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The Verdict: The Christina Boyer Case

Jan Banning | Georgia, United States

Christina Boyer and her daughter Amber in their apartment in Carrollton, GA, a few months before Amber's death.

The book and exhibition The Verdict – The Christina Boyer Case is a multi-layered study of the U.S. Criminal Justice system and mass incarceration. In it, photographicartist Jan Banning delves into a three decades-old murder case in Georgia. On April 14, 1992, 22-year-old Christina Boyer was arrested for killing her toddler daughter Amber. She took a plea deal and was sentenced to life plus 20 years.
The project presents the results of his extensive and years-long research. In it, Banning offers an intense account of the events leading up to Christina Boyer’s wrongful conviction.

In the book, he describes the critical interpretations of renowned medical experts, examines the role played by the (local) media, and gives his own visual interpretation of elements of the story. Banning also invited the ‘subject’, Christina Boyer, to make her own contribution bysharingpages from her diaries; but also by describingthe associations that Banning’s photos of the South evoke in her. This provides the reader/observer insight into her inner world, showing how lifelong imprisonment influences one’s perception of the visual world.

 Texts: Jan Banning, Christina Boyer

Georgia, USA. Shortly after midday on Tuesday,April 14, 1992, 22-year-old Christina Boyer leaves the trailer where she’s been staying with her new boyfriend David. She drives the short distance to her work in the small town of Carrollton, leaving her three-year-old daughter Amber with him. When she returns that evening she finds Amber in her cot, covered in bruises. Dying. What happened?

Christina Boyer (1969, Columbus, Ohio) was abandoned by her mother at the age of ten months, and later adopted. Early in 2020, Jan Banning managed to trace her half-sister, the only one of her four siblings still alive. Christina’s relationship with her adopted parents was difficult, and at the age of sixteen she fled into a marriage with a man who turned out to be violent. Following a second marriage and more abuse, she and her young daughter Amber, born in 1988, sought refuge in the state of Georgia where she got an apartment in a social housing project, a small amount of welfare and some work. And eventually a new relationship, with David. It seemed like some stability was finally starting to enter her life. But it was not to be. Two and a half years after Amber’s death, Christina was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder and cruelty to children. She is still incarcerated today, more than thirty years later.

Photographer/artist Jan Banning met Christina Boyerwhen, in 2013, he photographed some eighty female inmates of Pulaski State Prison in Georgia. He started searching the internet for information on their crimes and backgrounds. What he found out about Christina immediately raised concerns about her conviction. Banning managed to gradually piece together a complete dossier on her case; during this detective work he uncovered more and more indications of monumental errors in the investigation.

He and Christina embarked upon an intensive correspondence, culminating in a close collaboration entitled ‘The Verdict’ and resulting in this case study: a kaleidoscopic whole made up of different perspectives on the murder case, built up from a range of photographic and text-based approaches. ‘Artivist’ Jan Banning hopes that the book and exhibition dealing with the case will contribute to Christina Boyer’s release.The project has a greater scope than this, however, as it also presents us with insights into the American criminal justice system. It also raises questions of subjectivity and objectivity, of truth and lies, and of how a verdict can be distilled from a confused and confusing mass of data.

National Incarceration Association (NIA).

Jan Banning Fotografie
Begoniastraat 23
3551BJ Utrecht - Netherlands
T. +31 651 365 983

info@janbanning.com
www.janbanning.com

 

You can order a copy of the book The Verdict: The Christina Boyer Case (or the Dutch version: Het Oordeel: De zaak Christina Boyer) via www.janbanning.com/shop/

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