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Horrific True Story Behind Disney+'s New Drama Series

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Horrific True Story Behind Disney+'s New Drama Series

New drama series Under the Banner of Heaven has finally arrived on Disney+ for British audiences to enjoy, and there's a horrific true story behind the show. Check out the trailer here:

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The drama, starring Andrew Garfield and Daisy Edgar-Jones, is inspired by the gruesome true crime tale of a mother and child murdered on 24 July, 1984.

The show adapts the 2003 crime novel Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith to the TV screen, and much of what audiences see on there is the truth.

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While Garfield's character of detective Jeb Pyre is fictional, the brutal murders he is tasked with solving are sadly all too real.

The horrific true story behind Under the Banner of Heaven centres on the murders of 24-year-old Brenda Lafferty and her 15-month-old baby daughter Erica.

Slain in their home in American Fork, Utah, the bodies of the mother and daughter were discovered by Brenda's husband Allen, who had been at work when the killings took place.

Brenda was found dead in the kitchen of her home having been strangled and stabbed, while Erica was found dead in her crib.

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Andrew Garfield stars as a detective seeking to solve the horrific true crime. Credit: FX
Andrew Garfield stars as a detective seeking to solve the horrific true crime. Credit: FX

The gruesome murders had been carried out by Allen's brothers Ron and Dan, both Mormon fundamentalists, after Ron claimed God had told him to 'remove' his sister-in-law and niece.

Excommunicated from the Mormon church for their fundamentalist views, Ron and Dan formed their own sect of Mormonism.

Under their new rules, their wives were forbidden from talking to anyone outside the family without their husbands around, driving or having money.

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Their children were also taken out of school and the family was banned from using modern medicine, breaking the rules meant receiving a savage beating as punishment.

Allen had considered joining their group, but his wife talked him out of it over her dislike of polygamy and the hardline practices her brothers-in-law wanted to use.

Ron and Dan's wives Dianna and Matilda ended up asking Brenda for advice about their husbands, with Dianna leaving her marriage and taking her children with her.

Blaming Brenda for his wife leaving him, court documents indicate Ron believed baby Erica would grow up to be 'just as despicable as her mother'.

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Daisy Edgar-Jones plays Brenda Laffery, the victim of a horrific true crime. Credit: FX
Daisy Edgar-Jones plays Brenda Laffery, the victim of a horrific true crime. Credit: FX

After committing the horrific murders the brothers fled to Nevada, where they were arrested at a casino in Reno.

Dan Lafferty represented himself during his trial, receiving a guilty verdict for which he was sentenced to two life sentences without possibility of parole, he is still incarcerated in Utah State Prison.

Ron Lafferty attempted to commit suicide while in jail, resulting in mental damage, but doctors judged him to be fit to stand trial, at which he was sentenced to death.

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His conviction was overturned in 1991 over legal errors on his mental capacity, but he was later deemed fit to stand trial again and sentenced to death again in 1996.

Requesting death by firing squad instead of lethal injection, a change in law meant that would only be allowed if the state of Utah ran out of lethal injection drugs, he died of natural causes in Utah State Prison aged 78.

Under the Banner of Heaven is available to stream now on Disney+

Featured Image Credit: Disney+

Topics: Disney Plus, Andrew Garfield, True Crime

Joe Harker
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