George Stinney Jr. was executed in the electric chair on June 16, 1944, at the age of 14, making him the youngest person to be executed in the United States in the 20th century. He was convicted of the murder of two young white girls, Betty June Binnicker, 11, and Mary Emma Thames, 7, in Alcolu, South Carolina.
Stinney’s trial lasted less than a day, and his defense counsel was appointed by the court and had no experience in criminal defense. The all-white jury took only 10 minutes to deliberate and found Stinney guilty. There were no witnesses, no physical evidence, and no confession. Stinney was questioned without his parents or an attorney present, and his alleged confession was written by a police officer and not signed by Stinney.
Stinney’s execution was racially motivated. He was Black, and the victims were white, and during this time in the Jim Crow South, Black individuals were often railroaded by the justice system. There was little evidence to support Stinney’s conviction, and many people believe that he was wrongly accused and executed for a crime he did not commit.
The case against Stinney was weak, and it was evident that he did not receive a fair trial. His execution was an injustice, and it highlighted the racial inequality and bias that were prevalent in the United States during this time. It was not until 70 years later, in 2014, that Stinney’s conviction was vacated by a South Carolina circuit court judge, who ruled that Stinney’s trial was fundamentally unfair and violated his constitutional rights....See More