Curtis Flowers Prosecutor Doug Evans Removes Himself From Case

Curtis Flowers walking free for the first time in 23 years.
Curtis Flowers walked free last month for the first time in 23 years. Facebook

The prosecutor who tried Curtis Flowers six times for the same crime is off the case.

The embattled Mississippi prosecutor who tried Curtis Flowers six times for the same crime has removed himself from the case. 

Doug Evans asked to be removed in a court filing, requesting the murder case be assigned to the state attorney general's office. 

"While I remain confident in both the investigation and the jury verdicts in this matter, I have come to the conclusion that my continued involvement will prevent the families from obtaining justice and from the defendant being held responsible for his actions," Evans wrote.

If the recusal is granted, Flowers' fate will no longer rest with a district attorney who sought the death penalty against him for more than two decades.

The 49-year-old former gospel singer was released last month on bail, the first time he has walked free in 23 years. He has long denied being responsible for the 1996 execution-style murders of four employees inside a furniture store in the small town of Winona. 

Two trials ended with hung juries. Three trials were overturned on appeal, as was the last one, which went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

In June, the high court struck down Flowers' latest conviction for capital murder, ruling Evans, whose jurisdiction covers seven rural counties, engaged in racial discrimination by excluding black people from the juries deliberating Flowers' fate. Evans prosecuted Flowers, who is black, in all six trials.

Evans has not publicly commented on the racial discrimination rulings. But journalists from the podcast series "In the Dark," which devoted its second season to Flowers' case, approached the prosecutor as he ate lunch earlier this year at a Mexican restaurant in Kosciusko. Evans said he disagreed with the U.S. Supreme Court decision. "There's no question about (Flowers') guilt. There never has been," he said. "Courts are just like me and you. Everybody's got opinions."

Flowers' attorney, Rob McDuff of the Mississippi Center for Justice, issued a statement Monday, saying, "Doug Evans had no business staying on this case and we are pleased he recused himself. We look forward to what we hope will be an impartial review of this case by the new attorney general of Mississippi."

Current attorney general Jim Hood, a Democrat, is leaving office this week after losing his bid for governor. Lynn Fitch, a Republican, will be sworn in on Thursday. She will decide whether to retry Flowers.

Hood, meanwhile, said Tuesday the case should be retried. "Doug Evans has been an honest lawman and prosecutor for as long as I can remember," he said in statement to "My personal two bits is the facts are sufficient for the case to be retried. Appellate courts are made up of humans, just like us. In extremely rare cases, I have seen them allow emotions to overcome logic in tough cases."