Man Wrongfully Imprisoned For 23 Years Sues Prosecutor Who Tried Him 6 Times For Murder
A man who was wrongfully imprisoned for nearly 23 years is suing the district attorney who prosecuted him six times over the killings of four people.
After the shootings took place on July 16, 1996, in Winona, Mississippi, Curtis Flowers was convicted twice for individual deaths and twice for all four killings, as well as facing two other trials involving all four deaths, which ended in mistrials.
Double jeopardy, which means a person cannot be tried for the same crime twice, did not apply in Flowers’ case because as well as the two mistrials, three convictions were thrown out over prosecutorial mistakes, meaning he technically underwent six first trials rather than being retried for the same crime.
Flowers, who is Black, was ultimately sentenced to death in his sixth and final trial, which took place in 2010, but the US Supreme Court overturned the conviction in 2019 after prosecutors showed an unconstitutional pattern of excluding African American jurors in his trials.
Following his release, Flowers this week filed a lawsuit against Montgomery County District Attorney Doug Evans and three investigators involved in the case, claiming they engaged in misconduct.
The lawsuit, cited by USA Today, claims Evans and the investigators were involved in ‘pressuring witnesses to fabricate claims about seeing Mr. Flowers in particular locations on the day of the murders’ and ignoring other possible suspects.
In a news release regarding the lawsuit, Flowers’ attorney, Rob McDuff of the Mississippi Center for Justice, said: ‘Curtis Flowers never should have been charged.’
The lawyer went on to say the killings were ‘clearly the work of professional criminals’ and noted that a then-26-year-old Flowers had no criminal record at the time. He added: ‘The prosecution was tainted throughout by racial discrimination and repeated misconduct. This lawsuit seeks accountability for that misconduct.’
The state of Mississippi has been ordered to pay Flowers $500,000 for wrongful imprisonment; the maximum amount allowed under state law.
Attorney General Lynn Fitch, who took over the murder case after Evans stepped away, said last year the evidence was too weak to put Flowers on trial for a seventh time.
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