By JEFFREY COLLINS
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Leaving a judge to decide whether to throw out the conviction of a 14-year-old boy executed in South Carolina in 1944 reminds supporters of how the teen's fate was also in one man's hands nearly 70 years ago.
Gov. Olin Johnston could have commuted George Stinney's death sentence to life in prison. The black teen was convicted of killing two white girls in Clarendon County.
Johnston received hundreds of letters as Stinney waited on death row. Many asked him to have mercy because of Stinney's age.
Others letters suggested Stinney was part of a larger problem of lawless black men that preyed on white women.
Johnston was running for U.S. Senate in 1944, facing a challenger with a much harder line on segregation.
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