The Mississippi Supreme Court on Thursday formally handed the case of Curtis Giovanni Flowers, a man accused of a quadruple murder, back down to the Montgomery County Circuit Court after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned his latest conviction in June and ruled that a prosecutor intentionally struck black people from serving on the jury in his latest trial.
This leaves the possibility that Flowers, who has already been tried six times for the crime, could now could face a seventh trial if Doug Evans, the district attorney from Grenada, wants to retry the case.
Evans has previously told his local paper, the Grenada Star, that the case “will have to be retried,” but he has not definitively said if he will actually retry the case.
“He will have to be retried,” Evans said. “The decision they made sent it back to have another trial. At this point, I haven’t thought much other than that. I have to say I was surprised by the decision.”
The Daily Journal attempted to reach Evans Thursday, but his office in Grenada said he was unavailable for comment and was busy with cases in court.
Evans' handling of the Flowers case has repeatedly led to overturned convictions. Two convictions were overturned because of racially motivated jury strikes by Evans and two additional convictions were overturned for other prosecutorial misconduct at trial.
However, there is very little that can be done in Mississippi to remove or limit Evans' role in a prospective seventh trial.
Under Mississippi law, a district attorney can voluntarily write to the Mississippi attorney general’s office and ask for someone from the office to assist the case. The current attorney general is Jim Hood, who is currently running for governor.
At a campaign event in July, Hood told the Daily Journal he has communicated with Evans’ office and offered his assistance and support to Evans. Hood stressed that his office cannot simply take over the case from Evans.
The law also states Gov. Phil Bryant can write to the state attorney general and ask for the office to assist in the case.
In a previous statement to the Daily Journal, Bryant said his legal staff was reviewing the recent opinion from the nation’s highest court that overturned Flowers’ most recent conviction, but he did not say if he planned on writing to the attorney general.
“I expect that the attorney general will assure that justice is done in this case,” Bryant said. “I will not let politics or the media sway my determination to see a resolution to this matter for the victims and their families."
Flowers will remain in police custody until Evans’ office reaches a decision on whether to retry the case or not. The case gained national attention after news outlet APM Reports spent almost a year reporting on the case.