JACKSON, Mississippi – Curtis Flowers, who has been wrongfully incarcerated for 23 years, will receive the state’s maximum compensation of $ 500,000, Judge George Mitchell, Mississippi 5th Circuit judge, said Tuesday.
The 50-year-old spent nearly half his life on death row at Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman for the shooting deaths of four people in 1996 at the Tardy furniture store in Winona where Flowers had been employed until about two weeks before the murders.
The victims, including store owner Bertha Tardy, 59, and employees Robert Golden, 42, Carmen Rigby, 45, and Derrick Stewart, 16, were shot in the head.
There was very little evidence to continue on and no clear motive emerged during the investigation. Some experts said there was evidence of more than one person involved in the crime, but Flowers was the only person ever charged.
State law allows a person who has been wrongfully convicted of a felony to be compensated $ 50,000 per year for each year of incarceration, with a cap of $ 500,000. The funds will be distributed at $ 50,000 per year for the next 10 years.
Previously:Curtis Flowers has been tried 6 times for the same crime and wrongfully jailed for over 20 years. Here is what he says now.
Flowers was first convicted and sentenced to death in 1997. Former District Attorney Doug Evans continued this trial and five other unprecedented trials.
Flowers’ first three trials resulted in convictions, which were overturned by the state Supreme Court for prosecution misconduct. The fourth and fifth trials resulted in trial cancellations. Flowers was convicted again in 2010 in his sixth trial. This conviction was overturned by the United States Supreme Court in 2019.
In November 2019, Evans was prosecuted in federal court by the Attala County branch of the NAACP and others for his alleged discriminatory acts. The lawsuit was dismissed without prejudice and is currently under appeal.
The judges concluded that Evans deliberately worked to prevent future black jurors from sitting during jury selection.
In 2020, Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch said the state would not try the case a seventh time, leaving Flowers a free man.
The Flowers legal team, which includes civil rights attorney Rob McDuff, will also receive $ 50,000 for helping Flowers receive compensation.
Follow reporter Lici Beveridge on Twitter: @licibev
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