February 11, 2005


After four lawyers fail to get an innocent man out of prison, his friend takes on the case himself. He becomes a do-it-yourself investigator. He learns to read court records, he tracks down hard-to-find witnesses, he gets the real murderer to come forward with his story. In the end, he's able to accomplish all sorts of things the police and the professionals can't.

A film based on this story was released in 2017, it’s called Crown Heights.


Carl King, a self-taught investigator, talks about the murder case he's working on now—one the police think they've already solved. Carl got started in this business after freeing his close friend from prison. He now runs an organization, called Success to Freedom, devoted to helping wrongfully convicted inmates. (2 minutes)

This story was made into a film in 2017, called Crown Heights.

Act One

Act One

Reporter Anya Bourg tells the story of Carl King's first case, where he's able to accomplish what experienced detectives and lawyers were not. He proves that his friend was innocent. In this first half of the show, we hear the story of the crime. In 1980, Mario Hamilton was gunned down in the street in Brooklyn. A teenager claimed to have seen it happen. With police prompting, he fingered a guy named Collin Warner as the shooter. No matter that everyone in the neighborhood said someone else murdered Hamilton and that Warner had nothing to do with it. And no matter that the teenager hadn't witnessed the murder at all. A jury convicted Warner, and he was sentenced to 15 years to life for killing a man he'd never even heard of. Carl, his childhood friend couldn't let it rest, and started to fight the conviction. He tells everyone he can about the case. He tracks down witnesses. He teaches himself to read court documents. Eventually, he gets a real estate lawyer hooked on the case. (29 minutes)

Act Two

Act Two

The story of Collin Warner continues. His friend Carl manages to convince the real shooter and the victim's brother (who watched him die on the sidewalk) to testify on Collin's behalf. After 21 years in prison, Collin goes free. (24 minutes)

Original music for the show by Single Minded Pros