A Mississippi grand jury has decided not to indict the white woman whose accusation of Emmett Till led to his death, the The Associated Press reports. Now, chances are the woman, Carolyn Bryant Donham, will never be prosecuted for the role she played in Till’s brutal murder.
The jury came to their decision after hearing more than seven hours of testimony from investigators and witnesses. They ultimately determined that there was not enough evidence to indict Donham on kidnapping and manslaughter charges.
As Blavity previously reported, a team investigating Till’s death found an unserved warrant for Donham’s arrest. The warrant, which address Donham as “Mrs. Roy Bryant,” was discovered as the team scoured the basement of a Mississippi courthouse for evidence.
The investigation was spearheaded by the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation, which is led by two Till family members, cousin Deborah Watts, head of the foundation, and her daughter, Teri Watts. They called for the arrest of Donham, who was married to one of the white men acquitted weeks after Till was abducted.
“Serve it and charge her,” Teri said at the time, AP reports.
In an unpublished memoir that AP acquired last month, Donham shared her side of the story. She said that she was unaware of what would happen to the 14-year-old after she accused him of making lewd comments and grabbing her while she was working at a family store in Money, Mississippi.
Donham also shared that on the night of Till’s death, the men that kidnapped him brought him to her to confirm his identity. She alleged that she tried to help Till by saying it wasn’t him. She also alleged that even though he was abducted at gunpoint, he identified himself to the men.
Till was brutally killed and his body was dumped into a local river and weighed down with a heavy metal fan. His body was found days later, and his mother’s decision to have an open casket funeral changed the country irrevocably.