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Tom Joyner Uncles

Tom Joyner's Great-Uncles Pardoned In SC 94 Years After Execution

AP | SEANNA ADCOX | Posted 05.25.2011 | Media

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina pardoned syndicated radio host Tom Joyner's great-uncles Wednesday, nearly a century after they were sent to the electric chair for the 1913 murder of a Confederate Army veteran.

Officials believe the two men are the first in the state to be posthumously pardoned in a capital murder case.

Black landowners Thomas and Meeks Griffin were executed 94 years ago after a jury convicted them of killing 73-year-old John Lewis, a wealthy white veteran living in Blackstock, a Chester County town 40 miles north of Columbia. Two other black men were also put to death for the crime.

"This won't bring them back, but this will bring closure. I hope now that they rest in peace," Joyner said. "This is a good day."

Joyner, who lives in Dallas, and his attorney made a presentation to the state parole and pardon board on Wednesday, then left the room while the board voted. Family members who flew in for the hearing included his wife and sons, of Dallas, and brother and his family, from Jackson, Miss.