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Published 2022-01-21
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Innocent Child Sentenced To Death! The Green Mile Didn't Show That!

George Stinney was the youngest American to be executed. He was just 14 years old when he was charged with the brutal murder of two girls, and at his trial, he was sentenced to the electric chair in just 10 minutes. During the execution, he was made to sit on a Bible, and electrodes in the shape of a metal cap connected to a thick cable were placed on his head. He was fitted with a gag and a mask which, when the electricity was turned on, slipped off the boy's thin, weeping face because it was too large. The execution was carried out exactly on June 16, 1944, and 70 years later Stinney was posthumously exonerated as outrageous procedural irregularities were exposed. Why did an innocent boy have to die in agony? How did his story inspire a famous Hollywood movie?

The Green Mile true story

"The Green Mile" is one of Stephen King's most popular novels, which was transferred to movie screens in 1999. The movie starring Tom Hanks became one of the most iconic in history. Its memorable protagonist was John Coffey, a black man gifted with an extraordinary gift of healing, who was accused of the murder of two little girls. Although he was innocent he ended up in the electric chair, and his story was inspired by true events in 1944 and the trial of 14-year-old George Stinney. However, what happened to the young boy was far more horrific than the novel and movie The Green Mile. Why? Read on to find out...

Alcolu - A town of blacks and whites

George Stinney lived in the segregated town of Alcolu, South Carolina in the southern part of the United States. The white and black communities were separated by railroad tracks running through the middle of the town, with separate churches, schools, stores, and laws on each side. The only place where residents of both races mixed were at the local sawmill. Life was slow and peaceful in Alacolu until March 1944 when a horrific tragedy occurred.

The disappearance of Betty June Binnecker and Mary Emma Thames

In the spring of 1944, 11-year-old Betty June Binnicker and 7-year-old Mary Emma Thames went for a bike ride to pick flowers for their favorite teacher. In search of them, they crossed the railroad tracks into the black-populated part of town, where they encountered 14-year-old George Stinney, who was grazing cows in a pasture with his younger sister Aime. The girls asked them if they had seen a certain rare species of flower, and when they received a negative answer, they continued on their way. They did not return home that day, however, and their parents began a frantic search in the evening.

Massacred corpses of girls found

They searched for the girls for hours and it was not until the next morning that they were found in a marshy ditch. They were dead, and their bodies bore the signs of a horrific crime. The younger Mary had a hole drilled through her forehead all the way to her brain, and Betty's skull was almost entirely crushed. Someone had brutally beaten the children with a blunt object so that they had not the slightest chance of survival.

The accusations fell on George Stinney

Police were quickly able to determine that the last person to see the girls alive was George Stinney, and as word spread through the town there were also quick reports from children in the white section of town that the suspect had previously been a troublemaker and often looked for reasons to fight. Officers promptly arrested the boy, disregarding the testimony of loved ones who could provide him with an alibi. After several hours of interrogation, without the participation of parents, a lawyer, or any witnesses, it was found that Stinney confessed to murdering the girls and pointed to the place where he hid the murder weapon. The only evidence was a handwritten note made by one of the officers. The whole of Alcolu was in an uproar and Geroge's family had to flee their home for fear of being lynched.

The trial of George Stinney

A month after the girls' murder, Stinney's trial began in Clarendon County court. The 14-year-old's defense was to be handled by Charles Plowden, a public defender who chose not even to call any witnesses or question the boy's parents. He didn't test the defendant with a lie detector, and he didn't even question the only evidence of his guilt, the police note according to which Stinney allegedly confessed to the murders. During the trial, a terrified George never once saw his loved ones, who were afraid to come to court surrounded by an angry mob. When it came time for the verdict, the jury deliberated for just 10 minutes and found the boy guilty of two murders. On April 24, 1944, George Stinney was sentenced to death in the electric chair.

Execution of George Stinney or Teenager in the Electric Chair

The execution took place in June 1944 at a South Carolina penitentiary. The 14-year-old had to sit on a Bible in the electric chair because the guards had trouble strapping him with leather straps to a chair made for adults. Before his execution, when asked if he wanted to say anything before he died, he replied only, "No, sir," and just a moment later nearly 2,400 volts surged through his emaciated body. As he convulsed, following successive waves of electricity, the oversized mask placed over his head slid to the floor revealing the terrified and weeping face of the dying boy.

Acquitted after 70 years

In 2004, 70 years after George Stinney's death, his case was studied again by two South Carolina lawyers. They agreed that the boy's trial was a farce and he was probably innocent. The case was again brought to the docket. Scandalous irregularities in the 1944 investigation and trial were found. Testimony was heard from George's sister, who had already tried unsuccessfully to fight for justice for her brother, and a fellow inmate from his cell to whom the convicted boy confessed his innocence, and Stinney's conviction was eventually overturned in 2014. The boy was exonerated after 70 since his death, at the same time he made history as the youngest American inmate to receive a life sentence.

Unexplained murder

The murder case of Betty Binnecker and Mary Thames, however, remains unsolved to this day. There are only suspicions that the real perpetrator of the murder may have been a sawmill owner from Alcolu. It was he who led the search for the girls, who were eventually found on land he owned. In violation of due process, he also sat on the jury even though he was not an impartial person, but whether he actually committed the crime will likely never be determined again.

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