George Stinney Jr was the youngest person to be executed in the United States in the last century. Photo: Reuters
A judge in the United States has thrown out the murder conviction of the youngest person to be executed in the United States.
George Stinney Jr was just 14 when he was executed for the murder of two little girls in Alcolu, South Carolina in 1944.
He was so small when he was executed that he had to sit on a telephone book in the electric chair.
A picture of murder victim Mary Emma Thames - far left - who was killed along with her friend Betty June Binnicker in 1944. Credit: Reuters
Lawyers say the request for another trial so long after a defendant's death is the first of its kind in South Carolina.
Stinney was seen picking flowers with the girls before they were killed.
Officials said Stinney had admitted beating the girls, 11 and 7 years old, with a railroad spike. He was not permitted to see his parents after his arrest.
His trial lasted three hours, and a jury of 12 white men took 10 minutes to find him guilty. His supporters - who have been fighting in his name since his execution - said there was no evidence linking him to the gruesome murders.
In a two-day hearing in January Circuit Judge Carmen Mullen heard testimony from Stinney's surviving brothers and sisters. Most of the evidence was gone and almost all the witnesses were dead. In her ruling the judge said the state's trial and execution was "shocking and extremely unfair".
I can think of no greater injustice.
- CIRCUIT JUDGE CARMEN MULLEN