Filmmaker Matt Richards tells the story of Willie Bingham, the first inmate to undergo a gruesome new punishment introduced under the State’s revised stance on capital crime.
Under mounting pressure from an increasingly vocal public, the State has introduced “Progressive Amputation” as a controversial punishment for capital crime. The procedures, performed live in front of victims’ families, are carried out over several years and stop only at relatives’ request.
Willie is informed he’s been selected after murdering an innocent little girl while intoxicated. He’d prefer to be executed, but he doesn’t have a choice.
On the day of the first procedure, the victim’s family walks in to see the operation. They decide how far the surgeries will go. The father picks up the telephone and confirms he’d like the operation to continue. Then, the doctor takes the scalpel and cuts off Willie’s left hand.
Recovered, Willie is taken around to schools, where he shows the children what his criminal ways got him.
In March, they removed Willie’s right arm with a saw. Then, they send him to the more difficult high schools.
Willie’s supervisor tells him that everyone is happy with how things are progressing and that the victim’s father should be satisfied soon.
Gradually, they remove his limbs, and a kidney and lung. Willie is a shell of his old self. He sits in a delusional state, watching footage of his operations.
Finally, he goes in for the last surgery. He has no observable emotion. They remove his ears, nose and the tip of his tongue. As Willie lays in bed, motionless, covered in bandages, the victim’s father walks in and signs the paperwork, disgusted at what he has enabled.
That was five years ago. The light in Willie’s room is always on. He lays, eyes to the ceiling, dead silent — except the last week of every month. That’s when Willie goes to the high schools.