George Stinney jr was the typical 14year old living in Alcolu, South Carolina where his father worked at a local saw mill.
Stinney was convicted in less than 10 minutes, during a one-day trial, by an all-white jury, of the first degree murder of two white girls
George Stinney jr was the typical 14-year-old living in Alcolu, South Carolina where his father worked at a local saw mill. Stinney was convicted in less than 10 minutes, during a one-day trial, by an all-white jury, of the first degree murder of two white girls: 11-year-old Betty June Binnicker and 7-year-old Mary Emma Thames.
In 1944, Alcolu was a small town with separate churches and schools for blacks and whites. Their houses were also separated by rail trucks and they rarely interacted.The bodies of Betty June Binnicker, age 11, and Mary Emma Thames, age 7, were found in a ditch on the African-American neighborhood side of Alcolu on March 23, 1944.
They had been beaten with an improvised weapon, variously reported as a piece of blunt metal or a railroad spike.The two were last seen on Stinney's property talking to George jr and his sister Aime. When the girls did not return home, search parties were organized; George's father was among the searchers. Their bodies were discovered to have suffered blunt force trauma.
According to an article reported by the wire services on March 24, 1944, with the mistake of the boy's name preserved, the sheriff announced the arrest and said that "George Junius" had confessed and led officers to "a hidden piece of iron.
This report however differed with postmortem and medical results that showed the injuries were inflicted with a round face object, like a hammer.
Reports also showed that their hymens were intact despite sexual assault allegations. Following George's arrest, his father lost his job and had to vacate their premises which had been offered to him by his employer.
The family never saw Stinney again during his 81-day confinement at a prison 80 kilometers from his hometown. Stinney was questioned alone without his family or a lawyer since black people were never allowed into the court proceedings.
The whole process took one day including jury selection, who were all white. The jury came up with Guilty sentence and the judge sentenced Stinney to death by the electric chair. There is no transcript of the trial. No appeal was filed.
Churches and his family begged for clemency given Stinney's age and Johnston, then the Governor, stated in a response to one appeal for clemency that "It may be interesting for you to know that Stinney killed the smaller girl to rape the larger one. Then he killed the larger girl and raped her dead body.
Twenty minutes later he returned and attempted to rape her again, but her body was too cold. All of this he admitted himself." Assertions which were not supported by the medical examiner's report. Stinney was executed in Columbia on June 16, 1944, at 7:30 p.m. 83 days after the bodies were found.
He was 5 feet 1 inch (155 cm) tall and weighed just over 90 pounds (40 kg), he could hardly fit into the electric chair. The mask he wore was supposedly ripped off and he was declared death 4 minutes after the first surge of electric current.
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