On March 23, 1944, in South Carolina, two white girls, 11-year-old Betty June Binnicker and 7-year-old Mary Emma Thames, were found dead. They had failed to return home the night before.
Police arrested George Stinney, then 14, and his older brother Johnny, for the murders. Johnny was released but George was held and charged for the murders. His trial, by an all-white jury, lasted one day, and he was found guilty. He had not been allowed to see his family before the trial and he was questioned alone without an attorney. During the trial Stinney's defense offered no cross-examination, did not call witnesses and offered virtually no defense. The jury deliberated for ten minutes before he was found guilty and sentenced to death.
Stinney was executed shortly after, on June 16, 1944. He was so small compared to adult prisoners that prison staff had difficulty securing him to the electrodes. Only 83 days had passed between his arrest and his death, and he became the youngest American to be sentenced to death and executed.
In 2004 the case was re-opened, and in 2014 the conviction against Stinney was vacated as it was determined by the court that he had not received a fair trial.
Photographer: State of South Carolina
Location taken: South Carolina, USA
Source: Wikimedia Commons
- 1944-06-16 George Stinney, a 14-year-old African-American boy, is wrongfully executed for the murder of two white girls, becoming the youngest person ever executed in 20th-century America