Mississippi Burning case: KKK killer dies

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A KKK member responsible for the 1964 murder of three civil rights workers in MS has died while serving a 60-year-sentence for manslaughter, the Clarion Ledger reports. The case was reopened decades later, and Killen was convicted in 2005 of three counts of manslaughter.

Edgar Ray Killen was accused of manslaughter in the murder of Civil rights activists James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner.

The events of that night in Mississippi inspired the critically acclaimed 1988 film "Mississippi Burning", starring Gene Hackman and Willem Dafoe.

Killen was sentenced to 60 years in prison.

The men were detained by police, before being ambushed and shot by Klansmen who were tipped-off about their release.

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The Mississippi Department of Corrections said he had known health conditions, and no foul play was suspected in the 92-year-old's death.

Their bodies were discovered by authorities 44 days later, buried in a red clay dam in rural Neshoba County.

The three men's bodies were eventually uncovered six weeks after their disappearance, after an informant tipped-off the Federal Bureau of Investigation that they had been buried on local farmland. The state of MS didn't press charges at the time.

According to testimony in Killen's 2005 murder trial, he plotted the murders - right down to arranging for the bulldozer to bury the bodies - and later bragged how the civil rights workers had "been taken care of". Only seven were convicted by an all-white jury, and none served more than seven years in prison.

"Those boys were Communists who went to a Communist training school", Killen said of the victims in a 1998 interview with the New York Times. But reporter Jerry Mitchell of the Jackson, Mississippi, Clarion-Ledger revived interest in the case in 1998 with stories about taped interviews at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History in which Bowers said he was "quite delighted to be convicted and have the main instigator of the entire affair walk out of the courtroom a free man".