Collier Boyle was 11 years old when his mother Noreen was killed by his father. John Boyle struck his wife’s head with a blunt object and hid the body under the concrete floor of a house in remote Mill Creek, Pennsylvania, where he planned to start over again with his pregnant mistress. Collier’s testimony at the trial put his father in jail. Two-time Academy Award-winning director Barbara Kopple explores in crime in the new documentary, A Murder In Mansfield. The film, which had its world premiere at DOC NYC and played leading film festivals including Full Frame, AFI Docs and IDFA, will have its national television debut exclusively on Investigation Discovery on November 17.
“As a storyteller, there is no one better than Barbara Kopple to capture Collier’s life journey, and we are honored to partner with her and her team at Cabin Creek Films to bring ID viewers on his awe-inspiring journey of resilience and reconciliation,” Henry Schleiff, Group President, Investigation Discovery, Travel Channel, Destination America and American Heroes Channel, said in a statement.
“Eleven-year-old Collier Boyle and his family lived comfortably in Mansfield, until New Year’s Eve in 1989, when Collier’s father, Dr. Jack Boyle, murdered Noreen, his wife of 20 years,” according to the official synopsis. “With only circumstantial evidence connecting Dr. Boyle to the crime, Collier’s devastating testimony was the key to convicting him. Now, more than two decades later, Collier returns to Ohio seeking to retrace his past and confront his imprisoned father, who remains in denial of his guilt.”
A Murder In Mansfield explores the legacy of the notorious 1989 murder of Noreen Boyle in Mansfield, Ohio, through her son Collier’s “journey for answers and peace in the aftermath of his mother’s death nearly three decades ago,” according to the press statement. “Families and friends of the victims of violence become secondary victims, often suffering a lifetime of post-traumatic stress,” Schleiff said.
“Collier’s depth of character is a wonder to behold from childhood to adulthood, and out of his tragic story, we witness the power of human resilience,” Kopple said in a statement. “I am grateful that Collier has trusted me with his story, and believe this film shows the power of the human spirit, and our ability to rise above tragedy.”
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Barbara Kopple directed the documentaries Harlan County U.S.A., and American Dream, which both won Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, Dixie Chicks: Shut Up & Sing, Fallen Champ: The Untold Story of Mike Tyson, and This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous, which recently premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Her documentary Miss Sharon Jones! was nominated for the NAACP Image Award. Running from Crazy, which premiered at Sundance in 2013, received a national television release on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network and a Primetime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special. She directed the feature film Havoc, starring Anne Hathaway, Bijou Phillips and Freddy Rodriguez, as well as episodes of OZ on HBO and NBC’s Homicide. Kopple is currently in production on documentaries about refugees in Canada, 21st Century civil rights in America, and the attempted Iranian hostage crisis rescue mission by U.S. special ops.
A Murder In Mansfield will debut on Investigation Discovery on November 17, 2018 at 9 p.m.Culture Editor Tony Sokol cut his teeth on the wire services and also wrote and produced New York City’s Vampyr Theatre and the rock opera AssassiNation: We Killed JFK. Read more of his work here or find him on Twitter @tsokol.