(This post is part of a series concerning Curtis Flowers, an innocent man convicted of a horrific crime that has divided a small Mississippi town. Information on the Flowers case can be found here.)
Not everyone in Winona, Mississippi is a big fan of Friends of Justice. Our presence has generated some angry feedback in the comments section. Since we have been critical of people like Judge Joseph Loper and District Attorney Doug Evans, it is only fair to give our critics a little airtime. Below, in no particular order, are some of the strongly worded comments we have received in the last few days.
I was at trial Tuesday for continuing the selecting of the jurors. You couldn’t ask for a better judge. Judge Loper is doing his job, going exactly by what the law says to do and what he is suppose to do. So you young interns need to learn from Judge Loper or you won’t get very far with your life. Your telling all of these lies about the District Attorney, Winona Law Enforcement and Judge Loper, well honey, you have to answer to only one person…. and guess who that person is ….. Jesus!!!! You should get to know him and then you will see things a lot different.
The only people who are making this a racist thing is the blacks. It has always been that way. We had nothing to do with the past. We weren’t even born then, were you???? You are white, does that make you a racist?? Just because we are white, doesn’t mean we are racists. If you are a christian, it doesn’t matter what color you skin is.
“Justice” says, “You all are in winona and all you’re doing is causing termoil….stop thinking of yourselves and think about all the families (both sides)..stop trying to make it a racial issue…you are the ones holding this town up..not us.”
“Not your business” weighs in:
This is seriously the most pathetic website I’ve ever seen. The story about the young african american woman being pulled over and treated like that by law enforcement in winona is nothing but a made up LIE!! I’ve lived around Winona my whole life and law enforcement around here is nothing but nice. Its pretty sad that a lie like this was made up and brought into the courtroom. The people of this website should get a life and report the TRUTH if they’re going to report anything at all. For the record, I AM BLACK!!!!!
Tylert speaks his mind:
Alan bein you are a dumbass.
Holly says her piece:
I realize a person is innocent until proven guilty, but Curtis Flowers has been PROVEN GUILTY TWICE!! I don’t really believe it is a race issue. I believe this trial has become a race issue in the media, but the crime is that FIVE families have suffered for way too long – 14 years without closure. I have not sat on this jury, nor would I be so inclined, but it appears to me that justice has been robbed of all family members in this case. My prayers are that this will be the FINAL FLOWERS (Tardy Furniture Murder) TRIAL.
If it is so hard to find Blacks that are willing to serve on the jury, why doesn’t Curtis Flowers’ attorney request a change of venue? I believe that it is impossible to prove Curtis Flowers innocent, because he is not. His attorney knows that if he can get some Blacks on the jury, then it will probably be a hung jury again. I read your postings and other articles about the trial and it makes me believe that these are all tactics that the defense is using to manipulate the judicial system. As far as “Fear stalks a Mississippi Town”…the only fear that will stalk this town is if a murderer is set free just because he is successful in using his race to manipulate the system. There has been very little mention of Robert Golden, the one black victim. I met his wife soon after the murders and I hope that she and her family are not being isolated or discriminated against by the Black community.
L. Jones contributes this opinion:
If it were a white man being accused of these crimes, he would either be on death row at this point or already executed.
Finally, “Shirley” shares these thoughts:
There wasn’t even a $30,000 reward for years. There wasn’t even a reward at first. So don’t say the witnesses are doing it for the money and the district attorney offered them money. It took time to raise that reward. Curtis Flowers is the only one that had a reason to kill those people, which was a bad reason to kill 4 people. People are in the choir and churches claiming to be real Christians and are hypocrites. Only God knows who killed those innocent people and that person will pay some day.
He was found guilty the first time tried and the Supreme Court threw it out, what an embarrassment to our state. To have people in office like this is costing us tax payers a lot of money. If it wasn’t for the Supreme Court, this trial would have been over years ago and the family of the victims could move on with their lives, instead they have to relive this nightmare over again. The victims and families are the ones suffering and the killer is living it up.
The blacks are the only ones making this a racial thing, not the whites. A black man was killed too, one of their own. Whoever did this crime will answer to God and Thou shall not kill is what he will probably say to the one person who did kill more than once.
56 thoughts on “Our readers respond”
Dear Mr. Bean, If YOUR works does not exemplify the message of Jesus, no one’s does.
