No one has been convicted of the 1955 kidnapping, torture and murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till in Mississippi.
The US Department of Justice has announced that it is ending a reopened investigation into the 1955 lynching of 14-year-old Emmett Till in Mississippi.
Till was abducted, tortured and killed while touring the state from his home in Chicago. His mother’s decision to have an open casket funeral showing her son’s mutilated body helped galvanize the U.S. civil rights movement. No one has been convicted of the murder.
The Justice Department recently reopened the investigation in 2018, a year after a 2017 book quoted Carolyn Bryant Donham as saying she lied when she claimed that 14-year-old Till grabbed her, hissed at her and made sexual advances at her while she was working at a store in the small community of Money.
Relatives have publicly denied that Donham, who is 80, retracted his claims about Till.
“By closing this case without prosecution, the government does not consider the woman’s testimony in state court in 1955 to be true or correct,” the Justice Department said in a statement on Monday.
“There remains considerable doubt as to the credibility of his version of events, which is contradicted by others who were with Till at the time, including the account of a living witness.”
Till’s cousin, Rev. Wheeler Parker Jr, told a press conference on Monday that “Today is a day we will never forget.”
âFor 66 years we have suffered from pain,â he said. âI suffered a lot.
A few days after Till’s death, his body was removed from the Tallahatchie River, where it had been dumped after being shot and weighted with a cotton fan.
Two white men, Roy Bryant and his half-brother JW Milam were tried for murder about a month after Till’s murder, but an all-white Mississippi jury acquitted them.
Months later, they confessed in a paid interview with Look magazine. Bryant was married to Donham in 1955. Bryant died in 1994, and Milam died in 1981.
The Justice Department opened an investigation in 2004 to determine whether other people were involved in the murder. As federal civil rights crimes related to the incident had passed the statute of limitations, the FBI worked with state authorities to determine whether state charges could be laid.
In February 2007, a Mississippi grand jury refused to charge anyone and the Justice Department announced it was closing the case.
The author of the 2017 book The Blood of Emmett Till, which recounted the accuser’s retraction, said he provided details of his interviews with Donham to federal investigators.
In a statement provided to the Associated Press news agency, Timothy B Tyson noted that the only crime Donham admitted – perjury – would have been “beyond prosecution since the fall of 1957” because of the statute of limitations.
The FBI said Donham denied them having retracted his initial testimony to Tyson. Authorities said the author did not have any tapes or transcripts of the interview to prove Donham was lying to federal investigators.
On Monday, Till’s cousin Thelma Wright Edwards, 90, said she was “not surprised” that the case was closed but that her “heart is broken”.
“I have no hatred in my heart but I had hoped we could get an apology,” she said at a press conference. ” This does not happen. The case is closed and we must continue from here.