TODAY   |  November 30, 2013

Teen executed in 1944 could get new trial

In South Carolina, efforts are underway to clear the name of the youngest person to be executed in the U.S. in the 20th century. NBC’s Mark Potter reports.

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>>> the youngest person ever to be executed in the 20th century in the united states . george stiny jr. in in the '40s was convicted of a criminal advocates say he didn't commit. there is an effort on the way to clear his name. here is mark potter .

>> reporter: the events of leading to the execution of george stiny jr. began in the tiny mill town of this town in south carolina . in march of 1944 , two white girls, ages 11 and 7, were beaten to death while picking wildflowers along the railroad tracks separating the white and black sections of town. historian george fryarson.

>> their bodies were found in a creek bed in this area and they had been brutally murder.

>> reporter: soon affidavits, george was arrest and claim he gave an oral confession. his family moved out of town and ray brown who is producing a movie about the case, says the real killer got away and the trial was a sham.

>> it was a situation where he clearly was railroaded, you know? there was no evidence. nobody can find anything.

>> reporter: the trial lasted just two hours. the jury only took ten minutes to convict and stinney was snnts sentenced to tie. he was represented by a lawyer who never put on a case and never attacked the state's case and never filed an appeal which would have delayed the execution by a year. just 83 days after his arrest, stinney weighing only 95 pounds was strapped into the electric chair and put to death. but now a south carolina law firm has filed a motion seeking a new trial, which, if granted, could clear stinney's name.

>> it would be difficult if not imapplausable for george stinney to have done what the government said he did.

>> reporter: the motion claims there is no criminal evidence and no written record of the confessions and no evidence and no trial transcript. george 's brother and sister both still alive say he was with the family at the time of the killings.

>> you had a virtual mob outside the courthouse putting the pressure on this jury because they weren't there to to see george trial. they were there to see him convicted.

>> reporter: stinney's body rests in an unmarked grave in this baptist cemetery. advocates hope at the end of the year, he'll get a new day in court. for "today," mark potter , nbc, manning, south carolina .