Killen Granted Access to Evidence

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There's a new development in the case of reputed Klansman Edgar Ray Killen. And his trial date has been changed.

With his wife by his side, Killen, 80, made another appearance in Neshoba County Circuit Court Thursday.

Circuit Judge Marcus Gordon agreed to a request by Killen's attorney to allow him to review information gathered from a reward tip line that was established prior to the indictment.

The only stipulation is that all names will be removed from the information prior to being reviewed and will only be disclosed if the defense proves to the judge that the tip has enough incriminating evidence to warrant disclosure.

"I think he did the right thing," said Killen's attorney, Mitch Moran, when asked about the judge's ruling.

"It's about what I expected. There's not much information in that, but I don't have any problem with the judge doing what he did," said district attorney Mark Duncan.

Killen is charged with the 1964 murders of civil rights workers, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and James Chaney.

And his trial was moved from Mar. 28 to Apr. 18. The change was made to accommodate court officials, due to the length of time that the trial is expected to take. Right now, officials say it could last about a week and a half.

According to court officials, this won't necessarily be like most trials. For instance, Judge Gordon says it's likely more prospective jurors will be summoned and provided a questionnaire to fill out, which then will be reviewed by both the prosecution and defense. He says there could also be as many as six alternate jurors chosen.

Gordon also said the jury would likely be sequestered due to the anticipated amount of media coverage of the trial.

Killen now remains free on bond.