Grand jury refuses to indict woman in Emmett Till murder

GREENWOOD, Mississippi (AP) — A Mississippi grand jury has refused to indict the white woman whose accusation sparked the lynching of black teenager Emmett Till nearly 70 years ago, despite revelations about a warrant. undelivered judgment and a brief recently revealed by the woman, a prosecutor said on Tuesday.

A Leflore County grand jury considered evidence and testimony regarding Carolyn Bryant Donham’s involvement in Till’s kidnapping and death, Leflore County District Attorney Dewayne Richardson said in a statement. hurry.

FILE – An undated portrait of Emmett Louis Till, a 14-year-old black Chicago boy, whose weighted body was found in the Tallahatchie River near the Delta community of Money, Mississippi, on Aug. 31, 1955. Residents Locals Roy Bryant, 24, and JW Milam, 35, have been charged with kidnapping, torturing and murdering Till for allegedly whistling Bryant’s wife. (AP Photo, File)

After hearing more than seven hours of testimony from investigators and witnesses, the grand jury determined there was insufficient evidence to charge Donham, Richardson said. Charges of kidnapping and manslaughter were considered.

The news that the grand jury had refused to indict Donham makes it increasingly unlikely that she will ever be prosecuted for her role in the events leading up to Till’s death.

A group searching the basement of the Leflore County Courthouse in June discovered the unissued arrest warrant charging Donham, her then-husband Roy Bryant and brother-in-law JW Milam during the kidnapping of Till in 1955. While the men were arrested and acquitted of murder charges in Till’s subsequent murder, Donham, 21 at the time and 87 now, was never arrested.

In an unpublished memoir obtained last month by The Associated Press, Donham said she was unaware of what would happen to Till, 14, who lived in Chicago and was visiting relatives in Mississippi. when he was kidnapped, killed and thrown into a river. She accused him of making lewd comments and catching her working alone at a family store in Money, Mississippi.

Donham said in the manuscript that the men brought Till to her in the middle of the night for identification, but she tried to help the youth by denying it was him. Despite being abducted at gunpoint from a family home by Roy Bryant and Milam, the 14-year-old identified with the men, she claimed.

Till’s battered and disfigured body was found days later in a river, where it was weighed down by a heavy metal fan. The decision of his mother, Mamie Till Mobley, to open Till’s casket for his funeral in Chicago demonstrated the horror of what had happened and fueled the civil rights movement.


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