Emmett Till Investigation Closed With No Charges

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The Justice Department announced that it has closed an investigation into the abduction and murder of Emmett Till for lack of new evidence.  The case was reopened after a historian claimed in a book that Carolyn Bryant Donham, the central witness whose account of an encounter with Emmett led to his death in 1955, had recanted that he had grabbed her and made sexually suggestive remarks, reports the New York Times.

Citing the statute of limitations and Donham’s denial that she had ever changed her story, the Justice Department said it could not move forward with prosecuting her for perjury. But in a book published in 2017, “The Blood of Emmett Till” by Timothy B. Tyson, the author wrote that Donham had recanted her testimony in a 2008 interview, saying that the earlier stories she told were “not true.” The Justice Department said Tyson, despite saying he had recorded two interviews with Donham, provided just one recording to the F.B.I. that did not contain a recantation. Tyson has said that although he did not record Donham’s recantation, he took detailed notes. Donham has rarely spoken publicly about the case. Her former husband and another man confessed to Emmett’s murder, though the confessions came after they were acquitted by an all-white jury. Both men are deceased.

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