Suspect in 1964 Mississippi civil rights killings arrested

[JURIST] Federal authorities arrested a Mississippi man Wednesday for the 1964 kidnapping and deaths of two black men in another reopened civil rights-era case [US News backgrounder]. James Ford Seale, now 71 years old, was originally arrested in 1964 on suspicion of kidnapping two young black men, Henry Dee and Charles Moore, who were later found dead in the Mississippi river, but was released due to a lack of evidence after providing information to the FBI. In 2000, after the Clarion-Ledger reported on the contents of Seale's file [report], the US Justice Department reopened the case, but the LA Times and later, the Clarion-Ledger reported that Seale had in fact died. Thomas Moore, brother of Charles Moore, had pushed for the case to be reopened again, but authorities hesitated, until the 2005 conviction of Edgar Ray Killen [JURIST report] for the civil rights era deaths of three civil rights workers.

Seale will be arraigned Thursday in Jackson, Mississippi, on kidnapping charges. AP has more. From Jackson, the Clarion-Ledger has local coverage.

3:38 PM ET - Seale has pleaded not guilty [AP report] to the charges [indictment; press release]. In a press conference [prepared statement] Thursday, US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said that "Seale has been indicted by a federal grand jury for two counts of kidnapping resulting in death, and one count of conspiracy." Gonzales called the case "an example of the Administration's commitment to investigating and prosecuting civil-rights era homicides where evidence supports prosecution and federal jurisdiction can be established."

 

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