Thanks for the posting of the inarticulate and uniformed comments of so many who forget that each of us is INNOCENT until proven guilty – with a verdict NOT overturned by the State’s supreme court.
I just made a donation to you and hope others will too.
It does seem as though the people of Winona are caught up in the story and not the evidence. Emotions are extremely high and this case is just about emotions and not truth. The trial should never have been tried in Winona. There are so many questions unanswered in this case it is appalling.
There appears to be no evidence in this case.
Sentence a man to death who is innocent and you are also guilty of murder.
Thanks so much, Carmen. Greatly appreciated.
The defense had the option to decide whether the trial was held in Montgomery County or elsewhere. The prosecution asked them to move it to a neutral location. They went so far as to try to get the state legislature to pass a law so that it could be moved. Think about that for a moment. Why would Flowers insist upon being tried here if it is such a hotbed of racism? Could it be because he is playing the system? If he can manage to sneak someone on the jury with the sole purpose of “hanging” it, as he tried to in the last trial, he prolongs this and gets misinformed people like yourself questioning the validity of the evidence. This attempt is documented. The female juror in question was sentenced to jail for perjury. Look it up. She even visited him in jail before the trial.
If convicted in Montgomery County, Flowers can cry “racism.”
There were 3 black jurors on the last jury. Two of them were convinced he was guilty. It is so patronizing of Alan Bean to insist that these jurors were afraid of white people or were intimidated. They are intelligent people, capable of listening to the evidence and thinking for themselves.
Mr. Bibbs, the lone hold-out juror, should never have been allowed to serve on the jury. He went into the trial with the opinion that Flowers was innocent and would not consider the evidence. He introduced information in deliberations that was never mentioned in the trial and was just plain false. He was NOT arrested simply for voting Not Guilty. He lied to the judge. The other 11 jurors confirmed this before he was arrested. He should have been prosecuted.
Don’t you understand that no one in this community is trying to condemn an innocent man? WHY would we want to allow a quadruple murderer to go free while persecuting Curtis? The evidence, although mainly circumstantial, is compelling proof beyond a REASONABLE doubt that Flowers is GUILTY.
Would someone please explain why the Supreme Court though it out? In which of the prosecutions was prosecutorial misconduct a factor considered by the high court? (just curious). I do not know the history of this case – if you can put the cites in will look it up if opinions are published. Thx.
Error in the above post – should read “threw it out”, not though.
It hurts my heart for people to email Alan Bean derogatory statements. He has one of the most honest and loving hearts of people I know. I am a retired professional having worked in mental health for many years and I respect and approve Mr Bean’s opinions to the utmost.
I hope Mr Flowers is freed soon. He is an innocent man, in my opinion, without a shadow of doubt.
I agree…why is it that you never hear anything about the other person that was tried and convicted of perjury…and it’s also not being said about the other times that the trial was held out of THIS county and he was CONVICTED both of those times too…so i guess those people were racist too…
we know why “friends of justice” are really here…it’s not for anyone but for themselves…to get publicity for their “wonderful services” (not)
Frances, The key word here is OPINIONS. Everyone has their own. This website is just opinons of people. It makes me sick to get on here and read some of this trash. Yes Curtis Flower’s family is a good family, and yes all of these victims were good people, but it does not change the facts. People want to get on here and judge our town, make it so racist. That is just bull!!! Nobody wants this trial in this town but the defense. Why? Ask them yourself. Take the trial somewhere else, been tried in Tupelo and on the Coast, GUILTY!! Turned over on technicalities. We as Winonans wish this trial was not here so we don’t have to listen to all this bull!!!
They don’t let people off on technicalities in the state of Mississippi. I can appreciate why you think the trial should be moved, but the convictions outside of Montgomery County speak for themselves. A defense attorney is going to do what is best for the client.
Please explain the statement “the convictions outside of Montgomery County speak for themselves. A defense attorney is going to do what is best for the client.”
The first two convictions were overturned because photographs were shown of all four victims and all four victims were mentioned in court while Flowers was only being tried for one murder. I believe this is what AGreen is referring to as a technicality. This does not imply that the court thought Flowers was not guilty of the crime, only that the jury could have been biased after hearing he had murdered four people instead of the one victim he was being tried for at the time.
What do you think these convictions, one in Tupelo and one on the Gulf Coast, are saying? How exactly is it best for anyone involved in this circus atmosphere for the trial to be held in Montgomery County?
