The family of a man whose shooting death was the focus of several documentaries called on production companies Tuesday to cease coverage of the case, citing erroneous and emotionally scarring details.
Steven Coleman, 32, was shot and killed by his girlfriend Cierra Sutton in Aug. 2017 in Baytown.
Sutton, 35, was sentenced to 45 years in prison in Feb. 2019.
Since her conviction, several documentaries have produced accounts of what happened, including character sketches of Steven.
“Not long after Steven’s murder, various production companies and media agencies and networks began airing different accounts of Steven’s murder,” said Korla Coleman, Steven’s mother.
The Coleman family cited several programs, including “Fatal Attraction,” on TVOne, syndicated series, True Crime Daily, and another documentary in the planning stages, as reasons behind not being able to move on from Coleman’s death.
Korla said she happened to be watching television when one documentary aired.
“I felt like I was going to pass out. I’m laying across my bed watching TV and there comes my son on TV,” Korla said, adding certain details about her son were false. “They tried to really paint my son as a horrible person.”
Officials said Sutton shot Steven in the head while he was sleeping after an argument. Investigators said Sutton dismembered his body with a machete because he was too heavy to carry.
Sutton wrapped Steven’s body parts in a sheet and put them in at multiple dumpsters, including her apartment complex and land fields, according to officials.
While initially, Sutton reported Steven as missing to Baytown Police, investigators said they suspected foul play when Steven’s two vehicles were still parked at the apartment complex.
Steven’s mother and brother traveled to Baytown from New Orleans to help in his search. The family accused producers of multiple documentaries of failing to include their perspectives.
“They paint this picture as if we don’t care? We don’t know nothing about my brother,” pressed Chriss Coleman, Steven’s brother. “What they do is disgusting. They take our family, other families, and they just exploit their death and profit off of it.”
The family, on Tuesday, called for production companies to stop profiling the case.
“Where does it stop,” asked Brother Deric Muhammad, a community activist.
Their concern follows similar criticism surrounding the popular Netflix series on serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, and other true crime programming that’s become big business, thanks to high demand.
“And this whole sub-genre of true crime – they call it true crime – has become a multibillion-dollar business,” Muhammad said.
It’s a business, cried Steven Coleman’s family. Cries built on pain.
“Five years in August. I don’t miss a day, a month, to bring flowers. I had to bury what they found,” Korla said.