15 Movies & Documentaries That Expose the Broken Military Justice System

Soldier’s Girl (Showtime):

New Army recruit Barry Winchell is assigned to a base in Tennessee. One night out to a local bar hosting a drag show. Calpernia Addams an in-transition transsexual drag queen, fascinates Barry, and they strike up a relationship. -Soldier’s Girl, Showtime (January 20, 2003)

Showtime Entertainment Released ‘Soldier’s Girl’: Based on the True Story of the Murder of Fort Campbell Army Pfc. Barry Winchell

In the Valley of Elah (Warner Bros):

“In the Valley of Elah” tells the story of a war veteran (Tommy Lee Jones), his wife (Susan Sarandon) and the search for their son, a soldier who recently returned from Iraq but has mysteriously gone missing, and the police detective (Charlize Theron) who helps in the investigation. -Warner Bros. (September 14, 2007)

Warner Bros. Premiered ‘In the Valley of Elah’: Based on the True Story of the Murder of Fort Benning Army Spc. Richard T. Davis

The Tillman Story (The Weinstein Company):

Pat Tillman never thought of himself as a hero. His choice to leave a multimillion-dollar football contract and join the military wasn’t done for any reason other than he felt it was the right thing to do. The fact that the military manipulated his tragic death in the line of duty into a propaganda tool is unfathomable and thoroughly explored in Amir Bar-Lev’s riveting and enraging documentary. -The Tillman Story (August 20, 2010)

The NFL, the MilItary, and the Hijacking of Pat Tillman’s Story

The Wounded Platoon (Frontline PBS):

The Wounded Platoon

Since the Iraq War began, soldier arrests in the city of Colorado Springs have tripled. FRONTLINE tells the dark tale of the men of 3rd Platoon, Charlie Company, 1st battalion of the 506th infantry, and how the war followed them home. It is a story of heroism, grief, vicious combat, depression, drugs, alcohol and brutal murder; an investigation into the Army’s mental health services; and a powerful portrait of what multiple tours and post-traumatic stress are doing to a generation of young American soldiers. –The Wounded Platoon (May 18, 2010)

Frontline PBS: The Wounded Platoon Documentary [Full Episode]

On the Dark Side of Al Doura (Maverick Media):

U.S. Army Ranger John Needham, who was awarded two purple hearts and three medals for heroism, wrote to military authorities in 2007 reporting war crimes that he witnessed being committed by his own command and fellow soldiers in Al Doura, Iraq. His charges were supported by atrocity photos which, in the public interest, are now released in this video. John paid a terrible price for his opposition to these acts. His story is tragic. –On the Dark Side in Al Doura (2011)

On the Dark Side in Al Doura (Iraq): Documentary Gives You an Inside Look at Toxic Leadership in the U.S. Army

The Invisible War (Cinedigm):

The Invisible War is a groundbreaking investigative documentary about one of our country’s most shameful and best kept secrets: the epidemic of rape within our US military. Today, a female soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire with the number of assaults in the last decade alone in the hundreds of thousands. -The Invisible War (June 22, 2012)

Military Rape Documentary Funded and Distributed by “Serial Predator” and Hollywood Movie Executive Harvey Weinstein

Women of War Documentary (Sundance Films):

Military Sexual Trauma or M.S.T. has been a fixture in the military for as long as human war has existed, and is still quite prevalent even in today’s modern military. This feature length documentary uncovers the origins and offers solutions to M.S.T. -Women of War Documentary (February 4, 2013)

Women of War Documentary, Phil Valentine [Full Episode]

The Frozen Ground (Grindstone):

“The Frozen Ground” is inspired by the incredible true story that follows Alaskan State Trooper Jack Halcombe (Nicolas Cage) as he sets out to end the murderous rampage of Robert Hansen (John Cusack), a serial killer who has gone unnoticed for 13 years. As the bodies of street girls start to pile up in Anchorage, fear strikes a chord with the public. -The Frozen Ground (August 23, 2013)

Serial Killer & Army Reserve Veteran Robert C. Hansen Died of Natural Causes While Serving Out a Life Sentence in Alaska State Prison

The Silent Truth (Midtown Films):

