"Mississippi Burning" Klansman dies in prison

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Edgar Ray Killen, the former Ku Klux Klansman responsible for a notorious civil rights era murder, has died in a MS prison.

The slayings of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner in Philadelphia, Mississippi, on June 21, 1964, at the hands of the Klan, local law enforcement officers and others was one of the most shocking and galvanizing moments of the USA civil rights movement.

The 1988 film "Mississippi Burning" is loosely based on the violent slayings and the following investigation that unfolded amid the peak of the Civil Rights movement.

"For 41 years it's been Edgar Ray Killen and his friends who have written the history of Neshoba County", he said during closing arguments. Hours later, they were released from jail, chased down by carloads of Klansmen, and shot to death.

The cause death is pending an autopsy.

Their bodies were found buried in a red-clay dam in rural Neshoba County.

"Mississippi authorities reopened the case after finding out Sam Bowers said the main instigator had gotten away with murder and that was Edgar Ray Killen As we reported about that they reopened the case", according to Michell.

His first trial in 1967 ended in a mistrial. His conviction and sentence of three consecutive 20-year sentences was upheld by the Mississippi Supreme Court in 2007.

He was sentenced to 60 years in prison.

At the time, no federal murder statutes existed, and the state of MS never brought charges.

Last year, federal and MS authorities closed the books on the case, saying no viable prosecutions remain in the more than half-century-old investigation.

They include the Birmingham, Alabama, church bombing in 1963 that killed four black girls and the assassination of Medgar Evers, a NAACP leader, in Jackson Mississippi, in 1963 by a member of the White Citizens' Council, who was convicted more than 30 years later based on new evidence.

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