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How Prosecuting Evil Is Different From Cold Justice, According to Kelly Siegler
The Texas prosecutor was joined by executive producers Andrew Nock and Zak Cordova at CrimeCon 2023.
The upcoming Oxygen series will explore "10 very different" adjudicated criminal cases that Kelly Siegler, the superhero herself, worked on during her storied career as a prosecutor in Harris County, Texas, in addition to a few other cases involving prosecutors whom Siegler is familiar with. As Nock explained during a panel at CrimeCon 2023, the series "really takes you through the whole experience and it really shows what these victim's families go through in them."
One such case is the murder of Jeffrey Andrew Wright, who was brutally killed and tortured by his wife, Susan Wright, in January 2003. Siegler prosecuted Susan in 2004, making headlines when she made the controversial decision to bring the same bed that Jeffrey was murdered in into the court so she could reenact the killing. Looking back, Siegler said she thought "What's the big deal here?"
But when she returned to her office after the reenactment, her inbox was full of messages from TV producers. "Because of that bed scene, I can truly say that probably is what led to all this," Siegler shared.
Siegler didn't do the reenactment for her sake though. As she explained during the panel, she wanted the jurors to see what Susan Wright did to her husband the night he died because the brutality would determine whether Susan was sentenced to five years probation or life in prison. Siegler continued, "I wanted that jury to see in their brain exactly how she set him up that night, when she lured him to the bedroom," before ultimately stabbing him 193 times.
Susan was sentenced to 25 years in prison, a sentence that was later reduced to 20 years after it was determined that she received ineffective counsel during the initial penalty phase. She was released from prison in December 2020 and is currently on probation.
It's Siegler's success in the courtroom that led to her work on Cold Justice, the other Oxygen series Siegler has devoted her time to. While Prosecuting Evil is a more intimate look at the work that goes into preparing for a trial and beyond, Cold Justice takes viewers through the investigative process that, potentially, leads to an arrest.
But making the series is no easy feat. Siegler said that one of the most difficult parts of Cold Justice is getting permission to work on the cases and access the files, which are essential to any investigation. Then, they need to convince people to speak with them, strategize, coordinate efforts, etc.
Cold Justice executive producer Zak Cordova added, "I joke with Kelly all the time, it's a miracle the show even gets made because of the amount of things that need to come together in order to end up in an arrest and conviction." What's more, they often only have seven days to film and investigate the cases highlighted in the series.
The only way that they've been able to complete Cold Justice is by learning "to roll with the punches however we can and make sure that we can do our best to support the case first," Cordova said. Only after they've done the investigation can they focus on the story.
Siegler noted that these cases are difficult to solve, which is the most heartbreaking aspect of making Cold Justice.
Nonetheless, Siegler is proud of the work the Cold Justice crew has done.
"The success that we have had is going crazy. I think the FBI says that only 18 percent of cold cases are ever solved," Siegler reflected. "And we're already way above that. So we're still crushing it and trying our hardest, but it's ... a really hard job. It's exhausting."
Season 6 of Cold Justice is streaming now on Peacock.