Murder, FBI, Justice Department discussed on KTAR Programming

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

Welcome back to Jim Bohannon, show with our guest David veto a research fellow at the dependent institute and professor of history at. The, university of, Alabama Tuscaloosa Abby co author, of, TRM Howard doctor. Entrepreneur. And civil rights pioneer we're talking about a reopening of the Emmett till murder case yes of, sixty three years ago Now Clearly as you note witnesses potential defendants in the like in many, cases dead this is A test of the Justice department charge of. Investigating long ago murders that, are thought to have been racially motivated and the Justice department in the last ten years it's efforts have led to five successful prosecutions glue that of Edgar Ray killing. Involved in the, murders of the, three civil rights workers Nimitz sippy, who died in prison this, past year that of course was the subject of the. Movie Mississippi burning starring Gene Hackman which some of you may have seen over the years so the last successful prosecution came eight years ago when, a former Alabama state trooper was convicted of manslaughter for the. Killing, of one Jimmy Lee Jackson or protesters debt led to. The Selma to Montgomery. March again to the extent, that that that the law still applies that's fine and good in the case of murder I don't suppose that there is ever a statute of, limitations. Is there Now I'm not a lawyer. But no I, don't I don't, believe there is then again there's, also the the other notion, that there are federal civil rights laws involved here that. In fact it would be quite possible to be tried twice in one of these cases once for the state law of committing murder and once, for the federal law involving the violation of someone's civil rights. And, I believe the courts have held that such trials are. For two different crimes. And therefore do not constitute. Double jeopardy that's as I recall my memory of the reading. Of this So in other words it's not an academic exercise our act, your things that presumably can. Be done in the in these cases there would potentially be a lot, of cases out there of course we're talking like you said about a, sixty three, year old case and in that particular case I, only know one person, that could, be prosecuted. All the law enforcement people. Are gone, and again there was a cover up you know there were there were employees black employees of milem, and Brian who were involved in the crime they were pretty much compelled to participate and my wife and I interviewed one of them before he died but they're all gone now and you know. The people that covered up are pretty much all gone but there are many read more recent cases you know in the. Sixties for example where a lot of people still are around So this this evidence continuing and again the the pickings as you, might expect are so much slim but nonetheless been some cases which in, fact there, have been a successful reopening the Justice department Had this new inquiry first reported by the Associated Press. Last began a significant rule of the review of the till case fourteen years ago prosecutors ultimately determined, that the statute of limitations let them without, any charges they could pursue in a federal court The FBI still conducted an inquiry which included an, exclamation of the immortals body from an Illinois cemetery for about two years to settle whether there. Were any state crimes that could. Still be prosecuted I. I'm not sure other than than murder I'm not sure what crimes we could be talking about here and it was. Interesting that prosecutors determined that the statute of limitations had left without any charges they could pursue a federal court If I'm not mistaken anybody involved in this had already, been tried for murder in a state court and acquitted and of course any retrial would be. Double jeopardy if there's no federal Charge that that's still around since obviously then statutes of limitations apply. To the the civil, rights laws that that we discussed a second ago while I find this of academic interest. I'm not quite sure whether the FBI is looking. Into this at all Well you do have Caroline like I said Brian Dunham and she was never tried, that would be a case you could, bring, high I unless we get a confession from her or something like that I think that that extremely. Unlikely but I suppose it's a possibility and it's probably, the main reason they. Reopened this investigation, I, would I would guess in that, particular case again this is a case of of Justice delayed beyond the point of of of, reasonably getting anything done and while I suppose. It makes us all feel better something is being investigated I must say frankly given the circumstances we've, discussed tonight I'm not sure that I find this to be a, particularly efficient use of limited federal resources your thoughts I tend to agree with you I think there are a lot of cases that are. Where you do have some you know you you do have some potential I just don't see it. Here I think it may be was a spur of the moment. Decision maybe somebody read Timothy Tyson's, sport which again now questions have been called about what he but he found in that book and. Said oh okay we have a confession, here, let's go after this case well turns out they really did so I think somebody maybe didn't think. To think this through I understand why they're doing it, I just think that. That's the target, is, not the best target at this, late day are there any state investigations that they'd go back this far in any any part, of the country that that tried to look. At at circumstances that were improperly handled at the time or is this strictly as, far as you, know a a federal effort I don't know of any state. Investigations going on certainly there are cases going back even further but you you have to. Look at examples like you know holocaust guy now that's being you know ninety five year old that's being sent back to Germany to be tried so you know it does happen but? I can't think of any state investigations go to, go back that far The the circumstances of course of the the till case I suppose we're we're instrumental given that it was nineteen fifty five and of course I I don't recall if this was before or after. The Montgomery Alabama bus, boycott which really vaulted Dr Martin Luther King. Junior to national prominence do you recall there, are two are, linked together, Dr TRM Howard we talked about last time was a prominent civil rights figuring Mississippi way he went. On a national speaking tour only three days after. The jury's acquittal he predicted that, it, was going to be an acquittal in ROY Wilkins. The NWPP basically said I want you to, go around, the country he was getting crowds and, cities like, Baltimore Madison Square Garden you, know ten, twenty thousand people bigger crowds than anyone really had gotten in recent memory. For a civil, rights 'cause it, was building up a lot of pressure he. Was attacking the FBI well anyway A lesser known part of it tour was in November twenty seventh, nineteen fifty five, in Montgomery Alabama and his host was. Martin Luther King, then unknown nationally Rosa Parks was in the audience. And three days, later, Rosa Parks refused to up her seat she made quite clear, that the reason, she refused to give up her seat was she was thinking. Of Emmett till well Howard speech only three days before. That had been the focus dad had been the first event Montgomerie to really focus on that issue so they the issues you know the till case I think. You can find it pretty clear link to the Montgomery bus boycott and. Of course then the, decision was to organize a movement around Rosa. Parks action and king was chosen to head, that we're going, to come, back and talk more about that with our guest David Beethoven again he's the author of TRM Howard. Will reintroduce you to him as.

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