Monday, May 10, 2004

"Is it ever too late to do the right thing?"

The quote above was from Bobby DeLaughter's closing arguments in the 30-years-after-the-fact trial of the killing of Medgar Evers, which resulted in the conviction of longtime Klan member Byron De La Beckwith.

I'm happy to report it is NOT too late to re-open the investigation into the murder of Emmett Till, a black Chigaco teen killed in 1955 for allegedly whistling at a white man's wife. According to this AP story:
Carolyn Bryant's husband, Roy Bryant, and his half brother, J.W. Milam, were acquitted by a jury that deliberated 67 minutes. The Justice Department never investigated the case despite appeals from Till's mother and others.

In 1956, Look magazine published an account of the slaying in which Milam admitted he and Bryant were guilty. They could not be tried again for murder because the Constitution bars prosecutors from trying someone a second time for the same crime.
The original trial was a Federal case, so the state can still press its own charges. It's good to see that there really is no statute of limitations on murder. No one should be able to get away with that, no matter how much time has passed.


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