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Ex-KKK member on trial for 1964 civil rights killings

[JURIST] The trial of former Ku Klux Klan (KKK) member James Ford Seale [Wikipedia profile], accused of kidnapping and killing two black men in Mississippi in 1964, began Monday. Seale, now 71 years old, was originally arrested in 1964 on suspicion of kidnapping Henry Dee and Charles Moore, who were later found dead in the Mississippi River. He was released due to lack of evidence after providing information to the FBI. 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 1964 deaths of three civil rights workers. Seale was arrested in January [JURIST report] and indicted by a federal grand jury [press release] for two counts of kidnapping resulting in death, and one count of conspiracy. Seale could face a maximum of sentence of life in prison for each count. Reuters has more.

The Seale case is one of several recently reopened civil rights-era cases [US News backgrounder], including that of Killen. In 2004, the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals upheld the 2002 murder convictions and life sentences [JURIST report] imposed on ex-KKK member Bobby Frank Cherry [Wikipedia profile], who was charged with connections to a 1963 Birmingham church bombing that killed four African-American girls, ages 11-14. He died in prison in November 2004 [Washington Post report].

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