Ninety-four US military women in the military have died in Iraq or during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). ‘The Silent Truth’ tells the story of one of these women, PFC LaVena Lynn Johnson, who was found dead on Balad Air Force Base in Iraq. The army claimed she shot herself with her own M16 rifle, but forensic evidence, obtained by the Johnson family through the Freedom of Information Act, brings the army’s findings into question. The Army refuses to re-open LaVena Johnson’s case, leaving the family in limbo. ‘The Silent Truth’ follows the Johnson’s pursuit of justice and truth for their daughter. -The Silent Truth Documentary (July 1, 2014)

‘The Silent Truth’ Documentary: The Rape, Murder & Military Cover-Up of Army Pfc. LaVena Johnson in Iraq

The Kill Team (PBS Independent Lens):

The Kill Team looks at the devastating moral tensions that tear at soldiers’ psyches through the lens of one highly personal and emotional story. Private Adam Winfield was a 21-year-old soldier in Afghanistan when he attempted with the help of his father to alert the military to heinous war crimes his platoon was committing. But Winfield’s pleas went unheeded. Left on his own and with threats to his life, Private Winfield was himself drawn into the moral abyss, forced to make a split-second decision that would change his life forever. -The Kill Team, (July 25, 2014)

The PBS Documentary ‘The Kill Team’ Reveals How the Military Justice System Operates in Response to Media Scandals

Gangs in the U.S. Army (A&E Television):

Sworn to protect us from every enemy, foreign and domestic, and every day the majority of soldiers do just that ! yet some units are being compromised and turn into street gangs. An FBI report recently showed an increased gang activity within US soldiers. -Gangs in the U.S. Army Documentary (2017)

Gangs in the Military: Armed and Dangerous Forces

Final Vision (Investigation Discovery):

The ID Original Movie, FINAL VISION tells the true story of Jeffrey MacDonald, a handsome, Ivy League-educated U.S. Army Green Beret doctor, who was convicted of brutally murdering his pregnant wife and two young daughters in the middle of the night. -Final Vision, Investigation Discovery (December 10, 2017)

Investigation Discovery Premiered ‘Final Vision’: The True Crime Story of Former Army Captain Jeffrey MacDonald

The Kill Team (A24):

When a young US soldier in Afghanistan witnesses other recruits killing civilians under the direction of a sadistic sergeant, he begins to fear that the men he’s serving with might be the ones to kill him. -The Kill Team (October 25, 2019)

‘The Kill Team’ Movie Released: Based on the True Story of Army Whistleblower Adam Winfield

Leavenworth (STARZ):

Academy Award-winning filmmaker Steven Soderbergh and executive producers Paul Pawlowski and David Check tell the story of First Lieutenant Clint Lorance. Watch the Official Trailer for the upcoming STARZ Original Docuseries, Leavenworth, premiering October 20 on the STARZ App. (August 28, 2019)

STARZ Premiered ‘Leavenworth’: Docu-Series Examines Army 1st Lieutenant Clint Lorance Afghanistan ‘War Crimes’ Case

Ready for War (Showtime):

Andrew Renzi sheds light on the lives of three of the estimated thousands of immigrants who volunteer for service in the American military, yet find themselves deported from the US once their tours of duty are over. -Ready for War, Showtime (November 22, 2019)

The ultimate threat for deported U.S. veterans? Drug cartels, new documentary says

‘Gangs and the Military’ by Carter F. Smith Released (2017)

51mcx9AjdjL._SX312_BO1,204,203,200_Gangs and the Military: Gangsters, Bikers, and Terrorists with Military Training by Carter F. Smith

From the Author: The book documents the long history of gang members (street gangs, outlaw motorcycle gangs, and domestic terrorist – extremists) with military training in parallel with the history of the United States. Gang members have served in the military in each of the wartime eras and they continue to serve today. Some are trying to use the military to get out of the gang life – many are not. The criminals not only tarnish the reputation of the military, they increase the dangerousness of our communities. 

Description: Over the past several decades, there has been a continuous and growing focus on street gangs, outlaw motorcycle gangs, and domestic terrorist and extremist groups. Many of these groups have members with military training, and some actively recruit from current and former military veterans and retirees. That military experience adds to the dangerousness of veteran gang members, as well as those groups they associate with.

