In 1944 a black teenager named George Stinney Jr was accused of murdering two white girls on flimsy evidence, he was tried without legal representation with an all-white jury, and he was executed by electric chair at the age of 14.
He was accused of killing two white girls in a rural part of a South Carolina mill town. He actually participated in the town’s search party for the girls, but he made the fatal mistake of telling people that he had seen the girls on the day they died. One day later, he was arrested and his family was forced to leave the town. His father was fired from his job at the mill, and his siblings were told that they would be lynched if they didn’t leave immediately. The court refused to hear his appeal, and the appeals on his behalf to the governor for clemency were denied. He is the youngest American to be sentenced to death and executed.
Executioners noted that he was too small for the electric chair when he died; the straps did not fit him, an electrode was too big for his leg, and the boy had to sit on a bible to fit properly in the chair.