HELLO AMERICA!—The fall is destined to explode with excitement when Investigation Discovery, the TV network that specializes in documentary-style true crime programs premiers its new show, “Truth Is Stranger Than Florida.” Utilizing a mixture of reenactments featuring actors and interviews with real-life participants, the show will devote each episode to a different true crime case from the annals of the Sunshine State. Each episode will introduce a different case both famous and infamous.
The premiere episode focuses on a murder case which helped in changing criminology as we know it. In 1978, three people were found murdered after hours inside a Miami health spa. The owner of the spa and two cleaning women were the victims. Because these were the years before DNA evidence-gathering techniques, investigators found little to go on regarding the murderer. One of the cleaning ladies, 18-year-old Patricia Beck, had been disrobed (but not sexually assaulted). The crime lab specialists to a gamble and dusted her body for prints. Then bingo, a print was found. It belonged to the spa owner’s business partner who had recently taken out a $100,000 life insurance policy on his now-dead friend.
This was the first time an intact fingerprint was lifted from the skin of a human body and accepted as evidence in a court of law. Based on that print, the partner, Stephen Beattie, was convicted of three counts of murder and sentenced to death. The tragic part of the story is Beattie had only planned to kill his partner. The two cleaning women were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. But if Beattie had not salaciously decided to disrobe Beck, the victims and their families might never have found justice.
Making her debut is actress Kera Lynn who portrays the difficult role of Patricia Beck. Even though a newcomer to the business, she projects the skill, passion and professionalism of a veteran. The actress who now resides permanently in Los Angeles was living in Florida when she shot the episode. She admits that she appreciates her former home state’s offbeat vibe.
“Maybe it’s the humidity or the eclectic mix of people but Florida is definitely unique! The people there dance to their own beat. Sometimes it’s for the better but sometimes it’s not” Kera found playing the role of one of true crime’s most well-known murder victims carried its own set of unforeseen challenges.
“The death scene itself is very physical, so basically I was pulling double-duty, doing acting and stunt work. And then, I had to spend many hours being a corpse which is something I’d never done before. Much of the episode is centered around my character’s dead body, so I spent a lot of time laying perfectly still which is not so easy to do. During lunch break on the day we were shooting my postmortem scenes for the direction-sake, I stayed on the floor. The production assistant fed me as I laid there! The cast and crew were great and it was a very positive learning experience for me as an actress”
“Truth Is Stranger Than Florida” debuts this fall on Investigation Discovery. Check date and time or visit www.InvestigationDiscovery.com for more details.