TUPELO • Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch’s office is reviewing the case of Curtis Flowers, a man who has been tried six times for the same crime.
Circuit Court Judge Joseph Loper on Wednesday issued an order saying Doug Evans, the district attorney for the state’s fifth circuit district, had recused himself from the case and has appointed Fitch’s office to prosecute the case.
“The Court recognizes that it will take some time for the Attorney General to review the case,” the order reads. “Accordingly, no deadlines will be set at this time. The parties shall report to the Court in due course, and the court reverses the right to make inquiry of the parties in the meantime.”
Loper’s order gave Evans until Feb. 28 to provide his complete file to the attorney general’s office.
Ray Coleman, the communications director for the attorney general’s office, said that Fitch and her legal team will be “reviewing all documents and evidence related to the case before determining the next steps.”
Rod McDuff of the Mississippi Center for Justice is Flowers’ attorney. He told the Daily Journal in a statement he is pleased the attorney general will conduct an independent review of the evidence and he looks forward to providing the attorney general with information he and his team uncovered in the course of his work on the case.
“This includes evidence of innocence that has emerged since the last trial,” McDuff said. “We believe the Attorney General’s review will confirm the trial judge’s statement at the recent bail hearing that ‘the State of Mississippi is faced with the prospect of having to present a far weaker case to the jury than it’s had in the past.’”
Evans, the state’s fifth circuit district attorney, wrote to Loper on Jan. 6 informing the Court that his office had recused itself of any further involvement in the case.
Flowers is accused of murdering four people at a furniture store in Winona in 1996. Each time Flowers has been prosecuted, it has either resulted in a hung jury or a guilty verdict that was later overturned by a higher court. In June 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court voted to overturn Flowers’ latest conviction and said Evans intentionally struck black people from serving on the jury that convicted Flowers.
The Court granted Flowers bail in December 2019, which ended an incarceration period that spanned over two decades.
If Fitch, a Republican, and her office decide to prosecute Flowers, this would mean he would face a seventh trial for the same crime which he’s accused of committing.