About The Movie

A young family left the crime-ridden city of Miami and settled in Tennessee to raise their two children free from violence. Or so they thought.  On a sunny day on April 6, 1997, the Lillelid family met its death at the hands of a group of troubled teenagers from Kentucky. The Lillelids were Jehovah's Witnesses, fresh from a convention in Johnson City and anxious to win new converts for their faith. The teenagers were a group of outcasts from Pikeville, Kentucky, on the run after getting into trouble in their hometown

The Lillelids were kidnapped at a rest stop on Interstate 81 and taken to an isolated country road, where they were shot.  The father, Vidar Lillelid, a recent immigrant from Sweden, was shot first.  After him came his wife Delfina, and their six-year-old daughter Tabitha and two-year-old son Peter. Only Peter survived, though he was blinded by a gunshot wound..

The documentary will tell the story of the killers, led by 18-year-old Natasha Cornett (a self-described "daughter of Satan"), who stole the Lillelid's van and headed for Mexico, where they were caught at the border and returned to Tennessee.  They were later convicted of murder and sentenced to life without parole.

This film unravels the chain of events that led to this tragedy; a tragedy that turns out to have been so thoroughly preventable that it is astonishing that it was never prevented. Some missed opportunities include:

Natasha Cornett was committed to the Charter Ridge Behavioral Center in Lexington, Kentucky. Though diagnosed as Bipolar and dangerously disturbed, she was released after eleven days because she had no insurance.
Cornett, and some of the other teens, approached school authorities for help because of bullying and harassment, but were told that they were "freaks" and deserved it.
The parents and friends of several of the teenagers called the Kentucky authorities and the Virginia Highway Patrol with a description of the car the teens were travelling in, and a warning that the teens were armed, and that one was violating parole. Nothing was done. According to the New York Times Research study on rampage killers, it is common for friends, families and others to contact the authorities prior to a murder being carried out, only to be rebuffed by the police. 
The teens were pulled over for speeding near Gate City, Virginia by a state trooper who failed to search the car or detain the teens, despite the fact that he thought they were dangerous.

The film explores the roots of the teenagers' violence, the failure of the authorities and social support systems to address these problems, and the way in which every safeguard failed along the line to the Lillelid's deaths. It's not simply a story of teen viciousness, though it is that, but also a story of social safety nets' collapse--and the way in which "normal" people suffer when troubled teens' problems aren't addressed.

Questions or Comments? violentkids@hotmail.com
For more information on violent youths, see www.violentkids.com


Produced by Dr. Helen Smith, Callisto Media
in association with Sublunar Productions
Copyright © 2003,  Dr. Helen Smith. All rights reserved