U.S Justice Department wrapping up Emmett Till investigation, report says 

MAMIE TILL-MOBLEY in 1955 is comforted after her son’s mutilated body is returned from Mississippi.

Crusader Staff Report

The U.S. Justice Department’s reopened investigation into the brutal 1955 murder of 14-year old Emmett Till could wrap up in weeks, according to a story in the prominent newspaper, The Guardian in London.

The investigation was reopened in 2017 after Carolyn Bryant Donham, the former wife of one of the alleged murderers, recanted her trial testimony of 1955 in the book, The Blood of Emmett Till by Timothy Tyson.

In the book, Bryant Donham said that her testimony in court, of Till grabbing her and making sexual advances, were not true. She also said that, “nothing that Till did could ever justify what happened to him.”

Emmett Till and Carolyn Bryant Donham

The revelations stirred intense emotions among Till’s relatives, who have waited 65 years for justice for their loved one’s murder. After Bryant Bonham’s recantation in 2017, the DOJ reopened the Till case “based upon the discovery of new information.”

The decision was revealed to Congress in March 2018 in a report that was required under the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crimes Reauthorization Act of 2016.

The bill reauthorized investigation and prosecution of civil rights violations that occurred before 1970, expanded powers to include crime in the 1970s, required that families be kept abreast of developments and demanded an annual report on the investigations to Congress.

As soon as the FBI began investigating the Till case three years ago, Tyson turned over all of his notes and manuscripts to detectives, according to the Guardian. The newspaper also reported that FBI agents contacted members of Till’s family, but none of them has heard back from the agency since the case was reopened three years ago.

Although the Guardian reported that the three-year investigation of the Till case could wrap up in weeks, the newspaper does not cite a source that provided the information. The Guardian said FBI officials declined to answer their questions, citing justice department policy that would “neither confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation.”

Criminal experts say it would be difficult to prosecute Bryant Donham for lying at the trial because the statute of limitations on perjury expired long ago. One expert said she could still be charged with obstruction of justice.

This August, it will be 65 years since Till was murdered in Money, Mississippi on August 28, 1955.

Nicknamed “Bobo,” Emmett Till grew up in Chicago’s Woodlawn neighborhood, just three blocks east from the Chicago Crusader office.

On August 24, 1955, Till visited relatives in Money, Mississippi, where he was accused of whistling at a white woman, Carolyn Bryant, at a grocery story that her first husband owned. He was kidnapped in the early hours of the morning and taken to the shed where he was brutally beaten and shot in the head before his battered and bloated body was found weighted down with a 70-pound fan in the Tallahatchie River.

Till’s mother, Mamie Till Mobley, insisted that the A.A. Rayner Funeral Home hold an open-casket funeral at Chicago’s Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ to show the world what two white men had done to her son. Nearly 250,000 people viewed his body over a five day period that culminated with a massive funeral.

The men, Roy Bryant and John William “J. W.” Milam, were eventually acquitted by an all-white jury in a trial that lasted just over an hour. They later sold their story for $4,000 to LOOK magazine – bragging about the murder as a form of Southern justice implemented to protect white womanhood. Because of the double jeopardy rule, the men were never brought to justice.

Carolyn Bryant Donham remains the only living defendant who can face charges in the case. She has since remarried and is reportedly in poor health.

Milam died in 1980. Roy Bryant died in 1994.

Mamie Till Mobley died in 2003 without ever seeing her son’s killers brought to justice. Last month, Till’s cousin, Airickca Gordon Taylor died after spending her life educating generations about Till’s death and his impact on the Civil Rights Movement.

In 2004, the DOJ reopened Mobley’s case to determine if there were other killers besides Milam and Roy Bryant. The move was sparked by documentary filmmaker Keith Beau- champ, who in his 2003 film, The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till, claimed there were as many as 14 people who killed the boy.

As part the DOJ investigation, Till’s body was exhumed from Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip in 2005 and given an autopsy. His head had extensive cranial damage. There were metal fragments found in the skull that were consistent with bullets from a .45 caliber gun.

After the autopsy, Till was reburied in a new casket. His original one was found in a shed during a cemetery grave scandal in 2008. It’s now part of an emotional exhibit that has been viewed by millions of visitors at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC.

In 2007, the DOJ closed the Till case after a grand jury in Leflore County, Mississippi concluded Beauchamp’s claim of Till having 14  killers was not credible.

The grand jury also failed to find sufficient cause for charges against Carolyn Bryant Donham, but questions remain whether she will escape justice this time around.

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  1. I am not sure that prosecuting an elderly woman (who committed a crime as a 21-year-old) …for coming forward and finally telling the truth is conducive to others coming forward in the future.

    By admitting the truth, she gave Emmett’s family some closure from wondering what really happened in the store that day, and dispels any doubt that detractors could’ve used to ‘justify’ the murder in their minds; saying this teenager hit on her and grabbed her to the point of fearing for herself.

    She must have known that by doing so, she’s also ensured her own vilification in her lifetime.

    Me, personally, would rather repentant criminals and witnesses tell the truth for the benefit of victims and family even long after the fact – – and knowing that such repentance and honesty is likely to be rewarded with prison is likely what keeps some murder victim’s families from ever getting closure.

    I don’t know if there’s a good answer for how that should be handled.

    • It’s like those women who claim someone touched their vagina in a dark room 15 or 21 years ago, yet men are in jail and many have lost their jobs due to old allegations.


  2. She should not have the mental rest regardless of how old she is for killing a child. The family will never have closure. I’m sick of this! Shame on America!
    I pray with all of my fiery desire that God will serve justice in the afterlife. I look at my son every day, and he is eight years old and wonder if he was born during that time would there be ONE white person who was willing to pick up their cross and suffer persecution for an innocent boy’s sake. Just ONE – on the jury!! No, not one!

  3. Who cares about her health condition! She did not care for his life when she lied and he was TAKEN from his family in the middle of the night, tortured and killed. I don’t care how old she is or her health conditions she needs to be tried and court and receive the death penalty. His life was taken because of her. End. Of. Story.

  4. Agreed. That boy was an innocent child. Grown men tortured and killed him because of her dirty lies. She may not pay in this life but not the next one. In this case, more than almost any other that I can think of, restitution MUST be paid. It has to be. It’s been too long waiting for justice.

  5. I don’t care how old she is she should be tried and fried in a court of law. This woman lied on an innocent child which resulted in two grown men killing Emmett Till. She went on with her life and didn’t give a care about the many lives she ultimately destroyed with her vile tongue. She waited all these years to finally get a conscious when she could have stopped this young child from being tortured and murdered back in 1955. I say bring this woman to justice so that this young man and his mother’s souls can finally be at peace.

  6. She should be tried and put in jail like anyone else who commits a crime the kids life was taking over lies you commit a crime do the time unfair how she can be free sick or not for a crime and a lie she knew would cost a child his life makes me sick R.I.P emmett till

  7. Yes I agree she should be tried held in jail no bond for murder this lady lied on a kid those white folk down there in the South killed so many innocent black men black kids and knowing she know about how many blacks kids was kill because all they do is brag about killing Black folk so getting her will be part of justice for some of the other ones you can run but you can’t hide

  8. She should have been prosecuted for lying. An innocent child’s life was taken because of her. May her soul and all of the demons that had a hand in this atrocious act BURN IN HELL !!!!! GOD KNOWS WHO YOU ARE !!!!!!!!!! ALSO, the law enforcement’s and courts that set the guilty parties free should suffer the same fate. (SATAN CORRUPTED THEM ON EARTH AND SATAN SHOULD RECLAIM THEIR SOULS) !!!! AMEN


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