News & Opinion | July 12, 2018 9:11 am

Federal Government Reopens Investigation Into Infamous Emmett Till Killing

Department of Justice told Congress move was sparked by "new information."

Emmett Till
Emmett Till is shown lying on his bed. (Getty Images)
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The federal government has reopened its probe into the infamous killing of Emmett Till, the black teenager whose brutal murder in Mississippi in 1955 shocked the world and helped ignite the civil rights movement more than 60 years ago, reports the Associated Press. In March, the Justice Department told Congress it is reinvestigating Till’s slaying in Money, Mississippi after getting “new information.” The case has been closed since 2007, when authorities decided the suspects were dead and a state grand jury didn’t file any new charges. It is unclear what the new information might be, but it was issued following the publication of The Blood of Emmett Till, a book that says a key figure in the case acknowledged lying about events leading up to the slaying of the 14-year-old boy.

In the book, written by Timothy B. Tyson, a white woman, Carolyn Donham, acknowledged during a 2008 interview that she wasn’t truthful when she testified that Till grabbed her, whistled, and made sexual advances toward her in a store in 1955. Two white men, Donham’s then-husband Roy Bryant and his half-brother J.W. Milam, were charged with the murder, but later acquitted by an all-white jury after just one hour of deliberations. The men later confessed to the crime in an interview but were never retried, and both are now dead.