DANSVILLE - It was October 1984. Inside the Wooden Nickel Saloon, 50 or more people jostled for a place to sit for the best view of the televisions.
A little dot of a town on the southern edge of Ingham County, it was unheard of for Hollywood to pay attention to anything that happened here. But on this night, the town's dirty laundry was about to be aired on NBC, and no one wanted to miss it.
Little did they know that a movie about a crime in their small town would make waves far beyond the cornfields cradling its borders, but advocates say that's exactly what happened.
"The Burning Bed" told the story of Francine Hughes, a local woman who, seven years earlier, had been acquitted of murder after she poured gasoline around her sleeping ex-husband, James "Mickey" Hughes, and set him on fire.
Her trial was one of the most sensational in Ingham County's history. It revealed more than 12 years of abuse in the Hughes household, a case of such brutal spousal violence that it quickly became the rallying point for a growing movement to change domestic violence laws.
Read the story here.