He had been sentenced to death and executed at the age of 16 for murder: 91 years later, a court in Pennsylvania, in the eastern United States, this week recognized the innocence of Alexander McClay Williams, giving justice to this African American and his only survivor 92 – sister of years.
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“I’m glad it ended the way it should have started.Susie Williams-Carter, the teen’s sister, was quoted as saying by The Philadelphia Inquirer on Thursday. “We knew he was innocent, now we want everyone to know.» «We cannot rewrite history. (…) But when justice can be done by publicly acknowledging such a mistake, we must seize the opportunity“, declared, for his part, the prosecutor of the county of Delaware, in Pennsylvania, Jack Stollsteimer.
The prosecutor spoke in a news release following a county judge’s dismissal of the case on Monday, in favor of Alexander McClay Williams, after years of proceedings.
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“This decision is recognition that the charges against him should never have been“, added the prosecutor, recalling that the teenager, executed on February 27, 1931, was still the youngest child in the history of this State to be sentenced to death.
On October 3, 1930, the husband of Vida Robare, a white head from Glen Mills School for Boys, a detention center for juvenile delinquents, had found his wife’s body, “brutally murderedin his chalet, within the limits of the establishment, recalls the prosecution. Quickly charged, 16-year-old Alexander McClay Williams, who was serving time at the facility, had signed confessions three times during five interrogations without the presence of an attorney or one of his parents.despite the lack of eyewitnesses or direct evidence“, adds the same source.
His later appointed attorney, William Ridley, the county bar’s first African-American, had no resources to prepare for trial and “the defendant faced an all-white jury, which found him guilty in less than four hours“, Continues the prosecution.
Jack Stollsheimer pays tribute to the playrelentlessly for yearsof the child’s sister and the lawyer’s great-grandson to show “the inconsistenciesof the file, as elements that could exonerate the accused but still ignored. The prosecutor cites this “bloody adult male handprint found near crime scene door, photographed by police” but “never mentioned in court“Or the existence of another suspect, Vida Robare’s ex-husband, from whom she had obtained a divorce.”for “extreme cruelty”»
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