CRIME

George Stinney, Exonerated 70 Years After Wrongful Murder Conviction As 14-Year-Old

FILE - This undated file photo provided by the South Carolina Department of Archives and History shows George Stinney Jr., th
FILE - This undated file photo provided by the South Carolina Department of Archives and History shows George Stinney Jr., the youngest person ever executed in South Carolina, in 1944. Supporters of Stinney have argued that there wasn't enough evidence to find him guilty in 1944 of killing a 7-year-old and an 11-year-old girl. The final briefs in a suit asking that Stinney be granted a new trial were filed with court officials on Monday, Feb. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/South Carolina Department of Archives and History, File)

After seven decades, a black 14-year-old boy has been cleared of murder.

In 1944, George Stinney was convicted of murdering two white girls in Alcolu, South Carolina. He was executed via the electric chair after his white lawyer called no witnesses and performed no cross-examinations.

Judge Carmen Mullen vacated the conviction against Stinney on Wednesday, WISTV reports.

In January, a judge agreed to hear new testimony and arguments in the case.

At a hearing that month, Solicitor Ernest "Chip" Finney III argued the conviction should stand.

"They weren't trying to railroad every black person associated with Alcolu and these little girls. They made a determination based on facts we don't have today that George Stinney should be detained," Finney said.

But an attorney arguing on behalf of Stinney said the state handled the case so badly that it merited another look.

"The state, as an entity, has very unclean hands," attorney Miller Shealy argued.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misspelled the judge's name.

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