"Mississippi Burning" Klansman dies in prison

Edgar Ray Killen

A KKK member responsible for the 1964 murder of three civil rights workers in MS has died while serving a 60-year-sentence for manslaughter, the Clarion Ledger reports.

Edgar Ray Killen, who would have turned 93 on Wednesday, was sentenced in 2005 to 60 years behind bars for the deaths of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner.

Killen, 92, died on Thursday in the state penitentiary in Drew, Miss. Killen was not found guilty of murder, but was found guilty of organizing Klansmen to ambush and ultimately kill the three men after they left the police station that night in 1964.

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Their bodies were found buried in a red-clay dam in rural Neshoba County.

His first trial in 1967 ended in mistrial, but Killen was retried almost 40 years later after state authorities reopened the murder investigations, according to the Clarion Ledger. The Mississippi Supreme Court upheld his convictions in 2007.

Clarion-Ledger investigative reporter Jerry Mitchell uncovered new evidence from Bowers that lead to Killen as the ringleader. The case was reopened decades later, and Killen was convicted in 2005 of three counts of manslaughter.

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

A KU KLUX KLAN leader convicted in the infamous killings of three civil rights workers memorialised in the film "Mississippi Burning", has died in prison, officials said yesterday. "Now he's dead", added Mitchell.

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