Supreme Court Curtis Flowers, brutal execution-style killings.
Curtis Flowers has been tried six times for the same crime — the brutal execution-style killings of four people at Winona’s Tardy Furniture store in 1996.
His trials have been tainted by alleged racial discrimination and prosecutorial misconduct.
He has been spotlighted by an investigative true crime podcast.
Now the U.S. Supreme Court will hear his case Wednesday.
Flowers, by the accounts of his family and friends, was an ordinary guy with no prior criminal history who loved singing in his gospel group before an indictment upended his life.
His odyssey through the criminal justice system, however, has been anything but normal.
“This case has been extraordinary from the start,” said Stephen Bright, who teaches at Yale Law School and has argued similar cases before the Supreme Court. “….I think the (Supreme) Court here is probably intrigued by the fact you have six trials. That you have this history by the prosecutor. So it’s a very unique case.”
What is focus of the Supreme Court appeal?
The heart of the issue: Whether Montgomery District Attorney Doug Evans and his office purposefully excluded black citizens from serving in the jury in Flowers’ most recent trial because of their race.
For more than 20 years, Flowers has been behind bars. The 48-year-old is being held at the Mississippi State Penitentiary, also known as Parchman prison.
Legally speaking, Flowers is also trapped in a limbo of sorts.
Three of his guilty verdicts have been overturned, but he has never been acquitted of the quadruple homicide; therefore, the prohibition on double jeopardy, or being prosecuted twice for the same offense, does not apply.
Six trials resulted in four guilty verdicts in furniture store killings
On the morning of July 16, 1996, Tardy Furniture’s owner and three employees were found lying in pools of blood. Each had been shot in the head, and nearly $400 was missing from the cash drawer.
The victims were Bertha Tardy, 59, Carmen Rigby, 45, Roberty Golden, 42, and 16-year-old Derrick Stewart, who was known as “Bobo.” All were dead at the scene, except for Derrick, who fought for his life for several days until he succumbed to his injuries.
The evidence investigators gathered at the scene included a bloody footprint and bullets.
Between 1997 and 2010, Flowers was tried six times for the killings. Prosecutors painted Flowers as a disgruntled employee who wanted revenge because his paycheck had been withheld to offset merchandise he damaged.