Mount Airy native Howell Woltz will host a screening of the documentary film “Justice Denied” at the Historic Earle Theatre on Friday at 6 p.m. The Earle is located at 142 N. Main St. in downtown Mount Airy. Woltz said he particularly wanted to bring his story to his hometown.
Woltz and his wife Vernice were arrested by the FBI on April 18, 2006, at their home in South Carolina, on charges of conspiring to defraud the U.S. government, brought on by a U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. According to Woltz, they were denied bail and thrown into jail.
It was just the beginning of a long nightmare for Woltz, who previously had never been convicted for any crime. Woltz spent the next seven years in prison, convicted of the charges, and his wife served time in prison as well. Though he lost his marriage and his career, Woltz said he was inspired by his experiences to become an advocate for justice and now strives to educate others.
The event will begin at 6 p.m. with the short documentary shown at 6:30 p.m. Following the presentation, Woltz will take questions from the audience. Copies of his book, “Justice Denied: The United States vs. The People,” will be available for purchase and signing by Woltz.
The documentary was independently produced by Savannah College of Art & Design last year, and directed by Kentucky native Cody Joel. It won the SCADemy Award as best documentary in May of 2013.
The short film was nominated for the Student Category of the Emmy Awards in Los Angeles. This is the only viewing of “Justice Denied” authorized outside of the film festival community, prior to public release of the film later this year on PBS. Executive Director Tanya Jones said the Surry Arts Council is pleased that Howell chose his hometown as the place for the premiere of the documentary.
Woltz earned a degree in economics from the University of Virginia, also attending Wake Forest University’s Executive MBA Program and Caledonia University in Glasgow, Scotland, for post-graduate studies. He now lives in Advance.
“This is a story of betrayal in the land of the free. During a year of solitary confinement, I grappled with the question ‘Why me?’ The answer I received was because I’m supposed to do something about it. That’s what I’m here to do,” said Woltz.
While in prison, Woltz spent many hours in the prison law library, where he worked to reduce years of time from the sentences of other prisoners by working as the in-house legal council for those who lacked representation.
More information can be found at howellwoltz.com.
The evening at the Historic Earle Theatre will consist of a welcome by Woltz and viewing of the documentary followed by comments and questions. At 7:30 p.m., the group of family and well-wishers will relocate to Old North State Winery for refreshments and a book signing.