USA. They were convicted of the rape of a teenager. They were acquitted posthumously, after 70 years | World news

The rape of 17-year-old Norma Padgett and the assault on her husband was to take place on July 16, 1949 in Groveland, Florida. Despite many doubts as to the girl’s testimony and the lack of sufficient evidence, the jury decided to condemn the men who are now dead. They were acquitted only after 70 years.

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On Monday, District Court Judge Heidi Davis in Lake County, Florida acceded to the state’s motion to posthumously dismiss Ernest Thomas and Samuel Shepherd’s indictments and overturn Charles Greenlee and Walter Irvin’s convictions in a case known as the “Groveland Four,” said Wednesday CNN.

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Sentenced to death or life imprisonment without sufficient evidence. They did not live to see justice

The fate of the condemned four was described by Gilbert King in the Pulitzer-winning book Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America. It is known that after the arrest of the men, three of them were tortured to extract confessions from two of them. Thomas managed to escape from custody, but was killed in a manhunt. Greenlee was sentenced to life imprisonment, and the court sentenced Shepherd and Irvin to the death penalty. The last two were shot by the sheriff while being transported from the county jail for reconsideration. Shepard died on the spot, and Irvin survived because he pretended to be dead. The sheriff later claimed he did it in self-defense. Irvin’s sentence was changed to life imprisonment.

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– I do not hate, but I want to express my love to all those who did not know then how caring, loving and compassionate person my father was. He would never rape anyone, Carole Greenlee, daughter of Charles Greenlee, said at a press conference following Monday’s court hearing.

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For seventy years, these four men were wrongly assigned a history of crimes they did not commit. As I said before, it is never too late to do the right thing, said Governor Ron DeSantis in 2019, who pardoned the inmates at the time.

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