A Mississippi grand jury declined to indict Bryant, a suspect in the 1955 murder of Emmett Till, 14, and he was cleared of all charges. Nearly 70 years earlier, she testified that Till had made sexual advances toward her, which she claimed may have contributed to the Black teen’s heinous murder.
A Leflore County grand jury decided last week that there was insufficient evidence to indict Carolyn Bryant Donham on charges of kidnapping and manslaughter, according to a statement from the district attorney, Dewayne Richardson. Seven hours were spent by the grand jury hearing witness testimony outlining the case’s investigation from 2004 to the present. On the charges of kidnapping and manslaughter involving Donham’s involvement, it returned a “No Bill” decision.
Reverend Wheeler Parker Jr., the cousin of Till, criticized the jury’s decision as “unfortunate but expected” in a statement to CBS News. The prosecutor tried his best, and we applaud his efforts, Parker adamantly stated, quoting. He cannot, however, act alone to undo the centuries-old anti-Black structures that still guarantee the acquittal of those responsible for the death of Emmett Till.
“The fact remains that Emmett was kidnapped, tortured, and killed in broad daylight. Parker added to his accounts, “And our American justice system was and continues to be set up so that they could not be brought to justice for their heinous crimes.
The name Carolyn Bryant Donham is well-known because of the 1955 murder. In 1955, Carolyn Bryant, her then-husband Roy Bryant, and her brother-in-law justified the brutal murder of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old Black boy, in court by claiming that the boy made an unwanted approach on them. Many people were troubled by the incident, which even sparked a significant civil rights movement in America.
Bryant testified in the initial court proceedings that Till whistled at her, touched her without her permission, and spoke to her in a sexually suggestive way. And after she told her husband Roy Bryant about the incident, J W Milam and he kidnapped Till and killed him brutally. After being accused of kidnapping, Bryant and Milam were also later charged with murder.
As time went on, the case’s thread became more and more frayed. In a 2017 interview with Bryant, historian Timothy Tyson said she provided false testimony at the time. Bryant acknowledged that the portion of her earlier account in which Till grabbed her waist and made lewd comments was untrue. Many think Carolyn, a white woman, is still free because the case is rooted in racial segregation.
Authorities recently reopened the case’s relic, sixty years after the murder, by finding an unfulfilled arrest warrant for Bryant Donham, her late husband, and his brother. Bryant was not detained at the time because it was impossible to find her, according to the back of the arrest warrant. The New York Times article about the discovery included a quote from the filmmaker Keith A. Beauchamp, who was part of the team that discovered the warrant.