Ava DuVernay shared a devastating detail about Korey Wise’s former girlfriend that was left out of When They See Us. In response to a fan question during a Twitter Q&A Tuesday (July 30), DuVernay revealed that Wise never reunited with his girlfriend, Lisa (portrayed by Storm Reed in the film).
“I’m sorry. Korey never reconnected with his girlfriend from the time of his arrest,” tweeted DuVerney. “Sadly, she passed away before he was released from prison 13 years later.” DuVernay noted that Wise says “Rest in Peace” whenever he mentions Lisa.
I’m sorry. Korey never reconnected with his girlfriend from the time of his arrest. Sadly, she passed away before he was released from prison 13 years later. Whenever Korey mentions Lisa to this day, he always adds “Rest in Peace.” I truly hope she is. #WhenTheySeeUs https://t.co/rBkofABUcT
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) July 30, 2019
In the film, Wise — who is played by Jharrel Jerome — ditches a pizza date with Lisa, to go to Central Park with his friends. Wise, then only 16, later agrees to go to the police station in support of his friend, Yousef Salaam, after authorities seek to question Salaam about the rape Trisha Meili, known at the time as the Central Park Jogger. Wise, Salaam, and fellow teenagers, Raymond Santana Jr., Kevin Richardson, and Antron McCray, were all wrongfully convicted of Meili’s rape and sentenced to prison. Wise spent 13 years in prison, the longest sentence among the Exonerated Five.
Aside from spending most of his sentence in solitary confinement and enduring unspeakable abuse, Wise lost his sister while he was in prison, which plays out in a moving scene that is depicted in the film. Wise was released from prison in 2002, and has become an advocate for criminal justice reform.