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October 17 2009 | UNITED STATES

USA

South Carolina pardons two black men executed 94 years ago

 
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AP

US state pardons 2 black men executed 94 years ago

By SEANNA ADCOX

COLUMBIA, South Carolina _ South Carolina has unanimously pardoned two black men who were executed for the 1913 murder of a white man in what is believed to be the southern state's first posthumous pardon in a capital murder case.

Black landowners Thomas and Meeks Griffin died in the electric chair 94 years ago after a jury convicted them of killing the 73-year-old man.

Records show the brothers and two other black men were implicated by a man who testified against them to spare his life. According to sworn statements, that man later said the four were innocent.

A decendent of the Griffin brothers, syndicated radio host Tom Joyner, had pressed the state to pardon his two great uncles. Joyner learned of their fate during filming of the PBS documentary «African American Lives 2,» which traced his lineage.

Joyner and his attorney made a presentation to the state parole and probation board on Wednesday, then left the room while the board voted. Joyner said he waved his hands and hugged family members when he got word of his great uncle's pardons.

«This won't bring them back, but this will bring closure.

This is a very good day,» he said.

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