BEAUFORT, S.C. — A 14-year-old boy who was quickly convicted of murder and executed in 1944 has been posthumously exonerated.
On Wednesday, Judge Carmen Tevis Mullen vacated George Stinney Jr.’s conviction, saying the prosecution was “fundamental, Consitutional violations of due process,” according to CBS News.
Stinney was accused of beating two white girls, Betty June Binnicker, 11, and Mary Emma Thames, 7, to death. The girls’ bodies were found in Alcolu, S.C., in March 1944.
One month later, Stinney went to trail for Binnicker’s murder. The trial lasted one day and an all-white, all-male jury deliberated for 10 minutes before pronouncing him guilty and sentencing him to death.
Stinney was executed on June 16, 1944.
In January 2014, surviving relatives of Stinney testifed that the boy was home on the day of the murders and could not have committed the crime.
Stinney’s sister, Amie Ruffner, 77, said the two girls he was accused of murdering came by their home asking where to buy flowers and then left. She said she and her brother then went back to tending the family’s cow.
Wilford Hunter testified that he spent time with Stinney while he was in jail before the trial. He said the boy told him he didn’t kill the girls and that he was forced to confess.
Forensic psychiatrist Dr. Amanda Salas testified on the reliability of Stinney’s confession and “concluded to a reasonable degree of psychiatric certainty that any confession given was a coerced, compliant false confession and is unreliable.”
Judge Mullen called the 1944 trial and execution a “truly unfortunate episode in our history.”
Source: CBS News