The Associated Press reports, "SC's execution of 14-year-old riled people in 1944." It's written by Jeffrey Collins. It's also available from Huffington Post with the title, "Retrial For Executed 14-Year-Old George Stinney Would Be Unprecedented In South Carolina."
Leaving a judge to decide whether to throw out the conviction of a 14-year-old boy executed in South Carolina in 1944 reminds supporters of George Stinney of how the teen's fate was also in one man's hands nearly 70 years ago.
Gov. Olin Johnston could have commuted Stinney's death sentence to life in prison if he wanted. He had 54 days between the time the black teen was convicted of killing two white girls in the tiny mill town of Alcolu in Clarendon County and his march to the electric chair with a Bible in his arm.
But Johnston was running for U.S. Senate in 1944, facing a challenger who took a much harder line on segregation. He refused clemency for Stinney, saying he trusted the police, prosecutor and jury. At 14, Stinney was the youngest person executed in this country in the past 100 years, according to statistics gathered by the Death Penalty Information Center.
Stinney's conviction is being challenged by a lawsuit filed by supporters asking for a new trial, a move unprecedented in South Carolina for someone already put to death. A hearing has been scheduled for Jan. 21.
Earlier coverage of the effort to win a posthumous new trial for George Stinney begins at the link.