Simple. Defense attorneys will seek the venue most favorable to their client. That’s their job and their ethical obligation.
You are right the defense is doing exactly what it is supposed to do. They are doing their job, and it is their ethical obligation, even if they are wrong. I can almost assure you if they find him guilty this time that same old card will be played. RACE. Look how many African Americans have testified against him. Look at the poor Golding family(African Americans). Yes he was a good Christian man also. This trial was not about race until people like you Mr. Bean showed up in this town, and made it out to be.
I agree AGreen….the defense had an opportunity at the end of the last trial to change venue but chose to leave it here and NOW ONCE THE TRIAL STARTED they want the venue changed due to the jury that they had a hand in selecting…if the defense attorney had not gotten up and tried to badger the potential jurors then the jury may have turned out different….
Read your article about curtis being the finest man to put on a pair of pants. Bullspit! BoBo was a great kid on the way to becomming a fine man, Carmen was a wondeful christian woman and always had a smile on her face. Mrs. Tardy always gave donations to my school and had no children there. I have heard that Mr. Golden was also a wonderful person and i believe this because of who he held company wiith. curtis, on the other hand, is a murderer.
Why do you constantly bring up the past about Ms. Hammer and those when just about everyone from back then is already gone. Why must you and your crew come here trying to stir the racist pot. That williams person came here and lied on our fine police. You are here writing aboutWinona being racist when you dont know anyone here. I worry that with you trying to incite all this anger here what when this murderer is found guilty, my family will not be safe.
Tell mr Mr. Bean, f the shoes were for the son, why could they not produce those shoes to prove him innocent. I understand that the son was 10 or 11, what size shoe did he wear at the time? My son did not wear a size 10 at the age of 10! Makes you wonder! Please just get your thugs and go somewhere else. You are not wanted here.
Please answer what size shoe did the girlfriend’s son wear at the time of the murderers? I would like to know? This could help your boy!
no answer would probably mean that you could care less about justice and only about getting that boy off!
He didn’t answer me either-
What do you mean “the convictions outside Montgomery County speak for themself?”
And you can’t have it both ways- in some of your posts Winona is a racist, ignorant, emotional town out to get an innocent man convicted. In this one you say it is the “venue most favorable to Flowers.” Which one is it?
he wont answer questions that show what kind of person he and his thugs are. They dont care about putting a murderer away, its only that a “Black Man” needs to be set free. When this is over, he will go back to Texas and we will have to live here and deal with the mess he created. Winona is not racist. My children go to public school and they have friends of all races. I would be just as angry if a white person hurt one of my children as I would if a black did. This trial could hapen with little fallout if this man and his “do gooders” left Winona.
I have limited computer time these day. If you think we’re a bunch of thugs, you need to come over and intruduce yourself. The people who have come to Winona to support Curtis and his family are some of the most wonderful people on the planet.
First, I never said Winona is racist, ignorant and emotional. Secondly, my comments about venue refer to the reasoning of defense attorneys not my personal preference. I don’t make the call on venue.
There is no reason why we can’t affirm that the defendant and the victims are all fine people. The victims should be honored and mourned. But the horror of the crime doesn’t, of itself, point to the guilt or innocence of Curtis Flowers. If we have no credible suspect to blame for the tragedy that’s just the way it is. Demonizing Curtis isn’t going to make things better.
Dr. Bean–These people calling us “thugs” because we see things differently than they do explains more of why Curtis Flowers is on trial without any evidence.
And they would NEVER believe we have never met. However it is true–we have never met you. Found your site through a referral.
Thanks for the good work you are doing. Questions and thought provoking statements should not hurt anyone unless they feel their case is weak from the start. Keep the questions and comments coming. If they can’t stand the test, then something is terribly wrong with the case.
Realistically, these people should be welcoming our comments or questions. Since they are not–something is very wrong in Winona. They are used to getting their way without question it seems.
i honestly think that the term racist is pathetic. the out of towners need to stop trying to stir stuff up and suck it up that he is guilty. people want to holler racial but look at the defense yall are demeaning the black community. yall make it out as if the only reason the black community is testifying is because of money lets give them a little credit. maybe they are testifying because deep down they know they are doing the right thing. consider that allen bean
Yes. “Friends of curtis” basically sais that black witnesses will sell out a person for furniture. They don’t give them much credit for having morals do they. It sounds like they feel that a black person is stupid enough to so something so terrible. One theory couldbe that “Friends” just want to tell the blacks over and over that they need them to help them, this way they can always control them. The blacks will give money and “friends” will tell them how to “survive”. Really sad situation if you ask me.
