Posted on Friday, December 17th, 2010 by Germain Lussier
One of the most gut-wrenching, heart-wrenching and emotional documentaries to be released in past few years is Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father. Directed by Kurt Kuenne, the film begins as a portrait of Kuenne’s murdered best friend Andrew Bagby so that Bagby’s newborn son, Zachary, can watch it when he’s older. It becomes much more than that though once Zachary’s mom, Shirley Turner, who is also accused of killing Bagby, comes back into the picture.
The film’s story isn’t exactly a secret but on the off chance you haven’t it and don’t know the story, I won’t ruin it above the jump. (It’s available on Netflix Watch Instantly and is a must watch.) For anyone who knows the film, though, its legacy now extends beyond the screen. Zachary’s Bill was officially made a law in Canada on Wednesday. Explaining what that specifically means gives away major events in the movie, so we’ll discuss it after the jump.
If you’ve seen Dear Zachary, you know that Shirley Turner, who was sent to jail for the murder of Andrew Bagby, gets out on bail to take her son Zachary away from his grandparents – Bagby’s parents, David and Kate – and then kills both herself and the child. There aren’t words to describe the feeling a viewer gets when this news is revealed, so to even begin to imagine what the Bagby’s must have felt is beyond comprehension.
David and Kate Bagby endured, however, and set out on a quest to change the Canadian laws that allowed Shirley Turner, a convicted murderer, out on bail. That was 2003. Now, in 2010, Bill C-464, nicknamed Zachary’s Bill, was finally signed into law. The law “amends the Criminal Code to refuse bail to those charged with serious crimes when necessary to protect the safety of the public, specifically children under the age of 18,” according to the Global Regina.
Dear Zachary remains a truly sad story and an incredible documentary. But this news finally gives David and Kate Bagby, along with their son Andrew and little Zachary, the littlest bit of redemption from the evil they were forced to endure.