The family of 14-year-old George Stinney Jr., who was the youngest person to be executed in South Carolina, is asking a judge to grant him a new trial. This comes after he was put to death in the electric chair June 16, 1944, for allegedly killing two white girls.
George Stinney Jr. was convicted on a shaky confession during at the height of segregation in the South. He was accused of beating two white girls, ages 11 and seven, to death in Clarendon County. It took an all-white jury nearly 10 minutes to convict George Stinney of killing the girls in the segregated town of Alcolu. He was electrocuted 84 days after the crime was committed.
Steve McKenzie, the lawyer representing Stinney’s family, filed the trial request in Clarendon County, claiming that the teenager’s conviction was based on a forced confession and a racially divided community’s desire for revenge. It’s no surprise that records of George Stinney Jr.’s confession and other evidence from the trial have mysteriously disappeared.
Given what they did to Emmett Till and countless others, I have serious doubts that this kid was capable of carrying out such heinous acts on his own. Stinney’s family hopes the court hearing will show he is innocent. The request is unusual and is largely symbolic because there are strict rules in place in South Carolina that largely prohibit the introduction of new evidence after the conclusion of a trial.