A Death in the Family is an anatomy of what family members experience as they gather to say goodbye to their loved one, witness his execution, then bring his body back home to bury him.
During the long course of judicial appeals, the Bannister verdict had been regarded by many as a grave injustice. Jesse Jackson and Ed Asner had petitioned the Missouri governor for clemency. But Bannister's attorney felt that the Missouri attorney general was determined to "kill A.J.".