Mississippi drops case against Curtis Flowers after he was tried 6 times on murder charges

Curtis Flowers, center, sits with his attorneys, Henderson Hill, left, and Rob McDuff during a December 2019 bond hearing in Winona, Mississippi.

(CNN)Prosecutors in Mississippi are dismissing the case against Curtis Flowers, a Black man who was tried six times in a murder case by a White prosecutor and spent 23 years in prison, a spokeswoman for the state's attorney general said Friday.

The indictments against Flowers over the deaths of four people were dismissed, Colby Jordan, a spokeswoman for the the Mississippi attorney general told CNN.
"Today, I am finally free from the injustice that left me locked in a box for nearly twenty three years," Flowers said in a statement shared by his attorneys. "I've been asked if I ever thought this day would come. I have been blessed with a family that never gave up on me and with them by my side, I knew it would."
    The Mississippi Attorney General's Office had filed the motion to dismiss the indictments against Flowers, saying "it is in the interest of justice that the State will not seek an unprecedented seventh trial of Mr. Flowers."
    A copy of the motion was published by APM Reports and its authenticity was confirmed to CNN by the office of the Mississippi Attorney General.
    "As the evidence stands today, there's no key prosecution witness that incriminates Mr. Flowers who is alive and available and has not had multiple, conflicting statements in the record," prosecutors wrote in the motion.
    Flowers was accused of capital murder in the killing of four people inside a furniture store in Winona, Mississippi. Prosecutors alleged Flowers stole a .380-caliber pistol and shot the store's owner, Beth Tardy, and three employees execution-style on July 16, 1996.
    Flowers had once worked for Tardy and, according to prosecutors, killed her because she fired him after docking his pay for damaging a pair of batteries. He killed the other three victims to eliminate witnesses, prosecutors alleged. Tardy and two victims were White; one was Black.
    "The case against Curtis Flowers never made sense," one of Flowers' attorneys, Rob McDuff, said in a statement. "He was 26 years old with no criminal record and nothing in his history to suggest he would commit a crime like this. As time went by, even more evidence emerged to corroborate his innocence."
    Flowers was imprisoned for two decades and faced six murder trials. The Mississippi Supreme Court overturned Flowers' first three convictions, two of which resulted in death sentences, and his next two trials ended in hung juries.
    After his last trial in 2010, a Montgomery County jury found him guilty and he was sentenced to death.
    His lawyers appealed the case and last year, the United States Supreme Court ruled Flowers deserved a new trial because state's lead prosecutor, Doug Evans, had engaged in unconstitutional racial discrimination by striking African American jurors from the panel.
    "This prosecution was flawed from the beginning and was tainted throughout by racial discrimination. It should never have occurred and lasted far too long, but we are glad it is finally over," McDuff said.
      The Flowers family said they felt happy and blessed because a weight "has been finally lifted" from Flowers' shoulders.
      "We have prayed for this day and are looking forward to the future knowing that our brother will not be going back to prison. We know our Mom is looking down and our only wish is that she could have been here to welcome Curtis home," the family said in a statement.