Will the Department of Justice Re-Open the Emmett Till Case?

The Department of Justice is considering re-opening the Emmett Till case due to Attorney General Jeff Sessions being interested in re-examining unsolved cases or cases that may not have gotten a fair court trial.

Sessions recently met with Till’s cousin, Deborah Watts, about the 1955 murder case. Watts, who is the co-founder of the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation, and told the Chicago Tribune, “He’s [Sessions] definitely open to looking at cases that should be reviewed, and cases where there are no answers for loved ones who have experienced the murder of their loved ones.”

The interest for possibly reopening this case comes after Carolyn Bryant Dunham confessed about giving a false testimony in 1955 about Till. She said the 14-year-old teenager from Chicago threatened and grabbed her.

“He said [he had] done something with white women before. I was just scared to death,” said Dunham.

After the trial was over, the jury never heard Dunham’s testimony, but her name was put on record, which led to Till’s murderer’s being acquitted.

Dunham’s admission came to light when 10 years ago she told Timothy Tyson, author of the book, ‘The Blood of Emmett Till,’ that her testimony was false.

“That part’s not true,” she told Tyson. “Nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him.”

The possibility of reopening the Till case is just that–a possibility.

Assistant Attorney General T.E. Wheeler II wrote in a letter to Rep. Benne Thompson (D.-Miss.), “The Department is currently assessing whether the newly revealed statement could warrant additional investigation. We caution, however, that even with our best efforts, investigations into historic cases are exceptionally difficult, and there may be insurmountable legal and evidentiary barriers to bringing federal charges against any remaining living persons.”

We hope the Till family eventually gets the justice they deserved.