A Mississippi man who has been tried six times for the same murders is enjoying his first night of freedom in more than two decades. Curtis Flowers on Monday was released from prison following a hearing in which a judge granted him a bond of $250,000 — months after a big victory in the United States Supreme Court.
Flowers was charged with the 1996 murders of four people who were killed during a robbery at a furniture store. The cases against Flowers resulted in two mistrials and four convictions reversed on appeal due to prosecutorial misconduct. The final reversal came last June from the U. S. Supreme Court, which ruled prosecutor Doug Evans systematically prevented African Americans from serving as jurors. Before being overturned, that conviction had landed Flowers on death row.
“Oh, what a blessing,” Flowers’ sister, Charita Baskin, said. “Best Christmas gift ever. Best gift I ever received.”
At a bond hearing Monday, Circuit Judge Joseph Loper strongly criticized the prosecution.
“I want to note the troubling fact that in the nearly four months this case has been back before the court, the state of Mississippi has taken absolutely no action of any kind in furtherance of this prosecution,” Loper said.
Following his release, Flowers found it hard to describe how he felt. “I’m so excited,” Flowers said, surrounded by friends and family. “I just cant.”
Flowers is still under indictment for the crimes, but his attorney has filed a motion to have the case thrown out, citing new evidence. He has been ordered to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet while the case is pending.