MS judge dismisses charges against man tried 6 times for slayings

MS judge dismisses charges against man tried 6 times for slayings”

Each of the convictions and death sentences in the first three trials was overturned by the Mississippi Supreme Court for prosecutorial misconduct.

But this decision was overturned in 2019 by the US Supreme Court because of what it called a prosecutor's "relentless, determined effort to rid the jury of black individuals". "As the evidence stands today, there is no key prosecution witness. who is alive and available and has not had multiple, conflicting statements in the record", her office said in a filing.

Prosecutors in MS are dismissing the case against Curtis Flowers, a Black man who was tried six times in a murder case by a White prosecutor and spent 23 years in prison, a spokeswoman for the state's attorney general said Friday. They were owner Bertha Tardy, 59, and three employees: 45-year-old Carmen Rigby, 42-year-old Robert Golden and 16-year-old Derrick "Bobo" Stewart. The next two ended in hung juries.

Evans' zealous pursuit of Flowers made the case the subject of Season 2 of the APM Reports podcast In the Dark.

One of the witnesses who testified against Flowers was later convicted of tax fraud and had since died, the prosecutors wrote.

"Today's dismissal, along with the Supreme Court decision in Curtis Flowers' appeal previous year, vindicates one innocent Black American, a gentleman of vast character", said lawyer Henderson Hill. Crucially, the podcast recorded jailhouse informant Odell Hallmon in 2017 and 2018 recanting his testimony that Flowers had confessed to him.

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That prosecutor, Doug Evans, had been on the case from the outset.

Flowers had been out of prison on bail since December 2019 as the case was being appealed.

The Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch took over the case after Evans recused himself in January amid criticisms that he was biased and wasting taxpayer money.

"This prosecution was flawed from the beginning and was tainted throughout by racial discrimination", said defence lawyer Rob McDuff of the Mississippi Center for Justice. "Today the burden of further injustice has been lifted from Mr. Flowers, but fair treatment in our criminal justice system should never require the extraordinary resources behind this long-delayed outcome". He remained in custody because the original murder indictment was still active.

Winona sits near the crossroads of Interstate 55, the major north-south artery in MS, and U.S. Highway 82, which runs east to west. The trials drew attention to the way that Black jurors had largely been excluded by a white prosecutor who oversaw all of the trials. Census Bureau figures show that about 30% live in poverty.

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