Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Was the youngest person to be executed in the U.S. for the murder of two white girls innocent? .

By Daily Mail Reporter
He stood just 5ft 1in, weighing only 95 pounds and when police led George Junius Stinney to the death chamber in 1944 he was, at the age of 14, the youngest person to be executed in the U.S.
He was so small that large books had to be placed on the seat so his head could reach the electrodes.
Stinney, of Alcolu, South Carolina, was convicted of murdering two white girls after police said he confessed to the murders.
'Easy target': George Junius Stinney died in the electric chair in South Carolina at the age of 14
'Easy target': George Junius Stinney died in the electric chair in South Carolina at the age of 14
But now a lawyer is determined to prove Stinney was innocent and is calling Claredon County district attorney in South Carolina to reopen the case.
The two girls who died were eleven year-old Betty June Binnicker and 8-year-old Mary Emma Thames.


South Carolina attorney Steve McKenzie believes George Junius Stinney was innocent because there was no physical evidence tying him to the murders.
The 14-year-old's confession was coerced, Mr McKenzie adds. There has even been a suggestion that he was told he could have ice cream if he confessed.

Mr McKenzie points out that there were no witnesses to his confession, only police officers were present.
He added that there is nothing to indicate guilt and that, in a town where whites and blacks were separated by the railroad tracks, Stinney did not stand a chance in a case involving two white girls with an all-white jury.
They went missing one day after they were riding their bikes while looking for flowers on the wrong side of the tracks in a small working class town of Alcolu.
At that time whites and blacks were separated by railroad tracks. 
The girls were later found dead in a ditch, murdered with a railroad spike, reports. 
Stinney joined the search crew and happened to tell a bystander that he had seen the girls earlier that day.
The police were informed of that and Stinney was arrested for the double murder.
He brought into the station for hours of tough interrogation, without either of his parents being there.
Reports claim the police offered Stinney ice cream if he confessed to them that he committed the double murder. 
Stinney verbally confessed and to this day there is no written record of his confession in the archives. 
There is no physical evidence linking Stinney to the murder and no record on paper of Stinney's conviction. 

'There was only a coerced confession. An oral confession testified to two white officers and told to an all white male jury.'

South Carolina attorney Steve McKenzie says he believes the case should be reopened because of the lack of evidence or archived material.
Mr McKenzie hopes attorney general Ernest 'Chip' Finney, will agree to file a motion to re-open the case by the end of this year. 
He argues that Stinney was an 'easy target' and was used as a 'scapegoat' by police who wanted to quickly find and punish anyone they could tie to the murders. 
Mr Mckenzie told 'Stinney was a convenient target. 'But how do you exonerate somebody where there is absolutely no evidence one way or the other? 
'There was only a coerced confession. The confession was never written. It was an oral confession testified to two white officers and told to an all white male jury.'
He believes, however, the complete lack of evidence will exonerate Stinney of the murders once and for all.

Death Row inmate is executed ... 33 years after he was convicted of killing police officer

A 61-year-old man was executed on Wednesday evening - more than 33 years after being convicted of killing a police officer.
Manuel Valle, 61, died by lethal injection ain Florida State Prison in Raiford.
Jeneane Skeen and Lisa Pena, the two daughters of murder victim Louis Pena, hugged and cried after the brown curtain to the death chamber was closed.
Mr Pena was shot and killed by Valle in April 1978, during a traffic stop.
Miss Skeen said: 'For 33 years, people have asked us if the death penalty will give us closure. We finally got revenge on the low-life piece of human waste that murdered our father.'
Miss Skeen was 13 years old when her father was killed, reports. 
She and Lisa Pena wore pins bearing their father’s face.
Department of Corrections spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger said Valle was 'polite and compliant' leading up to his execution.
Valle, who was pronuonced dead 20 minutes after he was given the first drug, was the first Florida prisoner executed using a new lethal mix of drugs. 
Previously, officials had used sodium thiopental for executions. Now, executions are administered using pentobarbital, despite concerns that it prolongs the death process.

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