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Will reopened case finally lead to justice for murder of Emmett Till?.

It was a hot and sticky night in Money, Miss., and the air smelled of honeysuckle. Fourteen-year-old Emmett Till was sound asleep when two white men dragged him out of bed waving a flashlight and gun. The assailants beat Emmett to a bloody pulp, gouged out one of his eyes and shot him in the...
Time: 23:10     Date: 12.07.2018
Last US News: Will reopened case finally lead to justice for murder of Emmett Till?. NY Post 24 - US News

Fourteen-year-old Emmett Till was sound asleep when two white men dragged him out of bed waving a flashlight and gun.

The assailants beat Emmett to a bloody pulp, gouged out one of his eyes and shot him in the head. They strapped a 75-pound cotton-gin fan to his body with barbed wire before dumping it in the Tallahatchie River.

The black teen was brutally murdered in the early hours of Aug. 28, 1955 — all for whistling at a white woman during a time when the segregated South was deep in the throes of Jim Crow and the grip of racial injustice.

Emmett’s killers got off at trial. But on Thursday, with the 63rd anniversary of his death approaching, it emerged that the Department of Justice has reopened its investigation into his slaying after receiving “new information.”

The news comes a year after a stunning admission from Carolyn Donham, the woman Emmett whistled at, in the book “The Blood of Emmett Till.”

More than 50 years after Emmett’s heinous murder, she admitted she lied when she claimed he grabbed her and made sexual advances on her that day.

Emmett was just one week into his summer visit with relatives in the tiny town of Money when he was killed.

Before hopping on a train from his native Chicago Aug. 20, the stocky boy, whose nickname was “Bobo,” was given a keepsake from his mom, Mamie Till Mobley — a silver signet ring with his father Louis’ initials, “L.T.”

Emmett was staying at his great-uncle Moses Wright’s home with his cousin Simeon Wright, who was two years younger than him.

Outside the store, he saw Donham, a 21-year-old white woman who owned the store with her husband, Roy Bryant. She was headed out to her car when Emmett let out a whistle — a daring gesture that sent fear coursing through Simeon and the others.

“Well, it scared us half to death,” Simeon Wright recalled to Chicago magazine in 2009. “You know, we were almost in shock. We couldn’t get out of there fast enough, because we had never heard of anything like that before. A black boy whistling at a white woman? In Mississippi? No.”

Wright said the good-natured teen, who was said to have had a lisp, had no idea what trouble he had just caused.

“I think what he did was trying to impress us. He said, ‘You guys might be afraid to do something like this, but not me,’” Wright, who died in 2017, said to Smithsonian Magazine. “Another thing. He really didn’t know the danger. He had no idea how dangerous that was because when he saw our reaction, he got scared, too.”

The group promised not to tell Moses Wright about the incident, believing the old man would send Emmett straight back home for his safety.

Four days later, at around 2:30 a.m., Simeon Wright was awoken by two men later identified as Bryant and his half-brother, J.W. Milam.

“When I opened my eyes, I saw two white men at the foot of my bed. One had a flashlight and a gun,” Simeon Wright told the Chicago Tribune in 2014.

“They ordered me back down. Emmett was still sleeping. They had to shake him to wake him up.”

The men snatched Emmett from bed and forced him to dress, all while Simeon Wright’s mother pleaded with them not to take him.

Outside, according to Wright, one of the men asked a woman inside a truck, “Was this the right boy?” She answered yes.

The men tossed Emmett in the flatbed of the truck and dragged him off to the edge of the Tallahatchie, where they beat him, shot him in the head and sunk his body.

Bryant and Milam were busted a day after Emmett disappeared and were thrown in jail without bond.

J.W. Milam, left, and Roy Bryant, right, sit with their wives in the courtroom in September 1955.AP

Two days later, a group of boys who were fishing saw two feet sticking out of the water, leading cops to pull out Emmett’s decomposing body.

He had been so badly battered that he was unidentifiable — save for his father’s silver ring still on his hand.

Emmett’s murder was thrust into the national spotlight when Mobley, his mother, insisted his body be displayed in a glass-topped casket at his funeral Sept. 3 on Chicago’s South Side.

She wanted the world could see the horrific consequences racism could have.

