Shortly after 11:00 a.m., deputies escorted 79-year-old Edgar Ray Killen of Union into circuit court. Thursday he was the only person indicted by a Neshoba County grand jury for the 1964 murders of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner.
His reply to the charges: "Not Guilty!" said Killen.
There you have it! To all three murder charges Killen pleaded not guilty. Because Killen said he could not afford an attorney, Circuit Court Judge Marcus Gordon who's hearing the case, did not set a bond for him. Instead, he told Killen that the possibility of a bond would be reconsidered on Wednesday, January 12.
"I'm not going to prejudge the facts of the case. So to answer whether there will be a bond, I just can't say at this time," says Judge Gordon.
On Wednesday Judge Gordon requested Killen to update him on whether on not he was able to obtain an attorney. Therefore at least until that time, Killen will remain in the Neshoba County Jail.
"We put him in isolation by himself for his own protection. We'll continue to protect him while he's incarcerated at our facility," says Sheriff Larry Myers.
Meanwhile, just minutes after Killen was driven away from the courthouse, the building had to be evacuated because of a bomb threat called in to 911. For about 15 minutes authorities searched the building. Ultimately, nothing was found and for many there, things were back to normal, almost that is, all except for the swarm of journalists from around the state and nation. This is something which ultimately led to some run-ins. This was the scene as family members of Killen exited the building.
"Look, give us some privacy! We are human beings too and we have feelings!" said Killen's stepdaughter.
Meanwhile, as court officials vow to a speedy trial, prosecutors say they are ready.
"I think the state can be ready rather quickly. It's just that we have an extensive amount of discovery to make available to the defense and it will take them quite some time to go through that," says Neshoba County District Attorney Marck Duncan.
As for a trial date, court officials say if Killen has appointed an attorney by next week, the earliest the case could go to trial is in March. However, they say this is something which is highly unlikely. As for when it's likely to go before a judge, they tell us that could be as early as late spring or early summer in either May, June or July.