星期二, 政府. Ralph Northam granted posthumous pardons to the”Martinsville Seven.”
的 “Martinsville Seven,” were convicted of raping 32-year-old Ruby Stroud Floyd, who had gone to a predominantly Black neighborhood in Martinsville, 维吉尼亚州, 一月. 8, 1949, to collect money for clothes she had sold.
Four of the men were executed in Virginia’s electric chair on Feb. 2, 1951. 三天后, the remaining three were also electrocuted. 当时, rape was a capital offense.
Northam was joined by descendants of the men on Tuesday where he ceremonially signed pardons for: Francis DeSales Grayson, 37; Booker T. Millner, 19; Frank Hairston Jr., 19; Howard Lee Hairston, 18; James Luther Hairston, 20; Joe Henry Hampton, 19; and John Claybon Taylor, 21.
Since last year
, the Martinville
7 联盟, including family members and community advocates
, have been pushing for the posthumous pardon
, according to CNN affiliate WWBT
“They did not deserve to die. Governor Northam should render an apology to the families of these seven men, stating that they should not have been executed,” James Grayson, son of Francis DeSales Grayson, 说过. “It’s never too late to right a wrong.”
During the ceremony
, relatives described the devastation of hasty trials and the brutal legacy of the electric chair
“I was traumatized by this incident,” said Curtis Millner, 谁是 9 when his cousin Booker T. Millner was executed. “I’m looking for closure.”
Prior to abolishing the death penalty earlier this year, Virginia had executed more people than any other state — and studies have shown that a defendant is more than three times as likely to be sentenced to death if the victim of a crime is White than if the victim is Black. 从 1908 至 1951, 所有 45 prisoners executed for rape in Virginia were Black men. 在 1977, the Supreme Court ruled that imposing the death penalty for rape was cruel and unusual punishment.
“While we can’t change the past, I hope today’s action brings them some small measure of peace,” Northam said.
These latest pardons mark the Virginia governor’s 604th pardon since his time in office.