Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
World | By Paul Elliott

"Mississippi Burning" Klansman dies in prison

Edgar Ray Killen, the man convicted of organizing the deaths of three young men in Neshoba County registering backs to vote in 1964 has died in prison, the Mississippi Department of Corrections said in a press release this morning.

It was 41 years after James Chaney, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman were killed by klansmen and found in a dam in Neshoba County.

"It's the last Klansman in all these Civil Rights cold cases in MS to be alive".

That year in a federal trial, Killen avoided prison when a jury deadlocked 11-1 in favor of his conviction.

"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.

The cause death is pending an autopsy. He was retried 38 years later after the state reopened the murder investigations, and was convicted on June 21, 2005.

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.

Seven were convicted, including Sam Bowers Leader of the Mississippi KKK.

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood said that investigation ran up against a stone wall 18 months ago when a witness backed out at the last minute after pledging to sign a sworn statement that would have implicated a suspect.

Last year, federal and MS authorities closed the books on the case, saying no viable prosecutions remain in the more than half-century-old investigation.

The murders shocked the nation and helped spur passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.

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