Accused of the rape and kidnap of a white woman, Mack Charles Parker was abducted from the jail where he was being detained in Pearl River County by a lynch mob led by J.P. Walker, a former deputy sheriff. Parker was shot and thrown into the Pearl River three days before his trial was scheduled to begin. The jailer, Jewel Alford, facilitated the mob’s access to Parker.
Parker was represented by R. Jess Brown, a black attorney who challenged exclusion of blacks from the indicting grand jury, the lack of blacks in the petit jury venire on account of their exclusion from the voting roles, and requested a change of venue. Some suggest that racial anxieties were intensified among whites in the county at the prospect of Brown cross-examining the victim of the rape.
The FBI conducted a thorough investigation of the case after Parker’s body was discovered. A local prosecutor disregarded the results of the FBI investigation. The coroner’s jury concluded that “death occurred at the hands of a person or persons unknown.” The United States Attorney General William Rogers called the result “as flagrant and calculated a miscarriage of justice as I know of.” The Justice Department pursued criminal indictments under 18 USC 241 and 242. The federal grand jury, which received incorrect instructions from Judge Sidney Mize, refused to return indictments.
The case has not been reopened.