Till's body was discovered three days later and retrieved from the river. The following is an excerpt from an FBI report following the murder: Milam and Bryant described Till as defiant, even during his pistol-whipping in the barn. According to the two men, Till said, You bastards, I'm not afraid of you. I'm as good as you are. I've had white women. Milam said, When a nigger gets close to mentioning sex with a white woman, he's tired of living. I'm likely to kill him...I stood there in that shed and listened to that nigger throw that poison at me, and I just made up my mind. After the pickup left the farm, it stopped briefly at J. W. Milam's store in Glendora. There, a witness noticed blood running out of the bed of the truck and pooling on the ground. When the dripping blood was pointed out to Milam, when he returned to his truck, J. W. claimed that he killed a deer. When Milam was told it was not deer season, he allegedly pulled back the tarpaulin in the bed to reveal Till's body and said, This is what happens to smart niggers. When the jurors were sent out to begin deliberations, according to Hugh Whitaker, Sheriff-elect Dogan told jurors to wait a while before coming out to make it look good.
The jurors enjoyed Cokes before returning 68 minutes later to the courtroom to announce their verdict of Not Guilty. Six weeks after the murder trial, a Leflore County grand jury refused to indict Bryant and Milam on kidnapping charges, and both men were released from custody. At the funeral, Emmett's mother decided to have an open casket funeral to show the world what had happened.