Klansman Convicted in Killing of Civil Rights Workers Dies

Source MDOC

The man convicted in the 1964 slayings of three MS civil rights workers, more than 40 years later, has died in prison.

The part-time preacher and lumber mill operator was 80 when he was convicted on the three counts of manslaughter - 41 years to the day after the murders of Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner. He was a Klansman who led a group of 15 men in the deaths of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Shwerner.

Almost four decades later, state prosecutors re-opened the case, which had been dramatized in the 1988 movie Mississippi Burning. In a 2015 interview with the Associated Press, Killen refused to discuss his case but said he was still a segregationist, although he had no ill will for blacks.

The men were detained by police, before being ambushed and shot by Klansmen who were tipped-off about their release.

David Goodman, Andrew's brother, said Friday he was informed of Killen's death on Thursday by state corrections officers.

"Mississippi authorities reopened the case after finding out Sam Bowers said the main instigator had gotten away with murder and that was Edgar Ray Killen As we reported about that they reopened the case", according to Michell.


Edgar Ray Killen was serving a 60-year prison sentence for spearheading the 1964 slayings of the men who were in the southern U.S. state as part of a drive to register black voters.

The three men were initially considered missing, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation joined in the search to find them.

His first trial in 1967 ended in a mistrial. It was not until 2005 that Killen was charged with murder by a grand jury after new information related the case emerged.

The jury convicted Killen of manslaughter, which some of the victims' families found insufficient. The state of MS didn't press charges at the time.

Even after his imprisonment, Killen was said to maintain segregationist views about racial inequality.

The Mississippi Supreme Court upheld his convictions on January 12, 2007.

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