George Junius Stinney Jr born on October 21, 1929, died on June 16, 1944. He was a 14-year-old African-American who was sentenced, in a proceeding that later declared as a biased trial in 2014, of murdering two Caucasian girls, Betty June Binnicker and Mary Emma Thames, ages 7 and 11, in his hometown of Alcolu, South Carolina. He was murdered by electric chair in June 1944. Stinney is the youngest American to be sentenced to death and killed since Hannah Ocuish in 1786.
A re-examination of the Stinney case began in 2004, and several cases and the Northeastern University School of Law sought a judicial review. Stinney’s sentence was overturned in 2014, seventy years after he was killed when a court concluded that he had not received a fair trial. In 1944, on March 23rd, the bodies of two young girls, Betty June Binnicker (1933–1944), age 11, and Mary Emma Thames, age 7, both white, were discovered in Alcolu, South Carolina. The girls had gone missing the day before, as they never returned home the previous night. Binnicker had died as the result of head trauma, her skull having been fractured.
Evidence in the court hearing in January 2014 included testimony by Stinney’s siblings that, he was with them at the time of the murders. In addition, an affidavit was introduced from the “Reverend Francis Batson, who found the girls and pulled them from the water-filled ditch. In his statement he recalls there was not much blood in or around the ditch, suggesting that they may have been killed elsewhere and moved. Wilford “Johnny” Hunter, who was in prison with Stinney, “testified that the teenager told him he had been made to confess” and always maintained his innocence.
The execution of a 14-year-old constituted “cruel and unusual punishment”, and that his attorney “failed to call exculpating witnesses or to preserve his right of appeal.
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