News: Mississippi No Longer Burning, Itching Persists
PHILADELPHIA, MS - Accused Ku Klux Klansman Edgar Ray Killen was found guilty of manslaughter on Tuesday in the 1964 killings of three civil rights workers, a case that outraged much of the country, energized the civil rights movement, and earned over $34.6 million for Orion Pictures in 1988.
Killen, 80, had been portrayed by prosecutors as a Ku Klux Klan leader who recruited a mob to kill Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney exactly 41 years ago, on June 21, 1964. The killings in Neshoba County were dramatized in the 1988 movie Mississippi Burning.
Circuit Judge Marcus Gordon ordered him held at the Neshoba County Sheriff's office pending sentencing on Thursday. Killen, who faces up to 20 years in prison, showed no visible emotion as the verdict was read.
"We're sure glad to have wrapped this thing up," said Neshoba County ADA Gurn Blanston. "We're confident we have finally got our man. No doubt about it, this is the fella what done them murders. We was mistaken th'other times."
Previous suspects in the case have included Dustin Hoffman (playing Jack Crabb in Little Big Man), Dominic Chianese (Uncle Junior from "The Sopranos"), chicken baron Frank Purdue, "Benny Hill Show" abuse-target Jackie Wright, fictional serial killer Freddy Kruger, and Six Flags amusement park mascot "Mr. Six." All were cleared of any involvement in the murders.
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