There were no witnesses to the four murders at Tardy Furniture on July 16, 1996. But there are quite a few people who say they saw Curtis Flowers walking around Winona that morning. None of the witnesses saw him do anything illegal or especially incriminating. But taken together, they provided the prosecution with a narrative of how Flowers might have committed the crime. And their testimony at all six of his trials was an essential part of the case against him.
On the map below, constructed using witness testimony from Flowers' first trial, we've marked the two versions of what happened that morning: Flowers' alibi route — he says he spent the morning at his house and his sister's house — and the route that prosecutors say he walked to Tardy Furniture. We've highlighted where witnesses say they saw him and noted any inconsistencies in their testimony.
One puzzling feature of the prosecutors' case is how far they say Flowers walked that morning. In the prosecution's telling, he left early, about 7 a.m., and walked roughly 20 minutes across town to the Angelica garment factory, where, they say, he stole a gun from an unlocked car. At that point, standing in the factory parking lot, Curtis could have walked directly to downtown, where Tardy Furniture was located, and waited for the store to open.
Instead, prosecutors say Flowers took a much longer route, walking all the way back across town, another 20-minute trip, to his house, where he stayed for a short time before walking across town again to reach Tardy's. It's a brazen, time-consuming way to commit a quadruple homicide that offers plenty of chances to be seen, especially in broad daylight. But that was the scenario offered at trial. And it helped put Flowers on death row.