In 2017, Deven Grey, a young mother, shot and killed her abusive partner in a remote trailer in rural Shelby County, Alabama. She claimed self-defense and filed a Stand Your Ground claim.
Instead of freedom, she was handed a “blind plea” – an option to take an unknown sentence in exchange for pleading guilty. As a Black woman who shot and killed a white man in Alabama, she did the only thing she could: She took the plea. Deven’s sentence became the final link in a chain of deceit, haunted land, generational trauma, false identity, coercive control, and a broken justice system.
Hosted by Emmy Award-winning journalist Liz Flock, Blind Plea asks: Who do we believe, and why? And in America, who has the right to self defense and a fair trial?
How much abuse can someone take before they lose control? In the case of Deven Grey, she felt killing an abusive boyfriend was the only way out. The Blind Plea podcast examines the harrowing case in fascinating detail. Host Liz Flock brings her journalistic expertise to this legal battle.
After years of living with John Henry Vance's violent abuse, Grey had to put a stop to it. She had tried to call the police before, but Vance would respond with physical violence. In 2017, 25-year-old Grey saw no option but to defend herself.
In America, self-defense is a common legal defense in murder investigations. But for a Black woman charged with murdering a white man in Alabama, it's not that simple. Blind Plea investigates how a woman ended up in prison for defending herself. The intersection of racial bias, domestic abuse, and a flawed legal system failed her. However, some details of the case have cast doubt on Grey's alleged lack of culpability.
Flock who narrates Blind Plea, is an accomplished author and reporter. Publications like the New York Times, the Guardian, and PBS NewsHour have featured her work. Flock has spoken with hundreds of women incarcerated for defending themselves against abuse. With this podcast, she reveals that, in most cases, these women fear for their lives.
This podcast features interviews with the people closest to Grey and Vance. The show follows her life from the beginning of the relationship to her legal case. Throughout, she suffered fear, manipulation, and unrelenting violence. Despite Vance's abuse, Grey had little choice but to accept a guilty plea. In the end, she received a sentence of 15 years in prison.
Blind Plea explores conventional notions of victimhood. The podcast questions what a real fair trial is. It also analyzes the intricate dynamics that govern abusive relationships.
The podcast premiered in April 2023. Episodes for this short-form podcast are about 30-45 minutes long.