Thursday, December 8, 2011

Dear Zachary Review

Dear Zachary  
Director/Studio/Author: Kurt Kuenne/Oscilloscope Studios/Kurt Kuenne
American release date: February 24, 2009
Format/Genre/Length: DVD/Documentary/95 minutes
Publisher/Industry Age Rating: NR
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Andrew Bagby was a special young man with a big heart, whose potential was destroyed, his life cut short by a psychotic woman. This is his story—and more.


Andrew was a nice looking, friendly young man with a lot of personality, and a lot of drive. His  death came as a shock to many people. The manner of his dying was especially horrific, coming at the hands of a woman he’d dated but had broken up with. She refused to accept that from him, and because he spurned her, she killed him, then fled the US for her native land of Canada. St. Johns Newfoundland, to be precise. Andrew’s parents, Katie and David, fought to get her extradited back to the US to stand trial for the murder of their son. The plot thickened. It turned out that Shirley Turner, Andrew’s ex and his killer, was four months pregnant with Andrew’s child. What followed was a nightmare.

Katie and David moved from their home in California to Canada in order to be near their grandchild, and to be a part of his life, uprooting themselves from the home they’d lived in for some twenty-five years. In due course, Zachary was born. The legal shenanigans which ensued were extraordinary and ridiculous. Twice, the accused killer was set upon the streets, having been determined to be no danger to the community. Despite having three other children by three other men, all of whom had custody. Despite having threatened other lovers with suicide and/or death. If one examines Shirley Turner’s actions preceding and following her murder of Andrew Bagby, it becomes incomprehensible that this could be.

And yet it was.

And the worst was yet to come…


My son Michael recommended this film to me, and I’ll unabashedly admit I cried my eyes out. He’d warned me about that, told me to watch it without even knowing what it was about. He’s very wise, my son. The film was heartwrenching, poignant, touching… a fitting tribute to a man I would have loved to be able to know. His friends cannot say enough good things about him. His parents are amazing—in their devotion to him, and to his son Zachary, and in being able to instill the love and respect that they have. They’ve had to be strong, in a world gone crazy.

I watched all the extras on this film, including Andrew’s fire story, and his best man toast. And the home movies of Zachary. It’s worth every minute of it. Kurt Kuenne has captured Andrew Bagby for posterity. I commend him for it, and recommend this film to everyone.

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