In 1949, Charles Greenlee, Walter Irvin, Samuel Shepherd, and Ernest Thomas were charged with sexually abusing Norma Padgett in Groveland, Florida, about 30 miles west of Orlando. The group was called "Groveland Four".
From the beginning, there was some doubt about Padgett's testimony, but in the era of Jim Crow, a jury condemned the men with no evidence of a crime.
Gov. Ron DeSantis gave the men full posthumous pardons on Friday.
"For seventy years, these four men have wrongly written their story for crimes they did not commit, as I said, it's a long wait. It's never too late to do the right thing," said DeSantis a statement. "I believe that the rule of law is the sacred bond of society, and when it is trampled on, we all suffer, for the Groveland Four, the truth was buried, the perpetrators celebrated, but until then justice has screamed."
The pardon was unanimously approved by the Executive Clemency Board, according to the new governor's office.
The July Night Incident
Padgett claimed that on the night of July 1
The men were arrested. Three of them were tortured until the police were able to force a confession on two of them.
Thomas, who escaped from prison, was killed after a search.
Greenlee was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Shepherd and Irvin received the death penalty. While he was being brought from the county jail to retrial, the sheriff shot both and demanded self-defense.
Shepherd died at the scene and Irvin survived while playing dead. His sentence was later transformed into a life in prison.
"Memories Can not Be Deleted"
We are really sorry, "said MEP Chris Sprowls on the families of men after the legislature had unanimously voted to relieve them.
" The memories can not be erased, the pain she experiences but can not be resolved Today we have the opportunity to block these families in the form of an apology. "Rep. Bobby DuBose, who financed the bill that demanded her pardon.
Devon M. Sayers of CNN contributed to this report.