Hearing for new trial for 14-year-old executed in 1944 continues

A psychiatrist took the stand Wednesday in the second day of a hearing for a new trial for George Stinney, Jr.,14, who was put to death the same day he was convicted of murdering two young girls in Clarendon County back in 1944.

The hearing is taking place at the Sumter County Judicial Center.

Civil rights leaders say Stinney confessed but was coerced. The trial lasted two and a half hours without testimony from Stinney or anyone on his behalf.

Dr. Amanda Salas told the judge she has been studying the case extensively for the past five days and believes Stinney's confession that he killed the girls was false. She based her assessment on interviews with his living family, his cell mate, and her analysis of Stinney's character.

"It is in my professional opinion to a reasonable degree of certainty that the confession given by George Stinney, Jr. on or about March 24,1944 is best characterized as a coerced, compliant, false confession. It is not reliable," said Dr. Salas.

Third Circiuit Solicitor Ernest "Chip" Finney questioned Salas' time spent reviewing this case. He also questioned why she didn't interview the victims' families as a part of her study.

Finney believes the execution was inappropriate for a person that young, but says there's no evidence to suggest that Stinney didn't commit the crimes.

"There was no evidence to corroborate the innocence of Mr. Stinney from any of the reports. He was given a trial. He was given a lawyer and at that trial a confession made by him was introduced into evidence. The dirt on the hands of the state, I'm not aware of," said Finney.

Circuit Court Judge Carmen T. Mullen is presiding over the hearing. It is not clear if she will reach a decision this week as to if a new trial is granted.

We will let you know when a decision is reached.

Stinney is the youngest person to be executed in the United States in the past 100 years.