The weaknesses of black people and white people have combined in this case to create an unjust result. If you read my stuff carefully, I rarely use the term “racist” because it is subject to many definitions. I am perfectly willing to criticize black people if they deserve it. White folks wield the lion’s share of the power in this community and no one would deny it is so ( I hope). This power differential gives white people a greater capacity for mischief. Power, not race, is the primary issue, but you can’t discuss power dynamics in America without talking about race. If we refuse to talk about race, we refuse to talk about reality.
The first day I was here (fourteen months ago) a black preacher called the witnesses “weak-minded black folk”. I think that description fits.
could you possible have time now to answer the question regarind the grilfriends son’s shoes??
oh, wellk, there is always tommorrow! nite alan! 🙂
It’s time to give winonamom a rest. Do your job and help (if just moral support) get an innocent man free. Winonamom has gotten enough of our time. I don’t wish to read her negativeness any more. Good luck to all the people who show up there to back up Mr. Flowers. We need to start worrying about Troy Davis next week, I believe.
I find it interesting that one of the reasons that it was overturned to begin with is because one of the black jurors caused a hung jury. Don’t you find it odd that you are fighting against corruption yet you are seemingly only fighting against corruption on one side of the aisle?
And another thing, is your organization assuming or proposing that every black juror that has made a decision in their verdict of the trial is right and every white juror is wrong? That is the way your organization is coming across. That in and of itself is racist.
We should all try our best as Mississippians to not make this a black/white issue but a justice issue.
Yes, I agree, we have devoted enough of our time to this merderer. Now let him rot. Thanks for your time, though. Bye!
Flowers sentenced to die
By Charlie Smith and Taylor Kuykendall
Saturday, June 19, 2010 10:41 PM CDT
WINONA — Teary-eyed jurors passed a tissue box among themselves as they listened to statements intended to sway them in applying the most serious penalty available under Mississippi law — death by lethal injection.
After appearing to waver during deliberations, the jury of 11 whites and one black ultimately agreed unanimously Saturday that Curtis Giovanni Flowers’ life should end because he killed four people at Tardy Furniture store in 1996.
The two-week trial was Flowers’ sixth on the same murder charges.
Weary members of the victims’ families embraced one another after the conviction was handed down Friday and when the sentence was set Saturday.
Benny Rigby, the husband of victim Carmen Rigby, described the ordeal as a “long-fought battle.”
“Through it all, we felt like we got justice again,” Rigby said inside the Montgomery County Courthouse moments after the trial ended Saturday.
Flowers showed no emotion when the sentence was read. Defense attorneys consoled his family after the sentence with promise of an appeal.
“Things are going to be all right,” Lola Flowers, Curtis Flowers’ mother, said after seeing her son sentenced to die for the fourth time. “We might be down right now, but we’ll be back.”
In the 14 years since Bertha Tardy, 59, and employees Robert Golden, 42, Derrick “BoBo” Stewart, 16, and Rigby, 45, were fatally shot in the head with a .380-caliber automatic, both families have endured six trials.
The Mississippi Supreme Court overturned three convictions and death penalty sentences — twice because prosecutors referred to all four murders when Flowers was only being tried for one of them and once for racial bias in jury selection.
The previous two mistrials, which were held in 2007 and 2008 in Winona, ended with racially split juries unable to reach a unanimous verdict. Flowers is black, and three of the four victims are white.
But after a tedious two weeks of jury selection and witness testimony, jurors took only about 40 minutes to convict Flowers on all four capital murder charges Friday.
Ray Charles Carter, a member of Flowers’ defense team, said another appeal is coming.
“Based on what we saw happen here, I can’t imagine it failing, but we’ll see,” Carter said.
Benny Rigby said the jury returned a fair verdict, and he doesn’t think an appeal will succeed.
“I don’t see any reason whatsoever,” Rigby said. “Judge (Joseph) Loper was fair to both sides. He went by the book with the prosecution as well as the defense.”
Prosecutors had produced a string of circumstantial evidence pointing to Flowers.
Family members told investigators Flowers was the only person who had a beef with the store, assistant prosecutor Clyde Hill said during closing arguments. That was because Flowers had allegedly been fired for damaging merchandise a few weeks before the July 16, 1996 slayings.
