View Full Version : The Killen Verdict is in....


Amy
06-21-2005, 11:35 AM
Just moments ago, breaking news reported that the Edgar Ray Killen verdict is in. He was found guilty.

I would like to remind everyone that even though this is a very sensitive subject, PTO is ultimately a place for support. No matter what our feelings are toward this man or the actions that he has been convicted of committing, I urge everyone to remember that his family might come here for help and information during this difficult time.

With the verdict being so new, there are no articles online to post as of now. However, as soon as I do find one I will post it here.

Amy
06-21-2005, 11:46 AM
http://www.nynewsday.com/news/nationworld/nation/ny-usmiss0622,0,5801989.story?coll=nyc-homepage-breakingheadlines

Killen found guilty in civil rights killings

The Associated Press

June 21, 2005, 12:39 PM EDT

PHILADELPHIA, Miss. -- An 80-year-old former Ku Klux Klansman was convicted of manslaughter Tuesday in the 1964 slayings of three civil rights workers -- exactly 41 years after they disappeared.

The jury of nine whites and three blacks reached the verdict on their second day of deliberations, rejecting murder charges against Edgar Ray Killen.

Killen showed no emotion as the verdict was read. He was comforted by his wife as he sat in his wheelchair, wearing an oxygen tube.

Heavily armed police formed a barrier outside a side door to the courthouse and jurors were loaded into two waiting vans and driven away.

Civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner were ambushed on June 21, 1964. Their bodies were found 44 days later buried in an earthen dam. They had been beaten and shot.

The notorious case inspired the 1988 film "Mississippi Burning." Prosecutors had asked the jury to send a message to the rest of the world that Mississippi has changed and is committed to bringing to justice those who killed to preserve segregation in the 1960s.

They said the evidence was clear that Killen organized the attack on the three victims.

Killen's lawyers conceded he was in the Klan but said that did not make him guilty of murder. They pointed out that prosecutors offered no witnesses or evidence that put Killen at the scene of the crime. Killen did not take the stand, but has long claimed that he was at a wake at a funeral home when the victims were killed.

Killen, a part-time preacher and sawmill operator, was tried in 1967 on federal charges of violating the victims' civil rights. But the all-white jury deadlocked, with one juror saying she could not convict a preacher. Seven others were convicted, but none served more than six years.

Killen is only person ever brought up on murder charges in the case by the state of Mississippi.

Mrs.Glamma
06-21-2005, 02:20 PM
Amen. Gee timing is everything.

jessnkat
06-21-2005, 02:39 PM
This is how I figured it would turn out.

Lillybee
06-21-2005, 02:45 PM
God will not be mocked. One of the commandments say thou shall not kill. No one, black or white will get away with murder. That's just the truth.

MurphyGirl
06-21-2005, 03:37 PM
May his family have the strength to get thru this and may they be treated kindly by others.

penwife

babygirl350
06-22-2005, 02:51 AM
Oh wow, I do remember this case when it happened. Although I understand everyone has to stand trial, I wonder what they hope to accomplish with him being 80 years old and on oxygen? How very sad and tragic for all involved. My heart goes out to all and especially the deceased civil rights workers, they did not deserve to die. They fought a good fight for civil rights. May they long be remembered.

I-Care
06-22-2005, 09:20 AM
Being a "young person" during these times I am SURE there are MANY who were "guilty". I have a problem with them waiting so many years. My love one was wrongfully convicted 17 years AFTER an incident and I know that evidence was missing, folks had died who could testify for her, memories fade and so forth. So I just have a problem with them waiting so long to charge and convict this man. I know "our" trial was not fair even after 17 years. I can not imagine after this many years. If this man is in fact guilty he will face a "higher" judge soon. But if he is innocent or guilty he will not have proper medical treatment if he is treated anything like our love ones.

"I- Care"

titantoo
06-23-2005, 11:30 AM
June 23, 2005
Ex-Klansman, 80, Gets 60 Years in Prison for '64 Killings

By SHADI RAHIMI
Edgar Ray Killen, a former Ku Klux Klan leader, was given prison sentences totaling 60 years today for manslaughter in the killings of three civil rights workers in Mississippi.

The maximum sentence, imposed two days after his conviction, ends the first state prosecution of one of the most notorious crimes of the civil rights era.

"Each life has value and each life is equally as valuable as the other life," said the judge, Marcus D. Gordon of State Circuit Court in Neshoba County. "There are three lives involved in this case and the three lives should absolutely be respected and treated equally."

Mr. Killen, who is 80, received three consecutive sentences of 20 years in prison on the three counts of manslaughter. The verdict delivered on Tuesday, on the 41st anniversary of the deaths, was less severe than the murder conviction that the state prosecutors had initially sought.

"The law does not recognize a distinction of age," Judge Gordon said during a statement to the court.

Television coverage of the sentencing showed Mr. Killen arriving at the courtroom today wearing a yellow jumpsuit and sitting in the wheelchair he has been using because of arthritis that worsened after he broke his legs in a tree-cutting accident in March.

