The case of a Black Mississippi man tried six times for murder has been sent back to a local court for a new trial, the Clarion Ledger reports.
The Mississippi Supreme court on Thursday threw out Curtis Flowers‘ murder conviction and death sentence, some two months after the U.S. Supreme Court did the same, citing prosecutors’ racial bias during jury selection.
Flowers, who has spent the past 20 years on death row, is accused of killing four people — Bertha Tardy, 59, and employees Robert Golden, 42, Carmen Rigby, 45, and Derrick Stewart, 16 — inside a Winona furniture store back in 1996. Although he had no criminal history, prosecutors painted Flowers as a disgruntled former employee who sought revenge against Tardy, the owner, after she fired him and docked his pay to cover the cost of furniture he allegedly damaged.
After two overturned convictions and a pair of deadlocked juries, Flowers was convicted in 2010 and sentenced to death.
With the case now moving back to the state Supreme Court, Flowers is expected to be removed from death row and placed at the Montgomery County Jail where he’ll await a potential new trial, his lawyer Andre de Gruy told the newspaper.
It’s unclear whether Montgomery County DA Doug Evans, who was found to have purposely excluded African-American jurors from Flowers’ previous trial, plans to try the Mississippi man a seventh time. As reported by local station WRAL, Evans is running unopposed in his re-election for an eighth four-year term in office.
Flowers’ lawyers said they plan to seek bail for the defendant once Thursday’s ruling is followed by a written mandate, which is expected in about 20 days.
Evans and the families of the murdered victims remain convinced that Flowers is guilty.