Monday, 24 September, 2018

Emmett Till Murder Investigation Reopened Because of 'New Evidence'

DOJ reopens Emmett Till case after ‘new information’ arises report Justice Dept reopens investigation into Emmett Till’s lynching murder
Deanna Wagner | 13 July, 2018, 03:00

The federal government has quietly revived its investigation into the murder of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old African-American boy whose abduction and killing remains, nearly 63 years later, among the starkest and most searing examples of racial violence in the South.

The DOJ's move to reopen the case came after "receiving new information", it said in a report to Congress.

Known as "Bobo" to those who loved him, Emmett's savage murder jolted a nation, spurring it to action on civil rights.

An explosive new book by Timothy B. Tyson called "The Blood of Emmett Till" came out a year ago and alleges that Carolyn Donham, the white woman at the center of the case, admitted to lying about the events leading up to the murder. In last year's The Blood of Emmett Till, however, it was discovered that Carolyn Donham had lied when she testified that Emmett Till harassed her with "verbal and physical advances" at a store in MS in 1955. Two white men - Donham's then-husband, Roy Bryant, and his half-brother, J.W. Milam - were charged with murder but acquitted in the slaying of Till, who had been staying with relatives in northern MS at the time. The two men later admitted in a magazine interview to killing Till, but were never retried. The government has investigated 115 cases involving 128 victims under the "cold case" law named for Till, the report said.

At one point, the men recalled, Emmett told them, "You bastards, I'm not afraid of you".

The jurists deliberated for less than an hour and went on to issue a "not guilty" verdict, acquitting the two men in Emmett's slaying. An all-white jury freed her husband and the other man even without it. Testimony indicated a woman might have been in a vehicle with Bryant and Milam when they abducted Till, but no one else was ever charged.

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"None of us wants to do anything that jeopardizes any investigation or impedes, but we are also very interested in justice being done", she told the outlet, declining to discuss specifics. His murderers then strapped a cotton gin fan to his neck with barbed wire so it would weigh him down when they tossed him in the Tallahatchie River. Against advice, she demanded that his funeral be open casket.

It is not clear from the report what that information might be, but relatives of Till asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reopen the case after the book was published.

"He said, 'How about a date, baby?'" she testified, according to a trial transcript released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation a decade ago.

Moments after pulling away, she said the teenager "caught me at the cash register", grasped her around the waist with both hands and pulled her towards him.

The evidence, which was heard after jurors had been sent out, was ruled inadmissible by the judge.

The Duke University scholar says he shared materials including recordings of 2008 interviews with a white woman, Carolyn Donham, acknowledging that she wasn't truthful when she testified that Till made sexual advances at a MS store in 1955. The book says the woman acknowledged she wasn't truthful when she testified that the 14-year-old Till grabbed her. Authorities haven't said what that may be, but the move followed the release a year ago of a book about the case.