Joan Little is a black woman whose trial for the 1974 murder of a white prison guard and rapist, at Beaufort County Jail in Washington, North Carolina, drew international attention as cause célèbre of the civil rights, feminist, and anti-death penalty movements. Little was the first woman in United States history to be tried and acquitted with the defense that she had to use deadly force in self-defense against a potential rapist.
Little, 20 years old at the time, stabbed the white jailer/rapist - 62 year old Clarence Alligood - with an icepick.
A jury of six whites and six African Americans rendered a verdict of not guilty in a landmark case that recognized a woman’s right to kill a rapist in self-defense, as well as the rights of prisoners.
The case is also said to have become a go-to classic study in legal circles as a pioneering instance of the application of scientific jury selection.
Little's story is at the center of a book by author James Reston Jr., titled "The Innocence of Joan Little: A Southern Mystery," which was first published in 1977 by Time Books, and was re-released in 2000 by iUniverse. That book is now on its way to becoming a TV miniseries, with Paulist Productions optioning rights to Reston Jr.’s work last summer, for development.
Will Packer’s Will Packer Productions banner is also now on board with Paulist Productions to develop and produce the project, which doesn't have an ETA or a network attached at this time. No casting news either.
Packer continues to load up on intriguing, varied projects for both the big and small screens. Most recently, earlier this year, he teamed up with Kerry Washington’s Simpson Street production company to develop a feature film adaptation of Natalie C. Anderson's bestselling Kenya-set thriller "City of Saints & Thieves."
He's also no stranger to miniseries adaptations; last year, he was an executive producer on A&E's "Roots" reboot.
Deadline was first to report the news of Packer's joining the Joan Little production.