cavona was a dancer.
She could dance you under the table.
Cavona told the lawyer that she wanted to claim self-defense.
Self-defense is like a five to seven, a seven to ten.
But the lawyer advised Cavona to plead guilty to a second-degree murder, because she said she was gonna lose in trial.
They gave her no other choice but second degree.
I knew she was gonna go to prison.
But the lawyer had told me that it was up to the judge on how much time that she got.
I thought the most that my daughter would have did was ten.
And then I thought she would do the rest on probation.
I was very shocked when my daughter got 25 years.
Only thing that they cared about is this girl came into Platte County and she was black, of color.
She killed someone in their county.
And they wanted to prosecute her.
They wanted to send her away.
And they painted that picture.
"If you come in Platte County, this is what you're gonna get.
" Going to trial would have been a better option for her, 'cause all the evidence and the truth would come out.
[woman.]
Cavona's plea to second degree was a mistake.
The fact that she pled to second degree said that she was guilty of things that were not true.
She didn't have that intention to kill him.
She was trying to defend herself.
So that could have been presented to a jury and I think would have led to a really different outcome for her.
My name is Marilyn Hutchinson.
I am a psychologist in Kansas City, and I was hired by Cavona Flenoy's defense attorney to evaluate her.
Most of the cases that I do have some sort of inherent tragedy in them.
People who were abused in childhood, people who had long suffered in domestic violence situations.
Um, this particular case was also true to that.
I met Cavona on August 5th, 2010.
Prior to that, I read a number of the investigations and interrogations and police reports.
In the DVD that was made of her police interrogation, one of the things I was struck by when I listened to her is she had multiple instances of sexual assaults, beginning at a young age.
[Cavona.]
I got raped my whole life.
[sobbing.]
I I didn't I didn't trust nobody.
- I understand.
- And the people The people that raped me so many times [sobbing.]
none of them got in trouble.
- None of them got in trouble! - It's okay.
None of them.
How did that happen? [Cavona cries loudly.]
[officer.]
How many times have you been raped? Your relatives? Your relatives? Your family friends? Everybody, people that live around my neighborhood.
When I went into sixth grade [bleep.]
He raped me in his house.
It got investigated, got dropped.
Then, the next week, his friend got me in the woods by my house and raped me.
[sobbing.]
Then his other friend, the next week, came and raped me.
And all three of them, they did it.
So So messed up! [Marilyn.]
I found Cavona to be an anxious depressed slightly suicidal woman who was really scared.
She had multiple instances of sexual assaults, beginning at a young age.
The first time she was raped, she was 12 years old.
She reported them and nothing happened.
She clearly would have learned "I'm not a person who matters.
People can do to me what they want.
People who are in authority aren't really gonna help.
And I'm on my own.
" After I completed my interview with her, I reached my diagnosis that PTSD was very evidenced.
That's post-traumatic stress disorder.
In post-traumatic stress disorder, there's an immediate freeze, fight or flight that is completely outside of conscious control and it's just an impulse in the moment.
What it predisposes you to is to be extremely reactive in any situation that is similar to that that caused the trauma to begin with.
And he said that, you know, I had to suck his dick or fuck him or I wasn't going nowhere.
I had the whole flashbacks of when I was 12 and when I was 13.
All that came to my mind at this time, and, um, I couldn't take no more.
[Marilyn.]
Cavona's history of sexual assaults certainly surpasses any normal human experience.
I know that Cavona killed a man.
I believe wholeheartedly that she did that in self-defense.
I believe that the law provides for people to defend themselves when they are going to be seriously hurt or harmed.
And, as such, I believe that she was treated unfairly and that it was not just.
[distant siren.]
[police siren.]
[woman.]
Once Cavona pled guilty to murder it was going to be extremely difficult to convince a judge to vacate that guilty plea.
I'm Kate Webber.
I've been an attorney for many years and I represented Ms.
Flenoy on the appeal of the denial of her post-conviction motion in state court.
I filed a brief with the Court of Appeals, arguing that, basically, the Motion Court was wrong and the court should have allowed her to withdraw her plea.
The way the system is now, it's a guilty plea mill.
Only about 3% of people charged with crimes actually go to trial.
And that's because there is unbelievable pressure from start to finish to plead guilty.
If the 97% of people who plead guilty actually demanded a trial, the system would grind to a halt.
I mean [chuckles.]
we don't have the resources for that.
I think what stands out about this case is [sighs.]
that the plea was so coerced.
In Platte County, a plea offer there is sort of a carrot and a stick.
"Here's the good thing we'll do.
We'll recommend second-degree murder.
But if you don't accept this offer by this date, we will recharge this case as first-degree murder.
" And, in my experience, they almost always follow through with that threat.
So, I mean, in my opinion, that's unconstitutionally coercing a guilty plea.
Um, you don't punish somebody for exercising their constitutional right to make the state prove them guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
And I think that's what it does.
What choice did Ms.
