Family of Emmett Till, the black teenager whose brutal murder inspired the Civil Rights movement, will never get justice as woman accused of setting lynch mob on him ‘would be dead by the time it went to trial’, it is claimed
- New evidence had investigators discover an arrest warrant for Carolyn Bryant
- A family friend told The Mail on Sunday that the 87-year-old is in poor health
- She’s legally blind, in a wheelchair and diagnosed with cancer two years ago
- Till was tortured, shot and dumped naked in a river with weight around his neck
- Till’s family have demanded authorities use the warrant to arrest the old woman
The family of a black teenager whose murder inspired the Civil Rights movement in America, will never get justice, it was claimed last night.
Startling new evidence in the 1955 case came to light last week when investigators discovered an unserved arrest warrant for Carolyn Bryant, a white woman who claimed 14-year-old Emmett Till whistled at her in a grocery store, an incident that led to the most infamous lynching in US history.
But last night a family friend of Bryant, who now goes by the name Carolyn Bryant Donham, told The Mail on Sunday that the 87-year-old is in such poor health that he believes justice will never be served with the warrant. Devery Anderson said: ‘She would likely be dead by the time anything went to trial. If they did indict her that would probably do her in.
‘She’s legally blind, is in a wheelchair and was given just six months to live two years ago when she was diagnosed with cancer. I’m surprised she’s still alive.’
TRAGIC TEENAGER: Emmett Till, with his mother Mamie, who allowed pictures of his mutilated body to be published
Donham has spent the past two decades living with her son and daughter-in-law in Raleigh, North Carolina. Neighbours last night said the family sold the property in April and moved out in May.
Mr Anderson said: ‘The family protects her from hearing news about the case. She probably doesn’t know about the 1955 warrant being found. I think she would be a nervous wreck.’
Till’s family have demanded authorities use the warrant to arrest Donham, who, at the time of the killing was married to one of two white men tried and acquitted of the lynching. Multiple witnesses said Till wolf-whistled at Donham inside a grocery story owned by her then-husband Roy Bryant. The boy was later dragged from his bed in the rural town of Money, Mississippi, by Bryant and his half-brother J. W. Milam.
Till was tortured, shot and dumped naked in a river with a weight tied around his neck. His mother Mamie’s decision to allow pictures of his mutilated body to be published in newspapers and magazines around the world helped ignite the Civil Rights movement.
KEY ROLE: Carolyn Bryant Donham has not been arrested over the murder
Emmett Till’s mother Mamie’s decision to allow pictures of his mutilated body to be published in newspapers helped ignite the Civil Rights movement Pictured: Friends restrain grief-stricken Mrs. Mamie Bradley (left) as her son’s body is lowered into the grave after a four day, open casket funeral
Donham would later testify that Till grabbed her hand and said: ‘How about a date, baby?’ and, as she pulled away, put his hands on her waist and told her: ‘You needn’t be afraid of me, baby. I been with white girls before.’
On the night of the lynching, Till’s great-uncle Emmett Wright said that when the boy was frogmarched out of his home to a truck, someone in the back was asked, ‘Is this the boy?’ and the voice that said yes ‘sounded lighter than a man’s’. Many have speculated Donham was in the truck.
The newly uncovered arrest warrant was found inside a box at a courthouse in Mississippi’s Leflore County last week by a group that included Till family members.
Donham evaded arrest in 1955 because she ‘could not be located’, according to court records.
Deborah Watts, Till’s cousin, said: ‘She needs to be arrested now. Justice must be served.’ In 2007 the case was reopened but a grand jury found insufficient evidence.