Judge clears the "Groveland Four" — 72 years after rape claim

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A Florida judge has exonerated the "Groveland Four" — four Black men who were accused of attacking and raping a White teen at gunpoint in 1949.
Bill Gladson, the local state attorney, fought for the men's convictions to be overturned. "We followed the evidence to see where it led us, and it led us to this moment," Gladson said at a news conference Monday.

When 17-year-old Norma Padgett made the accusation, the Ku Klux Klan torched Black neighborhoods in Groveland and an angry mob killed one of the men, Ernest Thomas. The others, Charles Greenlee, Walter Irvin and Samuel Shepherd, were beaten into confessing.

After an all-White jury convicted the men, Thurgood Marshall, who was a lawyer for the NAACP at the time, won them a new trial. But the local sheriff shot and killed…
Zoe Christen Jones
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