Civil Rights Division Emmett Till Act (Cold Case Closing Memoranda)

Civil Rights Division Emmett Till Act (Cold Case Closing Memoranda)

Cases

Displaying 1 - 7 of 7
Title Incident Date Overview
Willie Edwards, Jr January 22, 1957

On the evening of January 22, 1957, Willie Edwards, Jr., a 24-year-old African-American father of two and a truck driver for Winn-Dixie in Montgomery, Alabama, disappeared.  On April 23, 1957, fishermen discovered Edwards’ body in the Alabama River ten miles west of Montgomery.  An autopsy was performed and the medical examiner could not determine the cause of death.  A local investigation failed to yield any suspects.  The case remained dormant until 1976, when local investigators questioning XXXXXXXXXXX regarding another crime asked if XXXX knew anything concerning Edwards’s disappearance.  XXXX admitted being present when three men, Henry Alexander, Jimmy York, and Raymond Britt, forced Edwards to jump off the Tyler-Goodwyn bridge to his death.  Britt, York, and Alexander are now deceased but were living at the time of XXXX statement.  After taking XXXX statement, the State of Alabama reopened the investigation.  In January 1976, Alabama Attorney General William J. Baxley signed immunity agreements with Britt and York in exchange for their testimony.

Willie Joe Sanford March 1, 1957

According to a number of articles in the Baltimore, Maryland Afro-American newspaper, on March 1, 1957, the water-logged, naked body of Willie Joe Sanford, the victim, was raised from Limestone Creek, a few miles from Hawkinsville, Georgia. The victim was a 24-year-old sawmill worker. His hands had been tied over his head and his body had been wired to undergrowth in the creek. The victim’s skull had been fractured by a blunt instrument and he had been stabbed numerous times in the chest, stomach and back. An autopsy determined that the victim, who had been missing since February 2, 1957, had likely been in the creek for about 30 days.

George Washington Singleton, Jr. April 30, 1957

During the early morning hours of April 30, 1957, Dr. George Washington Singleton, Jr., a physician, was killed in an explosion and fire in his second-story office suite in Shelby, North Carolina.  Singleton’s death was investigated locally in 1957 by the Shelby Police Department and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI).  The local and Southeastern Regional offices of the NAACP also conducted an independent inquiry into Singleton’s death.  Neither investigation revealed any evidence of a civil rights violation.

Charles Brown June 18, 1957

On June 18, 1957, Charles Brown, an African-American Air Force Airman, home on leave, was fatally shot by Raiford Walton, the subject, in the home that Walton shared with XXXXXXX XXXXXXXX in Benton, Mississippi.  The subject, then a 50-year-old farmer, who had been previously incarcerated for the manslaughter of his son-in-law, admitted that he shot the victim in the heart with a shotgun as the victim sat in XXXXXXX dining room.  The victim, who was a long-time acquaintance of XXXXXX and had worked as a farmhand for XXXXXXXXXX, was invited to dinner on the night of the shooting. Walton claimed that he shot the victim because the victim had been “too friendly” with XXXXXX while XXXXXX was out of town. The subject died on July 14, 1965.

Roger Hamilton October 22, 1957

On October 22, 1957, at approximately 1:30 a.m., Roger Hamilton, the 18-year-old African-American victim, was fatally shot. According to witnesses, one or two white men in a pickup truck and called out to the victim by name several times. The victim went outside and stood in the yard talking to one of the white men for several minutes. The victim then got into the pickup truck, and the white man he had been talking to got in next to him. The truck drove a short ways down the road. A white man standing outside the truck drew a pistol and shot the victim in the forehead. The subject(s) were never identified, nor were investigators able to determine the motive for the killing.

Clarence Horatious Pickett December 21, 1957

December 21, 1957, Clarence Horatious Pickett, an African-American Baptist minister, was arrested on a charge of being “plain drunk” near his home in Columbus, Georgia. The victim was transported to the Columbus City Jail (the jail), where he was placed in a cell for intoxicated detainees. According to four of other detainees, at about 5:00 p.m., the victim began yelling and cursing at Columbus Police Department (CPD) Officer Joseph Cameron, the subject, who was jailer that night. Cameron started beating the victim in the face and stomach until the victim fell to the floor. Cameron then started beating the non-resisting victim on the head with a “blackjack”. The subject also continued kicking the victim in the side and stomach, until the victim lost consciousness.

Charles Brown August 18, 1957

On June 18, 1957, Charles Brown, an African-American Air Force Airman, home on leave, was fatally shot by Raiford Walton, the subject, in the home where Walton was in Benton, Mississippi. The subject, then a 50-year-old farmer, who had been previously incarcerated for the manslaughter of his son-in-law, admitted that he shot the victim in the heart with a shotgun as the victim sat in the dining room. The victim, who was a long-time acquaintance of the subject and had worked as a farmhand, was invited to dinner on the night of the shooting. Walton claimed that he shot the victim because the victim had been “too friendly” with a mutual friend while the subject was out of town.

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