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Government reopens probe of Emmett Till slaying

Emmett Till (left) | Photo: NBC

The federal government has reopened its investigation into the slaying of Emmett Till, the black teenager whose brutal killing in Mississippi shocked the world and helped inspire the civil rights movement more than 60 years ago.

Posted: Jul 12, 2018 5:38 AM
Updated: Jul 12, 2018 4:09 PM

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The Latest on the renewed investigation into the killing of Emmett Till (all times local):

3:55 p.m.

A federal official says the renewed investigation of the killing of Emmett Till was prompted by a book published last year that includes a key figure's acknowledgement that she lied about the case.

A federal official familiar with the matter told The Associated Press that information published in the 2017 book led federal investigators to re-examine the case. The official wasn't authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke to AP on condition of anonymity.

The renewed investigation was first revealed in a recent federal report, which didn't specify what new information investigators were acting on.

The 2017 book "The Blood of Emmett Till" by Timothy B. Tyson quotes a white woman, Carolyn Donham, as saying during a 2008 interview that she wasn't truthful when she testified that Till grabbed her, whistled and made sexual advances at a Mississippi store in 1955.

— Associated Press writer Mike Balsamo contributed

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3:15 p.m.

The author of a book that included new revelations about the killing of Emmett Till says he shared all of his research materials with the FBI last year.

Timothy Tyson said at a news conference Thursday that he was contacted by the FBI several weeks after his book came out in January 2017. He says he assumes his book helped prompt the renewed investigation of the black teen's brutal slaying.

The Duke University scholar says he shared materials including recordings of 2008 interviews with a white woman, Carolyn Donham, acknowledging that she wasn't truthful when she testified that Till made sexual advances at a Mississippi store in 1955.

It was revealed this week that federal investigators have reopened its investigation of the crime that helped build momentum for the civil rights movement.

___

12:30 p.m.

A potential witness in the slaying of black teenager Emmett Till says he's talked with law enforcement about the case in recent months.

Till's cousin, Wheeler Parker, said Thursday he's "pretty sure" an investigator asked him about what happened in a Mississippi store the day Till whistled at a white woman before his slaying in 1955.

Parker is 79 and the conversation occurred months ago, and he says he has a hard time remembering details. But Parker says the discussion likely occurred after the release of a book that raised questions about the Till case last year. The book says the woman acknowledged she wasn't truthful when she testified that the 14-year-old Till grabbed her.

Parker says the Justice Department hasn't told Till's family anything about the reopened investigation. He says they're waiting to get information just like everyone else.

___

12:20 p.m.

A legal expert says it's unclear what new charges could result from a renewed investigation into the slaying of Emmett Till more than 60 years ago.

University of Mississippi law professor Tucker Carrington says conspiracy or murder charges could be filed if anyone still alive is shown to have been involved.

But he says too much time likely has passed to prosecute anyone for other crimes, such as lying to investigators or in court.

Two white men were previously tried on murder charges and acquitted by all-white juries, but they're both dead.

The Justice Department has told Congress it reopened an investigation of Till's slaying after receiving "new information." Authorities haven't said what that may be, but the move followed the release last year of a book about the case.

___

11:30 a.m.

A Mississippi prosecutor isn't saying whether federal authorities have given him any new information since they reopened an investigation into the slaying of Emmett Till in 1955.

District Attorney Dewayne Richardson declined comment Thursday on any role he might have in the case. But he says it's always open until everyone involved has died.

Two white men were tried and acquitted by all-white juries after Till's brutal slaying 63 years ago. The 1955 trial was held in Tallahatchie County, which isn't in Richardson's district.

Richardson says it's not unusual for district attorneys to cooperate across district lines or for state and federal prosecutors to help local prosecutors. He says if a case were to move forward, he and the other district attorney could decide who would prosecute it.

___

5 a.m.

The federal government has reopened its investigation into the slaying of Emmett Till, the black teenager whose brutal 1955 killing in Mississippi shocked the world.

A Justice Department report to Congress says the agency is reinvestigating Till's slaying after receiving what it calls "new information."

The report doesn't indicate what the new information might be. But it was issued in March following the publication last year of "The Blood of Emmett Till."

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.

Two white men were acquitted in Till's lynching, but later confessed.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 97049

Reported Deaths: 2921
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7151160
DeSoto565061
Harrison388874
Jackson352770
Madison331489
Rankin331179
Lee276470
Forrest250976
Jones250479
Washington225977
Lafayette219840
Lauderdale2065125
Bolivar184966
Oktibbeha180252
Lamar172836
Lowndes158158
Neshoba1581104
Panola151031
Sunflower148046
Leflore141781
Warren140950
Pontotoc128216
Pike124251
Monroe123969
Copiah119333
Scott117627
Coahoma116329
Marshall111517
Lincoln111453
Holmes110059
Grenada109536
Yazoo106230
Simpson104846
Tate101138
Union99924
Leake96238
Adams94337
Wayne90821
Pearl River89653
Marion86935
Prentiss86517
Itawamba83521
Alcorn82711
Covington82723
George78313
Tallahatchie77621
Newton77324
Winston74219
Tishomingo69438
Chickasaw68524
Tippah67317
Attala67125
Clarke60346
Walthall60226
Clay59818
Hancock59022
Jasper57815
Noxubee55516
Smith53815
Calhoun52412
Tunica49915
Claiborne46516
Montgomery46520
Yalobusha43714
Lawrence43313
Perry42419
Greene38617
Quitman3805
Humphreys37815
Stone37612
Jefferson Davis34211
Webster33813
Amite33510
Carroll32112
Wilkinson30518
Kemper29015
Sharkey26613
Jefferson2439
Benton2293
Franklin1933
Choctaw1866
Issaquena1053
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 136055

Reported Deaths: 2364
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19833350
Mobile13471292
Montgomery8865184
Tuscaloosa8744118
Madison797878
Shelby604349
Lee594560
Baldwin558850
Marshall396743
Calhoun354844
Etowah354045
Morgan332728
Houston293521
Elmore269148
DeKalb243521
St. Clair234036
Walker233084
Talladega217729
Limestone213520
Cullman191120
Dallas179326
Franklin179029
Autauga178525
Russell17653
Lauderdale174033
Colbert167526
Blount161815
Escambia161424
Chilton159330
Jackson158911
Covington140327
Dale139944
Coffee13656
Pike120510
Chambers117242
Tallapoosa116685
Clarke110416
Marion97129
Butler91439
Barbour8867
Winston74512
Marengo72620
Pickens66814
Randolph66013
Bibb65710
Lowndes65727
Hale64928
Geneva6384
Lawrence62823
Cherokee61413
Bullock60714
Clay5928
Monroe5908
Washington56113
Crenshaw54232
Perry5426
Conecuh53711
Wilcox53211
Henry5085
Macon48318
Fayette4678
Sumter43819
Cleburne3895
Lamar3772
Choctaw35112
Greene30315
Coosa1723
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