Monthly Archives: December 2010

Possible Modern Day Lynching Ruled Suicide in Mississippi

This situation is just not adding up for me.  A 26 year-old black man with a history of mental illness was found hanging from a tree in the predominantly white housing area of Greenwood, MS after he wandered off on Dec 1, 2010.   Greenwood, in the Mississippi Delta, is in the same county as Money, Miss., where 14-year-old Emmett Till was infamously lynched in 1955.

There are of course no witnesses and not much mention of how he would have been able to hang himself.  As far as I know, hanging one’s self without assistance is difficult at best.  Police say there was no visible sign that the body had been tampered with and there was no initial physical evidence that would indicate it could be murder. I know police need evidence.  I understand that.  However, in terms of a suicide this is not a typical scenario.

USA Today – “The county sheriff says that a 26-year-old black man found hanged from an oak tree in Greenwood, Miss., apparently committed suicide, but the president of the local NAACP challenges that explanation and says the group will monitor developments in the case.

Frederick Jermaine Carter, whose body was found Friday in North Greenwood, had a history of mental illness, was on medication and had a pattern of wandering away, says Leflore County Sheriff Ricky Banks.

Carter, who lived in neighboring Sunflower County, was helping his stepfather paint a building Wednesday. The stepfather went to get tools and when he returned, Carter had wandered off, Banks says.

“That really didn’t bother the stepdaddy,” Banks says. “It had happened so many times before. He’s a mental patient and was taking medication. He had wandered to Florida, to Arkansas.”

After Carter was found Friday, Banks says he investigated the scene and found no evidence that anyone else was there. “I didn’t see any indication of anybody else being in that area, going from physical evidence and the general tracks,” Banks says. “He had on a sort of new pair of tennis shoes that had a most distinct track with an unusual design.”

“We tracked him where he walked in there,” he says. “No other tracks followed his tracks. He walked in there by himself. There were no signs around the tree where he was hanging.””

I’m skeptical given the young man’s metal state and the difficulty of doing something like this outside in the woods.  I’ve only read one article (out of 10 so far) that notes how he might have done this.

“”There was an old table, just a frame of an old table right up at the tree. It looked like he used that frame to stand up on and then kicked it out from under him,” Banks said.He said the man’s jacket pocket held a bundle of braided rope like the rope around his neck.” source

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