On November 25, 1997 - two days before Thanksgiving - Earl and Terry Robertson, both 49, were found brutally slaughtered inside their home in Rock Hill, a college town and flourishing suburb of Charlotte, North Carolina. They were family people, churchgoing and law-abiding. Yet someone had wanted them dead - badly enough to cut Terry's throst and crush Earl's skull with a claw hammer. Suspicion swiftly fell on the couple's eldest son, James D. "Jimmy" Robertson, 21, who'd recently moved back in with his parents. After graduating high school with honours, Robertson had taken a wrong turn, flunking out of college, spiralling downward into drug and alcohol abuse and petty crime. In the predawn hours of November 25, he called his teenage girlfriend, Meredith Moon, and told her to come over. When she got there, Robertson told her today was the day he was going to kill his parents. What had motivated a once-promising young man to slaughter his parents in cold blood? Was it, as prosecutors put forth, greedy desire for his share of a $2.2 million inheritance? What dark secrets did the Robertson family's all-American facade conceal?
When James Robertson's own grandmother talked to a newspaper reporter about him, she said, "He'd be better off put to sleep." In 1999, a jury would decide the fate of the son who ended the lives of the people who gave him his.