Whenever I lose a young friend, my first thought is for those who survive them. Having to deal with the grief or a life without them is tough, especially when you take stock of all the good memories. This was the reason why I was drawn to Kurt Kuenne’s 2008 documentary about his best friend Andrew Bagby. As a tribure, he collected messages and stories from people all around the world to share the life and legacy of the brother he lost with Andrew’s son Zachary.
What makes this story truly remarkable and unique is that the accused, and wildly known pre meditated murderer, didn’t know she was pregnant at the time the crime was committed. In a fit of rage, Dr. Turner took the life of her ex boyfriend, 12 years her junior, weeks shy of his graduatiom from Family Practice Medicine, in Larobe, Pennsylvania. Andrew died not knowing he had left a son behind, and that his parents were about to embark on a journey that would uproot them to St John, Newfoundland to engage his killer in an incredible custody and legal battle 3,000 miles away from home.
Getting justice for Andrew and for Zachary became a crusade for Kate and Dave Bagby who were failed by the Canadian justice system. As victims of a violent crime, they felt the government had no sense of remorse nor guilt, or a need to get them justice for their family. You will be torn between the sadness of grief and the anger and disgust the Bagby clan amd friends experience as they share their thoughts about Andrew and the events transpiring in real time. Be warned that the devastating twists the narrative takes and the cruel ending of the story will shock and the strongest and coldest of hearts to tears. These people danced with the devil and lives to tell the tale. Tip of the hat to the cast and crew for teaching us about true love, devotion and grit under the most extreme of circumstances.
For more information about the case and to expand on the documentary, check out Dave Bagby’s book Dancing with the Devil.