October 3, 2022

Until Emmett Dies: Grand Jury Declines to Indict Carolyn Bryant Donham


A grand jury in Mississippi has declined to indict a white woman accused of assaulting a 14-year-old girl. Emmett Dill Allegations advanced against her nearly 70 years ago led to the brutal death of a young black man.

A LeFlore County grand jury heard seven hours of testimony from investigators and witnesses last week, but found there was insufficient evidence to indict Carolyn Bryant Donham on kidnapping and manslaughter charges, according to a statement from District Attorney Dewayne Richardson.

Perariwalan heard testimony from witnesses detailing the investigation of the case from 2004 to date and considered both charges, the report said.

“After hearing every aspect of the investigation and evidence gathered regarding Donham’s involvement, the grand jury returned a ‘no bill’ on both counts of kidnapping and murder,” the statement said. “The killing of Emmett Till remains an unforgettable tragedy in this country, and the thoughts and prayers of this nation continue to be with the family of Emmett Till.”

Family members of Emmett, who was killed in the Jim Crow-era South and sparked the civil rights movement in America, said earlier this summer that they had found out. An unissued arrest warrantBryant Dunham, her late husband and her brother.

The warrant is dated August 29, 1955 and signed by LeFlore County Clerk. An image of the warrant shows that the current clerk certified the document as authentic on June 21.

Bryant Donham was not arrested because he could not be located at the time, according to a note on the back of the warrant. The New York Times, which included filmmaker Keith A., who was on the team that invented the warrant. Quoted by Beauchamp. CNN reached out to Bryant Donham at the time, but did not hear back.

A relative who witnessed Emmett’s abduction, Rev. State officials have vowed to leave no stone unturned for the family of Wheeler Parker Jr. on Tuesday in their fight for justice.

“They kept their promise to bring this latest evidence before the grand jury. “This decision is unfortunate but predictable news,” he said in the statement. “The attorney tried his best, and we appreciate his efforts, but he alone cannot undo hundreds of years of anti-black organization that has ensured that the killers of Emmett Till remain unpunished to this day.”

Another relative, Deborah Watts, said the decision not to press charges against Bryant Donham is deeply disappointing, but the family refuses to give up.

“We are committed to continuing the pursuit of accountability and justice for Emmett,” he said. “Emmett Till’s death will not be in vain. ”

Although Emmett’s murder was a watershed moment in America’s long struggle against racial injustice and inequality, to date, no one has been held criminally accountable.

Emmett, who was living in Chicago, was visiting relatives in Mississippi in the summer of 1955 when he met then-20-year-old Carolyn Bryant. Accounts of the day vary, but witnesses say Emmett whistled at the woman. The market she owned with her husband in Mani Nagar.

Four days later, Roy Bryant and JW Milam then took Emmett out of bed in the middle of the nightThey put him in the back of a pickup truck, beat him and shot him in the head, and dumped his body in the Tallahatchie River.

But following a trial in which Caroline Bryant testified that Emmett had groped and verbally threatened her, they were both acquitted of murder. The jury deliberated for only an hour.

In a 1956 interview with Luke, they confessed to the murder magazine.

Emmett’s death drew attention beyond Mississippi, when a photo of his mutilated body was published in Jet magazine and spread around the world. His mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, demanded that her son be cremated in an open casket where the world could see the effects of his injuries and racial terror — a move that helped fuel the civil rights movement.

Milam died in 1980 and Bryant in 1994. Bryant Donham is in his late 80s.

In 2007, A Mississippi grand jury declined to indict Bryant Donham. According to archived FBI documents, Milam and Roy Bryant were arrested on kidnapping charges in 1955, but a grand jury failed to indict them. “The original court, district attorney and investigative records related to the 1955 investigation have apparently been lost,” the FBI said in a 2006 report.

Bryant Donham testified in 1955 that Emmett propositioned her by grabbing her arm and waist, saying he had been with “white girls” before. But years later, when Professor Timothy Tyson brought up that trial testimony in a 2008 interview with Bryant Donham, she said he told her “that part isn’t true.”

The possibility that the woman at the center of Emmett’s case recanted her testimony – The US Justice Department said in a memo that it contradicted the reports He did so during a state investigation in 1955 and later to the FBI — calling for authorities to reinvestigate the case.

The DOJ had already closed its review of the case in 2007. In 2018, he reopened the investigation into Emmett’s murder. But Case closed Then in December The DOJ’s Civil Rights Division concluded that Bryant Dunham could not be proven to have lied. When questioned directly, Bryant Donham adamantly denied to investigators that he had recanted his testimony.

However, Emmett’s legacy lives on: In March, President Joe Biden signed the law The landmark Emmett Till Antilynching Act, which made it a federal hate crime.