Call for Emmett Till case to be reopened after unserved arrest warrant is found

Published: Jul. 4, 2022 at 6:49 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - It’s been more than 60 years since 14-year-old Emmett Till was brutally murdered in Money, Mississippi, after being accused of whistling at a white woman.

It is a case that galvanized the civil rights movement.

Now the calls for justice in the case grow louder tonight in Jackson after an unserved arrest warrant is found.

“You see all the things that were done to his body,” said Emmett Till’s cousin Priscilla Sterling. “You don’t think that affects not only our family but people.”

Sterling filled with emotion and tears as she talked about how the 14-year-old was beaten and killed in Money, Mississippi, back in 1955 after Carolyn Bryant Donham accused him of whistling at her.

Her husband at the time, Roy Bryant, and his half-brother, J.W. Milam, were arrested and later acquitted in this case.

Now 67 years later, an unserved arrest warrant for Donham was recently found in the basement of the Leflore County Courthouse in Greenwood.

“I was actually called to come and meet in the morning, but I had to work because I am a teacher,” Sterling said. “Keith Beauchamp, my cousin Deborah Watts, her daughter and son-in-law got here that morning. It took them an hour and a half to find the warrant.”

Till’s cousin believes the discovery of this warrant serves as new evidence in this case. In fact, Sterling says her family wants the District Attorney for the Fourth Circuit Court District of Mississippi, Dewayne Richardson, to serve the warrant because they want Donham, who is in her 80′s, arrested. She now lives in North Carolina. The family is also calling on the Justice Department to reopen this case. They officially closed Till’s murder case last year.

“You cannot ignore this. That is why the warrant needs to be served, and it will help create change. If this is what needs to be done for us to change our mindset, our behaviors, and attitudes in society, then this will do it. Execute the warrant. At least bring her to trial, at least bring her to trial,” Sterling said.

District Attorney Richardson, whose office would prosecute a case, declined comment on the warrant but cited a December report from the Justice Department, which said no prosecution was possible.

Want more WLBT news in your inbox? Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

Copyright 2022 WLBT. All rights reserved.