Mississippi AG drops case against Curtis Flowers, a Black man who was tried 6 times for same crime

JACKSON, Overlook. – The Mississippi Attorney General’s Business office is dropping its case in opposition to Curtis Bouquets, a Black man who was attempted six instances for the exact criminal offense by a white prosecutor.

The situation drew nationwide attention previous yr as it went prior to the U.S. Supreme Courtroom immediately after it was the topic of “In The Darkish,” a popular investigative podcast.

Flowers, accused of killing 4 people today at a furnishings retail outlet in Winona in 1996, has maintained his innocence for much more than two decades as his situation went by means of an unparalleled range of trials, the most in modern U.S. heritage. 

“Today I am ultimately cost-free from the injustice that still left me locked in a box for just about 23 yrs,” Bouquets, 50, reported Friday in a assertion. “I’ve been requested if I at any time assumed this day would appear. I have been blessed with a family that in no way gave up on me and with them by my facet, I understood it would.”

Curtis Flowers at a bail hearing in Winona, Miss., Monday, Dec. 16, 2019.
Curtis Bouquets at a bail listening to in Winona, Miss out on., Monday, Dec. 16, 2019.

A person of Flowers’ lawyers famous the importance that the dismissal arrived as protesters exhibit in the U.S. and all over the environment in opposition to law enforcement killings of Black people today.

The dismissal “provides a person much more essential evidence that 145 decades right after the Civil Legal rights Act of 1875, a recalcitrant demagogue will no more time be equipped to quit the forces of transformation in Mississippi and nationally, contacting for racial equity to swap white supremacy as our justice system’s arranging theory,” lawyer Henderson Hill mentioned.

‘Unprecedented’ variety of trials caused by mistrials and prosecutor misconduct

The prosecutor, Fifth Circuit District Legal professional Doug Evans, tried Bouquets a number of times as he failed to convince the juries of Flowers’ guilt and failed to make convictions stick. Two trials finished in hung juries and four convictions had been overturned for the reason that increased courts discovered proof of prosecutorial misconduct.

June 2019: Curtis Flowers’ conviction overturned: Household, law firm elated

June 2019: Supreme Courtroom overturns conviction of Curtis Flowers, tried using 6 times for murder, citing racism in jury choice

In June 2019, the U.S. Supreme Courtroom overturned Flowers’ most the latest conviction in 2010 after acquiring that Evans deliberately worked to avoid prospective Black jurors from serving all through jury collection.

In December, Bouquets was permitted to walk no cost on bond and return to his loved ones for the to start with time in two many years as they waited to see if he would facial area demo a seventh time.

Flowers’ attorneys sought to take out Evans from the case. The prosecutor quietly withdrew in January in the facial area of opposition and Flowers’ scenario went to Mississippi Legal professional Basic Lynn Fitch’s place of work for review.

Fitch submitted a motion to dismiss Flower’s indictment on Friday and it was permitted by Decide Joseph Loper.

“The case versus Curtis Bouquets under no circumstances produced sense,” claimed Flowers’ legal professional, Rob McDuff of the Mississippi Center for Justice. “He was 26 several years outdated with no criminal document and practically nothing in his background to recommend he would commit a criminal offense like this. As time went by, even additional evidence emerged to corroborate his innocence. This prosecution was flawed from the commencing and was tainted throughout by racial discrimination. It should really never ever have transpired and lasted significantly way too lengthy, but we are happy it is last but not least about.”

Vangela Wade, president and CEO of the Mississippi Center for Justice, mentioned district lawyers keep significantly ability in charging decisions, bail, plea bargaining, demo and sentencing. 

Wade named for a “further battle in opposition to racism” in the state’s criminal justice system.

“Mississippi will have to reform our prison justice method from the bottom up, starting off with rooting out racial bias in prosecutorial discretion,” Wade claimed.

Why did the AG make your mind up to drop fees?

Fitch filed a motion on Friday to dismiss the indictment towards Bouquets, citing a absence of witnesses and the existence of alternate suspects.

In court filings, the Lawyer General’s workplace explained all key witnesses that experienced testified from Bouquets in the earlier experienced possibly died or manufactured conflicting statements on the history.

“…The only witness who supplied immediate evidence of guilt recanted his prior testimony, admitting that he was lying when he reported Mr. Flowers manufactured a jailhouse confession to the murders.”

Considerably of the new proof of Flowers’ innocence stemmed from the investigation by “In the Darkish,” Flowers’ lawyers reported.

The Tardy Home furnishings murders: What transpired?

On the morning of July 16, 1996, Tardy Furniture’s owner and three staff were shot in the head execution-model.

The victims were Bertha Tardy, 59 Carmen Rigby, 45 Roberty Golden, 42 and 16-yr-previous Derrick Stewart, who was recognized as “Bobo.” All ended up useless at the scene except Derrick, who fought for his lifetime for numerous days right up until he succumbed to his injuries.

The evidence investigators gathered at the scene included a bloody footprint and bullets. Just about $400 was missing from the hard cash drawer.

Police arrested Bouquets a number of months afterwards. He was indicted on 4 counts of cash murder.

Flowers had labored at the retail store for a quick time ahead of becoming fired, and prosecutors experienced portrayed Bouquets as a disgruntled worker who was out for revenge. 

Follow Alissa Ahu on Twitter: @AlissaZhu

This posting initially appeared on Mississippi Clarion Ledger: Curtis Bouquets: Rates dropped by Mississippi Lawyer Normal

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