Dr. Paul Robinson, Marion County coroner in 1922, saw Tompkins’ body soon after police reported it. “There could be no question that the man had been murdered and his body then tied to the tree,” he said in local media reports at the time.
Tompkins was “dead or almost dead when he was hanged,” Robinson said.
Despite those circumstances, Dr. George R. Christian, a deputy coroner in 1922, conducted Tompkins’ autopsy and signed the certificate of death, documents show.
In another style of handwriting, the manner of death was changed from “open” to say “suicide,” according to a written petition to change Tompkins’ death certificate.
The Indiana Remembrance Coalition brought Tompkins’ case to the attention of McGinty through a written petition, causing her to “unquestionably” change his manner of death on his death certificate.
“In 1922, George Tompkins did not receive justice, neither in life nor in death,” Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said.
McGinty, the chief deputy coroner, said: “It was an honor to make this injustice right.”
On March 12, nearly a century later, a headstone was placed at Tompkins’ unmarked grave inside Floral Park Cemetery.
CNN’s Jenn Selva and Rebekah Reiss contributed to this report.