By Bro. Ron aka R2C2H2 Tha Artivist
W.E. A.L.L. B.E. News Special
People are currently talking about the memorial bronze statue that was recently created and erected by the state of Texas to honor the wrongful conviction and martyrdom of Tim Cole, a Black Texas Tech student who became a victim of mistaken identity and was accused and found guilty of a 1985 rape by the victim Michele Mallin (who later recanted her identification) and sentenced to 25 years in prison…It was later discovered that this brother was a very generous and charitable man who literally gave away thousands of dollars to charities (thanks to the money allotted him via the GI Bill) while in jail before he succumbed to a supposed asthma attack in 1999…Until the end Bro. Tim Cole always insisted he was innocent even refusing to accept freedom via parole by admitting that he was guilty of rape…In 2007, Texas inmate Jerry Johnson confessed to the rape and even offered to take a DNA test to exonerate Tim Cole, some 8 years after Cole’s death which Johnson at the time wasn’t aware of…In 2009, 10 years after his death, Bro. Cole was finally vindicated through DNA testing…Although clearly this was a very gross miscarriage of justice Bro. Cole was nonetheless upbeat stating that "I still believe in the justice system, even if the justice system doesn't believe in me”…Unfortunately You Could Almost Say That What Caused Our Dear Brother's Death Was Still BElieving In And Giving Power To A System That Was Out To Destroy Him In The First Place...Regardless The State has proven time and time again that Black people cannot get fair treatment under this system, a system does not respect the hue-manity and dignity of Black people, a system which is truly White Supremacist and Racist in nature…
And let us not forget the State sanctioned lynching of Troy Davis on September 20, 2011 in which clearly there was reasonable doubt, obstruction of justice in the jury being mislead concerning deliberation directions and questionable eyewitness testimony including an eye witness, Sylvester "Redd" Coles, who was quite possibly, according to several eye witnesses testimonies, the real killer of Officer Mark MacPhail in Georgia back in 1989….
“I’m not going to say I killed someone when I didn’t…I would rather be executed and go to Heaven and know I did the right thing than to be in this world if I have to admit to something I didn’t do.” ~Curtis Flowers
Now fast forward to a hot and sweltering summer day in Jackson, Mississippi, on July 2014…I had the misfortune to witness the potential legal railroading and lynching of another Black man in the Magnolia State…With the exception of the Scott Sisters travesty no case in Mississippi since that of Clyde Kennard has been as problematic and tragic as that of Curtis Flowers…On June 18, 2010, Curtis Flowers became the first known person in U.S. Judicial history to be tried 6 times in a capital murder case on the same evidence...
Before Flowers, the 'record' for most capital murder retrials was Curtis Kyles who was tried 5 times by New Orleans prosecutors for a 1984 homicide before being acquitted and released in 1998 after being imprisoned for 14 years...Another notable case where a defendant was tried 5 times in a murder case was that of Loretta K. Pierre of Harrison County, MS...She had 5 mistrials and was ultimately found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1989.
I attended an oral argument before the Mississippi Supreme Court in July of this year…The oral argument was held with the hopes of the justices to consider possibly overturning the last guilty conviction of the 6th Flowers trial and demanding that a new trial takes place…It was truly surreal being there…It really blew my mind to think that these types of systemic injustices were still so prevalent…As I was documenting living history I kept wondering to myself how many other Curtis Flowers cases are potentially clogging up the arteries of the just us system???
What also trouble me is the lack of awareness of the public concerning these types of cases…Yes I guess celebrity news and gossip may be more emotionally stimulating and entertaining but the reality is that many Americans will more than likely one day find themselves in a jail and/or prison under questionable circumstances…This is our reality, the private prison industry is currently warehousing generations of people for purely nefarious reasons…Amerikkka has 25% of the world’s prison population, more than any other place on the planet, and yet the U.S. only represents 5% of the world’s population…I thought that the justices asked surprisingly good ad relevant questions of both the prosecution which was represented by Melanie Thomas, the Special Assistant Attorney General for the Mississippi Attorney General's Office and of the defense which was headed by Sheri Lynn Johnson, the Assistant Director of the Cornell Law School Death Penalty Project…What troubled was the institutional racism and white supremacy that was all too prevalent in the jury selection for Bro. Flowers’ last trial…It came out during the oral argument that the lead prosecutor Doug Evans questioned potential Black Jurors for 10 minutes whereas he only questioned potential White Jurors 2 minutes on average…Curtis Flowers was not judged by a jury of his peers…The jury was overwhelmingly white with one Black juror who can best be described as a non-threatening token negro with a solidly middle class background who in many ways could not relate to someone like Curtis Flowers who is guilty of being indigent (poor) and unforgivably Black…I was truly impressed that the only Black Mississippi Supreme Court Justice, Leslie D. King, actually interjected race into the discussion…That indeed is still the elephant in the room…To be honest I have doubts that Bro. Flowers can’t get a fair trial anywhere in Mississippi…The 6 trials have been held all over the state including the gulf coast…The Mississippi Supreme Court to their credit did overturn 3 of the guilty convictions and there were also two mistrials so maybe there is a bastion of hope for Bro. Curtis Flowers and his prospects for freedom in a state with a very bloodied, notorious and troubled past on civil rights for Black people…With that said how could anyone Black or White with a conscience can think that it is fair to sentence someone to death on circumstantial evidence?
