Justice Dept reopens investigation into Emmett Till’s lynching murder

Adjust Comment Print

They then strapped a 75-pound cotton gin fan to his neck and tossed him in the Tallahatchie River to sink his body.

Relatives of Till who have tried to get the case reopened since the release of the book, are grateful for the newfound efforts. Still, he said investigators may be able to link it to other material in their possession. His mother, Mamie Till, left her son's casket open for the funeral, to show people how insane racism had gotten in the south.

The decision follows the publication last year of a book called The Blood Of Emmett Till, in which the woman admitted being untruthful when she gave evidence against the 14-year-old.

Donham's then-husband Roy Bryant and his half-brother J.W. Milam were charged with the murder but were later acquitted by an all-white jury.

In a report submitted to Congress, the Department of Justice said the revived interest into the 1955 slaying was "based upon the discovery of new information".

The Justice Department declined to comment Thursday, but it appeared that the government had chosen to devote new attention to the case after Donham, in an interview with Tyson, recanted parts of her account of what transpired in August 1955. "Only the powers that be know if there's anything", Parker told ABC7 Eyewitness News Thursday.

After Look Magazine published Bryant and Milam's confession, the two were rejected by friends and supporters around the country.

Donham, who will be 84 this month, now lives in Raleigh, N.C. and declined comment to the AP. In an interview with NBC, Deborah Watts, a cousin of Till and the co-founder of the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation, said "None of us wants to do anything that jeopardizes any investigation or impedes, but we are also very interested in justice being done".

During the trial of Roy Bryant and Milam, Carolyn Bryant was brought as a potential witness for the defense. The two white men who were put on trial for the murder were acquitted by an all-white jury, and the case was ultimately closed in 2007.

"He said, 'How about a date, baby?'" she testified, according to a trial transcript released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation a decade ago.

TYSON: She said her testimony in court of him grabbing her and making sexual advances to her - that part's not true. "Can't you take it?" she recalled his saying. Her testimony claims that Till had done an "unprintable word" to "white women before".

Till's cousin, Wheeler Parker, said Thursday he's "pretty sure" an investigator asked him about what happened in a MS store the day Till whistled at a white woman before his slaying in 1955.

FILE - In this 1955 file photo, Carolyn Bryant poses for a photo. The report added that "b$3 ecause the matter is ongoing, the Department can provide no further information about the current investigation". The men later confessed to the crime in a magazine interview but weren't retried. Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam are both dead, and while Donham appears to have admitted to perjury, the statute of limitations on that crime has long passed. Citing "new information", the U.S. Justice Department has reopened the investigation into Till's death.