The judge on Monday officially accused the boys of false accusations that a young black man raped a white woman 70 years ago. Florida..
At the request of a local prosecutor, Administrative Law Judge Heidi Davis dismissed the charges of Ernest Thomas and Samuel Shepherd, who were fatally shot by law enforcement agencies, and convicted Charles Greenley and Walter Irvin. I set aside the judgment.
Four people between the ages of 16 and 26 were accused of raping a woman in Groveland, a town in central Florida in 1949.
“We followed the evidence to see where it led us, and what it led us to this moment,” said the local after a hearing at the court where the first trial took place. State lawyer Bill Gladson said. Republican Gladson moved last month to officially exempt the man.
The male family hoped that the case could trigger a review of other convictions from the Jim Crow era.
“We are blessed. Many have not had this opportunity, so I hope this is the start. Many families have not had this opportunity. With Thomas’ nephew. One Aaron Newson said in tears as he was speaking.
“This country needs to be together.”
Thomas was killed by a group that shot him more than 400 times. Local sheriff Willis McCall shot and killed Shepherd in 1951, injuring Irvine. After the US Supreme Court overturned the original conviction, he said no evidence was presented. Sheriffs alleged that the man tried to escape. Irvine said McCall and his deputy shot them with cold blood.
Gilbert King, who won the Pulitzer Prize in the 2012 book on the case, Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, Groveland Boys and the Dawn of a New America, attended a hearing with the late Supreme Court judge’s son, Thurgood Marshall Jr. .. ..
Thurgood Marshall Senior, who belonged to the NAACP at the time, represented Irvine in a second trial, but a white jury again convicted him and he was sentenced to death. Irvine barely escaped execution, and Governor LeRoy Collins commuted his sentence on parole. Greenlee, also sentenced to life imprisonment, was released on parole in 1962 and died in 2012. Irvine died in 1969, a year after his parole.
“It’s very important to exempt a man from the building where the trial took place,” said King, “because the court was on the second floor 72 years ago.” [an] The abomination of justice has happened. ” He also praised Gladson for his pursuit of justice.
“He could have easily kicked the case and let someone else deal with it,” King said. “Even when he was frustrated and felt that there was no way to this day, he dug harder.”
Marshall Jr. said the boys “troubled” his father.
“But he believed that a better day would come,” said Marshall Jr.
In 2017, the Florida State Capitol officially apologized to a male family member. In 2018, then Attorney General, Pam Bondi, ordered the Department of State to review the case. In 2019, Governor Ron DeSantis and the three state cabinets granted posthumous amnesty. Earlier this year, state agencies referred the findings to Gladson.
Gladson and the investigators interviewed the grandchildren of two of the boys’ defendants, the now-deceased prosecutor Jesse Hunter. According to his grandson, Broward Hunter, his grandfather and judge knew there was no rape.
The grandson also suggested to Gladson that Willis may have shot Shepherd and Irvine because the sheriff was involved in an illegal gambling act, based on a letter he found in his grandfather’s office in 1971.
Shepherd is also believed to be involved in gambling activities, and Willis may have seen the rape case as “a way to get people on his shit list,” Hunter said.
Gladson also said that adjutant James Yates, who was the main witness, forged evidence, probably including a cast of shoes.
The prosecution sent Irvine’s trousers to the Institute of Criminology for semen inspection in September, even though the jury was given the impression that the trousers were dirty. This was not done in Irvine’s trial. The results showed no evidence of semen, said Exercise.
“The importance of this discovery cannot be exaggerated,” Gladson said in his motion.
Boys were exonerated 70 years after accusations of sexual assault in Florida | Florida
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