The mom refused to have a mortician touch up her son’s face, which was so swollen and mutilated that it resembled a wax mask.

“I think everybody needed to know what had happened to Emmett Till,” Mobley said.

More than 50,000 mourners poured in to pay their respects. Sickening photos of Emmett’s body were published all over the place, including in Jet magazine, prompting mass outrage among the black community.

Lonnie Bunch, the founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, told Smithsonian that the grieving mother saw her son as “being crucified on the cross of racial injustice.”

“And she felt that in order for his life not to be in vain, that she needed to use that moment to illuminate all of the dark corners of America and help push America toward what we now call the civil rights movement,” Bunch said.

Later that month, Milam and Bryant headed to trial on murder charges in Sumner, Miss.

Because blacks and white women were barred from serving on juries, the panel was made up of a dozen men — all white.

During the five-day trial, Moses Wright risked his life by taking the stand to identify the two men as Emmett’s killers in open court.

But the jury wasn’t swayed. They cleared Milam and Bryant of Emmett’s murder following just 67 minutes of deliberations.

The acquittals remain a festering wound, unhealed after six decades, Mississippi state Sen. David Jordan, who attended the trial, told The Post Thursday.

“Well, you know the old analogy I use is if you remove all infection from a wound, it will heal,” Jordan, 85, said by phone from his home in Greenwood, Miss.

“I think getting to the bottom of this would remove all the infection over this case, and it would heal. And we could all finally look at it with regret, as history, and then move forward.”

Testimony from an undertaker, Chester A. Miller, laid out Emmett’s injuries in gruesome detail, Jordan recalled.

“It was a mockery of justice.”

“He said [Emmett] looked like a monster. He used his hands to show how distorted the face was, and the head,” the senator said.

Jordan, who was 22 at the time, also remembered how the jurors laughed and chatted with one another during the testimony. Even the defendants were laughing.

“Nobody took it seriously,” Jordan recalled.

“They were talking to each other; they were joking among each other. Whatever Mr. Miller had to say didn’t mean anything,” he said.

“It was a mockery of justice.”

A grand jury later declined to indict Milam and Bryant on kidnapping charges.

Four months after the pair was acquitted, they were paid $3,000 for an interview with Look magazine in which they unabashedly confessed to pistol-whipping Emmett and eventually killing him.

They bragged about the slaying, knowing the double-jeopardy clause would protect them from being charged with the teen’s murder a second time.

More than two months after the teen’s death, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat in the front of a bus in segregated Montgomery, Ala.

“I thought of Emmett Till, and when the bus driver ordered me to move to the back, I just couldn’t move,” said Parks, who was part of the NAACP.

When organizers planned the historic 1963 March on Washington, it was no mistake that they chose Aug. 28 as the date.

Public segregation was abolished by the Civil Rights Act in 1964.

Donham also testified at the trial — but jurors never heard it because it was ruled inadmissable. Still, she said Emmett told her he had done something “with a white woman before” and that a “n- - - -r man” took her by the arm in the store.

“He said, ‘How about a date, baby?’ ” she testified, according to a trial transcript released by the FBI a decade ago.

She said she pulled away but the man grabbed her waist moments later.

“I was just scared to death,” she said under oath.

But in “The Blood of Emmett Till,” author Timothy Tyson wrote that the mom of two confessed in 2007 that it was all made up.

“That part’s not true,” the then-72-year-old Donham told Tyson of her claim Emmett came onto her both verbally and physically. “Nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him.”

Donham, who divorced Bryant and went onto marry two more times, claimed she couldn’t recall other details from that day.

“That case went a long way toward ruining her life,” Tyson, a Duke University senior research scholar, told Vanity Fair last year. “She was glad things had changed [and she] thought the old system of white supremacy was wrong, though she had more or less taken it as normal at the time.”

The revelation that the Justice Department reopened Emmett’s case was made in an annual federal report sent to lawmakers in late March. The 1955 killing was listed among “activities” the agency was looking into under an unsolved civil-rights crime act named for Emmett in 2007, CNN reported. The act allows authorities to “expeditiously investigate” unsolved civil-rights murders stemming from before 1980.

The Justice Department declined to comment on the report and it was unclear what “new information” they possessed.

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