An execution whose ghosts still haunt the state

COLUMBIA (WACH) - George Stinney's sister Kathrine remembers the day in 1944 like it was yesterday.

"This particular day I went to the beauty parlor with my brother Charles and my sister Amie stayed home with George. And when we came back we met her on the road and she said that George had been taken away. We said taken away by who? Some men came in the car and took him away. And that was the last...I never saw him again." says Kathrine.

Police arrested 14 year old George in connetion with the murders of two young girls.

About an hour later, a deputy announced George had confessed to the murders.

His trial lasted less than a day and resulted in George being sent to the electric chair, making him the youngest person in the nation to be executed during the 20th century.

His family and supporters gathering Monday, June 16th, to commemorate the exact day George was executed 70 years ago.

"It makes the world aware that some atrocity went on years ago and maybe it will make the people who did the crime and their families realize that they knew about it and didn't say anything." Kathrine states.

Even though George Stinney's trial was 70 years ago, legal advocates today have still not given up on his cause and they're hoping that a South Carolina judge will soon issue a symbolic verdict.

Lawyers in Sumter County began a motion for a new trial for Stinney.

The NAACP then approached Midlands attorney Joe McCulloch to lend a hand to the fight.

McCulloch agreed after researching the case and seeing the injustice he believes was done.

"Our request is not for this judge to exonerate George Stinney. There's not enough record left to do that. But I think there is plenty of record to demonstrate and to persuade this judge...we hope...that the process was so flawed, so unfair to George Stinney - or anyone - that the court should, and can, grant a new trial." says McCulloch.

But since the original trial happened so long ago, a full blown re-do is not going to happen. But the judge's decision in the matter will serve as a symbolic gesture.

"Now clearly there can't be a new trial, but a grant of a new trial simply announces that this was not a fair process. It doesn't exonerate George Stinney and history will have to record that he was accused of the murder but not convicted if this motion is granted." McCulloch explains.

But for now, George's sister still replays in her mind the lines she read that George wrote to the family while he was in prison before his execution.

"All he said in the letters is "This thing they're accusing me of, I am not guilty. That's it." Kathrine says.