Interview with J.W. Kellum and Amzie Moore

[unintelligible]—THE TILL TRIAL OF 1955 [unintelligible]?

J.W. Kellum:

The Till trial was held here in this courthouse in the fall the month of September and 1955. That was a case where a young black boy, I don't recall the exact age, but he was a teenager I do recall that, was a resident of, I believe, the state of Illinois, and he was visiting some of his relatives here in this particular county or vicinity of this county. And then there were two whites charged with his murder when he was found in a body of water here we call the Tallahatchie River. Those parties were indicted by the Grand Jury that was in session in September of 1955 and they were tried jointly. They were half-brothers, one of them was named Leslie[sic] Bryant the other one was named J.W. Milam. There were five lawyers including me that defended those two whites for that crime. After the state had put on all of its proof as to the corpus delicti of the crime, we took the position as lawyers that the criminal agency was not established by the proof, and we made a motion before the judge for a directed verdict requesting him to declare the defendants not guilty and he refused to grant that request. Thus the issue was presented to twelve jurors and they brought in a verdict of not guilty as to both of the defendants.