Later this month will officially mark 70 years since George Stinney Jr. was first accused of murdering two young white girls in Alcolu, South Carolina.
Eighty-three days later, Stinney was executed. At just 14 years of age, Stinney was the youngest person executed in the twentieth century.
Today, lawyers representing Stinney’s surviving relatives have fielded a motion in a South Carolina court to posthumously grant Stinney a new trial. Their efforts to prove the 14-year-old was denied due process have received national attention.
A hearing began on January 21 and the decision to either grant or deny Stinney a new trial now lies solely in the hands of Circuit Judge Carmen Mullen.
Stinney’s trial back in 1944 lasted only a few hours and a jury took ten minutes to find him guilty of murder. A court-appointed lawyer for Stinney did not call any witnesses on his client’s behalf or cross examine any of the prosecution’s witnesses.
Authorities claimed Stinney provided an oral confession. No appeal was filed.
No physical evidence or trial transcript exists.
Last Friday, Judge Mullen received the last round of legal documents from Third Circuit County Solicitor Ernest ‘Chip’ Finney, who is arguing against a new trial, and Stinney’s lawyers from the office of Coffee, Chandler and McKenzie. Mullen also received amicus briefs in support of a new trial from the South Carolina State Conference of the NAACP and the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project, based at Northeastern University.
If Judge Mullen denies Stinney a ‘new’ trial, attorneys representing Stinney will push for a pardon.
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