Murder on a Sunday Morning

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Murder on a Sunday Morning
Murder on a Sunday Morning.jpg
Directed byJean-Xavier de Lestrade
Produced byDenis Poncet
CinematographyIsabelle Razavet
Edited byPascal Vernier
Ragnar Van Leyden
Music byHélène Blazy
Distributed byDirect Cinema (video)
Release date
  • September 14, 2001 (2001-09-14) (United States)
  • February 26, 2003 (2003-02-26) (France)
Running time
111 minutes
United States

Murder on a Sunday Morning (French: Un coupable idéal) is a French-American documentary film directed by Jean-Xavier de Lestrade. Its subject is the Brenton Butler case, a criminal case in which a fifteen-year-old boy was wrongfully accused of murder. The film won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 74th Academy Awards in 2002.[1]


Brenton Butler was arrested and tried for the murder of a tourist in Jacksonville, Florida. The prosecution's case relied heavily upon a positive eyewitness identification made by the victim's husband, and on Butler's confession, which the teen testified was the result of physical coercion by police. The film follows Butler's defense team building their case for his innocence.


After Butler was acquitted, the police and the prosecutors were heavily criticized by a grand jury who investigated the case and the behavior of the police. Eventually, the Duval County sheriff was put in charge of the case who ordered the case reopened. In 2004, a different man was convicted of the murder.[2]


  1. ^ "Murder on a Sunday Morning". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Baseline & All Movie Guide. 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-05-30. Retrieved 2008-11-23.
  2. ^ Patterson, Steve. "Patrick McGuinness, Jacksonville defense lawyer known from Oscar-winning film, dies at 70". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved 29 March 2021.

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