Sadly, but also predictably, the office of Mississippi’s attorney general has stated that neither the revelation of a decades-old unserved warrant nor a memoir written by the woman who set off the lynching of Emmett Till constitutes “new evidence” allowing for a new prosecution of Emmett’s gruesome death.
“There’s no new evidence to open the case back up,” Michelle Williams, chief of staff for Attorney General Lynn Fitch, told the Associated Press. She also said Fitch’s office has not been in contact with Leflore County District Attorney Dewayne Richardson, who would have been responsible for prosecuting Carolyn Bryant Donham, who detailed in her recently leaked memoir how Emmett’s killers, Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam, brought him to her home so she could identify him before they tortured him, killed him and threw his body in a river.
NewsOne was the first to report the contents of Donham’s memoir, “I Am More Than A Wolf Whistle,” 100 pages that she dictated to her daughter-in-law in 2008 and 2009.
Side Note: Donham, whose whereabouts are currently unknown, also went to great lengths in her memoir to paint herself as the victim in the story and she described 14-year-old Emmett as a “young Black man” who might have been in his “early 20s” when he supposedly assaulted her. She was reportedly 75 years old when she dictated the memoir to her daughter. So, basically, she had a Black boy lynched and then continued lynching his name more than 50 years later.
While the attorney general’s office doesn’t see any legal precedent to reopen the case, retired FBI agent Dale Killinger—who, in 2004, conducted a review of Emmett’s case that ended with no charges—disagrees.
“The words out of her mouth and the words in her manuscript are direct evidence,” Killinger said to NewsOne last week during a phone call. “They are an admission that a person has made about a boy who ended up dead when she knew he would be harmed.”
Killinger advocates for a grand jury to be convened in the case.
Unfortunately, you’ll never find justice in a legal system that just isn’t interested in facilitating it with true equality in mind. But that doesn’t mean we should stop calling for it.