Klansman convicted in 'Mississippi Burning' case dies in prison

Klansman convicted in 'Mississippi Burning' case dies in prison

Klansman convicted in 'Mississippi Burning' case dies in prison

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

Edgar Ray Killen, a part-time Baptist minister and the plot leader, was convicted of three counts of manslaughter almost 13 years ago.

Killen was serving a total of 60 years for manslaughter in the June 21, 1964, deaths of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner.

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The events of that night in Mississippi inspired the critically acclaimed 1988 film "Mississippi Burning", starring Gene Hackman and Willem Dafoe.

Klansmen abducted and killed the three men while they were organizing a voter registration drive for black people in Jessup County. Their bodies were found buried in a dam in rural Neshoba County. The lone holdout said she couldn't convict a preacher. He was tried and convicted in 2005 on the manslaughter charges after the state reopened the murder investigations. He appealed the verdict, but his sentence of three times 20 years in prison was upheld on January 12, 2007, by the Mississippi Supreme Court.

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

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The case was reopened in 2005, and Killen was convicted and sent to prison. "I am convinced that during the last 52 years, investigators have done everything possible under the law to find those responsible and hold them accountable; however, we have determined that there is no likelihood of any additional convictions".

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

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