Justice Department May Reopen Investigation Into Emmett Till's Murder Case
An investigation into the murder of Emmett Till may be reopened by the U.S. Department of Justice, following a meeting that occurred between Till’s cousin Deborah Watts and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
During the meeting, which also included activist Alvin Sykes, Sessions expressed his support for pursuing and prosecuting killers who went unpunished in the civil rights era. “He said no one gets a pass,” Watts said.
The decision to reopen the case also comes after Carolyn Bryant Dunham‘s admittance that she lied about the testimony she gave back in 1955 about the 14-year-old Till touching her. Dunham alleged that Till had grabbed her and verbally threatened her, saying “He said [he had] done something with white women before. I was just scared to death.”
Although a jury did not even hear Carolyn’s words, the court spectators put her words on the record, which led to the jury acquitting Till’s murderers.
However, about 10 years ago Dunham admitted to author Timothy Tyson, who was working on the book The Blood of Emmett Till at the time, that she lied about the testimony.
“That part’s not true,” the then 72-year-old said to Tyson. “Nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him.”
“The Department is currently assessing whether the newly revealed statement could warrant additional investigation,” Acting Assistant Attorney General T.E. Wheeler II reportedly wrote U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson in a letter.
However, Wheeler also advised people to not raise their expectations.
“We caution, however, that even with our best efforts, investigations into historic cases are exceptionally difficult, and there may be insurmountable legal and evidentiary barriers to bringing federal charges against any remaining living persons,” Wheeler wrote.