Justice Department reopens probe of 1955 slaying of Emmett Till

Justice Department reopens probe of 1955 slaying of Emmett Till

The U.S. Justice Department has reopened the case of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old black teen who was reportedly brutally murdered by two white males in MS in 1955.

Although it has not been confirmed by the Justice Department, her confession is most likely the new evidence that was cited when the case was reopened.

It was revealed this week that federal investigators have reopened its investigation of the crime that helped build momentum for the civil rights movement. It didn't elaborate on the nature of the information, but the Washington Post reports that the key detail was contained in historian Timothy Tyson's 2017 book, The Blood of Emmett Till. In last year's The Blood of Emmett Till, however, it was discovered that Carolyn Donham had lied when she testified that Emmett Till harassed her with "verbal and physical advances" at a store in MS in 1955.

Four days later, on August 28, 1955, Roy Bryant and his half-brother, J.W. Milam, rousted Emmett from his bed in the middle of the night, ordered him into the bed of a pickup and eventually beat him viciously before shooting him in the head. The men later confessed to perpetrating the murder, but were never retried. The government has investigated 115 cases involving 128 victims under the "cold case" law named for Till, the report said. Jackson's slaying was an impetus for the Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights march later that year. "Goddam you, I'm going to make an example of you - just so everybody can know how me and my folks stand.'" Both men are dead now.

"None of us wants to do anything that jeopardizes any investigation or impedes, but we are also very interested in justice being done", she told the outlet, declining to discuss specifics. Relatives of Till pushed Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reopen the case previous year after publication of the book. The boy's body was later found, tethered to a cotton gin fan, in the Tallahatchie River. His mother, Mamie Till, had his casket left open.

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During the trial of Roy Bryant and Milam, Carolyn Bryant was brought as a potential witness for the defense.

In her testimony at the murder trial, Bryant said that a "nigger man" grabbed her by the hand in her store and said to her, "How about a date, baby?" "Just what did he say when he grabbed your hand?" defense attorney Sidney Carlton asked, according to a trial transcript released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation a decade ago.

Not a month after the boy's body was pulled from the river, an all-white jury acquitted Bryant and Milam of Emmett's murder, despite eyewitnesses identifying the defendants and the men confessing to kidnapping the teen.

The evidence, which was heard after jurors had been sent out, was ruled inadmissible by the judge.

Tyson is the only journalist or historian known to have interviewed Carolyn Bryant Donham, the woman who claimed Emmett harassed her, leading to his lynching and murder. Authorities haven't said what that may be, but the move followed the release past year of a book about the case. The book says the woman acknowledged she wasn't truthful when she testified that the 14-year-old Till grabbed her.

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