Flenoy have at that point? "Roll the dice and maybe never see my two-year-old son again outside the walls of a prison or just go ahead and take this sentence and hope that the judge sees through it and gives me some decent time.
" What kind of choice is that? It's just very unfortunate that this happened to occur in Platte County, in my opinion, because I think a young white woman with the same circumstances and background, there probably would have been a different outcome.
I think that plays a factor.
After all, the prosecutor is an elected official.
He's elected by the people around him and the people around him are largely white.
The larger cities tend to understand the realities of what Ms.
Flenoy's life was like.
And Platte County doesn't.
[rumble of traffic.]
[man.]
The citizens of Platte County have decided that they believed in strict law enforcement.
We likely have higher sentences for murder than many other counties.
It's not uncommon for us to have defendants who say, "If I had known I was committing this crime in Platte County, I never would have done it.
" That, to me, is exactly what I want would-be criminals to think.
I'm Eric Zahnd.
I'm the Platte County, Missouri, prosecuting attorney.
I've been a prosecutor since 2003.
I prosecuted the case against Cavona Flenoy.
Cavona Flenoy looked like an innocent little girl.
Uh, her actions demonstrated her to be a very dangerous and violent, murderous person.
I believe that that we could have proven, um, a a first-degree murder case and Ms.
Flenoy would have spent the rest of her life in prison without any possibility of parole.
At the same time, because of of Ms.
Flenoy's young age, uh, because of, um, some of the other things that she had gone through as a child, we believed that we could obtain justice with a with a second-degree murder charge.
So we allowed her to plead guilty to that second-degree murder where we asked for life in prison.
Now, that means that she'll still be eligible for parole by the time she's about 40 and will certainly be released by the time she's 45.
So she'll have a chance to to re-enter, um, society, to, um, I assume, to reconnect with her with her son, who was quite young.
I do think that Ms.
Flenoy had a choice to make.
Whether she wanted to plead guilty to second-degree murder or whether she wanted to take that case to trial and risk facing life in prison without the possibility of parole.
I think it was a fairly generous plea agreement, given the facts of this case.
[man.]
Ms.
Flenoy went to that apartment with Mr.
Abbas for one reason only.
To take his money.
And she shot him three times.
Once in the chest, once in the face and once in the side.
It shows no intent of self-defense.
My name is Detective Sergeant Dennis Jones.
I was one of the detectives for the Hassan Abbas homicide here in Riverside.
The city of Riverside is not that large, so when a homicide does occur, it's a little bit of a shock.
It upsets them that something like that can happen here, because it's not supposed to happen in your community.
Uh, especially one of this size.
We are at the complex where Mr.
Abbas lived.
This is his building here, his door to his apartment.
We got the call from the roommate, saying that he found Mr.
Abbas on the floor.
Uh, obviously been shot.
On the, uh, officers' arrival, they found him near the front door.
You could obviously see the, uh, the victim, Mr.
Abbas uh, was not shot in the doorway.
He had moved throughout the apartment.
This is the the floor plan of the apartment.
This was his bedroom here.
And that was where the first shot was fired, while he was in the bed.
He was able to get up and she fired again and hit him in the chest and in the face.
Uh, he came around this way.
She fired again, missed and hit the wall.
She went out the bedroom door to the, uh front room, he followed her and collapsed right there by the front door.
His car keys were missing.
His wallet was missing.
The roommate was able to give us some good information on a female that had visited and that's, um, how this opened up.
We were able to, uh, identify Ms.
Flenoy pretty pretty quickly with information from the roommate.
And we were able to, uh, get her name from the clerk at the liquor store.
So we knew who we were looking for.
Uh, she had his car, so we knew what kind of vehicle to look for.
When she was arrested, she was transported to the police station here and interviewed by two detectives.
Walk me through this weekend, tell me how it got out of control.
[Dennis.]
At first, she tried to make it seem like it was self-defense.
He was, uh, going to rape her, that was the story, and that she felt uh, that she needed to protect herself.
[indistinct speech.]
[sobbing.]
If he wouldn't have did that, I would have never did that.
I swear to God.
I was just so scared.
[Dennis.]
But during the investigation, we found out that she planned out this whole event.
So she wasn't a victim.
We found out that she goes back to his apartment more than once.
On Were you over there Sunday afternoon? No, I wasn't over there Sunday.
I was just over there Friday and Tuesday.
Did you spend the night, Friday night? - Yeah.
He took me home Saturday morning.
- Okay.
So she spent the night with him Friday night, and he takes her home.
That Saturday afternoon, she purchases a gun.
How long have you had that gun? I just got it on Saturday.
We discovered that she knew that he had just recently received $2,400 in tax return money.
That was the real motive.
It was some type of robbery or some way of getting some type of cash or some type of, um, monetary value from Mr.
Abbas.
That's the reason she was there, the reason she bought a gun.
This is not someone who is in fear for her safety.
This is a woman who knew what she was doing, just didn't plan it out very well.
[birds singing.]
[Eric.]