Related Links:
Gangs and the Military and Carter Smith (Website)
Gangs and the Military: Gangsters, Bikers, and Terrorists with Military Training by Carter F. Smith
Gangs and the Military and Carter Smith on C-SPAN (October 14, 2017)
10News I-Team Investigates Gangs In The Military
Red, White and Gangs: The problem of street gangs in the military
WREG Finds Soldier Living Double Life As Gang Member
MTSU professor wins 3rd top national award for gang violence research
East Side Storytellin’117 – When Carter F. Smith Described the Worst of Humanity and Ali Sperry Brought Us Back to Life
Gangs in the US Army Documentary | Military Justice for All

Iraq Army Veteran Jonathan ‘Mike’ Gilotti Gunned Down in Front of Home in Alabama; 4 Individuals Charged with Murder, 1 Found Not Guilty (January 5, 2016)

Screen Shot 2017-12-21 at 11.23.21 PM

Jonathan ‘Mike’ Gilotti, US Army Veteran

Jonathan ‘Mike’ Gilotti, 33, was shot to death outside his home in Hoover, Alabama while on his way to work in the early morning hours of January 5, 2016. Jonathan was an Army veteran who deployed to Iraq and was last stationed at Fort Hood in Texas. He was a husband to a ROTC candidate he met while training in the Army and the father of two small boys. Almost a year after the murder, media reports indicated that four individuals were charged with Mike Gilotti’s murder: Charleston Wells, Ahmad Johnson, De’ron Lucas, and Darrian Bryant. Charleston Wells was found not guilty of the homicide of Jonathan Gilotti on May 19, 2017. Wells pointed the finger at Ahmad Johnson who he claims was the trigger man and said he was sitting in a vehicle when the shooting occurred. A couple months later in July 2017, Wells was found guilty of 9 counts of breaking and entering a vehicle. The judge gave him 42 months of probation and said he must get GED, must serve 100 hours of community service, and must get a mental health assessment. Wells was also accused of an attempted murder charge with Ahmad Johnson that occurred in Fultondale, Alabama only days before the Gilotti murder. Instead Wells was found guilty of reckless endangerment in connection with the shooting in Fultondale. Wells’ sentencing is scheduled for January 2018. The details of the charges, trial, and sentencing of the three remaining individuals are unknown.

In the News:

Charleston Wells sentenced. -CBS 42 (July 18, 2017)

Related Links:
Lake Cyrus Murder Victim Identified
Iraq War Veteran Shot Dead In Alabama
Iraq War Veteran Killed Outside His Home
Alabama Man Shot To Death While Leaving Home For Gym
Iraq War Veteran from Avon Shot to Death in Alabama
Avon native, Iraq War veteran killed outside Alabama home
Lake Cyrus father, veteran murdered in front of home identified
Iraq war veteran, father of 2 killed in Hoover identified
Hoover husband, father, Iraq veteran shot to death leaving Lake Cyrus home for gym
Hoover husband, father, Iraq veteran shot to death leaving Lake Cyrus home for gym
Iraq Veteran From Avon Shot to Death Leaving Alabama Home for Gym
Police find stolen pickup truck used in murder of Hoover father, husband, Iraq veteran
Hoover PD recovers stolen truck in connection with Lake Cyrus shooting investigation
Avon graduate, Iraq War veteran shot, killed in front of his home in Alabama
Wife of Lake Cyrus shooting victim: ‘He was an amazing father… an amazing spouse’
PHOTOS: 2 wanted for questioning in connection with Lake Cyrus murder
Hoover police using home surveillance in Lake Cyrus shooting investigation
Attempted murder charges dropped against teens accused in Lake Cyrus murder
Family Remembers War Veteran Fatally Shot In Alabama A Year Ago As Trial For One Of Four Suspected Killers Looms
Teen charged in slaying of father, veteran at Lake Cyrus home
16-year-old charged in murder of Hoover husband, father, Iraq war veteran
Second teen charged with murder in Mike Gilotti slaying
Lake Cyrus murder suspects charged in Fultondale
Second Suspect Charged in Lake Cyrus Murder
Second suspect charged in Lake Cyrus murder; Hoover PD describes gang-like connection
Two more teens charged with murder in January Lake Cyrus homicide
2 more suspects, including 16-year-old, charged in murder of Hoover’s Mike Gilotti
Third and Fourth Arrest Made in Gilotti Murder Case
Bessemer-based group under scrutiny after murder of Hoover Iraq veteran
‘This one’s complicated,’ prosecutor says in Mike Gilotti trial, teen defendant to testify
Preliminary hearing set for McCalla teen charged in Mike Gillotti murder
Judge rules second teen charged in Lake Cyrus slaying to also be tried as adult
Celebrity attorney to join defense team in Hoover veteran’s shooting death
Mike Gilotti’s son: ‘Boogeyman shot my daddy’
Jury deliberations begin in Charleston Wells’ murder trial
Jury finds Charleston Wells not guilty of murder in death of Hoover father, veteran
Charleston Wells found NOT GUILTY of murder in Mike Gilotti’s death
Jury finds 17-year-old Bessemer boy not guilty of murdering Mike Gilotti of Lake Cyrus
Jury convicts Charleston Wells of reckless endangerment instead of attempted murder
What’s next in the Mike Gilotti murder investigation?
Charleston Wells sentenced
Charleston Wells convicted of lesser charge in 2016 Fultondale shooting
Teen convicted in Fultondale shooting after being acquitted in Hoover murder
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside
Violent Crime, Suicide, and Non Combat Death at Fort Hood, Texas (US Army)

