'Surviving a 1960 Georgia Lynching’: Blakely 1960 cold case reopened after documentary

'Surviving a 1960 Georgia Lynching’: Blakely 1960 cold case reopened after documentary

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Governor’s Office contacted WALB News 10 and denied Clennon King’s statement that Gov. Brian Kemp urged the reopening of the case. The Governor’s Office said the governor does not have the authority to reopen the case. The governor’s spokesperson said the district attorney would be the one to have the power to do so.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Clennon King has disputed the accuracy of WALB’s report following the statement released by Gov. Brian Kemp’s office which denies King’s statement that Kemp urged the re-opening of the case. WALB has added the exact statement from King’s phone interview with WALB’s Jim Wallace, as well as unedited audio of his phone interview to provide transparency and clarity to the story. You can listen to the full interview here.

BLAKELY, Ga. (WALB) - The state of Georgia will review the 1960 rape and murder of an 8-year-old Blakely girl following a documentary film by Albany native Clennon King.

King said that his documentary, “Fair Game: Surviving a 1960 Georgia Lynching,” led to Gov. Brian Kemp and Attorney General Christopher Carr urging the reopening of the cold case.

Full statement: “Keep in mind, it didn’t happen on its own. I had to go to the Governor’s Office first, and then of course to the attorney general, and then I’m sure they contacted [Pataula District Attorney Ronald] McNease to say ‘You need to take a look at this.' Now granted, I think the film...umm…and I do think at the end of the day it inspired some movement on this case.” (King said the “they” he was referring to in this statement is the attorney general’s office.)

In 1960, Yvonne Holmes was raped and murdered in Blakely.

A 24-year-old New Jersey man, James Fair Jr., was traveling through Blakely at the time.

He was arrested and within three days, Fair was convicted of the crime.

The trial had no jury or attorney for Fair, but he received a death sentence.

Following a 26-month campaign, Fair was cleared of charges.

No one was ever charged with Holmes’ death again.

King hopes his film can bring her justice.

“I don’t know. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I can tell you I hope that these folks come clean because I think that community deserves it,” King said.

Pataula District Attorney Ronald McNease notified King he will review Holmes’ case for new evidence.

You can watch the trailer or the entire documentary for free on Vimeo.

The full press release is below:

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