Prosecutor: New trial not needed for executed boy - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

Prosecutor: New trial not needed for executed boy

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By JEFFREY COLLINS
Associated Press

SUMTER, S.C. (WCIV/AP) - A solicitor is arguing against a new trial for a 14-year-old boy executed nearly 70 years ago for killing two girls, saying prosecutors did a good job under the standards of the 1940s legal system.

Solicitor Ernest "Chip" Finney III said at a hearing Tuesday that the evidence in the case wasn't destroyed, but did disappear over time.

Supporters of the boy, George Stinney, are arguing there wasn't enough evidence in the first place to find the black teen guilty in 1944 of killing two white girls, ages 7 and 11.

They say deputies in segregated Clarendon County did little investigation after deciding Stinney was the prime suspect. They believe police coerced a confession from him.

On Tuesday, a quiet courtroom sat and watched the sister of Stinney testify on her brother's behalf, arguing for his innocence. She told the court she vividly remembers the day she first saw the two white girls her brother was found guilty of killing. 

"While we were sitting there these two ladies came up pushing a bicycle. We looked around, it was strange to see women in the neighborhood. I'd never seen before. They said, 'Excuse us. Could y'all tell us where we could find some maypops?' We said no," said Amy L. Ruffner. 

Stinney's sister said after the two girls went missing, her brother was one of many to go out searching for the two girls. 

"They asked everybody. 'Have you seen those two girls?' And a lot of people went looking for those girls, my brother and my father," she said. 

But not long after they were found dead, the police knocked on her door and took the 14-year-old boy from their childhood home.

Ruffner said the last time she saw her brother alive was the day police guided him out of the house. 

Attorneys arguing to reopen the case said there was not enough evidence to convict Stinney and that he was forced to admit to a crime he did not commit.

The confession and the transcript of the one-day trial have disappeared.

At 14, Stinney was the youngest person executed in the United States in the past 100 years.

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