Director: Macky Alston
Dr. Bob Bechtel, a seemingly ordinary man in his early seventies‚
is a devoted husband and father and a respected psychology professor.
But Bechtel has a terrible secret. One night in 1955, while attending
college, Bechtel shot and killed a fellow student. Found not guilty by
reason of insanity and committed to a hospital for the criminally
insane, Bechtel was released five years later — in part because the
victim’s parents wrote a letter of forgiveness to the judge. Documentary
filmmaker Macky Alston (Family Name) gains intimate access to
Bechtel’s children, friends, colleagues, and students as Bechtel’s
long-held secret is revealed to them for the first time. Was Bechtel a
cold, calculating killer, or was he, as he claimed, a young man pushed
beyond his limits by taunting and bullying? The Killer Within
explores this tragic incident and its ongoing consequences from all
perspectives, leaving viewers to make up their own minds about what
happened. “Haunting … The morally fascinating and finally irresolvable
tale of a good family man who once killed a man. No final verdicts come
down, which is to the picture’s credit and allows it to be a potent
discussion-starter” (Robert Koehler, Variety). Colour, Digibeta video. 85 mins.
Post-screening discussion with Dr. Roy O’Shaughnessy,
a forensic psychiatrist who has practiced for 25 years in B.C. Dr.
O’Shaughnessy is a Clinical Professor and Head, Division of Forensic
Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, UBC; Past President, American
Academy of Psychiatry and Law; Past President, B.C. Psychiatric
Association; and Past President, B.C. Medical Legal Society.
Moderated by Dr. Harry Karlinsky, Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia.