For 23 years, since being accused of the capital murder of four people (three of whom were White) at a furniture store in Winona, Mississippi, Curtis Flowers has sat in prison, including time on death row. He’s been tried six times for the same crime, all while maintaining his innocence. On Monday (December 16), Flowers was finally granted bail as he waits to learn if he will be tried for the seventh time, CNN reported.
As Colorlines previously reported, Flowers is the only known person in the country to have gone through half a dozen murder trials that ended in either hung juries or vacated convictions. Over the course of two decades, he’s endured two mistrials and four convictions.
Flowers’s case—which attracted national attention during the second season of the Peabody Award-winning podcast “In the Dark” from American Public Media Reports—put a spotlight on local District Attorney Doug Evans. “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 Kavanaugh wrote in the 7-2 decision, delivered on June 21, 2019. The case made it to the highest court because Evans, who tried all of Flowers’ six cases, violated the Constitution when he systemically struck Black people from the jury.
After a judge set Flowers’s bail at $250,000, he was released from the Winston Choctaw County Regional Correctional Facility with a monitoring bracelet, CNN reports. His legal team is now waiting for a ruling on a motion to dismiss the charges, according to The Washington Post.
The Attala County, Mississippi, branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) filed a class action suit against Evans last month for having “barred Black Mississippians from jury service by using peremptory challenges to strike Black jurors 4.4 times more frequently than White jurors,” reads the lawsuit.
Regarding Flowers’ judicial reprieve on Monday, CNN reported that his lawyer Rob McDuff made Evans’ prosecutorial misconduct clear and noted that key witnesses have recanted sworn statements in interviews with the “In the Dark” podcast. Additionally, McDuff says there is evidence that points to different suspects.