DOJ reopens Emmett Till case after ‘new information’ arises

Justice Dept reopens investigation into Emmett Till’s lynching murder

Citing "new information", the US Justice Department has reopened the investigation into Till's death.

The author of a book that included new revelations about the killing of Emmett Till says he shared all of his research materials with the Federal Bureau of Investigation a year ago.

Tyson is the only journalist or historian known to have interviewed Carolyn Bryant Donham, the woman who claimed Emmett harassed her, leading to his lynching and murder.

This undated photo shows Emmett Louis Till, a 14-year-old black Chicago boy, who was kidnapped, tortured and murdered in 1955 after he allegedly whistled at a white woman in Mississippi.

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. But Parker says the discussion likely occurred after the release of a book that raised questions about the Till case past year. Donham told Tyson that "nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him".

Till's cousin, Deborah Watts, said she was not told the case was reopened until AP contacted her but said it was "wonderful". It is not clear, though, whether the government will be able to bring charges against anyone.

University of MS law professor Tucker Carrington says conspiracy or murder charges could be filed if anyone still alive is shown to have been involved.

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Two white men - Donham's then-husband, Roy Bryant, and his half-brother, J.W. Milam - were charged with murder but acquitted in the slaying of Chicago teen Till, who had been staying with relatives in northern MS at the time.

Back in March, the Justice Department told Congress in a report that it had made a decision to re-launch its investigation following "the discovery of new information". Authorities haven't said what that may be, but the move followed the release past year of a book about the case.

A MS prosecutor declined comment Thursday on whether federal authorities had given him new information since they reopened the probe. But he says it's always open until everyone involved has died.

In closing arguments, the defense team appealed to jurors' heritage, saying their ancestors would turn in their graves if they didn't free these fine, white men. The 1955 trial was held in Tallahatchie County, which isn't in Richardson's district.

The murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till, barbarous even in an era in which blacks in the South were subjected to untold viciousness, has been reopened, according to a US Justice Department report to Congress. "Goddam you, I'm going to make an example of you - just so everybody can know how me and my folks stand.'" Both men are dead now. The report added that "b$3 ecause the matter is ongoing, the Department can provide no further information about the current investigation". But it was issued in March following the publication past year of "The Blood of Emmett Till".

In her testimony at the murder trial, Bryant said that a "nigger man" grabbed her by the hand in her store and said to her, "How about a date, baby?"

The men later confessed to the crime in a magazine interview but weren't retried.

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