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Harrowing story of innocent boy, 14, too small for electric chair, executed for murder

Harrowing story of innocent boy, 14, too small for electric chair, executed for murder


An innocent 14-year-old boy was executed without saying bye to his family in one of America’s most tragic miscarriages of justice.

George Stinney Jr was sentenced to the electric chair in 1944, for murdering two girls despite no evidence linking him to their deaths.

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It was not until 2014 – 70 years after his execution – that a judge in the state of South Carolina overturned his murder conviction.

After watching police snatch her older brother for the crime he did not commit, George’s sister, Amie Ruffner later told how she next saw him dead with a burned face, in an open casket.



George Stinney Jr
His execution is widely seen as one of the gravest miscarriages of US justice in the 20th century

The harrowing story was written as a book by George’s nephew David Stout which inspired the 1991 film, Carolina Skeletons.

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At the age of 14, George was the youngest person executed in the US in the 20th century, The Sun reports.

Betty June Binnicker, 11, and Mary Emma Thames, eight, had been horrifically bludgeoned to death with a railroad spike in Alcolu, South Carolina in March 1944.

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Mary Emma Thames
Terri Evans of Manning, South Carolina holds a family photograph of murder victim Mary Emma Thames

As a black teen who had seen the white girls a day earlier, police arrested George as their bodies had been dumped on the “black side” of Alcolu.

Crooked officers claimed he confessed to the killings despite never putting forward a written confession and producing no physical evidence which linked him to the crime.

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George’s sister Ms Ruffner claimed none of his family were allowed to visit him in custody.



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A jury of 12 white men took just 10 minutes to deliver a guilty verdict in court and two months later, innocent George was trembling in the electric chair.

Due to his 5’1 and 6st 7lbs stature, a local newspaper reported that guards used a telephone directory as a booster seat so George would fit the deathly mechanism.

In 2014, Judge Carmen Mullen ruled George’s lawyer called “few or no witnesses,” and failed to properly cross-examine his accusers.

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Ms Ruffner who was eight years old at the time of her brother’s trial testified during the appeal process that her brother was at home with her on the day of the double murder.

She added that her family were forced out of the town following the guilty verdict.

“In those days, when you are white you were right, when you were black you were wrong,” Ms Ruffner said.





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