January 12, 2016

In the United States, juries are often seen as democracy in action. Twelve men and women are asked to hear an entire case, and ultimately, decide another person’s fate. But in Alabama, in capital murder cases, the jury’s decision between life and death is only a recommendation.

This story begins back in 2008, when a violent crime was committed in the small town of Auburn, Alabama. It was in the evening, at the start of spring. Shannon Rae McKenzie was at home with her kids.