In the sentencing, Judge Gordon considered a health report that he had requested from Mr. Killen's doctors, according to The Associated Press. The judge also took into account a pre-sentencing report on Mr. Killen's finances and his 1975 conviction for threatening a woman over the telephone, a case that the judge himself had prosecuted, The A.P. reported. Mr. Killen served five months in prison in that case.

There were no statements from the victims' or defendants' families. The judge did not allow such statements, The A.P. reported.

The disappearance of the three men, Andrew Goodman, 20, Michael Schwerner, 24, and James Earl Chaney, 21, four decades ago drew national media attention and hundreds of searchers to Neshoba County during the "Freedom Summer" of 1964.

Mr. Goodman, Mr. Schwerner and Mr. Chaney had been helping to register black voters. On the night the three men disappeared, they had been investigating a church in Philadelphia, Miss., that had been burned by the Ku Klux Klan.

The three men were taken into custody on speeding charges. After they were released from jail, their car was ambushed by Klansmen. . They were shot dead and buried under 15 feet of earth on a nearby farm, and their bodies were found 44 days later.

Of the 18 men eventually tried on federal civil rights charges, only 7 were convicted by an all-white jury. They were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 3 years to 10 years, although none served more than 6 years. Eight of the defendants are still alive.

Mr. Killen, a part-time Baptist preacher, sawmill operator and a senior member of the Ku Klux Klan at the time of the killings, was freed when the federal court jury deadlocked 11 to 1 in favor of conviction, after a holdout juror said she could not convict a preacher.

He is the first person the State of Mississippi hascharged in the three deaths, in a case that is among several from the civil rights era that have been reopened in the last decade or so by a new generation of southern prosecutors.

In 1994, for example, Byron de la Beckwith was convicted in the 1963 assassination of the Mississippi civil rights leader Medgar Evers. Most recently, the body of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old black boy who was kidnapped and slain in Mississippi in 1955, was exhumed by prosecutors revisiting that case.

Family members of the three victims expressed hopes at a press conference on Tuesday that the case was just the beginning of what are sometimes called the southern "atonement trials," the legal system's revisiting of the most notorious atrocities of the civil rights era.

"The light will shine on this state, on this community - lightly - but we are still living in the dark," said Ben Chaney, the younger brother of James Earl Chaney. "There's a lot of work to be done."

Mr. Killen did not testify at his short trial, which began last Wednesday. Prosecutors had sought to convince the jurors that although Mr. Killen was not present during the killings, he had organized groups of men and planned what they would do, including, according to testimony, instructing someone to buy rubber gloves to wear and telling them where to go to bury the men.

During just one day, prosecutors presented a dozen witnesses in rapid succession - some living and others, now dead, represented by testimony read aloud from the transcript of the 1967 federal trial.

Defense lawyers have said they will appeal the verdict, arguing that the reading of the transcripts in court created a "quagmire."

"I still think the people were cheated," a defense lawyer, Mitch Moran, told the Court TV cable channel on Tuesday. "No questions were answered."

Judge Gordon will hear a motion for a new trial on Monday.

jftazzy102
06-23-2005, 11:42 AM
This is exactly what I was just thinking when I just read this. I understand the need to punish him for what he did, but he is 80 yrs old and oxygen.

My heart goes out to ALL the people involved with this case. If any familiy members show up they will be welcomed with loving arms as usual.....


Oh wow, I do remember this case when it happened. Although I understand everyone has to stand trial, I wonder what they hope to accomplish with him being 80 years old and on oxygen? How very sad and tragic for all involved. My heart goes out to all and especially the deceased civil rights workers, they did not deserve to die. They fought a good fight for civil rights. May they long be remembered.

Phil in Paris
06-23-2005, 12:00 PM
I understand the need to punish him for what he did, but he is 80 yrs old and oxygen.

Klaus Barbie was tried and sentenced for crimes against humanity when he was 74. He had a comfortable life in Bolivia before being arrested. The 44 children he sent to Auschwitz were not that lucky....

Phil

jftazzy102
06-23-2005, 01:02 PM
That is true Phil, I guess I just saw the age and the oxygen and automatically thought poor thing.....Thank you for reminding me....
love
jeanne


Klaus Barbie was tried and sentenced for crimes against humanity when he was 74. He had a comfortable life in Bolivia before being arrested. The 44 children he sent to Auschwitz were not that lucky....

Phil

jessnkat
06-23-2005, 01:13 PM
I understand the need to punish him for what he did, but he is 80 yrs old and oxygen.


IF Killen IS guilty of these murders - and I'm not saying that I think he is or he isn't guilty - but IF he IS guilty, then he's gotten away with murder for exactly 41 years and it's way past time for punishment.

Jonathan, please correct me if I'm wrong about this, but the oxygen came along AFTER he was charged, as did the wheelchair. When all this fiasco began he seemed to be in relatively good health for an 80-year old man. I just wonder if that was all a plot for sympathy from the jury or not.

PTO-29412
06-23-2005, 06:51 PM
No he was in the wheelchair and oxygen before the trial began, he had a tree fall on him in March.

EVERYONE, Please take note of what AMY said, this forum is for families and support, his guilt or innocence is not important here. Remember his family may come here looking for help, and our opinions are not needed at this time.