Jackson, Miss. , The US Justice Department told relatives of Emmett Till on Monday that it is ending its latest investigation into the 1955 murder of a black teenager from Chicago who was abducted, tortured and killed after witnesses whistled at a white woman in Mississippi. was given.
Till’s family said it was disappointed by the news that there would be no accountability for the infamous murder, that no charges were brought against Carolyn Bryant Donham for lying about whether the woman ever touched him.
“Today is the day we will never forget,” Till’s cousin Rev Wheeler Parker said during a news conference in Chicago. “For 66 years we have suffered… I have suffered tremendous pain.”
The murder sparked a civil rights movement after Till’s mother insisted on an open coffin, and Jet magazine published photographs of her brutalized body.
Justice Department reopens investigation Donham said she lied after a 2017 book claimed that Till, 14, held her, whistled and sexually assaulted her while she was working in a store in the small community of Money. Relatives have publicly denied that Donham, who is in his 80s, repeated his allegations about Till.
In a news release Monday, the Justice Department said, Dunham told the FBI that he never changed his charges and that “there is insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he lied to the FBI.” Authorities also said Timothy B. Tyson, the author of 2017’s “The Blood of Emmett Till,” was unable to produce any recordings or tapes, in which Donham allegedly admitted to lying about his encounter with the teen. Was.
“In closing this case without prosecution, the government does not take the position that the state court testimony given by the woman in 1955 was true or accurate,” the news release said. “There is considerable doubt about the reliability of her version of events, which is contradicted by others who have lived up to that time, including the account of a living witness.”
A few days after Till was killed, his body was pulled from the Tallahatchie River, where it was loaded with a cotton gin fan and dumped.
Two white men, Roy Bryant and his half-brother JW Milam, were tried for murder nearly a month after Till’s murder, but were acquitted by an all-white Mississippi jury. Months later, he confessed in a paid interview with Look magazine. Bryant was married to Donham in 1955.
The Justice Department launched an investigation into Till’s murder in 2004, when it received inquiries about whether charges could be brought against anyone still alive. The department said the statute of limitations had expired on any potential federal crime, but the FBI worked with state investigators to determine whether state charges could be brought. In February 2007, the Mississippi grand jury declined to indict anyone, and the Justice Department announced that it was closing the case,
Bryant and Milam were never tried again and are now both dead. Donham is living in Raleigh, North Carolina.
In 2006 the FBI launched a cold case initiative to investigate racially motivated murders decades earlier. A federal law named after Till allows the review of murders that were not solved or prosecuted to the point of a conviction.
The Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act requires the Justice Department to make an annual report to Congress. No reports filed in 2020, but A report filed in June this year indicated that the department was still investigating the kidnapping and murder of Till.
The FBI investigation includes a conversation with Parker, who previously told the AP in an interview that he heard his cousin whistle at the woman at a store in Money, Mississippi, but the teen did nothing to warrant a kill. .
Balsamo reported from Washington.