On a cool December afternoon in California, just a few days before Christmas, a young man wearing a red parka and sunglasses strolls down a suburban street. He pushes open the screen door to Mrs. Eileen Tippetts' kitchen. She is washing the lunch dishes and her son is at the table. Moments later, her hands barely dry, she is lying dead on the kitchen floor. Charles Reece's fourth victim in a week.
The rest of the film follows the capture and trial of Charles Reece, and the mockery of justice as the true case lies on whether Reece was mentally stable when he committed the crimes. Reece seems to know this and it is difficult to know whether he is deliberately faking insanity to avoid having to pay for his crimes, possibly with the death penalty. The true victims of the crime, Gene Tippetts and his only surviving son, are forced to deal with the complications that may see Reece face mental rehabilitation rather than find justice for the multiple murders committed, which could see him back on the streets in just a few years. Added to this is Prosecutor Anthony Fraser's moral dilemma in pushing for the death penalty, especially so soon after losing a child of his own.