Whether or not you believe in capital punishment, I'm sure you can agree that one of the big problems is that when mistakes are made you can't go back. History is full of examples of people being convicted of crimes they have not committed, but the one we are going to look at today is particularly bad. The youngest person to be executed in the US during the 20th century, at the age of fourteen, was executed on June 16th in 1944. George Stinney Jr who was African American, was sentenced to death for the murder of two white girls in a segregated mill town in South Carolina.
His trial lasted less than three hours, bore no evidence and barely any witness testimonies. The two white girls that he supposedly killed were 11-year-old Betty June Binnicker and 7-year-old Mary Emma Thames. Surprisingly no written record of his confession exists, and no transcript of the brief trial exists either. The fourteen-year-old was denied appeal and executed by electric chair. At his execution the state's adult-sized facemask didn’t fit him, and when he was hit by the first 2,400-volt surge of electricity, the mask slipped off. He was declared dead within four minutes.
In 2013, a group of lawyers investigated the case and on behalf of surviving members of his family they petitioned for a new trial. George Stinney Jr’s conviction was overturned in 2014, more than 70 years after his death. It’s possible he committed the murders, but his trial and prosecution were completely flawed. The judge also found that executing a fourteen-year-old constituted a cruel and unusual punishment.
Thankfully this sort of thing isn't happening now. History is important, and it's important that we remember the mistakes humans have made. Help us on our quest to inspire, educate and entertain! Click Here Today!