Just 70 years ago, a young child was convicted of murder was executed. Just more than half of a century later, he has been cleared of murder.
George Stinney Jr., the youngest person to ever be executed in the history of the United States, was finally cleared of murder just only years after he was accused of murdering two white girls back in 1944. During the one day examination of the entire trial, Judge Carmen T. Mullen of Circuit Court found that the verdict was “great and fundamental injustice,” in addition to the prosecution doing absolutely nothing to protect his constitutional rights.
This quote was made via New York Times:
“The all-white jury could not be considered a jury of the teenager’s peers, Judge Mullen ruled, and his court-appointed attorney did “little to nothing” to defend him. His confession was most likely coerced and unreliable, she added, “due to the power differential between his position as a 14-year-old black male apprehended and questioned by white, uniformed law enforcement in a small, segregated mill town in South Carolina.”
At the hearing, in Sumter, Mr. Stinney’s two sisters testified, and a videotaped deposition from his brother was played. They spoke of the morning in March 1944 when the two girls, Betty June Binnicker, 11, and Mary Emma Thames, 7, were seen riding bicycles by the pastures in rural Alcolu. The girls’ bodies were found the next morning in a ditch, their skulls crushed. Mr. Stinney was taken into custody within hours, and confessed to the murders that day.
Two white men who had helped search for the girls also testified, and a cellmate of Mr. Stinney’s recounted conversations in which Mr. Stinney said he was innocent and had been made to confess. Less than three months passed between the murder and the execution; the trial and sentencing took less than a day.”
(Image via IGN)