‘Love & Murder: Atlanta Playboy’ is a film that centers around a murder investigation involving a businessman who dies under mysterious circumstances. As the investigation unfolds, it reveals a complex tapestry of secrets and lies surrounding the victim. The businessman was not only known for his role in revamping Atlanta’s 911 system but also for his penchant for romantic involvements.
Directed by Jaira Thomas, the film was released in two parts. The first part of the movie was released on September 21, followed by the release of the second part on September 28. The film appears to be a gripping thriller that explores the intricacies of the murder case and the various individuals involved, making it an intriguing watch for viewers. The hyper-realistic nature of the plot and the backdrop of the film makes one wonder if it is based on true events. If you are wondering about the same, you need not look any further as we have all the answers you might need. Here are the details!
Is Love & Murder: Atlanta Playboy a True Story?
‘Love & Murder: Atlanta Playboy’ is indeed based on a true story. The screenplay for the film was written by Gregory R. Anderson, and it draws its inspiration from the book titled ‘Redbone: Money, Malice, and Murder in Atlanta’ authored by Ron Stodghill. The film revolves around the real-life story of Lance Herndon, a successful businessman who appeared to be living the dream life in the glitzy and thriving city of Atlanta. However, when Lance Herndon is found murdered, a series of secrets about his life come to light, both for the investigative authorities and the audience. The film serves as a stark reminder that appearances can often be deceiving, unraveling the seemingly aspirational life that Herndon was leading. It explores the complexities and mysteries surrounding his murder, making it a compelling portrayal of true events and human nature.
Herndon hailed from a working-class family in New York City and spent part of his early years living with his grandparents in Virginia. He pursued his education at the City University of New York, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. In the 1980s, Lance Herndon relocated to Atlanta, Georgia, and embarked on the remarkable journey of building his own company, Access Inc., from the ground up. His dedication and vision led Access Inc. to become the largest computer consulting firm in the Southeastern United States. Then-President Bill Clinton recognized him as a promising entrepreneur and he was appointed to the 1995 White House Conference on Small Business.
On August 8, 1996, when his employees noticed that he had not arrived at work on time, his mother went to check on him, only to discover Herndon dead in his bed. The extent of the violence was so severe that his head had been brutally bashed, leading to blood splatter on the walls and ceilings of his home. Strikingly, there were no other signs of struggle or forced entry, and the only item missing from the scene was his laptop.
Lance Herndon’s personal life was marked by multiple marriages, having been married three times. The initial investigation raised suspicions about his last ex-wife, but conclusive evidence against anyone remained elusive. It also came to light that he had been involved with several women romantically, including his latest girlfriend, Dionne Baugh, who was questioned in the course of the investigation.
The true story behind Lance Herndon’s death began to unravel in 1998 when Dionne’s husband, in the process of divorcing her, expressed fear that she might harm him like what she had done to Herndon. This revelation prompted the police to question Dionne once again, and during this inquiry, she provided conflicting statements. Ultimately, the startling truth came to light. In 1996, Dionne discovered Herndon with another woman, leading to her aggressive reaction. Herndon responded by filing a complaint against her with the police and gradually distancing himself from her both financially and socially. On the day of her court hearing, driven by a desire for revenge, Dionne took matters into her own hands. She used a crescent wrench from Herndon’s own home to fatally attack him. After committing the gruesome act, she attempted to cover her tracks by taking a shower to clean herself and then left the house, taking his laptop with her.
‘Love & Murder: Atlanta Playboy’ appears to be a gripping film that adeptly depicts the sequence of events surrounding the true story thrillingly while keeping the audience engaged. While some dramatic elements may have been added for cinematic effect, the film effectively captures the essence of the real events. Taye Diggs, portraying the enigmatic character of Lance Herndon, is commended for his remarkable performance, bringing the character to life and infusing it with his energy. The film’s setting in the glamorous city of Atlanta is depicted realistically, showcasing both the high-rise buildings and the dingy alleys. This contrast in the backdrop creates a captivating universe in which the mystery unfolds.
Dionne’s legal journey began with her trial in 2001, where she faced the prospect of life imprisonment for her role in Lance Herndon’s murder. However, her conviction was overturned in two years on appeal by the Georgia Supreme Court, citing the prosecution’s use of inadmissible police officer testimony as a crucial factor. Subsequently, she faced a second trial, which resulted in a hung jury, leading to a mistrial. Her third trial commenced in 2004, but Dionne Baugh chose to change her plea and pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of manslaughter. This plea came with a 10-year prison sentence. After serving her full 10-year term, Dionne Baugh was released to 10 years of probation in July 2011. Since her release, Dionne Baugh has deliberately maintained a low profile and chosen to stay out of the public eye. There have been unfounded rumors of her living in Florida and Kansas but no one knows where she is.
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