Groveland Four pardoned by Florida clemency board 70 years later

  • Groveland Four pardoned by Florida clemency board 70 years later

Groveland Four pardoned by Florida clemency board 70 years later

"For seventy years, these four men have had their history wrongly written for crimes they did not commit", DeSantis said.

Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida is already mapping out his legacy.

"I don't know that there's any way you can look at this case and think that those ideals of justice were satisfied". But before the second trial could begin, they were attacked again.

Padgett's 1949 accusation occurred in Lake County, Florida. "As I have said before, while that is a long time to wait, it is never too late to do the right thing". Lake County, Fla., Sheriff Willis McCall, who would later say he was acting in self-defense, drove the two handcuffed men into the countryside and shot them. Three of the men were arrested and severely beaten; a fourth, Ernest Thomas, fled. A mob of 1,000 men hunted down Thomas and shot him over 400 times. Other evidence that could have exonerated them - such as a doctor's conclusion that the teen probably wasn't raped - was withheld at their trial. Irvin and Shepherd, both World War II veterans, were sentenced to death.

Shepherd and Irvin, however, did appeal, and although the Florida Supreme Court initially upheld their convictions, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously overturned them. Shepherd died at the scene, but Irvin - who played dead - survived, and his sentence was later commuted to life in prison.

Irvin was retried, found guilty and once again sentenced to death, despite a former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent testifying that the prosecution had manufactured evidence against the defendant.

Irvin was paroled in 1968 and found dead in his auto a year later. Greenlee, who was paroled in 1960, died in 2012. "I don't want them pardoned, no I do not, and you wouldn't neither". Scott, now a USA senator, never took action.

Newly elected Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a statement on the pardons.

Carol Greenlee, daughter of Greenlee, said "a burden has been lifted".

"It's like waking up out of a nightmare, out of a bad dream", Carol Greenlee said. "This is a true vindication of my father".

Greenlee's son Charles Greenlee cried as he said after the hearing that "justice has been served".

"My father was 16". Greenlee was released in 1962 after serving more than 12 years in prison. The former United States congressman and committed Trump disciple was sworn into office on Tuesday, but continues to nurse wounds from a bruising November election against Andrew Gillum, the black mayor of Tallahassee, whom he defeated so narrowly that a recount was required.

"It never happened. You all are liars", said Beverly Robinson, a niece of one of the accused men. "If I had to go to court today, I could tell the same story that I told than". Norma Padgett, then 17 years old, told police she was abducted and raped by four black men after her auto broke down.

"I'm begging y'all not to give them pardon", she reportedly said. "If you do, you're going to be just like them". It took 70 years for this day to come for the Groveland Four.

Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis also voted for the pardons. As such, any consolation derived from the pardon mainly benefits the men's families and those who advocated on their behalf.