Local News

Bladenboro teen's 2014 hanging death now part of documentary

Posted February 19, 2019 6:31 p.m. EST

— Lennon Lacy's mother continues to search for the truth in her son's 2014 death.

Lacy, 17, was found dead on Aug. 24, 2014, hanging from a noose fashioned from two belts and tied to a swing set in Bladenboro. Local authorities ruled it a suicide, but family members and NAACP officials pushed for an outside investigation, saying authorities had rushed to reach a conclusion and didn't fully investigate the case.

Authorities closed their investigation into his death after finding no evidence to pursue any federal civil rights charges.

But Lacy's mother, Claudia, has never believed her son killed himself and says his death was a "modern day lynching."

"Someone lifted him up there. Lifted him and tied him. That's what I'm seeing. Lifted his dead body up to wrap that around," she said.

Lacy said the two belts that were used in the hanging did not belong to her son, and the shoes on his feet were at least a size too small.

Lacy also said the coroner was told to not take any pictures.

"I can't see physically how he did it," she said. "He said to me it's physically impossible to do it. There was nothing there for him to stand on," she said.

Lacy believes her son was killed because he was dating an older white woman, Michelle Brimhall, who lived nearby, but has since moved away.

The story resonated with Jacqueline Olive and she used it as source material for her documentary "Always in Season."

"I really wanted to understand what happened to Lennon and how it impacted the community," she said. "The more I talked to people, like Lennon's mother Claudia, the more I started to realize that the things that were going on there ... had so many connections to what was going on in the communities where I had already been filming," Olive said.

Olive said her documentary wasn't written to figure out who killed Lennon Lacy, but she hopes it brings perspective to the thousands of lynchings that occurred in America during the past century.

"People like to think there's a wall between us and history. That there is somehow this information that's contained and separate from us, but there's a very direct correlation between what happened historically and what's going on now," she said.

Olive said she hopes her documentary generates new interest in Lacy's case and that someone with information might come forward.

She plans to take the documentary on a film festival tour before releasing it to the public on PBS in 2020.