This 14-Year Old Boy is the Youngest American to Be Sentenced to Death and Executed

George Stinney, Jr.

A 14-year old African-American boy named George Stinney Jr. was executed in 1944 after being accused of murdering two white girls. He is the youngest person ever put to death in the electric chair. But 70 years later, his wrongful conviction was overturned!
On March 24, 1944, 11-year old Betty June Binnicker and 7-year old Mary Emma Thames were last seen riding their bicycles in Alcolu, South Carolina. The next day, they were found dead in a water-filled ditch. Autopsy results determined their causes of death to be blunt force trauma.

Police arrested Stinney after a witness said that he was the last person seen talking to the girls. He was taken to the Sumter County Jail where he was interrogated in a locked room without any witnesses or attorney.

According to court documents, Stinney confessed to beating the girls with a railroad spike after his plan to have sex with one of them failed.

Found guilty by a jury of 12 white men

A month later, Stinney was put on trial where he was given a white court-appointed defense attorney who did not call any witness to the stand or present any evidence to defend his client. After a 2-hour trial and a 10-minute deliberation, a jury of 12 white men found the teen guilty of first-degree murder and the judge sentenced him to death by electric chair.

On June 16, 1944, just about 3 months after the murder, Stinney was executed in an adult-size electric chair, where he was electrocuted three times for four minutes before he finally died.

His confession was coerced

Over the years, civil rights advocates tried to get the case reopened, claiming that Stinney's confession of the murder was coerced. Stinney's sister Aime also testified that he could not have committed the crime because he was with her when the crime took place.

Justice arrived... but too late!

Finally, on December 17, 2014, a circuit court judge overturned his murder conviction, noting that his sentencing was "cruel and unusual."

The judge stated that there was "a violation of the defendant's procedural due process rights that tainted his prosecution."