Curtis Flowers Biography and Wikipedia
Curtis Flowers who was born Curtis Giovanni Flowers is an American man who was tried for murder six times in the U.S. state of Mississippi. Four of the trials resulted in convictions, all of which were overturned on appeal. Flowers was alleged to have committed July 16, 1996, shooting deaths of four people inside the Tardy Furniture store in Winona, the seat of Montgomery County.
Flowers was first convicted in 1997; in five of the six trials, the prosecutor, District Attorney Doug Evans, sought the death penalty against Flowers. As a result, Flowers was held on death row at the Parchman division of Mississippi State Penitentiary for over 20 years.
In his first trial, Flowers was convicted of the aggravated murder and robbery of the store owner. This verdict and a conviction in a second trial for the murder of one of the store employees were both overturned by the Mississippi Supreme Court due to prosecutorial misconduct.
A subsequent trial for all four murders resulted in a conviction, but this was overturned by the Mississippi Supreme Court for racial bias by the prosecutor in jury selection: Flowers is black and the prosecution excluded a disproportionate number of black jurors. Flowers’ fourth and fifth trials ended as a mistrial.
On June 18, 2010, a majority-white jury in Flowers’ sixth trial convicted him of the 1996 murders and voted to impose a death sentence. Flowers’ case was one of three that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June 2016 were to be remanded to lower courts to be reviewed for evidence of racial bias in jury selection.
After the Mississippi Supreme Court reaffirmed the conviction, the U.S. Supreme Court again reviewed Flowers’ case. It overturned, on a 7–2 vote, the murder convictions in June 2019 in the decision Flowers v. Mississippi, with Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh writing for the majority.
In December 2019, Flowers was released from prison for the first time since his original arrest, on a $250,000 bond, pending a state decision on whether it would attempt another prosecution. On September 4, 2020, the District Attorney announced they would not seek a seventh trial and had dropped the charges against Flowers. The Flowers case served as the subject of a 2018 podcast, In the Dark, on American Public Media.
Curtis Flowers Age and Birthday
Curtis Flowers Height and Body Measurements
Curtis Flowers Family, Parents and Siblings
Curtis Flowers Wife and Children
Curtis Flowers Case
Curtis Flowers Trials and State Court Appeals
Curtis Flowers First U.S. Supreme Court ruling and In the Dark
Curtis Flowers Second U.S. Supreme Court ruling
Curtis Flowers Ongoing case
Flowers continued to be held at Parchman, then at the Grenada County, Mississippi, jail, and the Winston-Chickasaw Regional Correctional Facility, in Louisville, Mississippi, pending decisions from prosecutors and the local court on any future prosecution.
Flowers’s attorneys petitioned for the charges to be dismissed, or failing that, for bail to be granted and for Doug Evans to be removed from any role in the prosecution, citing the multiple findings of prosecutorial misconduct in the case.
Evans was sued in federal court by the local NAACP chapter on behalf of multiple Flowers’ jury pool members, seeking class-action status to include all jury-eligible black residents of his district, based on his alleged systematic racial discrimination in jury selection.
On December 16, 2019, Judge Loper granted Flowers bail in the amount of $250,000, of which he was required to deposit 10 percent. Flowers were restricted to his residence and required to wear an ankle monitor.
Judge Loper noted in his decision that several of the prosecution’s key witnesses had recanted. In addition, the documentary In the Dark reported that potentially exculpatory evidence had been uncovered, as well as alternative suspects, seemingly leaving the prosecution with a weaker case than in the previous trials.
Judge Loper reprimanded Evans, who was expected to but did not attend the hearing, for taking no action over the preceding four months to further Flowers’ case despite court orders to do so. District Attorney Evans, the prosecutor in all six of Flowers’s trials, recused himself from the case in January 2020 and asked the presiding judge to turn over prosecution to the Mississippi Attorney General’s office.
The state declined to prosecute Flowers for the seventh time, officially dropping all charges against Flowers on September 4, 2020. The attorney general’s office stated that it would be nearly impossible to convict Flowers on any charges at this point due to the conflicts with the past court records being considered unusable leaving them with no new living witnesses.
After 6 Trials, Prosecutors Drop Charges Against Curtis Flowers
What it took for Curtis Flowers, a Black man who spent some 23 years behind bars, to have charges dropped against him: six trials plagued by prosecutor misconduct, multiple overturned convictions, and a dogged investigation by a podcast into a quadruple murder at a Mississippi furniture store.
Now, more than a year after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Flowers’ latest conviction, prosecutors have decided to stop pursuing the case.
Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Joseph Loper approved the state attorney general’s motion to dismiss on Friday. In their filing, prosecutors wrote that there were no credible witnesses for an unprecedented seventh trial, effectively putting to bed a decades-long pursuit of Flowers for the 1996 slayings in the small city of Winona, Miss.
“As the evidence stands today, there is no key prosecution witness that incriminates Mr. Flowers who is alive and available and has not had multiple, conflicting statements in the record,” wrote Deputy Attorney General Mary Helen Wall in a court filing.
Flowers, who is now 50, commemorated the dismissal Friday in a statement issued through his attorneys.
“Today, I am finally free from the injustice that left me locked in a box for nearly twenty three years,” the statement read as reported by multiple outlets. “I’ve been asked if I ever thought this day would come. I have been blessed with a family that never gave up on me and with them by my side, I knew it would.”
Flowers had been accused of the July 1996 shooting deaths of Tardy Furniture owner Bertha Tardy as well as employees Carmen Rigby, Robert Golden, and Derrick Stewart. Flowers, who had briefly worked at the store, had no prior criminal record and has maintained his innocence. Local prosecutor Doug Evans pursued Flowers as the prime suspect, taking him to trial six times. Four of those trials ended in conviction. Two of them ended in mistrials.
After each conviction, a higher court struck down the initial ruling. The latest ruling invalidating Flowers’ conviction, and death sentence, came from the U.S. Supreme Court in June of last year. The justices noted the Mississippi Supreme Court had found that in three prior convictions the prosecution had misrepresented evidence and deliberately eliminated Black jurors.
For Flowers’ first trial, an all-white jury moved to convict. His second, third, and sixth trials all had only one Black juror and also ended in convictions. But for his two trials with multiple Black jurors, the jury deadlocked. The city where Flowers was tried has more Black than white residents.
Flowers were granted bail in December of last year. Shortly after that the state’s attorney general took over the case from Evans.
Flowers gained national attention as investigative journalists with the podcast In The Dark looked into the case. In the Dark’s managing producer Samara Freemark told NPR that with Flowers never having been acquitted, Evans was able to take the case to trial multiple times.
Evans’ persistence continued despite higher courts finding discriminatory jury selection and misconduct by prosecutors. Freemark says the show’s investigation, which included speaking to hundreds of people and tracking down thousands of documents, found other problems in the pursuit of a conviction.
“We talked to key witnesses who told us they had lied on the stand or that they had been pressured by law enforcement. We discovered an alternate suspect in the case who had never been disclosed to jurors. We found that the ballistics evidence in the case relied on junk science,” Freemark told NPR’s Weekend Edition.
Freemark also notes that the attorney general’s filing echoed their finding on the state’s star witness, a jailhouse informant who claimed that Curtis had confessed to him about the killing. Freemark said that witness “told us that he had just made that whole thing up.”