Edgar Ray Killen is charged with three counts of murder in the June 21, 1964, killings of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner. He has pleaded not guilty. Trial is set for June 13.
In a motion filed Tuesday, Jackson lawyer James McIntyre challenged Killen's prosecution, saying it's "selective prosecution in violation of equal protection."
Circuit Judge Marcus Gordon has denied a previous request by the other defense attorney, Mitch Moran of Carthage, who sought to have Killen's charges dismissed based on the constitutional rights to due process and speedy trial.
McIntyre says Mississippi has a current crime problem and needs to get its priorities in order. Attached to McIntyre's motion are crime statistics from 1966 and 2003. Those statistics show the violent crime rate of 151 in 1966 more than doubled to 326 in 2003.