Infamous 1906 local murder case the subject of new documentary


HERKIMER, N.Y. (WKTV) A well known local murder is given new life in the form of a documentary.

Chester Gillette went down in history for allegedly drowning his pregnant girlfriend Grace Brown at Big Moose Lake in 1906 and ultimately ended up in the electric chair.

The murder made national headlines back in its day, and spawned numerous books - both historical and fictional - chronicling the murder and subsequent trial.

It was also the basis of the 1951 Elizabeth Taylor-Montgomery Clift movie "A Place in the Sun," as well as the play "Death was the Bridegroom" by Charles Samuels in 1955.

The murder has been the subject of numerous area museum exhibits, as well as re-enactments throughout the region, including several over the years by the Ilion Little Theatre, whose costumes from theatrical re-enactments are being used in the documentary.

Director Derek Taylor, a professor at Southern Connecticut State University and his mostly student crew, are revisiting the locations where the actual crime was committed to produce a grant funded documentary about Chester and Grace.

Filming is focusing on three main locations - Big Moose Lake, where the murder was said to have been committed, the actual Herkimer jail cell in which Gillette was incarcerated, and ultimately, the prison where he was executed.

The role of Gillette is played by Nick Stagliano, a Herkimer native and SUNY College at Oneonta Theatre Major.

Producers anticipate the finished product will be available sometime next Summer. After which, the film will be distributed regionally and entered into film festival.

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