R.I.P. George Junius Stinney, Jr.

 

Came across this story the other day and I thought I’d share.

I’m pretty disgusted about how times were back then, but I want to hear what you guys have to say.

Feel free to comment. Lets TALK!

–jkiiD

R.I.P 1929-1944

He was 14 yrs. 6mos. and 5 days old — and the youngest person executed in the United States in the 20th Century

George Junius Stinney, Jr.,

[b. 1929 – d. 1944]

In a South Carolina prison sixty-six years ago, guards walked a 14-year-old boy, bible tucked under his arm, to the electric chair. At 5’ 1” and 95 pounds, the straps didn’t fit, and an electrode was too big for his leg.

The switch was pulled and the adult sized death mask fell from George Stinney’s face. Tears streamed from his eyes. Witnesses recoiled in horror as they watched the youngest person executed in the United States in the past century die.

Now, a community activist is fighting to clear Stinney’s name, saying the young boy couldn’t have killed two girls. George Frierson, a school board member and textile inspector, believes Stinney’s confession was coerced, and that his execution was just another injustice blacks suffered in Southern courtrooms in the first half of the 1900s.

In a couple of cases like Stinney’s, petitions are being made before parole boards and courts are being asked to overturn decisions made when society’s thumb was weighing the scales of justice against blacks. These requests are buoyed for the first time in generations by money, college degrees and sometimes clout.

“I hope we see more cases like this because it help brings a sense of closure. It’s symbolic,” said Howard University law professor Frank Wu. “It’s not just important for the individuals and their families. It’s important for the entire community. Not just for African Americans, but for whites and for our democracy as a whole. What these cases show is that it is possible to achieve justice.”

Some have already achieved justice. Earlier this year, syndicated radio host Tom Joyner successfully won a posthumous pardon for two great uncles who were executed in South Carolina.

A few years ago Lena Baker, a black Georgia maid sent to the electric chair for killing a white man, received a pardon after her family pointed out she likely killed the man because he was holding her against her will.

In the Stinney case, supporters want the state to admit that officials executed the wrong person in June 1944.

Stinney was accused of killing two white girls, 11 year old Betty June Binnicker and 8 year old
Mary Emma Thames, by beating them with a railroad spike then dragging their bodies to a ditch near Acolu, about five miles from Manning in central South Carolina. The girls were found a day after they disappeared following a massive manhunt. Stinney was arrested a few hours later, white men in suits taking him away. Because of the risk of a lynching, Stinney was kept at a jail 50 miles away in Columbia.

Stinney’s father, who had helped look for the girls, was fired immediately and ordered to leave his home and the sawmill where he worked. His family was told to leave town prior to the trial to avoid further retribution. An atmosphere of lynch mob hysteria hung over the courthouse. Without family visits, the 14 year old had to endure the trial and death alone.

Frierson hasn’t been able to get the case out of his head since, carrying around a thick binder of old newspaper stories and documents, including an account from an execution witness.

The sheriff at the time said Stinney admitted to the killings, but there is only his word — no written record of the confession has been found. A lawyer helping Frierson with the case figures threats of mob violence and not being able to see his parents rattled the seventh- grader.

Attorney Steve McKenzie said he has even heard one account that says detectives offered the boy ice cream once they were done.

“You’ve got to know he was going to say whatever they wanted him to say,” McKenzie said.

The court appointed Stinney an attorney — a tax commissioner preparing for a Statehouse run. In all, the trial — from jury selection to a sentence of death — lasted one day. Records indicate 1,000 people crammed the courthouse. Blacks weren’t allowed inside.

The defense called no witnesses and never filed an appeal. No one challenged the sheriff’s recollection of the confession.

“As an attorney, it just kind of haunted me, just the way the judicial system worked to this boy’s disadvantage or disfavor. It did not protect him,” said McKenzie, who is preparing court papers to ask a judge to reopen the case.

Stinney’s official court record contains less than two dozen pages, several of them arrest warrants. There is no transcript of the trial.

The lack of records, while not unusual, makes it harder for people trying to get these old convictions overturned, Wu said.

But these old cases also can have a common thread.

“Some of these cases are so egregious, so extreme that when you look at it, the prosecution really has no case either,” Wu said. “It’s apparent from what you can see that someone was railroaded.”

And sometimes, police under pressure by frightened citizens jumped to conclusions rather than conducting a thorough investigation, Wu said.

Credit: NewsOne

6 thoughts on “R.I.P. George Junius Stinney, Jr.

  1. so maybe george stinney was innocent realy. maybe those little white trash whoes was not looking for maypops.. maybe htey was looking for sex off the little black boy and entice him into the woods. why else would u have to beat off two whoes.. and kill them.. some articles here say he was gulity. have him noted as juvryenile killer. i cant say. does he look like a killer.?? all i know is i wish someone would bring light to my case because im tired of hearing now about others injustice and always having to take up others and get none for me and its now in this century.. i cant tell u what whtie people who are partial to black beause its cool would do to lower me to the n word and take up this issues just to feel fashionable and in, and then turn and lower someone to the N word. its all an illusion..

    • I’m really not sure where you were going with your argument. Maybe the multiple grammatical errors had something to do with that.

      BUT

      We probably will never know what exactly happened to those girls but I’m almost certain young George Stinney wasn’t given a fair trial given the times in which his alleged crime took place.

      My biggest issue is with the EXECUTION of a 14 year old BOY…

      If there was any doubt(which there was) of him being guilty then this should have never taken place. Point blank.

      —jkiiD @jkiiDougie_sLe

  2. My mother was down south during WW2 . Soldiers wifes from the north were like the blacks, treated badly. From what she told me of how the blacks were treated. i can’t imagin, if he was guilty, he would tell the police he was the last to see them alive. i think, he would have kept quiet. My opinion, he told his dad, who probably told him , to tell the police all he knew, And i think he did. I think the real killer walked. And since we know there are a lot of child molesters in this country. I think it was likly an adult.

  3. before i talk about george, i’d like to address the person above, those little girls was innocent as well and did not deserve to die and now be disrespected and called names, that’s wrong and not helping make this world a better place,.. now this has crushed my heart since i learned of it a few years ago, with out a dought this child was innocent!! i don’t even believe he confessed, sure no proof of it, he was a tiny boy, the 11 year old was bigger than him, it would have taken a grown man to kill both these girls at same time, he was found quilty for simply seeing them the same day they went missing and being a black boy, we can never take back or undo what has been done to this child and his family!! him being put to death, alone threw it all with no family support, fear of the white world he was now owned again by.” no i’m not racist, i’m white with mixed kids” but what they done to that child i wish and hope there is a hell and their all feeling every flame for what they done to him, i would love nothing more than his named cleared for those thats still living, believing he was guilty and justice was served, but it’s to late for george and his family, it can never be undone, the unjustice will forever haunt me and break my heart, even if say he had done it, still unjustice, he was a child, life at best, but again no dought he was not quilty, he paid for a white man’s crime, rest easy george, forever in my heart>

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