FILMMAKER AND A MUSICIAN CAME BACK TO NEW ORLEANS AND ENDED UP ENGULFED IN A STORM OF MURDER
BREAKDOWN OF NEW ORLEANS' INFRASTRUCTURE ESCALATES THE CITY'S MURDER RATE -- ON "48 HOURS MYSTERY" ON SATURDAY, OCT. 13
New Orleans was once known as a city with good beignets and great jazz, but since Hurricane Katrina, the Crescent City is gaining notoriety for its murder rate - the highest in the nation. Last year, 162 people were murdered in New Orleans. Police made arrests in a third of those cases, but as of today, there has been just one conviction. The New Orleans Police Department remains woefully understaffed and overwhelmed by the violence. "We're operating with nothing and trying to combat an escalating problem," police lieutenant Mike Glasser tells correspondent Erin Moriarty on 48 HOURS MYSTERY: "Storm of Murder." The broadcast looks at the deaths of two extraordinary people committed to rebuilding their beloved New Orleans, and follows the hunt for their killers - Saturday, Oct. 13 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
The murders of filmmaker Helen Hill and musician Dinerral Shavers are symbolic of the breakdown of the city's criminal justice system. They were two of nine people murdered within one week. After Katrina, Hill, a Harvard-educated animator, returned to her adopted city with her husband and two-year-old son in spite of the risks. But early on the morning of Jan. 4, 2007, she was shot and killed by an intruder in her home. Her husband was wounded while protecting their son from a barrage of bullets. The child escaped without injury. Nine months after Hill was murdered, police still have made no arrest in the case.
Shavers was a dynamic drummer, a teacher and a father. On Dec. 28, 2006, Shavers drove to pick up his stepson who had called to ask for help. A gunman ran out and shot into his car, missing the stepson but killing Shavers. Police say there were a number of eyewitnesses, and within days there was an arrest. But when no one was willing to testify, the teenage suspect was released. Still feeling the pressure, police re-arrested him, vowing the case will proceed. A trial date has been set, but questions persist, including whether anyone will actually testify in a climate of fear.
Police say cold-blooded killers roam the city with no fear they'll ever pay for their crimes. More than two years after the storm, there are still sections of New Orleans that have to be patrolled by the National Guard. "American military patrolling the streets of an American city is not a sign of success," says lieutenant Glasser.
The murders of Helen Hill and Dinerral Shavers mobilized the city of New Orleans. Thousands marched to demand that the mayor, police chief and district attorney fix the broken system of justice and put an end to the storm of murder.
48 HOURS MYSTERY is produced by Joe Halderman, Deborah Grau and Stephen A. McCain. Peter Schweitzer is the Senior Producer. Susan Zirinsky is the executive producer.