JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi grand jury has declined to indict the white woman whose accusation set off the lynching of Black teenager Emmett Till nearly 70 years ago, most likely closing the case that shocked a nation and galvanized the modern civil rights movement.
After hearing more than seven hours of testimony from investigators and witnesses, a Leflore County grand jury last week determined there was insufficient evidence to indict Carolyn Bryant Donham on charges of kidnapping and manslaughter, Leflore County District Attorney Dewayne Richardson said in a news release Tuesday.
The decision comes despite recent revelations about an unserved arrest warrant and the 87-year-old Donham’s unpublished memoir.
The Rev. Wheeler Parker, Jr., Emmett Till’s cousin and the last living witness to Till’s Aug. 28, 1955, abduction, said Tuesday’s announcement is “unfortunate, but predictable.”
“The prosecutor tried his best, and we appreciate his efforts, but he alone cannot undo hundreds of years of anti-Black systems that guaranteed those who killed Emmett Till would go unpunished, to this day,” Parker said in a statement.
In this 1955 file photo, Carolyn Bryant poses for a photo. A grand jury in Mississippi has declined to indict the white woman, Carolyn Donham, known as Carolyn Bryant, whose accusation set off the lynching of Black teenager Emmett Till nearly 70 years ago, despite revelations about an unserved arrest warrant and a newly revealed memoir by the woman, a prosecutor said Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022.