Werner Herzog’s “On Death Row” for ID explores humanity’s despair

Werner Herzog directs four-part series "On Death Row"The name Werner Herzog conjures so much awe and mythology that it’s almost hard to believe he has a four-part series on Investigation Discovery. But then you find out that the series is called On Death Row and is a companion to his recent film, Into the Abyss, that debuted to rave reviews with its exploration of prison life and the crushing ramifications of the death penalty. Premiering Friday, March 9 at 10pm ET/PT, the Academy Award-nominated Herzog uses On Death Row to take viewers still deeper into the heart of darkness.

German-born, Herzog respectfully disagrees with the concept of capital punishment, but in On Death Row, he eschews the political discussion in favor of exploring the emotions of those who are faced with the knowledge of their own expiration date, engaging them in intense discussions and witnessing their reactions. Four episodes encompass interviews with five inmates — one of whom was executed only last week.

On Death Row: James Barnes

Friday, March 9

Convicted of murder in 1998 after having hidden his wife’s corpse in a closet, James Barnes went to prison to serve out his sentence. While in prison, he converted to Islam, and during the holy month of Ramadan, confessed to the sexual assault and killing of Patricia Miller in 1988. Barnes pleaded guilty and was sentenced to death.

On Death Row: Linda Anita Carty

Friday, March 16

Linda Carty was convicted and put on death row in February 2002 for the murder of 25-year-old Joana Rodriguez, as part of an apparent plot with three co-conspirators to abduct Rodriguez’s four-day-old son. The victim was hog-tied with duct tape with a bag taped over her head and placed in the trunk of a car, leading to her suffocation. Carty has appealed her conviction tirelessly, but if she receives the punishment for which she is scheduled, she’ll be the first black British woman to have been executed in more than a century.

On Death Row: Joseph Garcia/George Rivas

Friday, March 23

At 19, after a night of binge drinking, Joseph Garcia repeatedly stabbed a man and earned himself a 50-year prison sentence. Six years in, he and six other inmates — a now-infamous gang known as the “Texas Seven” — went over the walls, but in the process, several escapees shot and killed a police officer. On their capture and conviction, all seven were given the death penalty. George Rivas, the alleged founder and leader of the group, was put to death by lethal injection just last week.

On Death Row: Hank Skinner

Friday, March 30

What first seemed an open-and-shut case is now open again. Hank Skinner was convicted of murdering Twila Busby and her two sons based in part on the evidence that he was found nearby with blood from the crime scene on his shirt. He received the death penalty. Protesting that insufficient DNA evidence had been presented, Skinner received a stay of execution from the Supreme Court just 45 minutes prior to his lethal injection was to take place. He’s still on death row in Texas, but new DNA testing is proceeding.



Photo: Investigation Discovery


  1. Were you and I watching the same four episodes?!?! Those people are guilty. Guilty and deserve to die. Not sure that they even deserve to have “movies” made about them. Pieces of cr*p and should get the death shot tomorrow. Carty – I mean… Honestely?!?! Hoarding baby stuff. Kidnapped baby found in her car. Mother dead in her other car. Lying about being pregnant and having a baby soon. COME ON!!!

  2. Can’t believe this party law…what an outrage. It’s been acknowledged that Garcia was not involved at the crime (death ) scene. How can he be sentenced to death for this crime ?
    Texas law is no better than Nazi law. Shame on you .

  3. Honestly I am sad to share the last name with this man. The people that are on death row are there for a reason. It takes CRITRIA for them to earn that spot. If you have ever been a victim of a violent crime, or if you work with the vilent, long term criminal populationj you understand the manupulation they play. I hear how sorry they ae. How bad it is… However the first one sat there and owned that He killed after raping in a viloent, brutal manner.

    The fact is that they get a shot and go to sleep. To many dont hear the ones that say its not that bad, or what ever when they die. Thy by the propaganda of the anti DP movement. I remember The Carty case. IT was LIVE on the news when they open the car trunk. She had that baby in her arms. She wanted a kid and killed for it. If you ever put anything over someones head that does not allow them to breath you are trying to kill them. May they all be put down sooner rather then later.

  4. i think youre doing a great job. you need to go to more death rows in america and interviews the ones who are falsely accused of crimes they didnt commit. look into the case of Tyrone Noling falsey accused of a crime he didnt commit they wont do a dna test on a cigarette because they are afraid that it comes from the real killer please look into his case thank you

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  1. "First Week In" not exactly filled with TLC

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