Too Young to Die?

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Too Young to Die?
Written by David Hill
George Rubino
Directed by Robert Markowitz
Starring Michael Tucker
Juliette Lewis
Brad Pitt
Alan Fudge
Theme music composer Charles Bernstein
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Producer(s) Susan Weber-Gold
Julie Anne Weitz
Running time 92 min.
Original network NBC
Original release 26 February 1990

Too Young to Die? is a 1990 television movie starring Brad Pitt and Juliette Lewis. It touches on the debate concerning the death penalty. It is based on a true story. Three years later, Pitt and Lewis would reunite, portraying somewhat similar characters, in Kalifornia.


Juliette Lewis plays Amanda, age 15. She falls prey to a hustler, Billy (Brad Pitt). He introduces Amanda to the world of drugs and prostitution. She then meets a man who shows her the only love she's ever known. When he is forced to break off their friendship, Billy convinces Amanda to take revenge by killing him. Amanda is arrested and tried as an adult. If Amanda is found guilty, she'll face the death penalty. Despite the best effort that Amanda's lawyer (Michael Tucker) who points out that Billy was the one who instigated and manipulated Amanda into committing robbery and a murder, the jury is unsympathetic and convicts Amanda of murder, while finding Billy guilty of lesser charges. Billy is sent to serve a short prison term for accessory to murder, while Amanda is sentenced to death and her execution is carried out (off-camera) with her being only age 17.


Although set in Oklahoma, the film is loosely based on Attina Marie Cannaday, who along with David Gray, killed Ronald Wojcik, with a knife, in Harrison County, Mississippi on June 3, 1982.

Cannaday (born September 8, 1965) was charged with robbery, kidnapping, and homicide. At the time of her trial, she was a sixteen-year-old divorcee, who had married at thirteen and divorced at fourteen. She was convicted in Harrison County Circuit Court of the kidnap and murder of U. S. Air Force Sergeant Ronald Wojcik and the jury sentenced her to death by lethal injection. The guilty verdict was upheld, but the sentence was reversed in 1984, Cannaday v. State, 455 So.2d 713, 720 (Miss. 1984), and she was resentenced to one life sentence and two 25-year sentences at Central Mississippi Correctional Facility (inmate number 42451). She was released on parole on March 9, 2008.

Her co-defendant, David Randolph Gray (born May 29, 1954) was charged with aggravated assault, grand larceny, and homicide. He, too, was sentenced to death by lethal injection. His sentence was reversed in May 1987, by the U. S. Supreme Court, in Gray v. Mississippi, 481 U.S. 648, on the basis "a qualified juror was excluded from his trial". He is currently serving a life sentence in Central Mississippi Correctional Facility (inmate number 01440).[1][2][3][4]


  • Juliette Lewis - as - Amanda Sue Bradley
  • Brad Pitt - as - Billy Canton
  • Michael Tucker - as - Buddy Thornton
  • Alan Fudge - as - D.A. Mark Calhoun
  • Emily Longstreth - as - Jean Glessner
  • Laurie O'Brien- as - Wanda Bradley Sledge
  • Yvette Heyden - as - Annie Meacham
  • Tom Everett - as - Judge Harper
  • Michael O'Keefe - as - Mike Medwicki
  • Dean Abston- as - Harvey Sledge
  • J. Stephen Brady - as - Brian
  • Mark Davenport - as - Mickey
  • Lew Hopson - as - Star
  • Annabelle Weenick - as - Birdie Jewel
  • Charles C. Stevenson Jr. - as - Pastor


  1. ^ Gray v. Mississippi, 481 U.S. 648 (1987). - Oyez Project - November 12, 1986
  2. ^ Transcript: U.S. Supreme Court Oral Argument. - Gray v. Mississippi, 481 U.S. 648 (1987). - Oyez Project - November 12, 1986
  3. ^ Gray v. Mississippi, 481 U.S. 648 (1987). - FindLaw: Cases and Codes
  4. ^ Inmate 01440 - Mississippi Department of Corrections

Further reading[edit]

  • Kuncl, Tom, and Paul Einstein, (1990). - Ladies Who Kill. - New York, New York: Pinnacle Books. - ISBN 1-55817-249-1

External links[edit]