Conviction Interviews – Part 1: Betty Anne Waters

Ed: In this case, have they gone on, have they done any more research into who may actually have done it?

Betty Anne: No. I don’t think so. …A lot of times with things like this happen, they, I think the prosecution DA’s, they want to protect their office. And I think almost, there would still be a cloud saying he is guilty anyway. Like you know, a lot of times you want to think, that even though his DNA wasn’t there, that he did it anyway. That’s why they tried to say that they would re-try him as an accessory. That’s not uncommon in cases like this. ‘Cause they don’t want to look like they did something wrong at any cost. …This is the end of 11 days…

Ed: How many times, they must make you guys go through endless rounds of this…

Betty Anne: Well, I’m not used to this because I’m not Hollywood. So, I went from Rhode Island to New York to London to Dallas and then here without going home.

Ed: You might not know what time zone it is.

Betty Anne: I don’t. It’s like, it’s crazy. But it’s been interesting. I’ve met a lot of really interesting people, but um, I like the interest in the movie of course. Because of the Innocence Project. I mean, the movie part of it, that’s their thing, you know. They did a fabulous job. Like you asked about Hilary. And I think Hillary, she walks like me, she talks like me. Sam (Rockwell) on the other hand, I thought, okay, the only thing I knew about him was The Green Mile. And he was going to be my brother, oh boy. His stature is nothing like my brother. Sam’s just average. Kenny was huge. And they don’t look alike. But then I met him. He came to my house. And, he was walking around my house like he wanted to see everything. I’m like, um, “Where is he going?” You know? He would go into my son’s room that has my brother’s weights that he used to use. And he picked them up just to get a feel for my brother, you know. And so I could tell that he wanted to do this right. And I saw him on set doing the scenes. But, you know, he’d do all day long takes. I don’t know what’s going to end up on the scene.  So I didn’t know what I was going to see until I saw it. And I tell ya, boy, I’m telling ya I was blown away because that’s my brother. And he’s not a one-dimensional character. You know, he has many sides. I think Sam did a really fabulous job.

Ed: Yeah, he’s a pretty terrific actor.

Betty Anne: Yeah.

Joe: Yeah, you’re right. Talking, and seeing you sitting there, I keep picturing Hillary.

Betty Anne: Isn’t that funny?

Joe: It’s bizarre.

Betty Anne: Well, now you say that. I was with Juliette Lewis today. And I looked at her, and I want to crack up laughing at the scene that she did. She did such a good job of Roseanna. But then I see some of Juliette’s expressions and how she acted, and I’m like, I just can’t get over the part that she played. And she nailed Roseanna Perry. I can’t wait for Roseanna Perry to come see the movie. Because that’ll be justice all by itself.

Ed: Along those lines, obviously, the movie makers got your input cuz, you’re here. But, did they talk to, for instance her? Or at least offer her?

Betty Anne:She got her parts from the transcripts and mostly talking to Barry Scheck. Because I wasn’t on set when she was there. I was on set a lot, like 75% of the time. And I talked to Hillary a lot, and Sam, Minnie.  But, she wasn’t there. So she talked to Barry and read transcripts. So that’s how she got that together. The words, like “Railroad”, that’s from Roseanna’s transcripts. It wasn’t made up. So it was pretty funny.

Joe: I think, especially as far as the movie, one of the most inspiring parts of it, and I’m assuming this was in real life as well, there was no question in your mind that your brother was innocent. I mean usually, especially if a story like this is Hollywoodized, there’s always the moment of doubt. And then there’s the inspiring moment where they’re like “No, he’s really innocent”. And it wasn’t he’s innocent let’s get him out. You just knew.

Betty Anne: I knew he was innocent. I’ll tell you quickly, first of all, I know Kenny. He does not know how to handle a situation. He’s confronted, he’s going to fight back. But he’s not the aggressor. He’s not going to pick a fight with you. …I know he’s not going to break into some body’s home and kill them for their money or jewelry.  On the other hand, I was there the day, I drove an hour and a half the day that this murder happened because it was my neighbor and I was concerned about her. And my grandfather living right there with Kenny and everyone. And I found out that the police that day asked Kenny to come down for questioning, because anybody with a police record, and Kenny had one, it’s normal procedure. And Kenny’s alibi was that he worked at a diner all night, he was a short order cook. And he was in court the next morning for assaulting a local police officer. And for the first time ever, I was happy that he was in court. So I was thinking what a perfect alibi. And Kenny was arrested 2 and a half years later. And everything got twisted and turned. And the time cards from the diner went missing only for that week. Things like that happened. So, I know from the evidence, and from know my brother, who he is, that he was innocent. So that’s why I never doubted him.

Joe: Do you think it was, that they were out to get Kenny? Or is it that they just needed a conviction in this?

Betty Anne: I think Nancy Taylor needed a conviction. She wasn’t even a police officer at the time. She didn’t go to the academy until after Kenny’s conviction. She should not have been the head of a captial case. She didn’t even know Kenny until she got a phone call saying “I know some information of the person that did this”. So I think she just wanted to prove that she could solve a murder case. She did it not only to Kenny, she did it to at least one other person. He was released two years after Kenny. Dennis Mayer. And she was the police officer involved in coercing witnesses against him. He’s spent 19 years in prison.

Joe: Wow.

Betty Anne: So she did it to prove, I can do this. I can solve this. To be “Angie Dickinson” as Kenny would put it.

Ed: It was so great to meet you. Thank you very much.

Joe: Yes, thank you very much.

Betty Anne: Oh, thank you.

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I'm a family man who got his Drama degree back when the dinosaurs roamed the earth and now works at a desk. I love movies of all kinds, and I am still working my way through the list of 1001 movies you must see before you die.

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