More than 300 years after being convicted, Salem's last 'witch' was officially cleared last week.
It was last Thursday that lawmakers in Massachusetts in the United States formally exonerated Elizabeth Johnson Jr., convicted of witchcraft 329 years ago, reported the “Boston Globe”.
Sentenced to death at the height of the Salem witch trials in 1693, she was never executed. However, unlike the other 29 women convicted, she was never acquitted.
Elizabeth Johnson's case was reopened last year after several students at North Andover Middle School took matters into their own hands and investigated how they could clear her name.
It was Democrat Diana DiZoglio, a senator from Massachusetts, who introduced a bill to exonerate this latest victim of the witch hunt.
“We will never be able to change what happened to victims like Elizabeth, but at least we can set the record straight,” Ms. DiZoglio said.
For her part, teacher Carrie LaPierre, whose students defended the bill, congratulated these young people for tackling “the long-neglected question of justice for this wrongfully convicted woman.”
By the end of the 17th century, as many as 150 people, mostly women, had been accused of witchcraft in the Salem trials fueled by fear, paranoia and superstitions.
Elizabeth Johnson Jr. was just 22 when she was sentenced to hang, but her punishment was thrown out by Governor Wiliam Phips due to serious miscarriages of justice.
Over the centuries that followed, the other victims, including Johnson's mother, had been exonerated. However, this was never the case for Elizabeth Johnson Jr. Unlike the other victims, she never had children, so no descendants to clear her name.
“Elizabeth’s story and struggle continue to resonate greatly today. Although we have come a long way since the horrors of the witch trials, women today still too often see their rights challenged and their concerns dismissed,” concluded Senator DiZoglio.