Murder of Delbert Tibbs When justice changed all

Background

Tibbs, a former seminary student from Chicago, had been traveling across the country and found himself in Florida in February 1974. He was stopped by the state police and questioned about the rape of 16-year-old Cynthia Nadeau and the murder of her traveling companion, Terry Milroy, in Fort Myers. Cynthia had described the offender as 5’6” with a dark complexion and a large Afro; Delbert stood 6’3” with a light complexion and had a small Afro (Witness to Innocence). Yet after seeing photographs, her description of the killer changed dramatically. She said the killer tibbs

Crime

Delbert Tibbs was wrongly convicted in 1974 of murdering a 27-year-old man and raping the man's 16-year-old companion near Fort Meyers, Florida on November 23, 1974. When first questioned by the police, 220 miles from the scene of the crime he was released because he didn't fit the rape victim's description of her attacker. She erroneously identified him when she saw his photo. Both victims were white and Tibbs was black. During Tibbs trial the prosecution's key evidence was the woman's identification of Tibbs as her attacker and a former cell mate testified Tibbs confessed last word before he was put in the electrical chair

Aftermath

After Delbert Tibbs dropped out of a Chicago seminary in 1972, he went on the road, walking, hopping freight trains and taking odd jobs across the U.S.

One day in early 1974, police stopped him near Ocala, Fla.,and question him

Works Cited

"Exonerees" witness to innocence December 1

"Diblert tibbs." One For ten, 2012.

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