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Mississippi Burning Trial: A Chronology

á Six days later, a U. S. Commissioner dismissed the charges, declaring that the confession on which the arrests were based was hearsay evidence. A month later, government attorneys secured indictments against the conspirators from a federal grand jury in Jackson.á The Justice Department was again disappointed, however, when on February 24, 1965, Federal Judge William Harold Cox, an ardent segregationist, threw out the indictments against all conspirators other than Rainey and Price on the ground that the other seventeen were not acting "under color of state law."á In March, 1966, the United States Supreme Court overruled Cox and reinstated the indictments.á As the Justice Department prepared for trial, defense attorneys made the cynical argument that the original indictments were flawed because the pool of jurors from which the grand jury was drawn contained insufficient numbers of minorities.á Rather than attempt to refute the charge, the government summoned a new grand jury and, on February 28, 1967, won reindictments.á The list of those indicted differed slightly from the original list, and included the names of eighteen Klansmen.'

Klan informants advanced the government's case which was heard by a jury of seven white males and five white women (Linder, 4).

Though initially deadlocked, on October 20, 1967, the jury returned its verdict (Daniels, 2). Seven defendants were convicted, including Price, Imperial Klan Wizard Sam Bowers, and Horace Barnett. Eight men were acquitted, including the owner of the farm where the bodies were found. In three cases, including that of Edgar Ray Killen, the jury did not reach a verdict. Linder (5) stated that 'the convictions in the case represented the first ever convictions in Mississippi for the killing of a civil rights worker.'

Today, more than 40 years after the killings of these three civil rights workers, Edgar Ray Killen (now 79) was charged with first degree murder in...

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Mississippi Burning Trial: A Chronology. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 02:43, August 18, 2017, from
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