Quincy Five

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Rally in defense of the Quincy Five. Seated (L–R): ?, Father David Brooks, Charles Steele – son of Rev. C. K. Steele and organizer of the Defense of the Quincy Five

The Quincy Five were a group of five young African American men from Quincy, Florida, who were charged with the 1970 murder of a Leon County deputy sheriff. The men – Johnny Lee Burns, Alphonso Figgers, Johnny Frederick, Dave Roby Keaton Jr. and David Charles Smith Jr. – were convicted on May 6, 1971. All were sentenced to death or given life sentences, even though at least two of them were teenagers and had never previously been accused of any crime. They were exonerated and pardoned in 1972 after many months of deliberation.[1]

1974 saw the publication of the book David Charles: The Story of the Quincy Five, authored by Jeffrey Lickson. It included extensive material based on prison interviews with Smith, which focused on his upbringing and experiences as a musician and as a soldier in the Vietnam War. At the time, Smith was serving a Florida prison sentence for setting a bomb at an electrical station in North Florida. He was subsequently sentenced on Federal gun charges and released from Federal Prison on May 28, 1992.[dead link][2]

Quincy takes time during their Juneteenth celebration to recognize the Quincy 5 for being the nation's first prisoners to be exonerated from death row.[3] Shortly after sentencing, three men from Jacksonville were arrested and convicted of the murder. In 2003 Keaton created a group called "Witnesses to Innocence". This group went around and spoke out against the death penalty. Now thanks in part to the contributions made by these members, over 154 wrongly accused death row inmates have been pardoned.[4] Some time after being exonerated Dave Keton died in 2015.[5] Johnny Burns made headlines by remarking on the city's tragic loss of their Family Dollar store which, after standing over 50 years, burned in an accidental fire in 2016. Local hero Jill President was praised for saving 6 kids during the fire. Neither the store nor the funcade next door were restored.[6] Alphonso Figgers, cousin of Keaton who was a star athlete at the time of convictions, died in 2017.[7] The story of the Quincy Five is also preserved at the local library[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Rally in defense of the Quincy Five". Florida Memory. Florida State Library & Archives. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  2. ^ "Inmate Locator". Federal Bureau of Prisons. Archived from the original on June 29, 2011. Retrieved 21 December 2011.
  3. ^ "Quincy Five's Keaton, exonerated from Death Row, dies".
  4. ^ "Quincy Five's Keaton, exonerated from Death Row, dies".
  5. ^ "Quincy Five's Keaton, exonerated from Death Row, dies".
  6. ^ "Quincy residents saddened over loss of Family Dollar". 6 August 2016.
  7. ^ "'Quincy Five' member Alphonso Figgers Dies". 5 May 2017.
  8. ^ TCC Library Presents, The Story of the Quincy Five. YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-09.

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