Brown (defendant) and two other men were found guilty of murdering Reymond Stewart and were sentenced to death. The evidence against them consisted solely of their own confessions which were induced by severe beatings at the hands of the local authorities. At trial, Brown and the others objected to the admission of the confessions and testified to the torture, saying their confessions were false. Other witnesses were called to testify to first-hand knowledge of the beatings and Brown and the other men still bore many of the psychical scars of the whippings when the trial commenced. The judge submitted the case to the jury, instructing them that if they had reasonable doubt as to the veracity of the confessions, the confessions should not be considered as evidence. Brown appealed to the state supreme court and the conviction was affirmed.