Man Freed After 23 Years In Prison, Sues Prosecutor For Railroading Him

( A black Mississippi man, released in 2019 after serving nearly twenty-three years behind bars, last week filed a lawsuit against the white district attorney who tried him six times for the same 1996 quadruple murder.

Curtis Flowers gained his freedom in June 2019 after the US Supreme Court overturned the conviction and death sentence from his sixth trial in connection to the shooting at a furniture store which left four people dead.

Flowers is suing Montgomery County District Attorney Doug Evans as well as three other investigators over what the Supreme Court called an unconstitutional pattern of excluding black jurors in Flowers’ six trials.

The suit alleges that prosecutors pressured witnesses to “fabricate claims” about having seen Flowers in particular locations on the day of the quadruple murder. It also alleges that prosecutors ignored other suspects.

Rob McDuff from the Mississippi Center for Justice, who is representing Flowers in the suit, said the prosecution was “tainted throughout by racial discrimination and repeated misconduct.” McDuff added that the lawsuit is about seeking accountability for that misconduct.

The state of Mississippi was already ordered to pay Flowers half a million dollars for wrongful imprisonment. This current lawsuit, however, does not seek specific damages. Instead, compensation will be decided by a jury.

The quadruple murder case is once again open. Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch said in 2020 that the evidence against Flowers is too weak to justify putting him on trial again for the seventh time.

Double jeopardy does not apply in Flowers’ case. Three of the convictions were thrown out on appeal due to prosecutorial mistakes. Two ended in mistrials. Technically, Curtis Flowers wasn’t retried for the same crime. Instead, he essentially underwent the first trial six separate times.

The families of the victims have long maintained the Curtis Flowers was guilty. However, defense attorneys argued that the quadruple homicide was the work of a trained killer. The then-26-year-old Flowers, on the other hand, had no criminal record at the time of his arrest.

The year before the Supreme Court overturned Flowers’ conviction, the public radio podcast “In The Dark” interviewed a jailhouse snitch who recanted his testimony that Flowers had confessed to him that he was the killer.