A gripping and gut-churning story of a traumatising seven-year ordeal of mental, physical, and emotional abuse that is given an even greater sombre tone when watching with the knowledge of the outcomes of the real-life persons depicted (see footnotes below).
Arliss Howard (uncredited for some strange reason) is spine-chilling as serial pedophile Kenneth Parnell, Luke Edwards and Jacob Gelman are engaging as his two young victims, Steven (aged 7) and four-year-old Timmy, and John Ashton and Cindy Pickett stretch their dramatic legs with differing degrees of effect as parents Del and Kay Stayner. But it's in the second-half of the picture where Corin Nemec enters, portraying Steven at 14 years old, where the gravity of this story really hits home. Mr. Nemec delivers a tour-de-force performance, portraying that complexities of survivor and victim to perfection.
'I Know My First Name is Steven', a two-part made-for-television production, is a bitter pill to swallow, but it has so much to say about the judicial system and the treatment of victims of criminal acts. In this case, the punishment did not fit the crime.
1989: Steven Stayner dies in a motorcycle accident in September, four months after the miniseries originally airs, aged 24.
1999: Cary Stayner, Steven's older brother, murders four women at Yosemite Park, and is later sentenced to death row (still serving as of this writing).
2004: Kenneth Parnell is sentenced to 25-years-to-life imprisonment for the attempted kidnapping of a four-year-old boy, and dies of natural causes at the California State Prison Hospital in 2008, aged 76.
2010: Timmy White, a police officer, dies from a pulmonary embolism, aged 35.