Children's Literature - Carlee HallmanMedgar Evers, a civil rights worker, was shot in 1963 in his driveway when he returned to his Mississippi home at night. A sniper shot him from the bushes. His wife and children heard the shot and rushed out to the dying man. The first trial of Byron De La Beckwith in February1964 ended with a hung jury. A sidebar explains that when the jury cannot reach a unanimous verdict, it is a hung jury, and the judge declares a mistrial. The defendant is not found either guilty or innocent. A second trial in April also ended in a hung jury. The widow, Myrlie Evers, moved her family to California, and later remarried, but kept looking for new evidence. In 1989 Jerry Mitchell wrote articles about the case, and Myrlie asked that the case be reopened. Assistant DA Bobby DeLaughter began to investigate. Beckwith had bragged to many people that he had gotten away with murder. Though many records had been lost, times had changed and a new jury convicted Beckwith in 1994, 30 years later. He died in prison in 2001. Mitchell wrote about other civil rights cases that were reopened. Photographs and sidebars add interest and information. The movie "Ghosts of Mississippi," directed by Rob Reiner with Alec Baldwin as DeLaughter and Whoopi Goldberg as Myrlie, takes only small liberties with reality to tighten the plot. This is one of the "Famous Court Cases That Became Movies" series. Reviewer: Carlee Hallman
Is it ever too late for justice to be done?
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