Gaffney, South Carolina
Gaffney Lynching Trial Starts After Weekend; Race Not to be Considered
Jan 9, 2006, 09:39 AM PST
On Monday, lawyers will carefully hand-pick 12-people in the upstate to decide whether a group of white teens lynched a black teen who was walking to his Gaffney home.
FOX Carolina's Jamie Guirola reports, the beating sent chills through the City of Gaffney and all over the upstate. Next week, it'll happen again when proscutors re-live, in detail, exactly what happened last summer.
It is the type of beating you'd hear about during the civil rights movement in the 50's and 60's. Last June a black 16 year old, Isaiah Clyburn, was walking alone to his home on this old country road. Unlike Isaiah's scars, these skid marks in the grass have probably faded by now.
Isaiah's relative: "I was shocked because i know that he doesn't start fights."
Isaiah's family is too emotional to talk to us before Monday's trial. But we did catch up with them soon after the beating. Next week prosecutors will try to convince a jury that 5 teenagers called Isaiah the "n"-word and almost beat him to death while a sixth teenage girl watched. The teens are accused of jumping out of their trucks waiving a confederate flag and then beating Isaiah; leaving him to die-- his face swollen and bloody.
Isaiah's relative: "My son called me and said, 'mom you better get over here isaiah is hurt pretty bad'".
Many believe the beating was racially motivated and should be tried as a hate crime. But, a judge will have to tell a jury it cannot consider racial motivation when deciding the innocence of the group of accused teens. South Carolina is 1 of 9 states in the country that doesnt have stiffer punishments for people who hurt other people because of their race. And if Isaiah's relatives feel now what they believed after the attack-- the teenagers would be lucky to have them on their jury next week.
Isaiah's relative: "I told Isaiah 'don't hate them, that was a spirit of the devil that led them to turn around call you that name and then came back to get you'".
Legally, lynching is when 2 or more people attack another person. If found guilty, each teen could spend anywhere from 3 to 20 years in jail. If it were a hate crime the minimum punishment would likely be stiffer with jail time starting at the minimum with10 or 15 years in jail. email@example.com
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