Investigators also found a bloody shoe track at the crime scene made by a size 10.5 Grant Hill Fila tennis shoe. They found a shoebox matching that shoe from the home where Flowers’ lived with his girlfriend, but the shoes were never found.
Ballistics tests matched the gun used in the killings to one reported stolen soon after the murders by Flowers’ relative, Doyle Simpson. A witness reported seeing Flowers standing near the car that the gun was taken from outside a Winona factory on the morning of the killings.
Like the shoes, though, the gun has never been recovered.
Numerous other witnesses said they saw Flowers around the store on the morning of the killings.
District Attorney Doug Evans said he had never seen a case that had so much evidence or was pursued with such a large investigation. But he said the defense was trying to attack the credibility of the experts, investigators, police officers and witnesses.
“Apparently the people in your community are dishonest,” Evans told the jury. “They don’t want you to believe them.”
Flowers’ defense team had claimed throughout the trial that the investigation was incomplete and haphazardly conducted.
Carter said what he called manipulation of the jury pool and the calling forth of a “jailhouse snitch” as a witness were the actions of a desperate prosecution. “Some prosecutors believe, ‘If I can win, I can look good to public,’” Carter said.
Evans objected, saying the comment was improper. When Carter interrupted during his objection, Evans told Carter, “Shut up while I’m objecting.”
The tension between the defense and prosecution, particularly Carter and Evans, reared its head throughout the trial. Carter, though, adopted a more conciliatory tone during closing arguments of the sentencing phase Saturday.
Although fellow defense attorney Alison Steiner was initially scheduled to perform the argument by herself, the defense decided to let Carter speak first and then Steiner.
He told jurors he had chosen to make his career of representing those facing the death penalty and that his job is to represent those defendants zealously. However, Carter said he had no personal dislike for Evans and that he sympathized with victims’ families because his two favorite brothers were killed.
Steiner then emphasized during her portion that it was each juror’s personal responsibility to seriously consider whether Flowers deserved death. She urged them to opt for life in prison without the possibility of parole.
“Be better than Curtis Flowers, who had a choice of whether to kill and chose to kill,” Steiner said.
The jury ultimately decided Flowers deserved death, although not without giving the appearance of doubt from at least some members.
After about 40 minutes of deliberation Saturday afternoon, the jury sent Loper a note asking who would make the decision about sentencing if they couldn’t reach a unanimous verdict.
Loper wrote back that that was not a concern for the jury.
Jurors returned about 45 minutes later with their unanimous decision. Loper polled each juror individually after the circuit clerk read their written statement.
Emotional testimony during a long day of court Friday from victims’ family members preceded their decision.
Roxanne Ballard, Bertha Tardy’s daughter, said since the killings it has been “absolutely horrible” and has changed her personality. She said her two sons never got the chance to know her as she was before her mother was killed.
“It crushed a part of my soul,” Ballard said.
Brian Rigby, Carmen Rigby’s son, said he was 18 when the crime happened, stopping what was supposed to be an exciting time of going to college.
“Not a day goes by that you don’t think about them,” he said. “For a long time, I didn’t want to get close to anybody else because you don’t want to go through that pain again.”
The defense called two pastors, who are also cousins of Flowers, who said they believed he could minister to other prisoners.
The Rev. Billy Little, chaplain at the Vaiden jail where Flowers had been housed, testified to Flowers’ participation in prison Bible studies and singings, and prison consultant James Aiken said Flowers’ track record of no violations during 13 years of incarceration was remarkable.
But the defense had one surprise up its sleeve: someone who said she is Flowers’ only child. Crystal Gholston, who said she is a 16-year-old student at J.Z. George High School, said she didn’t know Flowers was her father until she was 14, but she pursued a relationship with him after finding out and that he sends her cards from prison.
Her mother, Kenyetta Knight, testified she became pregnant during high school, and Flowers was the father.
Lola Flowers did not remember the girl’s name when asked about her after the trial.
Before sentencing began, allegations of improper jury contact had threatened the trial’s outcome.
A defense intern said she saw a juror on a smoke break between the conviction and sentencing phases talking to a Highway Patrol officer, a possible violation of sequestration. Jurors were only supposed to talk to one of two bailiffs.
Bailiff Richard Whitfield testified that the female juror asked the trooper if he could call her fiance to come pick her up after the trial finished.
