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Sunday, August 14, 2022

The family demanded the arrest of the woman until a 1955 warrant was found in Emmett.

JACKSON, Miss. ( Associated Press) — A team searching the basement of a Mississippi courthouse for evidence of the murder of black teenager Emmett Till accused a white woman in a 1955 kidnapping and relatives of the victim who started the hunt found unreserved warrants Is. Want the authorities to finally arrest him after almost 70 years.

Warrant for the arrest of Carolyn Bryant Donham – identified as “Mrs. Roy Bryant on the document — discovered last week inside a file folder that had been placed in a box, Lefloor County Circuit Clerk Elmus Stockstill told the Associated Press on Wednesday.

He said the documents were kept inside the boxes for decades, but there was nothing else to indicate where the warrant, dated August 29, 1955, might be.

“They nailed it down between the ’50s and ’60s and got lucky,” said Stockstill, who certified the warrant genuine.

The search was launched by the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation and involved two members of Till’s family: Deborah Watts, the foundation’s principal cousin; and his daughter, Teri Vatsa. They want officers to use a warrant to arrest Donham, who was married to one of the two white men at the time of the murder, and Till was kidnapped from a relative’s home and thrown into a river. was.

“Serve it and charge it,” Teri Watts told the Associated Press in an interview.

Donham closed the case in August 1955 by accusing 14-year-old Till of making an unfair advance to a family store in Money, Mississippi. A cousin of Till is said to have whistled at the woman who had flown in the face of Mississippi’s racist social code at the time.

Evidence points to a woman, possibly Donham, identified for the men who later killed her. The arrest warrant against Dunham was publicized at the time, but the Lefloor County Sheriff told reporters he did not want to “harass” the woman because she had two young children.

Now in her 80s and most recently living in North Carolina, Donham has not commented publicly on calls for her prosecution. But Terry Watts said the Till family believes the warrant accusing Donham of kidnapping amounts to new evidence.

“This is what the state of Mississippi needs to move forward,” she said.

District Attorney Dwayne Richardson, whose office will prosecute a case, declined to comment on the warrant, but cited a December report from the Justice Department about the Till case that said no prosecution was possible. .

Contacted by the Associated Press on Wednesday, Lefloor County Sheriff Ricky Banks said: “This is the first time I’ve found out about the warrant.”

Banks, who was 7 at the time of Till’s murder, said “nothing was said of a warrant” when a former district attorney investigated the case five or six years ago.

“I’ll see if I can get a copy of the warrant and meet with the DA and get their opinion on it,” Banks said. If the warrant can still be granted, Banks said, he will have to talk to law enforcement officials in the state where Donham lives.

Arrest warrants “can become stale” due to the passage of time and changing circumstances, and since 1955 almost certainly will not be produced before a court, even if a sheriff agrees to serve it, Ronald J. Riklak, a law professor at the University of Mississippi.

But as with any new evidence, the original arrest warrant could be an important step toward establishing “exactly” probable cause for launching a new prosecution, he said.

“If you go before a judge, you can say, ‘Once a judge determined that was probable cause, and there is a lot more information available today,'” Riklak said.

Till, who was from Chicago, was visiting relatives in Mississippi when he entered the store where Donham, 21, was working on August 24, 1955. Wheeler Parker, a Till relative who was there at the time, told the Associated Press that until the whistle blows on the woman. Donham testified in court that Till also held her and made lewd remarks.

Two nights later, Donham’s then-husband, Roy Bryant, and her half-brother, JW Milam, appear armed to search for youth at the rural Lefloor County home of Till’s great-uncle, Moss Wright. Till’s brutal body, weighted by a fan, was pulled from a river a few days later to another county. The decision to open his mother’s coffin so mourners in Chicago could see what had happened helped build the civil rights movement of the time.

Bryant and Milam were acquitted of murder but later admitted to murder in a magazine interview. While both men were named in the same warrants that charged Donham with kidnapping, officers did not pursue the case after their acquittal.

Wright testified during the murder trial that a man’s voice was “lighter” than a man’s recognizable from inside a pickup truck and that the kidnappers took him away from the family home. Other evidence in the FBI files indicates that earlier that night, Donham told her husband that at least two other black men were not the right people.

Reeves reported from Newnan, Georgia.

World Nation News Desk
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