The U.S. government has reopened an investigation into the 1955 killing of black teenager Emmett Till in MS, saying it had discovered new information in the case, which helped spark the nation's civil rights movement.
But the Justice Department told Congress in a report in March that it was re-investigating the killing after receiving "new information".
This undated photo shows Emmett Louis Till, a 14-year-old black Chicago boy, who was kidnapped, tortured and murdered in 1955 after he allegedly whistled at a white woman in Mississippi.
However, the report came out after the publication of "The Blood of Emmett Till", a book that reveals a key figure in the case admitted she had lied about the events that led to the boy's murder. The men later confessed to perpetrating the murder, but were never retried. The two white men who were put on trial for the murder were acquitted by an all-white jury, and the case was ultimately closed in 2007. Citing "new information", the US Justice Department has reopened the investigation into Till's death. You know, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has never really closed this case, and there's a 500-page report of the FBI's findings from 1955 certainly on - into the 1990s. Both are now dead. After they finished reportedly assaulting him, the two shot Emmett in the head and threw the teen's body - which had been tied to the cotton gin fan with barbed wire - into the river.
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The Justice Department declined to comment Thursday, but it appeared that the government had chosen to devote new attention to the case after Donham, in an interview with Tyson, recanted parts of her account of what transpired in August 1955.
Donham, who will be 84 this month, now lives in Raleigh, N.C. and declined comment to the AP. The FBI still conducted an inquiry, which included an exhumation of Emmett's body from an IL cemetery, for about two years to settle whether there were any state crimes that could still be prosecuted. His mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, insisted on an open casket because she wanted the world to witness exactly what the attackers had done to her son. Then, Bryant said, he used obscenities that she would not repeat in the courtroom. "Just what did he say when he grabbed your hand?" defense attorney Sidney Carlton asked, according to a trial transcript released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation a decade ago. In a book published by historian Timothy B. Tyson, Bryant said she's fuzzy on the details. In the book, author Tyson wrote that Donham told him her testimony about Till accosting her wasn't true. When Donham had testified in the Till case she said that the teen Till grabbed her and verbally threatened her. Bryant said she pulled away, and moments later the young man "caught me at the cash register", grasping her around the waist with both hands and pulling her toward him. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, introduced legislation this week that would make the government release information about unsolved civil rights killings. "Can't you take it?" she recalled his saying.
The evidence, which was heard after jurors had been sent out, was ruled inadmissible by the judge.