Whitfield said the trooper did not respond to the question and nothing regarding the case was discussed.
Steiner asked Loper to dismiss the case because of the interaction, but the judge denied the motion, saying nothing was done that would prevent the jury from being fair and impartial.
Steiner also asked for a mistrial Saturday morning due to a late night Friday during which proceedings continued until 9 p.m. She said jurors had taken control of the trial.
Loper had asked them if they wanted to continue for the night or to order pizzas and keep going. The jury sent him a note saying they wished to keep going and specifying the types of pizza they wanted.
But Loper later decided to stop until Saturday morning.
After Steiner’s motion, Loper said if the jury had actually seized control, court would have continued until 2 or 3 a.m. Saturday and that there were no grounds for a mistrial.
# Contact Charlie Smith at csmith@gwcommonwealth.
com. Contact Taylor Kuykendall at tkuykendall@
Be better than Curtis Flowers, who had a choice of whether to kill and chose to kill,” Steiner said.
Even his own attorney says he is guilty…
Please document your last sentence. Can you prove this? If you can, then prove it.
If not, I don’t believe you because his attorney would not want to jeopardize the case.
Is this something that was misunderstood?
Nope. That’s what she said in her closing argument during the penalty phase. The post above is from the Greenwood Commonwealth newspaper. I copied and pasted, but if you want to you can go read it for yourself.
I don’t understand a statement like this by his attorney. Perhaps someone should ask the attorney what was meant by the statement.
Seems pretty clear to me.
Alison Steiner definitely made the statement; what did she mean by it? When defense attorneys make closing statements during the sentencing phase of a capital trial they are appealing to men and women who have already found the defendant guilty of murder. You can’t try to convince the jury that your client is innocent, even if you think he is. In the eyes of the law, Curtis Flowers is guilty of capital murder and defense counsel must adapt their phrasing to this legal reality even if they disagree. Similarly, after a conviction is vacated by the Supreme Court of Mississippi, the defendant reverts to being legally innocent even if the prosecutor (and the most recent jury) thinks he’s guilty. That said, I know Alison doesn’t believe the state met its burden at trial nor does she think Curtis is guilty. Whether, like me, she thinks he is innocent I don’t know. If I were an attorney, I would never present my client as guilty unless I believed it to be true. You can’t argue innocence during the sentencing phase; that issue has already been settled in the eyes of the law; but that doesn’t mean you have to give the impression that you have agreed with the prosecution all along and were just putting on a show because that’s what you are paid to do. Sometimes that might be true. But it isn’t true in this case. The defense team thinks Doug Evans doesn’t have enough evidence on Curtis Flowers to prosecute. I know that’s hard to believe, especially given the comments accurately quoted by the Greenwood Commonwealth, but it is.
Thanks Dr. Bean, that makes total sense to me now. I felt that but since I was not there, and the question came up, I did not know. I even read it to another person twice and we both felt since it was made at sentencing and not the trial that it had something to do with it and you confirmed that.
Seems like “sickofthis” is really grasping at straws to think it was a Freudian slip! His automatic thinking that she felt he was guilty is just another example of the mentality there. It appears to me, they are still trying to prove he is guilty–to the public–by grabbing something like this and assuming it meant guilty by her when it really did not make any sense at all to outsiders.
You do a great service to justice in being fair, balanced and truthful Dr. Bean.
I certainly don’t know all of the games defense attorneys play, but around here we usually say what we mean and mean what we say. I have learned from this case that lawyers and activists will say anything and distort facts to try to free a guilty man. I guess saying things that you don’t really mean has become second nature for Curtis’ defense team and defenders.I am not the one “grasping at straws” here. Flowers HAS ALREADY BEEN PROVEN GUILTY beyond a reasonable doubt FOUR TIMES. To still be saying he is innocent- now I would call that grasping at straws.
What is sickening to me is that you people think you got a man without any reasonable doubt. That is sickening that there are people in America who feel that way after a case like this. We are outsiders looking in and that gives a better perspective as to what happned in your town. There is 99 per cent doubt in this case and the 1 per cent left is doubtful too. You all sentenced an innocent man. Six times? Maybe your town is more interested in making history than anything? Or getting yourselves in the news? Well, you got it and it ain’t looking good.
