George Stinney memorial unveiled in Alcolu

Published: Jun. 15, 2014 at 5:00 PM EDT|Updated: Dec. 17, 2014 at 5:07 PM EST
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(Source: South Carolina Department of Archives and History)
(Source: South Carolina Department of Archives and History)

ALCOLU, SC (WIS) - Monday will mark the 70th anniversary of a South Carolina case that's still the source of so much mystery.

In 1944, 14-year-old George Stinney was executed for two murders, making him the youngest person executed in the United States during modern times.

Many still believe he didn't do it and didn't get justice.

Outside the small town of Alcolu, dozens gathered to dedicate a stone memorial to remember Stinney.

"It was said that he loved drawing," said event organizer George Frierson. "One of the greatest artists in the world could have been cut short by this horrendous act."

Seventy years later, the execution is still controversial.

"This case, of course, is another example of South Carolina's love and liking to be first in everything that's last and last in everything's that's first," said Dr. Lonnie Randolph, president of the South Carolina NAACP.

Irene Lawson-Hill, Stinney's second cousin was also at the memorial.

"I was told at ten years old about this case, and ever since my mother told me about it, I had nightmares," Lawson-Hill said.

The 14-year-old was convicted and executed after reportedly confessing to the brutal killing of two young girls.

A copy of that confession doesn't exist.

"I've been asking for it for ten years," Frierson said. "Still hasn't been to be produced."

Many like Frierson have more questions than answers.

He's dedicated years of his life to clearing Stinney's name.

"Nothing added up," Frierson said. "No physical evidence against him. No family support. Incompetent legal counsel."

The headstone, which is on display near Sumter Highway says that Stinney was wrongfully convicted and illegally executed by the state and that could soon be verified.

In January, the case was back in court but a judge has yet to decide whether to give Stinney a new trial or not.

"This was a rush to judgment," Frierson said. "In fact, this was a travesty of justice in all aspects."

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