But the victim, Hazel Tanis, a 56-year-old waitress and soon-to-be grandmother, was shot four times with a .38 caliber and once with a shotgun. The New York Times wrote: "Her daughter, Barbara Burns, stayed with her for 28 days as she struggled to survive, her midsection shredded by bullets. ... Ms. Burns re-enacted her mother's begging for mercy on the bar floor: 'Why are you doing this? I'm a mother. These are innocent people.' (Co-defendant) John Artis hesitated, and Carter said: 'Finish her. Finish her.' With fresh fury, she recalled her mother's words: 'You don't look a man in the eyes and plead for your life and forget what he looks like.'''
An eyewitness ID'd the killers and their getaway car. Within minutes, the police apprehended Carter driving a car that matched the description. According to New Jersey Star-Ledger columnist Paul Mulshine, police found two bullet shells in Carter's car, shells that fit the weapons used in the shootings.
During the first trial, Carter presented several "alibi" witnesses, who placed Carter elsewhere at the time of the crime. During the second trial, however, many of Carter's "alibi" witnesses changed their testimony, stating that Carter had bribed them.
In the movie, a Carter defender states that two "all white" juries found Carter guilty. False. The second jury contained two blacks.
Although not mentioned in the movie, Carter publicly claimed he passed a lie detector test. Not so, says Jim DeSimone, son of the now deceased out-to-get-Carter detective portrayed in the film. DeSimone says that Carter flunked a lie detector test. Moreover, the authorities offered Carter, on the eve of the second trial, a chance to take a second test. Pass it, they said, and we drop the charges. Carter refused.
Did the boxing judges steal the middleweight title from Carter in an act of racism?
His opponent, Giardello, shown handed a victory he did not deserve, sued the movie for defamation. He received a settlement, including changes in the film. At his death in 2008, a Los Angeles Times obituary read: "Most contemporary observers and boxing historians agree (the Carter fight) was a hard-fought contest won by Giardello.
Finally, was Carter "exonerated"?
Judge Lee Sarokin set aside Carter's second conviction after nine years. He ruled that the prosecution erred in advancing a motive theory not, according to the judge, supported by the evidence. The prosecution, noting that Carter had already served 19 years and that several witnesses were then deceased, declined to try him a third time. That is not "exoneration."
Don't think there will be a sequel.