Syndicated radio personality Tom Joyner will appear in a state appeals court in Columbia, SC on Thursday (10/14) to seek posthumous pardons for two great-uncles who were put to death for what he says was a crime they didn’t commit. Thomas and Meeks Griffin were executed on September 29, 1915 one day after their arrest and conviction for the slaying of a man in South Carolina. Joyner learned of the story when Harvard scholar Henry Louis “Skip” Gates, announced the results of genealogy research conducted on Joyner’s family as part of Gates’ PBS special, “African American Lives II.” Gates and his research team then learned that Joyner’s uncles were in fact framed by a man who may well have done the killing himself. Joyner, with help from Gates and South Carolina attorney Stephen K. Benjamin, put together the case petitioning the state to exonerate his uncles.
*UPDATE* South Carolina has posthumously pardoned two great uncles of nationally syndicated radio host Tom Joyner who were executed in 1913 for the death of an elderly Confederate veteran. Joyner says he got word today (10/14) that the seven-member South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services voted unanimously to grant the pardon. It is believed to be the first post conviction pardon in South Carolina for someone sentenced to death.