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Remembering George Stinney

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Remembering George Stinney

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Let’s face the facts,  the most controversial topic in America is Capital punishment (aka Death Penalty).  People on one side argue that capital punishment is a cruel and an unusual punishment  because we are basically playing God. The other side has a different story to tell. They claim that what is the whole point of keeping a person alive, since that person committed a heinous crime.  However, when the capital punishment is used, there is one of two things that happen. 1) Either the person is innocent. 2) That person brutally murdered someone else. I know a lot of cases involve many innocent people being killed for something they haven’t done. One case that gets my attention a lot is the case of 14-year-old George Stinney.

George lived in Alcolu, South Carolina with his parents: George Stinney Sr. and Aime. Growing up in South Carolina, George’s town was segregated from white and black people. The economy of the town was mostly working at the local saw mill where George Sr. worked.

In March of 1944, two white girls ages 7 and 11  were hunting wildflowers in the fields and were soon reported missing. A few days later, their bodies were found brutally killed and head down with a railroad spike, and in a water-logged ditch. According to George’s sister, “[The police] were looking for someone to blame it on, so they used my brother as a scapegoat, ” (back in the 40’s people used this case to blame on someone of different color/race).  Police eventually raided his home and arrested George and his older brother. On the interrogation room, it was said that the police made a deal: George would confess for his crime, and he will able to go home.   George confessed to his “supposed” crime and police charged him with 1st Degree Murder. During the interrogation, he didn’t get any contact with his family members or an attorney. Due to the fear of being suspects, George’s family left on the lam and left George to deal with the case.

On the day of George’s trial, there were a lot of criticism going on. For starters, all of the jury and the audience were white. 2nd of all, he  didn’t had an attorney and there were no witnesses. The trial ultimately lasted for 10 minutes. He was sentenced to death on the electric chair and made history as the youngest person to ever be put to death. On June 16, 1944, George was strapped to the electric chair and recent claims have stated that he was too small to be tied and electrode was too big for him. He had to sit on a bible in order to reach it and stories had said that it took over 2 shocks in order to kill him.

           Seventy years later in January of 2014, George’s case was reopened. However, this time, every exact detail of the case was examined. It turned out that the real killer was another guy who happened to live right near where George used to live. This means that the police killed an innocent child, who also had an unfair trial and whose rights were also violated. This case raises the question for all of us. Is the death sentence really necessary? Is it worth using it on a child/person when he/she could be innocent? I, for one, object capital punishment and I hope that we will not make the same mistakes we did when we ordered the execution of an innocent child.

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Remembering George Stinney