Home / US / Florida governor pardons "Groveland Four," wrongly convicted of rape in 1949

Florida governor pardons "Groveland Four," wrongly convicted of rape in 1949

In 1949, Charles Greenlee, Walter Irvin, Samuel Shepherd and Ernest Thomas were accused of sexual assault on Norma Padgett in Groveland, Florida, about 30 miles west of Orlando. The group came to be called "Groveland Four."

It was doubtful about Padgett's testimony from the beginning, but in pursuit of Jim Crow, a jury sentenced the men without evidence of a crime.

.gov. Ron DeSantis issued full posthumous pardons to the men on Friday.

"For seventy years, these four men have received their history incorrectly written for crimes that they have not committed. a statement. "I believe the rule of law is the sacred bond of society. When it is trampled, we all suffer. For Groveland Four, the truth was buried. The perpetrators celebrated. But justice has screamed from that day to this. "

The Pardons unanimously approved by the Executive Clemency Board, say a release from the new governor's office.

Christmas Eve

Padgett claimed that at night On July 1

6, 1949, her car broke down in Groveland, saying that the four men stopped and raped her.

The men were arrested. Three of them were tortured until the police could evoke a confession from two of them.

Thomas, who managed to escape custody, killed after a hunt.

Greenlee was sentenced to death in prison.

Shepherd and Irvin received the death penalty, while he was transported from the county administration for a new trial, the sheriff shot both and claimed self-defense.

Herden died on the stage and Irvin survived by playing dead, his opinion was later driven to life in prison.

& # 39; The memories cannot be deleted

Florida House issued e n posthumous apology to Groveland Four in April 2017.

"As a state, we are really sorry," said rep. Chris Sprowls to the men's families, after legislators unanimously voted to liberate them.

"The memories cannot be deleted, the pain they have endured cannot be fixed but today we have the opportunity to provide closure to these families in the form of an excuse," Rep. Bobby DuBose, who sponsored the bill that demanded their forgiveness.

CNN's Devon M. Sayers contributed to this report.

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