June 16, 2015 by Chris Kite
On this day in 1944, fourteen year old George Stinney was executed for the murders of 11-year-old Betty June Binnicker and 8-year-old Mary Emma Thames.
George was convicted in South Carolina. George was black. The girls were white. The jury was white (because jury members had to be registered voters and blacks couldn’t vote). Deliberation was about ten minutes. The entire trial took a day.
George’s father was fired from his job and the family had to flee town because they were threatened with lynching. George had no support during the trial.
George was appointed a lawyer that was a tax commissioner running for re-election. Three police claim George confessed. He denied ever confessing. There was no written record of a confession. George’s lawyer did not challenge the police officers’ claim that George confessed. He did not call any witnesses.
His execution was botched. The mask did not fit his face. The first jolt caused the mask to slip off, revealing his tearful eyes and saliva coming from his mouth.
The conviction was vacated in December 2014.
This is just one sad example of the prevalent racism in America as recently as the mid-20th century. It was brutal. It was unfair. It killed innocent people. It was shameful!
This is exactly the type of thing conservatives want to keep out of our history books. They want to ignore that these types of things ever happened.