She Made Them Do It

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She Made Them Do It is a Canadian telefilm based on a true story: the Sarah Jo Pender case. It was directed by Grant Harvey and stars Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Mackenzie Phillips and Steve Bacic. It premiered on the Lifetime Network in December 2012.


Sarah Pender (Jenna Dewan-Tatum), a student, is sent to prison after her two roommates were murdered by her boyfriend Rick (Greyston Holt). She claims her innocence. After one of her appeals is denied, she escapes with the help of Prison Guard Scott Spitler (Nels Lennarson) and her friend Jamie Long (MacKenzie Phillips). The Marshall Sean Harlan (Steve Bacic) unsuccessfully pursues her and has to rely on the help of TV show America's Most Wanted. After Sarah is captured by local police officers, he picks her up and drives her back to prison.


A few differences between the film and the reality
the Film Reality
On the lifetime website, a summary of the movie She Made Them Do it states : Purportedly on the road to a productive and successful life after being abandoned by her mother at the age of three, Sarah in college. Sarah Jo Pender's mother did not abandon her 3 year old daughter. She had to leave Sarah in her father's custody while she went to California to care for her own father, who was dying of Cancer.
Sarah Pender sells drug to pay her tuition. Sarah Jo Pender worked as a secretary for a company called Carl E. Most and Sons.[1]
Scott Spitler, the prison guard, helped Sarah out of misguided love. Scott Spitler was expecting to be paid 15000 dollars for smuggling Sarah Jo Pender out of prison.[2]
Sarah Pender poisons another inmate to intimidate her. Sarah Jo Pender never poisoned anyone. This is an invention.[3]
Jamie Long lives in a shack and is married to a biker. Jamie Long lives in an ordinary house.[4] Her husband, Larry Long, is an ordained minister and reverend.[5]
Sean Harlan gets a cellphone from Roland, Sarah Pender's father. During the conversation he has with Sarah, she makes a slip up, somehow admitting that she was at the house at the time of the murders. Ryan Harmon never got a cellphone from Sarah Jo Pender's father and never talked to her while she was on the run.[6]
At the end of the movie, a scene shows Sarah Pender gunning down her roommates. In June 2003, in an affidavit, Richard Hull - Sarah Jo Pender's boyfriend admitted that he killed their roommates. he also admitted that he asked a cellmate to forge a letter incriminating Sarah (the letter mentioned in the movie).[7] He admitted as much during a 2005 Post Conviction relief hearing.[8]




  1. ^ US district Court - Southern District of Indiana, Case 1:07-cv-00464-DFH-TAB, Document 12-11, Page 8.
  2. ^ Court of appeals of Indiana, No. 61A01-0903-CR-139 Scott A. SPITLER, Appellant-Defendant, v. STATE of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff., July 01, 2009.
  3. ^ About the movie "She made Them do It Youtube - interview of Bonnie Prosser
  4. ^ ◦MacAnally,David, Police: Arrested woman said she helped killer escape August 08, 2008. - See photo.
  5. ^ State of Indiana VS Sarah Pender. Cause N° 49G06-0001-CF-194557. Transcript of Sentencing hearing (August 22, 2002) p 565
  6. ^ About the movie "She made Them do It Youtube - interview of Bonnie Prosser
  7. ^ Richard Hull's Affidavit Fair Justice for Sarah Jo Pender
  8. ^ Sarah Pender, petitioner VS State of Indiana, respondent. Cause N° 49G03-0010-PC-194557. Transcript of Post-Conviction Relief Hearing. 6September 6, 2005.