Nightly News   |  January 19, 2014

Justice Demanded for 70-year-old Conviction

A South Carolina judge will be asked to overturn the conviction of George Stinney, a 14-year-old who was convicted and executed 70 years ago.

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>>> to do more. dell is honored to be part of some of the world's great stories. that began much the same way ours did. in a little dorm room -- 2713. this magic moment

>>> in the lumber mill town of south carolina , in the spring of 1944 , the grizzly murder of two little girls, 11-year-old betty june binnicke are and 7-year-old mary emma thames, both white, shattered the community. their bludgeoned bodies were found underneath a ditch. a few hours later, 14-year-old george stinney jr. was take nooen custody. he gave an oral confession but advocates say there is no written record of that. his family was run out of town. and the south carolina governor wrote this letter, claiming stinney raped one of the girls' dead body . although the autopsy report made no claim of sexual assault.

>> they wanted him to be looked upon by the white community and even some of the black community as a monster.

>> reporter: advocates argue that stinney's trial was a travesty of justice. it lasted three hours nochlt physical evidence was presented. the defense put on no case and the all-white jury took just ten minutes to reach a guilty verdict . after stinney was sentenced to die, his court-appointed attorney never filed an appeal. this man says he was stinney's cell mate mate and said he never confessed.

>> he said why would they want to kill me for something i didn't do?

>> reporter: on june 16th , 1944 , stinney was executed in the electric chair .

>> he didn't get due process.

>> reporter: now, 70 years later, a south carolina law firm is trying to clear his name, claiming he was framed.

>> i don't believe george stinney did it because of the evidence we have uncovered.

>> reporter: that includes statements from stinney's brother, charles, and his sister, that he was with family at the time of the murders.

>> i saw the little girls in the casket.

>> reporter: among friends of murder victim benny binnicker, some who knew them say he was a bully who threatened them.

>> if you don't get away from here and if you come back, i'm going to kill you.

>> binnicker's nieces say they are convinced.

>> he was put to death according to the laws in 1944 . and i think they need to leave it alone .

>> reporter: stinney is buried in an unmarked grave in this cemetery. on tuesday a judge will be asked to revisit that past and decide if the guilty verdict still stands. mark potter , nbc news, south carolina .