Curtis Flowers was arrested in 1997 after being accused of killing 4 individuals at a furnishings retailer in Mississippi. He spent 23 years in jail till he was launched in 2019, and fees towards him have been dropped the next yr.
Now Mr. Flowers is suing the district lawyer who prosecuted him six instances. His legal professionals say he’s looking for “accountability” for the time he wrongfully spent in jail.
“Given the absence of any solid evidence against Mr. Flowers, defendants engaged in repeated misconduct to fabricate a case that never should have been brought,” says the swimsuit, which was filed in federal courtroom in Mississippi on Friday. The swimsuit seeks unspecified damages.
The swimsuit names as defendants Doug Evans, the Montgomery County district lawyer, and three investigators — John Johnson, Jack Matthews and Wayne Miller — who labored with Mr. Evans. Montgomery County shouldn’t be named as a defendant.
Mr. Evans didn’t instantly reply to requests for touch upon Saturday. Mr. Johnson, Mr. Matthews and Mr. Miller couldn’t be reached.
In a press release on Friday, Rob McDuff of the Mississippi Center for Justice, a lawyer for Mr. Flowers, 51, mentioned his consumer “never should have been charged.”
“Curtis Flowers was 26 years old with no criminal record and nothing in his history to suggest he would commit a crime like this,” Mr. McDuff mentioned. “The prosecution was tainted throughout by racial discrimination and repeated misconduct. This lawsuit seeks accountability for that misconduct.”
Mr. Flowers was accused of killing 4 individuals in a furnishings retailer the place he had labored for 3 and a half days. His arrest didn’t come till six months later, in January 1997.
His case drew widespread consideration and was chronicled in a season of the podcast sequence “In the Dark,” which broke down a number of points of the case, together with an episode on the gun used within the killings, which was by no means discovered.
Three individuals have been discovered useless contained in the Tardy Furniture retailer in Winona, Miss., on July 16, 1996: Robert Golden, Carmen Rigby and Bertha Tardy. A fourth sufferer, Derrick Stewart, died from his gunshot wounds at a hospital a couple of week later, in line with the swimsuit.
The murders occurred throughout a “spree of armed robberies and murders in commercial establishments and banks that plagued Montgomery County and nearby counties from 1995 to 1997,” the swimsuit says.
“No plausible motive tied Mr. Flowers to the crimes,” the swimsuit says. “The prosecution’s theory was that Mr. Flowers, a gospel singer with no criminal record, decided to commit a quadruple murder with precision shooting because he was upset over having been let go from a minimum wage job.”
In his most up-to-date trial, Mr. Flowers was convicted and sentenced to loss of life, however his legal professionals appealed the conviction to the U.S. Supreme Court, which dominated in 2019 that the prosecutor, Mr. Evans, had unconstitutionally stored Black individuals from serving on the jury.
In the Supreme Court’s majority opinion, Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh wrote that “Equal justice under law requires a criminal trial free of racial discrimination in the jury selection process.”
By pursuing a “relentless, determined effort to rid the jury of Black individuals,” Justice Kavanaugh wrote, the state needed to attempt Mr. Flowers “ideally before an all-white jury.”
In March, a decide in Mississippi ordered the state to pay Mr. Flowers $500,000, the utmost the legislation permits, for wrongfully imprisoning him for greater than 20 years. The order got here after Mississippi had handed a brand new legislation in 2009 to offer compensation to individuals who have been wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for felony crimes.
While in jail, Mr. Flowers missed out on a number of life occasions, together with the funeral of his mom, the swimsuit says.
Kaitlyn Golden, one in all his legal professionals, mentioned Mr. Flowers “can never get back the 23 years of his life that he spent in prison.”
“The law allows innocent people to file lawsuits seeking to hold state officials accountable for misconduct leading to wrongful imprisonment,” she mentioned. “With this case, we hope to do just that, and to seek some redress for Curtis Flowers for the horrors he endured over more than two decades behind bars.”