Horrifying true story behind Disney+’s new drama series
new drama series Under the banner of heaven has finally arrived on Disney+ for UK audiences to enjoy, and there’s a gruesome true story behind the show. Check out the trailer here:
The drama, starring Andrew Garfield and Daisy Edgar-Jones, is inspired by the horrific story of a mother and child murdered on July 24, 1984.
The series adapts the 2003 crime novel Under Heaven’s Banner: A Story of Violent Faith on the television screen, and much of what the public sees there is the truth.
While Garfield’s character, Detective Jeb Pyre, is fictional, the brutal murders he’s tasked with solving are sadly all too real.
The horrifying true story behind Under the banner of heaven focuses on the murders of 24-year-old Brenda Lafferty and her 15-month-old baby daughter, Erica.
Killed in their home in American Fork, Utah, the bodies of mother and daughter were discovered by Brenda’s husband, Allen, who was at work when the murders took place.
Brenda was found dead in the kitchen of her home after being strangled and stabbed, while Erica was found dead in her crib.
The gruesome murders were 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 Mormon sect.
Under their new rules, their wives were forbidden to talk to anyone outside the family unless their husbands were nearby, driving, or had money.
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 band, but his wife talked him out of it because of his dislike of polygamy and the radical practices his brothers-in-law wanted to use.
Ron and Dan’s wives, Dianna and Matilda, ended up asking Brenda for advice on their husbands, with Dianna leaving her marriage and taking her children with her.
Blaming Brenda for his wife’s departure, court documents say Ron thought little Erica would become “just as despicable as her mother.”
After committing the gruesome murders, the brothers fled to Nevada, where they were arrested at a casino in Reno.
Dan Lafferty represented himself at his trial, receiving a guilty verdict for which he was sentenced to two life terms without the possibility of parole, he is still incarcerated in Utah State Prison.
Ron Lafferty attempted suicide in prison, resulting in mental damage, but doctors deemed him fit to stand trial, in which he was sentenced to death.
His conviction was overturned in 1991 for legal errors over his mental capacity, but he was later found fit to stand trial again and sentenced to death again in 1996.
Calling for death by firing squad instead of lethal injection, a change in the law meant it would only be allowed if the state of Utah ran out of lethal injection drugs. He died of natural causes in Utah State Prison at the age of 78.
Under the Banner of Heaven is available to stream now on Disney+