One conviction in Tupelo. One conviction on the Gulf Coast. These people did not know Curtis Flowers from Adam. They (unlike you) listened impartially to the evidence presented and came to a decision. The verdicts were only dismissed because all four victims were shown in photos and mentioned in court when Flowers was only being tried for one murder. Since it wasn’t working out too well for ole Curtis in other areas of the state, he wanted to be tried in Montgomery County where he has tons of relatives and friends. OK, so he was tried here and convicted again. Thrown out because of the way the jury was selected. Tried here again- jury split along racial lines. Some jurors were actually related to him. Tried here again- 11-1 guilty. There were 3 black jurors this time. Two of them voted guilty. Mr. Bibbs refused to stop telling the jury about police misconduct he supposedly witnessed the day of the crime. He should never have served on the jury if he believed this and did not tell the court during voire dire. Tried here yet again- guilty.
Open your eyes. Get a trial transcript and stop getting all your info from biased sources. Yes, I do believe Flowers is guilty, but not based upon his race or what someone else told me. I attended a trial, viewed all the evidence presented, and came to that conclusion based on the facts.
Wrongful convictions happen every day in America. Most of the people exonerated by DNA evidence were convicted only once; but had the case gone back to five additional juries they would have been convicted repeatedly. A heinous crime, ambiguous facts, at least one socially prominent victim, a low-status defendant and a jury that doesn’t resemble the accused and you will get a conviction 99% of the time. The strength of the case has little bearing on the outcome.
“Wrongful convictions happen every day in America” – I find that statement pretty hard to believe. Guess that’s how you make your living though, so you have to go with that.
Regardless, this defendant is guilty and the verdict is the correct one.
These people in Winona are really behind the times. Do they even watch the news? People are being exonerated from DNA proof etc. and yes, they were found guilty also, and yes, the story the prosecutors gave the juries in those cases sounded so right, but DNA proved otherwise. Good Lord have mercy, these people are in a world of their own. Some people have came forward on their own and cleared the person who had been in prison for years and told they did it instead and yes, through investigative work, they were proved to be telling the truth. They just don’t take someone’s word for it. Thank God for people like Dr. Bean whose work is very important. If I won the lottery, I would want to give the major portion of it to Friends of Justice. I have only heard of them recently, but have done a lot of studying and think they are the best thing that has happened to our Justice System. Keep up the good work Dr. Bean and staff.
It has been appalling that these people in this town cannot even think they could be wrong, when their evidence is so weak. I hope and pray someday, the guilty one will have a conscience and tell. I believe Mr. Flowers is innocent to this day.
I’m quite sure FOJ would accept every dollar you are willing to donate. It is fine for you to believe Flowers is innocent if you choose, but some people believe in Santa Claus and outer spacemen. Belief without factual evidence is basically a fairy tale. Allen Bean has done a superb job of spinning this story to make Curtis appear an innocent victim. Please be aware that, as Mr. Bean states on his blog, he provides a narrative of the story from his own perspective. Read this article from the American Journalism Review: http://www.ajr.org/article.asp?id=4454 It tells how the national media made some pretty huge errors in presenting the facts of the Jena 6 case because they relied too much on what they were told by Mr. Bean and others without verifying these facts independently. I am not saying Mr. Bean intentionally misled anyone- just that he approaches a story with the mindset that the accused is innocent and tends to leave out any facts that do not support his position. As you say, I believe Mr. Flowers is guilty, but I don’t expect you or anyone else to take my word for it. You should do some fact checking is all I’m saying. It is your right to believe what you want to, but just as I would never presume to judge the Troy Davis case, for example, because I have no facts on it, I wish you would not declare how appalling we are just on the things you have read on this website. I am also not saying that there have never been wrongful convictions in our country, and it is an admirable thing to fight for justice. In this case though, you have been misled.
Your constant attack on Dr. Bean is consistent with your constant attack on a possibly innocent man. Dr. Bean has no reason to spin the case. But you do. One of your own bloggers from Winona said that “circumstantial evidence was still evidence”. What that person said was true, but she took only one word in the phrase “circumstantial evidence”. Circumstantial means indirect or inconclusive. that blogger took one word out of a term as meaning something totally different than what it means when you put them together. Circumstantial evidence is crock when it comes to someone’s life. You all had no concrete evidence. So therefore, in my opinion, the word G U I L T Y has holes all in it due to your evidence being indirect and therefore, your town is the one who spun this story, in my opinion. Not Dr. Bean. This country is in a downward spiral when it comes to true justice. Thank God for people like Dr. Bean who fights for our Constitutional rights being protected in due process.
