It was double-murder that saw George Junius Stinney Jr., 14, become the youngest person executed in the United States during the 20th century only 81 days after the crime had been committed…
Two white girls, 11-year-old Betty June Binnicker and 8-year-old Mary Emma Thames, went missing in Alcolu, South Carolina, after riding in to town on their bicycles on March 22nd, 1944.
When the girls did not return home, hundreds of volunteers looked for them. Their bodies were eventually found with severe head injuries in a watery ditch next morning.
Stinney had taken part in the search and told another volunteer that he had spoken to the girls when they had passed his home and asked him where they could find a specific flower. He was soon arrested for both murders.
He was interrogated unaccompanied by officers for several hours before a deputy eventually emerged announcing that Stinney had confessed. The young boy allegedly told the deputies that he wanted to have sex with the 11-year-old girl, but when the 8-year-old refused to leave, he killed both of them with a 15 inch iron rail spike. The confession, which would send him to his death, was allegedly elicited by deputies offering him an ice cream. No written record was made of his statement.
After a trial lasting less than two hours an all-white jury took 10 minutes deliberation before sentencing Stinney to death, with no recommendation for mercy, in the electric chair. With no appeal allowed, on JUNE 16th, 1944, the terrified teenager was strapped in to the electric chair at the state correctional facility in Columbia. He was allegedly sat on a stack of dictionaries placed on the chair to enable him to reach the electrodes…
His family continues to fight to have the verdict overturned.