On Wednesday, a lawyer representing the family of 14-year-old, George Junius Stinney, Jr. who was executed 70 years ago is expected to argue for a retrial at the Sumter County courthouse in South Carolina.
On June 16, 1944, Stinney, an African-American, was on the same day tried and found before guilty by an all-white “kangaroo court” for killing two white girls. His guilty verdict was announced only ten minutes after deliberation.
Amie Ruffner, Stinney’s 77-year-old sister, insist that her brother was innocent. She spoke to WLTX/News19 on Monday ahead of the court date. She admits she and her brother saw the girls the day they died after they stopped by to talk about finding some “maypops” flowers.
Stinney, who was executed at the South Carolina State Penitentiary in Columbia, reportedly walked to the execution chamber with a Bible under his arm. Standing at 5” 2’ and weighting only 90 pounds, his Bible was used as a booster seat in the electric chair as he was electrocuted with 2,400 voltage surge of electricity.
Stinney was arrested on suspicion of murdering two white girls, Betty June Binnicker, age 11-year-old, and Mary Emma Thames, age 8-year-old, in Alcolu on March 23, 1944. Alcolu is located in Clarendon County, South Carolina. In the 1940’s Alcolu was a mill town where blacks and whites were separated by railroad tracks.
Binnicker and Thames disappeared while riding their bicycles looking for flowers. They reportedly passed the Stinney property and asked Stinney and his sister if they knew where to find "maypops" flower. The bodies of the girls were found the next morning in a ditch filled with muddy water. Both had suffered severe head wounds.
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