Historian Anthony Pitch failed to pinpoint the killer or killers in his 2016 book on the 1946 lynching of two black couples in rural Georgia. He now hopes a federal appeals court ruling will point him in the right direction. The 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that grand jury transcripts, usually kept secret, could be unsealed in the case. They relate to the July 25 killings of Roger and Dorothy Malcom and George and Mae Murray Dorsey, reports the AP. Victim Roger Malcolm, 24, had just been bailed out of jail, where he was held for stabbing a white man he suspected of sleeping with his wife, when a white mob of 20 to 25 people stopped the group on Moore's Ford Bridge in rural Walton County. The mob did not hurt the white driver—who happened to be a former KKK member—but the two black couples were shot on the banks of the Apalachee River.
The FBI identified numerous possible suspects—including relatives of the man Malcom had stabbed—but a grand jury opted not to indict anyone. In a dissenting opinion in the new ruling, Judge James Graham said he worried the transcripts would tarnish the reputations of innocent people, reports NJ.com. However, Judge Charles Wilson cited "exceptional circumstances" to overrule grand jury secrecy. "There is no indication that any witnesses, suspects, or their immediate family members are alive to be intimidated, persecuted, or arrested," he wrote in the majority opinion. "Perhaps now the truth of this unfortunate, gruesome act will be finally unearthed and displayed to the world," Pitch's lawyer tells the AP. "It's huge to me," Malcolm's granddaughter adds, per the Atlanta Journal Constitution. "I can't stop crying." (A suspect speaks here.)