There were no fingerprints connecting Bro. Flowers to the quadruple murders of his former Employer and three employees at Tardy Furniture Store in Winona, MS, on July 16, 1996…The murder weapon a .380 semi-automatic pistol was never found and the person, Doyle Simpson, whose weapon allegedly matched the .380 caliber bullets in the ballistics test was never considered a suspect…Curtis Flowers, a man with no previous criminal record or no known violent tendencies and didn’t own a gun was considered the suspect…Also footprints at the scene of the crime made by size a 10 ½ Grant Hill FILA shoe was never recovered…Curtis Flowers was wearing Nikes at the time and his girlfriend claimed that she brought some Grant Hill FILA shoes for her son who would visit but was mainly living with his father at the time…One reason Bro Curtis Flowers was the prime suspect was because Bertha Tardy’s daughter,Roxanne Ballard, who never met Curtis BEfore the murders saw his name on a check on her mom’s desk and immediately told the police that she felt that it was Curtis based on that alone…In 1999 at the 3rd trial in Gulfport, MS, she confessed as much to Lola Flowers, Curtis Flowers’ mom, that she did not feel that he was guilty of these horrendous crimes but that someone have to pay the price and take the fall…After BEing incarcerated for over 15 plus years on death row, Bro. Curtis Flowers has never known to be a BEhavioral problem…As a matter of fact Curtis Flowers, who once sang in his family gospel group is a model prisoner who is respected by both correctional officers and fellow prisoners alike…The prosecution during the oral defense claimed that Curtis could have had a postal moment the day of the murders and just snapped…However, wouldn’t he have had another postal episode if he was in an environment with sociopaths and psychopaths, killers and rapists?
The way this case was handled from day one is one of the grossest miscarriages of justice ever in the annals of crime scene investigations…Contrary to popular BElief eyewitness testimony is hardly every reliable…For example, Curtis Flowers was identified by an eyewitness named Charles “Porky” Collins, who is now deceased, as BEing the suspect but that same eyewitness also identified 3 to 4 others in the photo lineup who could have been the killer…Also Collins stated during one of the trials, “I take a lot of medicine, sir. And I have trouble remembering a lot of things.” Also the photo lineup was very biased towards making Bro. Curtis Flowers seeming to BE the prime suspect…His photo in the photo lineup was overwhelming larger than the others which made him stand out more…Also to add even further insult to injury another one of the prosecution star witnesses, Patricia Hallmon Sullivan who was pivotal in getting the guilty conviction against Curtis Flowers in the 6th trial testifying that she saw Flowers, who was a next door neighbor, with Grant Hill FILA Shoes on the morning of the murders and whose brother, Odell Hallmon, claimed that Flowers made a jailhouse confession to (he later recanted the story) was sentenced to 3 years in federal prison for filing false tax returns on the behalf of her customers…
If one was to look at the trajectory and the role that the persecution led by Doug Evans has played in this case, one could easily and readily make the claim that Doug Evans, who seems to have a Capt. Ahab complex and obsession as it relates to Curtis Flowers and his unfortunate situation as BEing the Moby Dick or the ultimate catch of his otherwise undistinguished public service career, is a tried and true Racist and White Supremacist…There is also empirical evidence to support this as well…For example, according to Paul Alexander of the Rolling Stone:
In 1991, [Doug Evans] delivered the keynote address at a Webster County meeting of the Council of Conservative Citizens, a neo-segregationist organization that opposes, according to its current mission statement, “all efforts to mix the races of mankind [and] to promote non-white races over the European-American people through so-called ‘affirmative action.'” In 1992, Evans attended a CCC address delivered by Robert “Tut” Patterson, the notorious segregationist who founded the White Citizens Council to fight school desegregation. The CCC’s newsletter reported Evans’ attendance at both events.
About The Author
Ronald Herd II aka Bro. Ron aka R2C2H2 Tha Artivist is the founder of The W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Group Inc. (http://www.weallbe.org),a non-profit dedicated to educational, cultural and economic empowerment from an African American perspective, he is also the founder and host of the popular information movement W.E. A.L.L. B.E. News, Radio & TV (http://www.youtube.com/weallbetv http://www.youtube.com/weallbetv2,http://www.blogtalkradio.com/weallbe) & author of the award winning James Reese Europe: Jazz Lieutenant (http://www.jazzlieutenant.blogspot.com). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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