A Mississippi district attorney who drew national attention by retrying a black man charged with murder six times announced Monday he will recuse himself from the case and asked the state attorney general’s office to retry it, according to The Associated Press.
“While I remain confident in both the investigation and the jury verdicts in this matter, I have come to the conclusion that my continued involvement will prevent the families from obtaining justice and for the defendant being held responsible for his actions,” District Attorney Doug Evans said in a statement.
Evans has tried Curtis Flowers six times and secured convictions four times since 1997 in connection with the shooting deaths of four people in a Mississippi furniture store in July 1996, twice for individual murders and twice for all four.
Prosecutors sought the death penalty in five of six trials.
The first verdict was overturned due to prosecutorial misconduct, while another two were overturned by the Mississippi Supreme Court. The state’s highest court overturned one verdict on grounds of prosecutorial misconduct and another for racial bias in jury selection. Evans, who is white, used seven of the state’s so-called peremptory strikes to remove African Americans from the jury pool for Flowers. The remaining two trials ended in mistrials.
Flowers had remained behind bars even after each verdict was overturned due to the original murder indictment remaining active. In June of 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court threw out Flowers’s death sentence in a 7-2 decision, by which point Flowers’s case had been publicized nationally by the podcast “In the Dark.”
“The state’s relentless, determined effort to rid the jury of black individuals strongly suggests that the state wanted to try Flowers before a jury with as few black jurors as possible, and ideally before an all-white jury,” Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughProsecutor who tried controversial Mississippi murder case six times recuses himself The Trumpification of the federal courts Pelosi’s impeachment tactics are pursuit of power for its own sake MORE wrote in the majority opinion. Flowers was released from state custody after more than two decades in December after a judge granted a bail request.
Published at Tue, 07 Jan 2020 10:47:00 +0000