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Mississippi grand jury declines to indict Emmett Till accuser

A grand jury in Mississippi has ruled that a white woman accused of lynching Emmett Till, a black teenager who is nearly 70 years old, Despite previously pending arrest warrants and revelations about an unpublished memoir by the woman, prosecutors said Tuesday.

More than seven hours from investigators and witnesses. A Lefleur County grand jury last week ruled that there was insufficient evidence to charge Carolyn Bryant Donham with kidnapping and manslaughter, Lefleur County District Attorney Dwayne Richardson said. . in a news release.

Donham, now in her 80s, is increasingly unlikely to be prosecuted for her role in the incident that led to Till's lynching.

The Reverend Wheeler Parker Jr., Emmett Till's cousin and Till's last living witness to her 1955 abduction, said Tuesday's news was disappointing but predictable. said there is.

Read more: The death of Emmett Till could easily have been forgotten. Here's how it became a turning point for civil rights instead:

The fact remains that they did, and they continue to be engineered to avoid being brought to justice for heinous crimes," Parker said.

E-mails and voicemails seeking comment from Donham's son, Tom Bryant, were not immediately returned on Tuesday. The group that searched for Donham, then-husband Roy Bryant, and brother-in-law J.W. The man was arrested and acquitted of murder charges in Till's subsequent murder, but Donham, then 21 and now 87, was never taken into custody.

In her unpublished memoir obtained by the Associated Press last month, Donham said she was a 14-year-old living in Chicago and visiting relatives in Mississippi when she was kidnapped. She said she didn't know what would happen to Till. She was killed and thrown into the river. She accused him of making obscene comments and catching her while working alone at her family-owned store in Money, Mississippi.

Donham states in the manuscript that men brought Till to her in the middle of the night for identification, but she denied it was him and tried to help the youth. She claimed the 14-year-old identified himself to the men, even though Roy Bryant and Milam were kidnapped at gunpoint from their family home. } A few days later, Till's battered body was found in the river, weighted down by a heavy metal fan. The decision by her mother, Mamie Till Mobley, to open Till's coffin for his funeral in Chicago showed the horror of what happened and ignited the civil rights movement.

READ MORE: What We're Missing About Emmett Till's Impact on the World

In 2004, the Department of Justice opened an investigation into Till's murder after receiving inquiries about whether charges could be filed against someone still alive. However, the FBI worked with state investigators to determine whether state prosecution was possible. In February 2007, a grand jury in Mississippi declined to indict, and the Justice Department announced it was closing the case.

Later, after a 2017 book quoted Donham as saying she lied when she claimed Till grabbed her, whistled, and made sexual advances, the judiciary The ministry has reopened an investigation. Relatives publicly deny that Donham, in his 80s, has withdrawn his allegations about Till. But federal officials announced last year they were closing the investigation again, saying there was "insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that she lied to the FBI." 47} Associated Press Writer Allen G. Breed contributed to this report.

Michael Goldberg is a member of his Associated Press/Reports for America State House News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to cover hidden issues. Follow him on his Twitter at Please contact

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