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Justice Dept reopens investigation into Emmett Till’s lynching murder

13 July 2018

An investigation into the murder of a black teenager who was lynched after allegedly flirting with a white woman in 1955 has been reopened by the federal USA government. Jackson's slaying was an impetus for the Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights march later that year.

What's the history of the case?

The book says a white woman acknowledged she wasn't truthful when she testified that the 14-year-old Till grabbed her and whistled at her in a store in 1955.

But the woman who made the allegations against Till remains alive, and her account has shifted through the years.

Bryant and Milam told a reporter the following year how they killed Emmett and dumped his body in the Tallahatchie, but because of double jeopardy laws, they couldn't be tried again.

Emmett's mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, was horrified to see the state of her son's body when it was returned to her.

Donham's then-husband Roy Bryant and his half-brother J.W. Milam were charged with the murder but were later acquitted by an all-white jury. Mose Wright, Emmett's Mississippi-based great-uncle, positively identified Bryant and Milam as his great-nephew's killers.

Last year, Vanity Fair published an article in which author and Duke University scholar Timothy Tyson said Carolyn Bryant - by then, Carolyn Bryant Donham - confessed she made up the most damning part of her story.

"Nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him", she reportedly said during a 2008 interview. They were not retried.

With the main suspects long dead, the case had been closed since 2007.

An Associated Press report Thursday revealed that the Justice Department had reopened the case, and notified Congress in a March report that it was reinvestigating Till's brutal murder after receiving what the department called "new information". The report added that "b$3 ecause the matter is ongoing, the Department can provide no further information about the current investigation".

"It's probably always an open case until all the parties have passed away", Richardson said, noting that if any relevant cases were to move forward, he and the district attorney of the area in which Emmett's body was found would decide who would prosecute it.

Bryant, whose name is now Carolyn Donham, is in her 80s and lives in North Carolina.

Though the Justice Department has reopened its investigation-possibly due to Donham's comments to Tyson-it is not yet known if prosecutors will bring a new case against anyone connected to the murder.

With jurors out of the courtroom, she said a "nigger man" she didn't know took her by the arm.

Justice Dept reopens investigation into Emmett Till’s lynching murder