Netflix’s I Just Killed My Dad reveals a teenager’s disturbing reason for killing his own father

Skye Borgman has quickly become the reigning queen of streaming true crime thanks to last December Dead asleep on Hulu and in July of this year The girl in the picture on Netflix – the latter remains a global top ten hit for the service. Not content to rest on her laurels, the prolific nonfiction director returns with her on August 9th I just killed my father, a three-part Netflix documentary about kidnapping, coercion, domination and murder that bears chilling similarities to her latest film. Beginning with a seemingly open and closed case, before layers are peeled back to reveal a thoroughly rotten core, it’s a study in silent, unseen abuse and the trauma and tragedy it can induce, as well – in a surprising twist for this darkest of genres – a story about the criminal justice system that actually works as it should.

I just killed my father makes no secret of the literal guilt of his subject, Anthony Templet of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who shot and killed his father Burt Templet on June 3, 2019 and then called 911 and calmly confessed what he had done. When police arrived they found the 17-year-old waiting for them and in a new interview, Anthony says he was surprised he was handcuffed and taken away as he thought the subject was after a short conversation would be dropped. That assumption wasn’t the only odd thing about the situation. Anthony claimed he shot his father in self-defense, but he had no bruises to suggest a scuffle and the house was in fair and tidy condition – save for a crack in Burt’s bedroom door, which Anthony said had been caused his father tried to break into the locked room to get to him.

If that didn’t bode well for Anthony, the fact that he pulled out two loaded pistols that night (both belonged to Burt) suggested not that he was desperate to save his own life, but that he was intentional , to kill – a notion Anthony nonchalantly confirmed, declaring that he wanted both guns in his possession if one didn’t work. Assistant District Attorney Dana Cummings and Sergeant William Brown both believed the evidence pointed to homicide, and in his subsequent interview with Brown in the interrogation room, Anthony’s flat, emotionless demeanor only made them believe she was a potential sociopath had in hand. Clips from this chat presented in I just killed my father Don’t do Anthony any favors by portraying the kid who dully explains what happened and doesn’t bother trying to absolve himself of his guilt — and, even weirder, not being able to celebrate his birthday or his specify your private address.

The story Anthony told law enforcement is that on the night in question he had been awakened by his father, who searched his phone and found that Anthony was secretly chatting with his stepmother, Susan, who had recently moved out of the house with her son Peyton. An argument ensued over this invasion of privacy, during which Anthony became so frightened of Burt that he collected the man’s pistols and fired three shots, two of which hit their target. Apparently, Burt yelled for his son to stop, but Anthony showed no mercy. Anthony further undermined his self-defense argument, admitting he had pursued his father to a nearby bathroom before the shooting – an act that went against the notion that he had no other options because he was in imminent danger. At first glance, there wasn’t much substance to this saga, and news reports from the time initially treated it as just another regular murder in Louisiana.

However, Netflix does not produce multi-part docuseries and I just killed my father soon reveals a number of complicating factors. Interviews with Anthony, Susan, Peyton, and more relatives — as well as cursory footage Borgman filmed as the story unfolded — shed light on a domestic situation of truly warped dimensions, brought to light thanks to his colleagues at a local daycare center, a DNA specialists and criminal defense attorney Jarrett Ambeau, who together learned that Anthony’s bizarre behavior was a by-product of his horrible upbringing. Burt turned out to be an abusive booze monster who tormented and terrorized his first wife, Teresa Thompson, and then through clever manipulation of the legal system, kidnapped their son Anthony and fled to Louisiana, where he had been in hiding for the better part of eleven years. To maintain that cover, he had kept Anthony out of school (since it was easier to cover up an ignorant, sheltered boy), fitted the house with security cameras, installed GPS tracking devices on Anthony and Susan’s phones, and generally acted like a controlling bully tending to explode in violent rage at any moment.

“To maintain that cover, he had kept Anthony away from the school…putting security cameras around the house, installing GPS tracking devices on Anthony’s and Susan’s phones, and generally acting like a controlling bully who was prone to exploding in violent anger at any moment .”

Borgman tells this with a standard mix of interviews, crime-scene photos, and dramatic recreations, whose dreariness is offset by sharp editorial crosscuts. In particular, she benefits from the involvement of virtually every major player in this story, including Anthony who, even at 18, seems like a teenager’s tank. Through his graduation I just killed my father is transformed into a portrait of atrocities behind closed doors that are terrifying precisely because their perpetrator could so easily hide them from the world. Additionally, it is a reminder that the truth about a crime and life can often only be obtained by understanding the larger context in which it took place. According to the series’ title, Anthony most certainly killed his father, but Borgman’s latest film ultimately deals less with the details of that fateful act and more with the more revealing and heartbreaking ones that preceded it – and gave birth to it.

That prosecutors and courts have found a way to understand Anthony’s situation and the reasons he killed Burt is a moving example of the system getting things right. Still, nightmares like this never have a perfectly happy ending, and a final interview with the now-exonerated Anthony is proof that sometimes things that are broken can never be quite put back together. Netflix’s I Just Killed My Dad reveals a teenager’s disturbing reason for killing his own father


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