JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Curtis Flowers of Montgomery County is a free man for the first time in 23 years. Attorney General Lynn Fitch announced her office is dropping the case after six trials.
When the defense attorneys and other journalists analyzed the case, they discovered several red flags from witnesses pressured to lie under oath and the district attorney purposely discriminating against black jurors.
One year ago he was sitting in a prison cell on death row. Now Curtis Flowers was all smiles as he removed his ankle bracelet with all charges dropped.
“This is a primary example of such inappropriate actions within our legal system,” Vangela M. Wade of Mississippi Center for Justice said. “We see this as an opportunity for people to understand how much a miscarriage of justice can occur.”
In the state’s motion, Attorney General Fitch pointed out evidence today shows Flowers were the only ones with no conflicting statements while another was convicted on federal tax fraud, and the only witness still living admitted he was lying about flowers making a jailhouse confession.
“There were people who were basically jailhouse snitches who just flat lied,” Jerry Mitchell who followed the case closely. “And admitted they lied, just trying to get out of their own charges.”
“He worked out a deal with the District Attorney where if he gave the DA what the DA wanted, he would give him what he wanted which is leniency,” investigative reporter Madeleine Baran told us. “This is Odell Haulman who has a long violent criminal history.”
As journalists and the defense looked further, they found Montgomery County DA Doug Evans violated the constitution purposely excluding African Americans from serving on the jury.
“We looked at this prosecutor and his office’s history and what we found was he was striking black people from jury selection at nearly four and a half times the rate they were striking whites people from jury selection,” Baran continued. “Very clear pattern of racial discrimination in jury selection.”
This mess dragged Flowers through six trials before DA Doug Evans stepped down from the case. Those who followed it closely hope in the future the public puts more accountability on their prosecutors.
At the furniture store where the murders occurred in Montgomery County Flowers was at one time an employee there, but researchers believe the only suspicion leading to that accusation was racial stereotyping.