Emmett Till Murder Investigation Re-Opened By Federal Government

Till a 14-year-old black Chicago boy who was kidnapped tortured and murdered in 1955 after he allegedly whistled at a white woman in Mississippi. The federal government has reopened its investigation into

Till a 14-year-old black Chicago boy who was kidnapped tortured and murdered in 1955 after he allegedly whistled at a white woman in Mississippi. The federal government has reopened its investigation into

The Chicago teenager was visiting relatives in MS when 21-year-old Carolyn Bryant, a white woman, accused him of making a pass at her in the small-town grocery store she and her husband owned.

A MS prosecutor declined comment Thursday on whether federal authorities had given him new information since they reopened the probe.

It's unclear what new charges could result from a renewed investigation, said Tucker Carrington, a professor at the University of MS law school.

University of MS law professor Tucker Carrington says conspiracy or murder charges could be filed if anyone still alive is shown to have been involved. The two men, like many others considered to be possibly connected to the episode, are now deceased. The government has investigated 115 cases involving 128 victims under the "cold case" law named for Till, the report said.

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He had been mutilated, and his mother's decision to hold an open-casket funeral with his unrecognizable face on full display was instrumental in drawing attention to his case and has been credited with "reigniting a widespread passion for the Civil Rights Movement". Donham, then 21 years old and known as Carolyn Bryant, testified in 1955 as a prospective defense witness in the trial of Bryant and Milam. "Just what did he say when he grabbed your hand?" defense attorney Sidney Carlton asked, according to a trial transcript released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation a decade ago. Bryant said she pulled away, and moments later the young man "caught me at the cash register", grasping her around the waist with both hands and pulling her toward him. Deliberations took barely an hour, with one juror claiming the acquittal could've come sooner had they not stopped to have a soda. A judge ruled the testimony inadmissible. An all-white jury freed her husband and the other man even without it.

Last year, Vanity Fair published an article in which author and Duke University scholar Timothy Tyson said Carolyn Bryant - by then, Carolyn Bryant Donham - confessed she made up the most damning part of her story.

Till's cousin, Wheeler Parker, said Thursday he's "pretty sure" an investigator asked him about what happened in a MS store the day Till whistled at a white woman before his slaying in 1955.

Alan Blinder of the New York Times reports that Donham also told Tyson she could not remember the sequence of events on that fateful day, but that "n$3 othing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him". But if something's out there, we want to know it, you know? He says they're waiting to get information just like everyone else.

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