Sharron Kinne is such an interesting character because she truly is a modern outlaw. If we were watching this play out on film, she would be our heroine. We would sympathize with her, admire her badassery, and find reasons to justify her actions. Of course, this isn't film, so depictions of her are often unfavorable, but the thing that gets to me is when they're just flat out wrong.
I had to rely on Wikipedia so much in researching Sharon Kinne, because unfortunately most of the articles I found were so riddled with speculation and opinion that it felt wrong to even use them as source material.
A lot of these websites state as fact that Sharon killed Patricia Jones, and it's not unlikely, as the gun used to kill Jones was later found in Sharon's possession. Nevertheless, she was acquitted of that murder, so to credit her with it is simply not factual. One of my personal favorite sensationalizations is this little gem:
"She carried out her plot by luring Patricia Jones to the remote area and then shot her to death as Patricia cried, screamed, and begged for her life."
By all accounts, there were no witnesses to Patricia's murder, so I'm not sure if the writer intends to imply that he was actually present at the scene of the crime or is somehow omniscient.
Then, in another article, we have this statement about the death of Sharon's husband, James Kinne:
"Sharon Kinne did the only sensible thing, for her: She shot James in the head while he was napping and said her 2-year-old daughter Danna did it while playing with daddy's gun."
Sharon's conviction in the death of her husband was overturned, and because she remains a fugitive, and her first three trials yielded no resolution, the charges against her remain pending. So, legally, she is not responsible for the death of James Kinne.
Now, clearly I'm not opposed to embellishment for the sake of a compelling story, but the characters I create, while based on real women and as well researched as possible, are still characters of my own design. I in no way intend for my words to be taken as their statements. It's important, I believe, to be as transparent as possible in distinguishing facts from fiction.
In an attempt to be fair, I always check whether the woman I'm portraying has admitted to committing the crime or maintains her innocence. I may have my own ideas as to whether or not they're telling the truth, but I want to at least attempt giving them the benefit of doubt, and if nothing else, put myself outside of my own head while enacting them. So, if they admit to it, I will tell the story from that angle, and if they do not, I'll find whatever statements or news reports from them that can help me craft a story from their perspective of events.
Some are easier than others. Larissa Schuster and Ana Trujillo both had numerous interviews and direct quotes that I could draw from. Sharon Kinne, on the other hand -- and I'm sure her fugitive status plays no small part in this -- has not really spoken too much about her alleged crimes.
She has however, always maintained the same stories for each crime she was accused of. James was an accident, she simply found Patricia's body, and has no idea who might have killed her, and the incident in Mexico was self defense. If nothing else, the woman is consistent with her statements. Its unlikely she'll ever be found, as she could be anywhere in South America at this point, and no one really seems to be looking for her anymore. Some speculation even suggests that she has died. She'd be a fugitive in her 70's, so that's entirely possible.
I chose to work the comics into this story because the Criminal series explores crime in a very interesting, nuanced way. In the world of Criminal, we abandon the good/evil dynamic, even more so than you'll often see on film and television. Because these aren't your "likable antihero" characters, they're people stuck in shitty life situations finding a way to survive, and they aren't always doing what they think is right. There isn't always some altruistic or compassionate side to them, and yet, there doesn't need to be. Brubaker and Phillips still make you feel for them. The way each arc can be read independently but still ties together really pulls together the idea that you can unwittingly be the "villain" in someone else's story, and that the lines between what is right and wrong are often murky and bloody.
And this isn't just praise because its my favorite comic. I bring this up because its so pertinent in life. We may be the protagonist in our own stories, but each of us is a villain or an adversar in somebody else's, and we'd be wise to remind ourselves of that every once in awhile.
Miss Arsenous Apple Pie
I'd highly recommend checking out Criminal by Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips
If you come across any material on Sharron Kinne that isn't shit, please let me know!