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Duke Researcher's Book Prompts Reopening Of Emmett Till Murder Case

13 July 2018, 05:11 | Max Haynes

Duke Researcher's Book Prompts Reopening Of Emmett Till Murder Case

Duke Researcher's Book Prompts Reopening Of Emmett Till Murder Case

Known as "Bobo" to those who loved him, Emmett's savage murder jolted a nation, spurring it to action on civil rights.

Whether any new charges stem from the renewed investigation remains to be seen.

Emmett, a 14-year-old Chicago boy visiting family in MS in 1955, was brutally murdered after reportedly flirting with a white woman in a country store.

"It's possible that the investigation will turn up something".

In the January 1956 Look magazine article, titled, "The shocking story of approved killing in Mississippi", Bryant and Milam said they went looking for the "Chicago boy" with the initial intent of scaring him and putting him in his place. Still, he said investigators may be able to link it to other material in their possession. The official wasn't authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke to AP on condition of anonymity.

A Justice Department report to Congress says it is re-investigating Till's death after receiving "new information", The Associated Press reported Thursday. "We don't want to talk to you", the man said before going back inside. The pair later admitted to the slaying, but no further charges were brought. Bryant and Milam were charged with the murder, but an all-white jury decided the men were innocent.

The men later confessed to the crime in a magazine interview but weren't retried. Both are now dead. A man who came to the door at her residence declined to comment about the FBI reopening the investigation.

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Three days after the kidnapping, Till's body was found in the Tallahatchie River, weighed down with a 74-pound cotton gin fan. His mother, Mamie Till, had his casket left open. "When a n***er gets close to mentioning sex with a white woman, he's exhausted o" livin", stated Milam in the interview.

The Duke University scholar says he shared materials including recordings of 2008 interviews with a white woman, Carolyn Donham, acknowledging that she wasn't truthful when she testified that Till made sexual advances at a MS store in 1955. In a book published by historian Timothy B. Tyson, Bryant said she's fuzzy on the details.

The evidence, which was heard after jurors had been sent out, was ruled inadmissible by the judge. "Nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him", the book quotes her as saying. Sen.

FILE - In this 1955 file photo, Carolyn Bryant poses for a photo.

Till, an African-American teenager from Chicago, was visiting relatives in Money, Mississippi, when he was kidnapped and murdered in 1955. He was unflappable; he wouldn't even "holler" when they pistol-whipped him - and that just couldn't stand, Milam said, according to a copy of the article archived by PBS. Nobody - to me, the fact that Carolyn Bryant lied in court is not the morning news.

Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam speak with their attorney during the murder trial.

The 1955 slaying was listed in a March report among "activities" the department was pursuing under the 2007 unsolved civil rights crime act that bears Emmett's name.



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