The Mississippi Attorney General’s Office dropped quadruple murder charges against Curtis Flowers, a Black man who had been tried six times by a white prosecutor for the 1996 crime.
Flowers had been charged with a quadruple murder at Tardy Furniture Store in Winona, Miss. in July 1996 and spent 23 years behind bars while the case was tried six times. In the most recent trial, the United States Supreme Court overturned Flowers’ conviction after determining Fifth Circuit District Attorney Doug Evans racially profiled jury members during the selection process. According to the New York Times, 61 of the 72 jurors Flowers faced in his six trials were white.
Flowers was allowed to leave prison and return to his family on bond in December 2019 after nearly two decades in prison.
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In a statement to the Jackson Free Press, Flowers said, “I want to thank all of the lawyers who believed in my innocence and have worked for my freedom for many years … Today is a great day! Thank you Lord for hearing my prayers and the prayers of many.”
St. Paul, Minn.-based radio station American Public Media made Curtis Flowers’ story the center of the second season of its podcast “In the Dark,” hosted by reporter Madeleine Baran. The show won two Peabody Awards and was first published in 2018. The popularity of the podcast helped bring Flowers’ decades-long struggle to national attention.
“Today, I am finally free from the injustice that left me locked in a box for 23 years,” Flowers said in his statement. “I want to say that I believe there are other men, men that I met on the row, whose cases deserve to be heard and considered. I’ve been asked if I ever thought this day would come… I have been blessed with a family that never gave up on me and with them by my side, I knew it would.”