At the age of 16, she was killed by making her sit on a chair, a 93-year-old murder case in which an innocent was punished - Newztezz - Latest News Today, Breaking News, Top News Headlines, Latest Sports News


Monday, May 27, 2024

At the age of 16, she was killed by making her sit on a chair, a 93-year-old murder case in which an innocent was punished

The date was October 3, 1930. This was the time when racism was rampant in America. Black people were discriminated against in everything. Then an incident happened on this date. A brutal murder took place in Pennsylvania, the fifth most populous state of America. The white school matron Vida Robare was murdered. Her body was found by her husband. Vida Robare was stabbed 47 times with an ice pick. Ribs were broken and the brain was fractured. 16-year-old black Alexander McLeay Williams was convicted of the murder. A year later in 1931, Alexander became the youngest person to be hanged in Pennsylvania. When he was sentenced to death by electric chair at the age of 16.

But 90 years later, it was discovered that Alexander was convicted of a crime he did not commit. In 2015, a lawyer researched the case and provided evidence that freed Alexander's family from the pain and shame they had been living with for the past 90 years. Alexander's sister Susie Williams Carter and her family are suing for compensation. They have alleged that Alexander was wrongly arrested and prosecuted. The suit was filed last week in the District Court of Eastern Pennsylvania.

The case was reopened in 2017

In 2017, the case against Alexander Williams was reopened thanks to the legal advocacy of lawyers Lemon and Robert Keller. They had to work hard for that. Lemon also became interested in Alexander's case because his great-grandfather William Ridley represented Alexander in the trial. But he lost the case.

Decades later, Lemon wanted to know why. So, in 1989, Lemon began writing letters, collecting documents and visiting the Philadelphia Historical Society to look at records about the case. Lemon received a 1930 death certificate from the prison doctor. The certificate revealed that someone had altered the boy's age to say he was 18, when he was actually 16. But they made a mistake. They forgot to change the year of birth on the certificate.

Implicated in the murder of Vida Robaro

After further investigation into the case, it was discovered that Robaro's cause of death was related to heart disease. But someone wrote in another handwriting that the cause of death was Alexander McLeay Williams' hands breaking ice. The complaint states that there were no witnesses to the crime or forensic evidence that linked Alexander to the murder. According to the complaint, an adult's bloody handprint was found at the murder scene, but that evidence was not presented during the trial and an officer later testified that he did not see any blood on Alexander.

What really happened on the day of the murder

On the day of the murder, a school official asked Alexander and another boy to fetch shovels that were located “between one and two blocks away.” He then asked Alexander to perform a different task — one that, according to the complaint, the official said took the boy 20 minutes to complete. The lawsuit argued that within those 20 minutes, Alexander committed the murder. But Lemon’s investigation showed that it was impossible to do all of that in 20 minutes and then return to work without bloodshed.

Eventually, in June 2022, a judge in the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas ordered a retrial and the Delaware County District Attorney's office declined to bring the case. In October 2022, Alexander was exonerated of all charges by then-Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Discrimination against black people in America

Alexander's sister Carter, who is 94, wants to raise awareness that wrongful convictions are troubling young people across the US. In 2023, more than 150 people were acquitted in the US. Of those, about 61% of the acquitted people were black. In 1955, a 14-year-old black boy was also killed. He was accused of attacking a white woman. He was brutally beaten and murdered.

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