Curbing a murder

Netflix to release film on how ‘Curb’ influenced a murder trial

Much-hyped doc ‘Long Shot’ available on the streaming site September 29

Yaakov Schwartz is The Times of Israel's deputy Jewish World editor.

Larry David in August 2014. (Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images via JTA)
Larry David in August 2014. (Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images via JTA)

Larry David, creator of hit shows “Seinfeld” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” claims to have “done at least one decent thing” in his life, “albeit inadvertently.”

Despite the characteristic self-deprecation, David’s good deed was significant enough to have an impact on a murder trial. And now Netflix is releasing a short documentary about it.

The much-hyped doc, entitled “Long Shot,” will be available on the streaming site beginning September 29.

Fans of the show “Curb” might already be familiar with the story: Back in August, 2003, Juan Catalan faced a murder charge for the shooting of 16-year-old Martha Puebla. The charge potentially could have carried the death penalty for Catalan, who was then 24 years old, because Puebla had testified against Catalan’s brother Mario in separate a gang-related murder case.

Catalan maintained that he was at a Los Angeles Dodgers game at the time of the murder, but the only proof of his alibi were a couple of ticket stubs that could have belonged to anybody.

Spoiler alert: If you don’t know how this ends, we’re about to give away the big reveal – and we highly recommend that you watch the documentary before reading any further (feel free to revisit this story after September 29).

After combing through the stadium shots of the crowd as well as the Fox Sports tape of the game, Catalan’s lawyers had nothing to prove he was there. And that’s when Catalan remembered seeing a television crew shooting scenes at the game.

In a serendipitous twist the likes of which only Larry David could be behind, it happened to be that “Curb” was shooting footage for the episode “The Car Pool Lane” that day. David was skeptical, but allowed the Catalan legal team access to that day’s footage – which, amazingly enough, actually caught Catalan on tape with his six-year-old daughter.

Based on the footage, which included time stamps, as well as cell phone records that placed Catalan in the vicinity of the stadium at the time of the murder, Catalan was cleared of all charges after having spent five-and-a-half months in jail and awarded a $320,000 settlement from the city of Los Angeles and the police department.

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