Gangs in the Military: Armed and Dangerous Forces (December 23, 2010)

The United States military is arguably the most powerful force in the world. But according to the FBI 15,000 men and women in uniform have ties to notorious American gangs such as MS-13, the Crips, the Bloods, and the Gangster Disciples — that’s a population that’s bigger than that of any military installation. -Part 1, RT America (December 23, 2010)

Gangs in the Military: Armed & Dangerous Forces -Part 2, RT America (December 23, 2010)

Gangs in the US Army Documentary:

Sworn to protect us from every enemy, foreign and domestic, and every day the majority of soldiers do just that ! yet some units are being compromised and turn into street gangs. An FBI report recently showed an increased gang activity within US soldiers. -Gangs in the U.S. Army Documentary

Related Links:
Gang presence in the United States military
Gangs infiltrate US military
Gang Activity in the U.S. Military
Gangs Penetrate the US Military
2011 National Gang Threat Assessment
The modern US army: unfit for service?
Military Overlooks the Hate in Its Ranks
Neo-Nazis, gangs and criminals in the US military
In the Army Now: Gangs, Nazis & the Mentally Ill
U.S. Army battling racists within its own ranks
Irregular Army : A Conversation With Matt Kennard
Reports Back Op-Ed Linking Vets to Hate Groups
The US Military Has Become A Haven For Hate Groups
American ISIS: The Domestic Terrorist Fallout of the Iraq War
The US Military Recruited Violent Felons to Support the War Efforts
The FBI Announces Gangs Have Infiltrated Every Branch Of The Military
Military-Trained Gang Members Worry FBI, Oklahoma Law Enforcement
Red, White and Gangs: The problem of street gangs in the military
Sikh temple shooter promoted extremist views during his Army years
Sikh Temple shooter formed White supremacist views in U.S. military
Author: Sikh Temple Massacre is the Outgrowth of Pervasive White Supremacism in U.S. Military Ranks
Matt Kennard presents his new book Irregular Army at the Baltimore Radical Bookfair Pavilion
How Neo-Nazis and Gangs Infiltrated the U.S. Military: Matt Kennard’s ‘Irregular Army’
Irregular Army: How the US Military Recruited Neo-Nazis, Gang Members, and Criminals to Fight the War on Terror
FBI says U.S. criminal gangs are using military to spread their reach (2006)
Criminal Gangs in the Military (2007)
Are Gang Members Using Military Training? (2007)
The Yale Law Journal: Gangs in the Military (2009)
Gangs in the military: Armed & dangerous forces part 1
Gangs in the military: Armed & dangerous forces part 2

