14-year-old boy executed for murder in 1944 is exonerated 70 years later

14-year-old boy executed for murder in 1944 is exonerated 70 years later

Matt Payton

Friday 19 Dec 2014 3:31 pm
http://metro.co.uk/2014/12/19/14-year-old-boy-executed-for-murder-in-1944-is-exonerated-70-years-later-4993406/

14-year-old boy executed for murder in 1944 is exonerated 70 years laterGeorge Stinney Jr’s mugshot. The boy was too small for the electric chair and had to sit on a phone book for the execution to take place (Picture: Reuters)

The conviction and execution of a 14-year-old boy for the double murder of two young white girls in 1944 has finally been overturned after more than 70 years.

George Stinney Jr was convicted of the murder of Mary Emma Thames, 7, and Betty June Binnicker, 11 in South Carolina, U.S.

The two girls were found in a shallow ditch behind a church having been beaten to death with a railroad spike.

For his execution by electric chair, the young teen had to be propped up by a phone book on the electric chair and one of the electrodes proved too big for his leg.

George was arrested, tried, convicted and executed within a three-month period in what civil rights activists and members of his family have for over half a century stated was a massive miscarriage of justice.

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He had admitted to the crime after being separated from his parents before being interrogated by police.

The young boy was then found guilty by an all-white, all-male jury after only 10 minutes of deliberation.

South Carolina Circuit Court Judge Carmen Mullins reviewed George’s case and explained the reasons why she made the decision to overturn the conviction: ‘From time to time we are called to look back to examine our still-recent history and correct injustice where possible.

‘I can think of no greater injustice than a violation of one’s constitutional rights, which has been proven to me in this case by a preponderance of the evidence standard.’

Defense witness Katherine Stinney-Robinson leaves the stand after her testimony at the hearing to reopen the case for her brother George Stinney Jr. in Sumter, South Carolina in this file photo taken January 21, 2014.  A South Carolina judge on December 17, 2014, vacated the conviction of Stinney Jr., a black teenager executed in 1944 for the murder of two white girls, saying he had not received a fair trial.  REUTERS/Randall Hill/Files  (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW)Defense witness Katherine Stinney-Robinson leaves the stand after her testimony (Picture: Reuters)

Stinney’s two sisters were in the courtroom when their brother’s name was cleared.

Ray Brown, a film-maker who produced a documentary on the case told The Grio: ‘It’s never too late for justice, there’s no statute of limitations on justice.

‘One of the things I can say about South Carolina and I can give them credit for — is that they got it right this time.

‘During a period of time in our nation where we seem to have such a great racial divide, you have a southern state that has decided to admit they made a mistake and correct it.’

Aime Ruffner receives support from family and friends after testifying at the hearing to reopen the case for her brother George Stinney Jr. in Sumter, South Carolina in this file photo taken January 21, 2014. A South Carolina judge on December 17, 2014, vacated the conviction of Stinney Jr., a black teenager executed in 1944 for the murder of two white girls, saying he had not received a fair trial.  REUTERS/Randall Hill/Files  (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW)Aime Ruffner, Stinney Jr’s sister, receives support from family and friends after testifying (Picture: Reuters)

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