Killing of Bennie Thompson in South Carolina in 1933


Case summary

Bennie Thompson, age 38, was killed in 1933 by Burley Leppard and three others—Morris, Mayes, and Webb—in Ninety Six, Greenwood County, South Carolina. Thompson was arrested for pulling a knife on the four men during a fight. Leppard arranged with police chief Calvin Rush to snatch Thompson from jail. Leppard, Morris, Mayes, and Webb beat Thompson to death and left his body off of a highway. Trial jury acquitted. Indictment against Rush was withdrawn. Damage suit brought by Thompson’s widow Ada Thompson was dismissed. An essay on this case, researched and authored by a CRRJ student, is available on request.


Alleged perpetrators/other named individuals:
Perpetrator group type: police

Date of incident: 1933-10-08
Location: Ninety Six, Greenwood County, South Carolina
Location type: public space - rural
Allegation against victim: arguing with a white man

Coroner process
Coroner/inquest: yes
Finding of no legal responsibility: no

Criminal process
Arrest: [ ]
Charge/indictment/information: [ ]
Grand jury: yes
Trial: [ ]
Conviction: [ ]
Sentence: [ ]

Civil lawsuits/claims filed: yes

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