Shonda Walter Used a Hatchet to Kill Neighbor & WWII Vet James Sementelli; Sentenced to Death But Commuted to Life in Prison, No Parole (March 25, 2003)

Shonda Walter 1

Shonda Walter

“James E. Sementelli was a Private in the United States Army during World War II. He grew up in Lock Haven and was stationed at the Army’s Fort Weaver on Oahu when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. After the war, he returned to Lock Haven, Pennsylvania where he worked as a taxi driver, in the post office, and at a paper mill. Unfortunately, Mr. Sementelli was a murder victim as part of a gang initiation and robbery” on March 25, 2003. [Neighbor Shonda Walter was found guilty of homicide and sentenced to death in 2005 but the death sentence was commuted to life in prison without the possibility of parole due to ineffective counsel in 2016.] –Find A Grave

Investigation Discovery:

Neighbors can be a source of friendship and community comfort. But what happens when a neighbor stops watching out for you, and starts watching you. The sinister minds of these women begin to turn sour and they begin to torment their neighbors. -Loathe Thy Neighbor, Deadly Women (S5, E2)

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch Investigation Discovery programming at your convenience. And for those who do not have cable, you can watch “unlocked” episodes on the ID Go app including the latest premieres. For those who prefer commercial free programming during your binge session, Prime Video has an ID channel: ‘True Crime Files by Investigation Discovery” available for $3.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict. Download the ID Go app or purchase ID True Crime Files & binge away.

Related Links:
James E. Sementelli (1920-2003) | Find A Grave
Car, Change Said to Spur Homicide
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Appellee v. Shonda WALTER, Appellant (2009)
Lock Haven woman convicted of murder inching closer to execution
Quest for the truth aids lead prosecutor in Sandusky case, colleagues say
Death Row Delays: Victims’ Families Frustrated with Slow Death Penalty Process
Shonda Walter, a 36-year-old Black woman on Pennsylvania’s death row
Three women on Pennsylvania’s death row
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Appellee v. Shonda WALTER, Appellant (2015)
Shonda Walter Escapes Death Row in Vet’s Hatchet Killing
Shonda Walter Death Row: Murderer Given A Stay Of Execution
Shonda Walter Removed From Death Row, Sentence Thrown Out
Could One of These Cases Spell the End of the Death Penalty?
Supreme Court declines death penalty case
Death penalty imposed on woman in 2003 slaying thrown out
Judge vacates death sentence of convicted Clinton County hatchet murderer
Woman’s vacated death sentence brings death row count to 177
The Death Penalty Endgame | NY Times Opinion
World View: Death penalty opponents sense an opportunity
Is the Supreme Court going to reconsider the constitutionality of the death penalty?
Could these cases, including some from Louisiana, end America’s death penalty?
Supreme Court won’t hear capital punishment case
Death penalty decision won’t hinge on PA case
Supreme Court rejects appeal to outlaw death penalty
Supreme Court rejects Pa. female death row inmate’s appeal to outlaw capital punishment
Supreme Court won’t decide on status of executions. 180 Pennsylvanians sit on death row
Victim’s family, others resigned to Walter life sentence
Pennsylvania Inmate Shonda Walter Receives Stay Ahead of May 3, 2016, Execution
15 Vicious Criminals Who Barely Escaped Death Row On Technicality
Shonda Walter Women On Death Row
Shonda Walter | Supreme Court of the US | Death Penalty Information Center
Women Currently on Death Row in the United States
Women and Capital Punishment in the United States: An Analytical History
Shonda Dee Walter | Murderpedia, the encyclopedia of murderers
List of Deadly Women episodes | Wikipedia
Deadly Women Premiered ‘Loathe Thy Neighbor’ on Investigation Discovery: Shonda Walter Killed Elderly Neighbor for Gang Initiation (August 5, 2011)
Loathe Thy Neighbor | Deadly Women | Investigation Discovery (S5, E2)
Loathe Thy Neighbor | Deadly Women | Investigation Discovery (website)
Loathe Thy Neighbor | Deadly Women | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
Loathe Thy Neighbor | Deadly Women | Investigation Discovery (Hulu)