The article you reference is itself an example of weak journalism. Eager to cash in on the Jena 6 phenomenon, conservative journalists decided to flip the script. In the process, they discovered that my narrative had attracted journalists to the story. The assumption was that liberal dough-head sensation seekers had swallowed my thesis whole without further investigation. This was utter rot. The most disturbing aspects of my analysis were largely ignored by everyone. The Jena issue was resolved a year ago when DA Reed Walters decided to fold. This was wise. Investigators had researched the issues in Jena from the ground up and discovered that my allegations were actually conservative. Walters took a long time to fold, but he did so because all the embarrassing truth would have come out at trial. The article in the America Journalism Review swallowed the views of my critics whole.
Again, you are entitled to your opinion. I did not attack Dr. Bean, and I did not write the article. That was the American Journalism Review who would probably be pretty accurate I’m thinking.
As for circumstantial evidence, read this definition from a legal dictionary.
Circumstantial Evidence is also known as indirect evidence. It is distinguished from direct evidence, which, if believed, proves the existence of a particular fact without any inference or presumption required. Circumstantial evidence relates to a series of facts other than the particular fact sought to be proved. The party offering circumstantial evidence argues that this series of facts, by reason and experience, is so closely associated with the fact to be proved that the fact to be proved may be inferred simply from the existence of the circumstantial evidence.
The following examples illustrate the difference between direct and circumstantial evidence: If John testifies that he saw Tom raise a gun and fire it at Ann and that Ann then fell to the ground, John’s testimony is direct evidence that Tom shot Ann. If the jury believes John’s testimony, then it must conclude that Tom did in fact shoot Ann. If, however, John testifies that he saw Tom and Ann go into another room and that he heard Tom say to Ann that he was going to shoot her, heard a shot, and saw Tom leave the room with a smoking gun, then John’s testimony is circumstantial evidence from which it can be inferred that Tom shot Ann. The jury must determine whether John’s testimony is credible.
Circumstantial evidence is most often employed in criminal trials. Many circumstances can create inferences about an accused’s guilt in a criminal matter, including the accused’s resistance to arrest; the presence of a motive or opportunity to commit the crime; the accused’s presence at the time and place of the crime; any denials, evasions, or contradictions on the part of the accused; and the general conduct of the accused. In addition, much Scientific Evidence is circumstantial, because it requires a jury to make a connection between the circumstance and the fact in issue. For example, with fingerprint evidence, a jury must make a connection between this evidence that the accused handled some object tied to the crime and the commission of the crime itself.
Books, movies, and television often perpetuate the belief that circumstantial evidence may not be used to convict a criminal of a crime. But this view is incorrect. In many cases, circumstantial evidence is the only evidence linking an accused to a crime; direct evidence may simply not exist. As a result, the jury may have only circumstantial evidence to consider in determining whether to convict or acquit a person charged with a crime. In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court has stated that “circumstantial evidence is intrinsically no different from testimonial [direct] evidence”(Holland v. United States, 348 U.S. 121, 75 S. Ct. 127, 99 L. Ed. 150 ). Thus, the distinction between direct and circumstantial evidence has little practical effect in the presentation or admissibility of evidence in trials.
American Journalism Review is a national magazine that covers all aspects of print, television, radio and online media. The magazine, which is published six times a year, examines how the media cover specific stories and broader coverage trends. AJR analyzes ethical dilemmas in the field and monitors the impact of technology on how journalism is practiced and on the final product. The magazine is published by the University of Maryland Foundation with offices in the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland.
Reading the article mentioned above there are many facts that were not reported in this case or reported incorrectly. Judge for yourself.
Your verbal attacks on Dr. Bean and his work is more than evident. And it is not circumstantial. Your attack on someone wanting Dr. Bean’s work to grow in that we believe in him and his work now was should I say, direct?
Again, please understand the point here that is my opinion also. No one should be given a death sentence on circumstantial evidence especially since no other possibilities were even looked it.
Would you happen to be the prosecutor defending your own work?
No I am just a citizen of Winona. I am not from here originally and did not know any of the parties involved when I moved here, but have since come to know some of the victims’ family members as well as some of the Flowers family. I like and respect them all and feel sympathy for all of them. This has been a terrible ordeal for , and I pray for all of them.
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