TIME

The living victims

MINDY PENDLETON PANICKED WHEN SHE LEARNED HER stepson’s murder would be featured in a true-crime docuseries on Netflix. Her stomach churned in the days leading up to the debut of the show, which Pendleton worried would glorify the killer who had strangled 25-year-old Robert Mast in 2015 as he sat in a car in a Walmart parking lot.

“This was my greatest fear,” says Pendleton, 64. She’d helped raise Mast from a toddler, and still has marks on the walls of her Largo, Fla., home measuring his height through the years. The last mark, made when Mast was 18, is 5 ft. 11 in. off the ground.

When Netflix asked Mast’s family and friends in February 2019 to participate in the series, those closest to him pleaded with the producers to abandon the project. They said it was inhumane to sell a documentary at the emotional expense of a grieving family. “As a parent, a fellow human being, I beg you not to do this,” Pendleton wrote in the first of many

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