George Stinney Jr. was a young 14 year old black boy that was born and raise in the racist Jim Crow Era. Born on October 21, 1929 in Alcolu, South Carolina. Alcolu were a segregated lumber mill town where whites and black neighborhoods were separated by railroad tracks. Black wouldn’t dear cross the tracks, but whites on the other hand roamed freely on blacks territories. On March 22, 1944 two young white girls Clarendon Binnicker, age 11, and Mary Emma Thames, age 8 were riding their bikes decide to cross the tracks looking for a “maypop” a local name for passionflowers. The two girls passed the Stinney’s property. They stopped and asked Young George and his sister Katherine as they was playing on their porch “did they know where to find “maypop”. Young George and Katherine pointed in the direction where the passionflower should be and the girls rode off on their bikes.
When the girls did not return home after the sun went down their parents and a search party began to searching for the two.
The next morning the girls were found in a ditch filled with muddy water. The Medical Examiner reported that both the girls suffered extensive blunt force trauma to the face and head, these wounds had been “inflicted by a blunt instrument with a round head, about the size of a hammer.” In addition, the genitalia of the older girl had been bruised, this was a sign that she had been raped.
The sheriff found out that George was last person to see the two little girls. They questioned the Stinney’s on George whereabouts on March 22 and his family told the sheriff “George was with them all night.”, but the sheriff did not believe the Stinney’s they took George Jr. to the station for questioning. The sheriff offered young George ice cream and promise he’ll return home, but he would have to confess to the crime, the sheriff then claimed that George Jr. made a full confession and he led officers to the murder weapon, which was a 15 inch railroad spike.
After George Jr. was arrested for the crime George Sr. was fired from his job and fled town because threats on their lives by and angry mob, leaving young George without support and to fight 81-day long trial on his own.
The jury selection took one day and it was an all white male jury due to the fact that blacks were denied entry inside the courtroom and blacks could not vote. George Jr. had an court-appointed defense who was a tax commissioner campaigning for election to local office. George Jr. defense did not challenge any of the prosecutors witness. The trial took less then three hours. The jury was sent to deliberate, which only took ten minutes and they were back with a guilty verdict. George Jr. was sentence to death by electric chair.
While awaiting execution George Jr. was sent to a adult male prison, George told some of the inmates “I did not kill those girls, so why are they trying to kill me.”
Two months later on June 16, 1944 at 7:30 p.m. George’s 5’1, 95 pound body was stripped to an electric chair. George Jr. body was too small for the chair so they mad adjustments. A priest came in and did a quick prayer, then 2,400 V surge of electricity was shot through George Jr. body. The mask covering his face fell off and that was replaced by a towel that caught on fire. After two more jolts of electricity . George Jr. was declared dead within four minutes of the initial electrocution. George Jr. was the youngest person executed in the United States.
The next time George Jr. family saw him was at his funeral. The casket was partially opened. His body was burned beyond recognition.
The case was re-opened and on October 25, 2013 a new trial was granted. After 70 years George Junius Stinney Jr. was exonerated, but this came 70 years too late.