‘Midnight Rider’ Prosecutors Face Historic Hurdles In Sarah Jones Case

Exclusive: Prosecutors in the Midnight Rider trial, set to begin March 9, are looking to become the first ever to convict filmmakers on manslaughter charges. In the 100 years between the death of Sarah Jones and the first film-related deaths — on July 1, 1914, when 16-year-old actress Grace McHugh drowned and cameraman Owen Carter died trying to rescue her while filming a scene for the movie Across The Border – more than 80 people have died in 52 fatal accidents while filming in the U.S. Only two resulted in indictments, none in convictions.

The last time a manslaughter case went before a jury was nearly 30 years ago, in the infamous Twilight Zone case, which ended in the acquittals of director John Landis and four co-defendants. “It was a very difficult case to prosecute,” Lea D’Agostino, the deputy district attorney who prosecuted the Twilight Zone case, later said. “You didn’t have people who went in maliciously to do something.

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