A 14-year-old black boy who was executed for the murder of two white girls in America’s Deep South could be retried posthumously nearly 70 years after his death.
George Stinney was strapped to an electric chair in South Carolina in 1944 and was the youngest person to be put to death in the US over the past century.
He was accused of killing two girls, aged seven and 11, who were looking for wildflowers in the segregated town of Alcolu. The teenager reportedly confessed and was convicted by an all-white jury in a trial lasting less than a day.
There were no lengthy appeals and he was electrocuted 84 days after the crime took place. According to reports from execution witnesses the straps used to bind him to the electric chair were too big to fit around his frame. He weighed less than 45kg.
The request for a new trial includes sworn statements from two of Stinney’s siblings who say he was with them on the day the girls were killed. Stinney’s now elderly sister, Annie Ruffner, who was seven at the time of the murders, said she and her brother were grazing their cow when the girls appeared and asked them where they could find maypop flowers.
According to Mrs Ruffner, her brother told them he did not know and the girls left. She added: “It was strange to see them in our area, because white people stayed on their side of Alcolu and we knew our place.”
The girls’ bodies were found the next morning in a water-filled ditch. They had both been beaten around the head with what was believed to be a railroad spike.
Stinney’s confession and the transcript from the trial have since disappeared.
The Telegraph, London