Who Killed Garrett Phillips? begins with the 2011 murder of 12-year-old Garrett Phillips and subsequent trial for second-degree murder of Clarkson University soccer coach Nick Hillary, a black man living in mostly white Potsdam, NY. The documentary chronicles the five years following the murder, as Garrett’s grief-stricken family and community relentlessly seek justice, and Hillary desperately fights to prove his innocence.
Hillary, who has lost his job, tries to move forward with his life caring for his five children and files a civil case against the Potsdam police department. Mary Rain, the new district attorney, makes it her mission to put Garrett’s murderer behind bars, and Hillary is charged with second degree murder based on testimony given during his civil case. Despite holes in the prosecution’s case, both sides prepare for a bench trial without a jury, as national media attention raises important issues of race and bias in policing.
Through in-depth interviews with a variety of people linked to the case, as well as extensive police audio and video recordings and courtroom footage, Who Killed Garrett Phillips? is a gripping, eye-opening look at how justice is delivered or delayed.