Review by: Jeffrey Collins, AP Featured News, January 17, 2010
SC crusaders look to right Jim Crow justice wrongs
In Charleston, an author is trying to get officials to say a black man convicted of killing a white clothing store owner in 1911 was railroaded by police desperate to solve the crime.
The Evening Post newspaper proclaimed it "the most dastardly and sensational crime that has happened in Charleston in several years." Investigators questioned a half-dozen blacks and offered a $750 reward but couldn't find a suspect until two weeks later, when the shopkeeper's widow was attacked in the same store. Two white men grabbed Daniel "Nealy" Duncan, who was walking near the store as the woman staggered out.
Duncan had a severe speech impediment, which no one who fingered him as the killer pointed out. There was no physical evidence, but Duncan was convicted in about an hour and hanged nine months later, according to Batt Humphreys, a former CBS News producer who researched the case for his new novel "Dead Weight" and has written the state asking for a posthumous pardon.
"I could spend money and hire lawyers and all that but I'm not going to," said Humphreys, whose book was published by Charleston's Joggling Board Press.
"It's clearly their choice to do something and take positive action. By not taking action it will show the state has not grown in 100 years."