District 45 Representative Kamia Brown Responds To Groveland Four Pardoning
Yesterday, during the Florida Clemency Board meeting, the board unanimously granted pardons to Samuel Shepherd, Walter Irvin, Charles Greenlee and Earnest Thomas, known as the Groveland Four.
The Groveland Four, one of Florida’s most historic cases of injustice, were accused of robbing and raping a white couple in 1949 in Groveland, Florida. Shortly after being accused, mobs were formed and set fire on one of the accused’s home. Within days of this happening, Mr. Ernest Thomas was shot over 100 times and never got his day in court. Mr. Charles Greenlee, after getting beat repeatedly by jail deputies, confessed to participating in the crime and was sentenced to life in prison. It was later proven that he was indeed nowhere near the scene of the crime. After spending 12 years in prison, before being paroled in 1962 and moved to Tennessee where he lived and raised a successful family until his passing in 2012. Mr. Samuel Shepherd and Mr. Walter Irvin were both shot while in custody by Lake County Sheriff Willis McCall. Mr. Irvin would survive the shooting but Mr. Shepherd did not. Mr. Irvin would go on to be sentenced to death by electrocution. In 1954, Governor Leroy Collins commuted his sentence to life in prison. He was paroled in 1968 and moved to Miami to be with his sister. He died at the age of 40.
“ Yesterday was a great day for the families of Mr. Shepherd, Mr. Irvin, Mr. Greenlee and Mr. Thomas.”, says Representative Kamia Brown. “I am glad that while it is posthumously, justice has been served for them and their families. May their families find peace in knowing that their loved ones have been rightfully vindicated.”