We may never know the full extent of what happened in that apartment.
But the evidence points to the fact that Ms.
Flenoy may have wanted to rob Mr.
Abbas and he died in that encounter.
In my opinion, she didn't give a full account of that, uh, murder until she was left alone in the interview room with a couple of pieces of notebook paper.
And among the things she wrote was, "I push him down like I was about to fuck him.
I got the gun and I just pulled the trigger.
" That, to me, is the most forthright admission from Ms.
Flenoy as to what really happened in this case and, frankly, that amounts, in the State of Missouri, to first-degree murder.
Premeditated murder.
She, in the words of the Missouri law, deliberated.
She coolly reflected upon the matter for some period of time, no matter how brief, and decided that she was going to shoot Mr.
Abbas, ultimately resulting in in his death.
Hassan Abbas paid for Cavona Flenoy's crimes with his life.
I believe that a long prison term was absolutely justified.
[car horns beeping.]
[Kate.]
I don't see how the world is safer because Cavona Flenoy is in prison for 25 years.
She took a life, but she is not a killer.
If the state's theory was this was this was a planned robbery, this was a planned murder, this was deliberation, she planned to kill somebody to take his car or his credit cards or or, you know, any other property, it doesn't fit with the dozens of cases that I've seen where that's happened.
[horns beep.]
She did take his car, because he had driven her over there.
She had no way to get home.
She tried to use the gas card because the car was on empty.
I mean, these are the actions of somebody who felt threatened, panicked and then really panicked when she realized what happened.
You don't leave your shoes at a crime scene.
You don't run out.
That's the action of someone who's panicking.
[indistinct conversation.]
The police utilized all the familiar tactics to encourage her to talk to them, which she had no obligation to do whatsoever.
Now, the state that Cavona Flenoy must have been in at that point, emotionally, I can't begin to imagine.
But they interrupt that interrogation and they leave her with a pad of paper and a pen.
Write a letter to yourself, God, to your mother.
Whatever you want to do.
That's totally up to you.
Doodle, draw.
Whatever helps you to relax.
Okay? [Kate.]
This is a common tactic for getting people to make incriminating statements or statements that could be twisted into incriminating statements.
One little line of that could be interpreted as incriminating.
But I think it's a very ambiguous statement.
And there were many, many other statements in that doodling that directly contradict the inference that the state was trying to portray.
For example, those notes included a comment that there was just no way she was going to have sex with this guy.
But Mr.
Zahnd didn't bring that part out.
He brought out the one thing that she said that could be twisted to look incriminating.
And once they have that, then they own that interrogation.
Because they can go from there.
And that's what happened.
[birds singing.]
[Cavona.]
I feel like this is a dream and, one day, I'm gonna wake up.
At that time, I was going through my own thing, my own mental illness.
I just feel like, um, why am I here? 'Cause sometimes I don't feel like it's fair.
My plea offer, um [Cavona chuckles.]
it wasn't for real a plea offer.
They mainly told me, um if I don't take the second-degree murder, um, they're gonna make sure I never see my son again and I will live in the penitentiary for the rest of my life.
If I have my time again, um, I will take it to trial and I will explain, get to explain everything.
[interviewer.]
How many times did you go to that apartment? One time.
And that was the day that that happened.
[Dennis.]
She planned out this whole event.
So she wasn't a victim.
She goes back to his apartment more than once.
She spent the night with him Friday night, and he takes her home.
That Saturday afternoon, she purchases a gun and she shoots him.
Some stuff Like, um, I don't know.
Like, in that time, I was on drugs and alcohol.
Like, I don't remember everything.
You know? So [scoffs.]
It's it's not like, you know, I'm one of the persons that got up in the morning and said, "Today, I'm gonna shoot somebody.
" No.
No, I, um I didn't even remember I had the gun in my purse until I was in the room.
Like, it was in my purse, um a week and a half before I even met Hassan.
[Eric.]
In my opinion, she didn't give a full account of that murder until she was left alone in the interview room with a couple of pieces of notebook paper.
And among the things, um, she wrote was, "I push him down like I was about to fuck him.
I got the gun and I just pulled the trigger.
" I mean, at that time of, um, the video, um um I don't know, I guess I was just writing stuff down of, you know a lot of stuff that, um, happened that I didn't say, but it's like I say, it came out the wrong way.
You know, like, "Push him down so I could fuck him.
" Um I literally was trying to have in my mind what is the faster way that can keep him down and I'm up, that I can run.
But, um, through my mind, um I I felt like, after that I don't have no chance.
I felt like the only option was to shoot.
[distant conversation.]
That person that was there that night was not me.
It was, uh, that scared little girl at the age of 12 that was going through all of them emotions, um, that really didn't get healed and really didn't forgive all them times that I was hurt, um Now I have 25 years.
Like, is this really my life? Is it really? Is this really what I deserve? [distant conversation.]
I wish I could take it back.
[sobbing.]
I wish I could take it back, but I can't.
[sniffs.]
[sighs.]