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Pardon being sought for executed black man

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A pardon is being sought for a black man who supporters say was mistakenly convicted and executed for the murder of a white woman eight decades ago.

Maurice Franklin Mayes' arrest in 1919 triggered a bloody race riot in Knoxville. He died in the electric chair three years later.

However, Mayes' conviction never settled doubts about his guilt. And now historian and former legislator Robert Booker, who has written a book about the case, is joining with Mayor Victor Ashe to seek a posthumous pardon.

"There is no way this case would have resulted in an execution in today's justice system, and it is doubtful that it would have even gone to trial," Ashe wrote to Gov. Don Sundquist this week.