A South Carolina judge on Wednesday vacated the conviction of a black teenager executed in 1944 for the murder of two white girls, saying he had not received a fair trial.
George Stinney Jr. was, at age 14, the youngest person to be executed in the United States in the past century. He was convicted of killing Betty June Binnicker, 11, and Mary Emma Thames, 7, in Alcolu, a segregated mill town, and was electrocuted three months after their deaths.
Stinney’s trial lasted one day. Courtroom witnesses said he was taken to court in a cage and could hardly walk under the weight of the shackles.
Stinney’s case has long been whispered in civil rights circles in South Carolina as an example of how a black person could be railroaded by a justice system during the Jim Crow era where the investigators, prosecutors and juries were all white.