A wrongfully convicted Salem witch to be pardoned, thanks to these teens

Research conducted by North Andover middle school students is set to exonerate Elizabeth Johnson Jr, 328 years after she was accused

It’s been 328 years since the famous Salem witch trials, the puritanical hunt that accused hundreds of witchcraft and eventually lead to the death of 20 people.

Over the years, revisions in law have seen those people exonerated for their alleged crimes, but a class of American students at North Andover middle school recently discovered that 22-year-old Elizabeth Johnson Jr was yet to be pardoned due to an oversight. Despite her mother being pardoned, the students realised that Elizabeth – who was sentenced to hang but never executed – hadn’t had her conviction overturned.

Now, senator Diana DiZoglio has taken the students research and will use it to make amendments to legislation passed in 1957 to earn Elizabeth an official pardon. “It is important that we work to correct history,” she said. “We will never be able to change what happened to these victims, but at the very least, we can set the record straight.”

If the bill is passed, Elizabeth will be the last accused witch to be cleared, an exciting feat for a bunch of 13- and 14-year-olds, although it wasn’t initially as thrilling. “Some of the conversation was, ‘Why are we doing this? She’s dead. Isn’t there more important stuff going on in the world?”’ the student’s teacher, Carrie LaPierre said. “But they came around to the idea that it’s important that in some small way we could do this one thing.”