Curtis Flowers, a Black man who was wrongfully imprisoned for 23 years, has filed a lawsuit against the district attorney who put him on trial six times.
According to ABC News, the lawsuit, which was filed on Friday (Sept. 3), names Montgomery County District Attorney Doug Evans and three investigators who worked with him. The lawsuit says the investigators and Evans engaged in wrongdoing, including “pressuring witnesses to fabricate claims about seeing Mr. Flowers in particular locations on the day of the murders” and disregarding other potential suspects. The suit does not say how much money Flowers is seeking. That decision will be left up to a jury.
“Curtis Flowers never should have been charged,” Rob McDuff, who represents Flowers, said in a news release Friday. McDuff said the killings “were clearly the work of professional criminals” and his client had no criminal record.
“The prosecution was tainted throughout by racial discrimination and repeated misconduct,” the attorney added. “This lawsuit seeks accountability for that misconduct.”
Flowers spent nearly half of his life on death row after being convicted in the 1996 shooting deaths of four people. He worked at the Tardy Furniture Store in Winona up until two weeks before the shootings took place there. The four victims — store owner Bertha Tardy and employees Carmen Rigby, Robert Golden and Derrick Stewart — were fatally shot in the head.
Flowers was charged for the slayings, despite prosecutors having little to no evidence and no known motive. Several experts said there was evidence that the shooting was committed by more than one person, yet Flowers was the only one charged. He was convicted four times: twice for all four killings and twice for individual ones. Two other trials involving all four deaths ended in mistrials. Each conviction was later overturned. In 2020, Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch said the state would not pursue a seventh trial against Flowers, finally freeing him from prison after 23 years.
Earlier this year, a judge ordered the state of Mississippi to pay Flowers $500,000 for wrongful imprisonment.