The grisly story of what Chante Jawan Mallard did to Gregory Glenn Biggs 15 years ago in Fort Worth, Texas, has been the inspiration for several true-crime dramatizations.
It was adapted in episodes of CSI, Fargo and Law & Order and served as the basis for the 2007 film Stuck, starring Steven Rea and Mena Suvari.
The case is again revisited in the recently-released film Midnighters, which opened in theaters, video-on-demand and Digital HD on March 2. The IFC Midnight film was directed by Julius Ramsay and written by Alston Ramsay, an ex-speechwriter and senior adviser to former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.
“I was inspired to write this film after reading about the case in the newspaper,” Ramsay tells PEOPLE. “You just wonder how this could have happened. This was a woman who is trained to help people, and she didn’t respond to someone who was begging for help in her own garage.”
On Oct. 26, 2001, Mallard, then 25 years old, hit the homeless Biggs with her vehicle. The force of the crash sent him over the hood and into the windshield, where he became lodged, critically injured.
Instead of calling police or seeking medical help, however, Mallard drove her vehicle home and parked it in her garage. Biggs remained in her windshield, bleeding and pleading for help. According to subsequent trial testimony, Mallard checked on him several times and apologized, but she never sought treatment for his injuries.
He died several hours later. He was 37.
Mallard, who had reportedly worked as a nurse’s aide, would later admit that she was “messed up” on ecstasy, alcohol and marijuana when the collision occurred.
• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
After Biggs died, Mallard got a friend and then his cousin to help her. The two men took the body to a local park and left it there. They attempted to destroy the evidence of the crash by setting fire to her vehicle.
Four months later, Mallard began talking about the incident at a party. A partygoer reported her to the police and she was arrested.
After her 2003 trial, Mallard was sentenced to 50 years in prison for murder and 10 years for tampering with evidence. (She was convicted on the first charge and pleaded guilty to the second.) Her friend and cousin both pleaded guilty to evidence tampering.
Mallard remains behind bars in Gatesville, Texas. According to detention records obtained by PEOPLE, her projected release date is March 3, 2052 — although she is eligible for parole in 2027.
She has had no prison infractions during the past 15 years.
Biggs was a bricklayer who was down on his luck. He had limited interaction with his family at the time of his death, but his son eventually publicly forgave Mallard. ”I still want to extend my forgiveness to Chante Mallard and let her know that the Mallard family is in my prayers,” Brandon Biggs said in 2003, according to the The New York Times. “If love is what makes the world go round, compassion makes it sincere.”
Mallard tearfully apologized for what she did during her trial, according to CNN, saying on the stand in 2003: “I am so truly sorry.”
“I am so sorry, Brandon,” she said. “I am so sorry for what I have caused your family and I am sorry for the pain I have put my family through. I am so sorry for the crime I’ve done to society, I really am very sorry.”
Her defense attorney said she did not have any prior criminal convictions, CNN reported at the time. “What she did is horrible, but … she is not a horrible person,” he said then.
• For more compelling True Crime coverage, follow our Crime magazine on Flipboard
Speaking to PEOPLE about his film, Midnighters screenwriter Ramsay says, “Things like this aren’t necessarily common, but they happen more often than is comfortable to think about, which was interesting to me. So this is a film about humans and human nature and the extraordinary decisions that people make under pressure.”
While the movie is not a direct adaptation of what happened, Ramsay believes that it raises a lot of questions and makes people think.
“It’s easy to see a story like this and make judgements,” he says. “But you also have to look at yourself and wonder what you’d do under extreme circumstances. That’s what this film is all about.”
Midnighters is in theaters and available on-demand now.