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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Case of Boy, Executed at Age 14, Draws New Attention

Momentum continues to build in efforts to clear the name of a certain prisoner executed in the USA in 1944 who has always had a special position in the death penalty debate.  That would be George Stinney, who was just 14.   He remains the youngest prisoner to be killed in the electric chair and one of the youngest ever executed in the USA.

He was just 5'1" tall and weighed 90 pounds.  This caused problems in the execution, as the electrodes and mask, meant for adults, kept slipping. 

Good roundup here: "Activists have questioned the validity of the sentence for decades, but now South Carolina attorney Steve McKenzie has asked Claredon County Attorney General Ernest Finney to reopen the file.  Mr McKenzie cited no physical evidence linking the boy to the murder of two young girls, a coerced confession and a fundamentally flawed trial. The case is igniting another fierce debate over the use of the death penalty in America....

"Others have noted the racial aspect of the case. George was an African-American boy, while the two victims were young, white girls. A lynch mob had formed outside the police station, into which George had been literally carried for questioning. The crowd demanded that he be handed over to them. The jury was all white and no-one of George's own ethnicity was allowed in the courtroom, except for himself."

For full historical context for this, and a probe of current trends, see my new e-book, Dead Reckoning. It's just $2.99 and also for all phones etc.

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