JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - It is over for Curtis Flowers who is now a free man. Friday, at the request of State Attorney General Lynn Fitch, Circuit Judge Joseph Loper dismissed the capital murder case, with prejudice, which means Flowers cannot be tried again.
We have reaction from the son of one of the murder victims and the journalist who helped shed light on the case.
Brian Rigby the son of 45-year-old Carmen Rigby said the decision Friday was painful. His mother, along with his best friend, 16-year-old Derrick “BoBo” Stewart, 42-year-old Robert Golden, who was murdered on his first day of work at Tardy Furniture, and 59-year-old Bertha Tardy were shot to death in July of 1996 in Winona.
Brian Rigby said, “The evidence that we have and it seems that you can’t deny some of this evidence. You can have some witnesses that can recant their stories from time to time but there’s still an overwhelming amount of evidence that you can’t explain.”
Madeleine Baran with In The Dark, a podcast that focused on the Flowers case for three years, says the responsibility of what has happened for both the victims, their families, Curtis Flowers and his family falls on District Attorney Doug Evans.
Baran said, “In all of the - that data gathering and fact gathering adds up to a logical and very, frankly, air-tight conclusion that Curtis Flowers was tried in a case that was replete with prosecutorial misconduct. And that’s not just something that we found. That’s the findings of the Mississippi Supreme Court several times in this case and also the U.S. Supreme Court.”
Rigby says he remains convinced of Flowers guilt. He says the evidence was clear.
Rigby said, “if I felt that it was anybody else responsible, we don’t want just anybody held responsible for the murders. We want the person that did it to be held responsible. And if I felt for a minute that we had the wrong person I would be fighting for him.”
After six trials, in June of last year the U.S. Supreme Court vacated Flowers conviction. Flowers was granted bail in December of 2019. During his 23 years in prison his mother died but Baran says his family never stopped believing or supporting Flowers.
Baran said, “I do think that’s one of the most striking things about the Flowers family is just the quality of hope that they were able to maintain over such a long period of time. It’s overwhelming. To go from death row, in a solitary cell in Parchman, all the way to now being completely out, I mean, that is remarkable. It’s pretty rare.”
Rigby says for him and the other family members Friday’s decision is a devastating blow.
Rigby said, “focusing the anger toward the person that did it, you almost focus that on the system because it failed you. Without question, since July 16, 1996, it’s the toughest day.”