Author Topic: Ex-Klansmen convicted of manslaughter of three civil rights workers.up to 20 yrs  (Read 97 times)

We Fly High


Mississippi ex-Klansman convicted

Mr Killen was acquitted on related charges in 1967
A US jury has convicted a former Ku Klux Klan member of manslaughter over the mob killings of three civil rights workers in 1964.

The jury in Mississippi rejected murder charges against Edgar Ray Killen, now aged 80, but found him guilty of recruiting a mob to kill the three.

Exactly 41 years to the day of the killings, Killen now faces up to 20 years in jail for the role he played.

The attacks outraged Americans and energised the civil rights movements.

The defendant had denied taking any part in the killings of Michael Schwerner, 24, Andy Goodman, 20, and James Chaney, 21.

Killen - who is a Baptist preacher - showed no emotion as the verdict was read in the courtroom in the town of Philadelphia.

Outside the court there was a mood of celebration among the victims' relatives, the BBC's James Coomarasamy says.

Killen's conviction will be seen by civil rights groups as evidence that Mississippi is now able to confront the worst elements of its racist past and look to the future, he adds.

Bodies buried

Earlier on Tuesday, prosecutors made an impassioned plea for his conviction, saying the victims' families had waited for decades for justice.

"Is a Neshoba County jury going to tell the rest of the world that we are not going to let Edgar Ray Killen get away with murder any more? Not one day more."

The activists were two white men from New York and a local black colleague, who were killed while campaigning for the registration of black voters.

They were abducted as they drove out of the Mississippi town and shot dead. Their bodies were later buried at a dam.

Mr Killen, who was a suspect in the original investigation but never convicted, was re-arrested after new evidence emerged.

J Bananas

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I'm glad they took the time away from newer more relevant cases to make a media friendly takedown. maybe black people will like us more now!