Boy, 14, to Get New Hearing —69 Years After Execution
SC electrocuted George Stinney 84 days after crime
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Nov 11, 2013 12:18 AM CST
This photo provided by the South Carolina Department of Archives and History shows 14-year-old George Stinney Jr.    (AP Photo/South Carolina Department of Archives and History)

(Newser) – The youngest person executed in the United States in the 20th century will have a new day in court, 69 years after an all-white jury in South Carolina took less than 10 minutes to find him guilty of the murder of two young white girls. George Stinney Jr. was just 14 in the spring of 1944 when he was arrested for the murder of June Binnicker, 11, and 7-year-old Mary Emma Thames, who were found stabbed to death with a railway spike. The black teenager, who had been seen talking to the girls the day they vanished, died in the electric chair 84 days after the crime. Supporters have now asked a county judge to grant Stinney a new trial, the Guardian reports.

A lawyer acting for Stinney's family says the conviction was based on a forced confession. He says the 90-pound teen would have been physically unable to commit the crime—and he has sworn statements from two still-living siblings who say he was with them throughout the day the girls disappeared. Another lawyer explains to the Sumter Item that his family "was essentially run out of town" after his arrest, preventing them from testifying. The Guardian reports that state rules restrict the introduction of new evidence and mean a new trial is unlikely to happen, but family members say it will be a victory just to get the case back into a courtroom when a hearing on the lawyer's motion is held. "His family is still thriving, but his soul is not at rest," a cousin says. "There has been no justice for George, nor for those two young girls, because we know that he is innocent." (Click for to read about another decades-old crime.)

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Showing 3 of 119 comments
Nov 12, 2013 9:52 AM CST
I don't want to turn this into a white/black issue because I hate when this is done but it's hard to ignore. If he had been a white man or boy (at the time of his conviction), the sentence would not have been as severe, or if he would have gotten a sentence at all. That was just so long ago, they should give him a hearing, and he is about 70 now, how is he even suppose to come out of jail and function in this society. How sad is that? I always say this but guilty or not, law enforcement isn't always cracked up to be. Who takes almost 70 years to find answers for a crime? blah blah blah
Nov 11, 2013 10:20 PM CST
So if they find him innocent, they'll dig his bones up and shake his hand? Sheesh!
Nov 11, 2013 9:46 PM CST
When the new jury finds little George innocent they can take him to Chuck E Cheese to celebrate. SMH, some real Bull$hit! Only in America.