Movie inspired by story of 12-year-old who killed grandparents in Chester in 2001
More than 15 years after Christopher Pittman’s shocking killing of his grandparents in Chester County, when he was 12 years old, the case has spawned a movie.
The movie, called “Proverbs,” was inspired by the story of Pittman, said Marcus McCall, the executive producer who made the movie along with director Terry Davis. The men are part of the South Carolina Film Institute and plan to show the movie at film festivals and other venues.
Pittman does not appear in the movie and is not involved in it, McCall said.
The movie focuses on the use of Zoloft, an antidepressant drug, and the troubled child, but is not a documentary, McCall said.
In the movie Pittman wins a huge settlement, McCall said. In real life there was no settlement or civil action because Pittman was found guilty in criminal court and the so-called Zoloft defense did not work.
The 90-minute film’s release is pending.
Pittman, now 28, was 12 years old in 2001 when he shot his grandparents in their Chester County home after he was disciplined for bad behavior on the school bus. He burned their house down to try to cover up the crime. He was caught by police and ultimately confessed to the crime.
The case caught the attention of America and sparked a debate over child rights. Children’s advocates rallied against the use of the drug and Pittman being tried as an adult.
Despite Pittman’s young age he was tried as an adult. His trial in 2005 was a national event, covered live as Pittman’s lawyers blamed antidepressants for the killing. The show “48 Hours” did a special show on the case.
Prosecutors balked at the drug defense, and called the murders an adult crime.
Pittman was convicted of murder and sentenced to 30 years in prison, but the conviction was overturned because his lawyers did not tell Pittman’s guardian ad litem – a court-ordered lawyer assigned to protect his rights – about the offer of a plea deal.
In 2010, Pittman pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and remains in prison. He will be released in 2023 when he is 34.