Episodes

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2019072720190728 (WS)

Curtis Flowers has been tried six times for the same crime. For more than 22 years, he’s maintained his innocence, winning appeal after appeal. But every time Flowers’ conviction has been reversed, the prosecutor tried the case again. Reporters from American Public Media spent two years investigating the Flowers case to find out what the evidence really shows, and why the same prosecutor has tried the case again and again.

Episode One:
On the morning of July 16, 1996, someone walked into a furniture store in downtown Winona, Mississippi, and murdered four employees. Each was shot in the head. It was perhaps the most shocking crime the small town had ever seen.

The killings rattled residents, and the pressure on investigators to solve the crime was intense. But initially they had little to go on. No one witnessed the murders, and the crime scene offered only a few clues. After a few months, investigators charged a man named Curtis Flowers with the murders. At the time, he had no criminal record, and his only connection to the murders was that he’d worked at the furniture store for a few days that summer.
What followed was a two-decade legal odyssey in which Flowers, who is black, was tried six times for the same crime – by the same prosecutor, a white man named Doug Evans. Flowers remains behind bars, though he’s maintained his innocence.

Reporters from American Public Media spent two years digging into the Flowers case. They found a town divided by race, and a murder conviction supported by questionable evidence.

Hosted and narrated by Madeleine Baran.

How can one man be tried six times for the same crime?

July 16, 19962019072720190728 (WS)

On the morning of 16 July 1996, someone walked into a furniture store in downtown Winona, Mississippi, and murdered four employees. Each was shot in the head. It was perhaps the most shocking crime the small town had ever seen.

The killings rattled residents, and the pressure on investigators to solve the crime was intense. But initially they had little to go on. No one witnessed the murders, and the crime scene offered only a few clues. After a few months, investigators charged a man named Curtis Flowers with the murders. At the time, he had no criminal record, and his only connection to the murders was that he’d worked at the furniture store for a few days that summer.

What followed was a two-decade legal odyssey in which Flowers, who is black, was tried six times for the same crime – by the same prosecutor, a white man named Doug Evans. Flowers remains behind bars, though he’s maintained his innocence.

Reporters from American Public Media spent two years digging into the Flowers case. They found a town divided by race, and a murder conviction supported by questionable evidence.

Hosted and narrated by Madeleine Baran.

Why has one man been tried six times for the same crime?

How can one man be tried six times for the same crime?

The Gun2019081020190811 (WS)

Investigators never found the gun used to kill four people at Tardy Furniture. Yet the missing gun, and the bullets matched to it, became a key piece of evidence against Curtis Flowers. In this episode, we examine the story behind the gun prosecutors believe was the murder weapon.

Back in 1996, on the morning of the murders at Tardy Furniture in the small town of Winona, Mississippi, a man named Doyle Simpson told people that someone had just stolen his gun: a.380-caliber pistol. It wasn’t long before investigators got in touch with Doyle. His stolen gun was the same type of gun that had been used in the murders.

Investigators didn’t have the weapon, but they claimed to have matched the bullets from the crime scene to other bullets fired from Doyle’s gun. A firearms examiner who testified at Curtis Flowers’ trial said the bullets were a 100 percent match. But the science they used to make this claim isn’t science at all.

Hosted and narrated by Madeleine Baran.

The gun used was never found but it became a key piece of evidence against Curtis Flowers

How can one man be tried six times for the same crime?

The route2019080320190804 (WS)

Law enforcement was under pressure to solve the murders at Tardy Furniture. Several months after the crime, Curtis Flowers was arrested and later brought to trial by a white prosecutor named Doug Evans.

There was no DNA match, no video surveillance footage, no witness to the murders, no fingerprints linking Curtis Flowers to the crime. Investigators didn’t even have the gun that was used. Instead, the case against Curtis Flowers relied heavily on three threads of evidence: the route he allegedly walked the morning of the murders, the gun that investigators believe he used, and the people he supposedly confessed to in jail.

According to prosecutors, Flowers walked a long and winding route through the town of Winona on the morning of July 16, 1996. It's a brazen, time-consuming way to commit a quadruple homicide that offers plenty of chances to be seen, especially in broad daylight. But that was the scenario offered at trial. And it helped put Flowers on death row.

In this episode, we meet the witnesses who said they saw Flowers walking through downtown Winona, Mississippi, the morning of the murders. Some of their stories now waver on key details, and some of them told us they felt pressured by law enforcement to talk.

Hosted and narrated by Madeleine Baran.

Did witnesses see Curtis Flowers walking around town on the morning of the murders?

How can one man be tried six times for the same crime?