1964 Civil Rights Case Latest

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Thursday marked the third day of the January session of the Neshoba County grand jury. However, it was far from business as usual because Mississippi Attorney Gen. Jim Hood was in attendance presumably to present evidence along with Neshoba County District Attorney Mark Duncan about the 1964 murders of James Chaney, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman.

Also on hand were several people who are thought to know something about the case. Here's what one of them had to say.

"After 40 years to come back and do something like this is ridiculous!"

Seven people were ultimately convicted for violating the three victim's civil rights. However, no one was ever prosecuted for murder. If enough evidence is found in the case, this would be the first time that a grand jury in Mississippi could consider murder charges in the case.

The purpose of a grand jury is to see whether or not there is enough evidence for indictments and a trial. As with any grand jury, officials involved cannot acknowledge what cases are going before the jury before any possible indictment is rendered.

Meanwhile, when we asked state Attorney Gen. Hood about the case that he was there to present, here's what he had to say.

"We hope to have it finished today."

In 1967 19 men were charged with conspiring to deprive Goodman, Chaney and Schwerner of their civil rights. At least seven of those are still alive. In the 1967 federal conspiracy trial, reputed Ku Klux Klan leader Edgar Ray Killen was identified in testimony as having coordinated the murders. He is also reportedly the focus of the renewed investigation.

A member of the 1967 defense team in the case was also at the courthouse Thursday. Here's what he had to say about the renewed probe.

"I know that a lot of people want to prosecute these cases," said Attorney James G. McIntyre, "and I know that families are hurt, but you've got to look at 2.8 million people in the state of Mississippi as opposed to families of the few. We should look to what's best for the state of Mississippi. I think it's a sad day for us."

We're told that any possible indictments in the case which Hood presented to the grand jury could be issued as early as Friday.


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