Trial Costs Heavy for Neshoba County

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Neshoba County leaders say they are hopeful some of the money necessary to try Edgar Ray Killen for murder will be made up by the influx of people expected when that trial begins.

It seems everyone in Philadelphia eats at Peggy's. The house-turned-restaurant typically has a line out the door, and when Killen's trial begins, it's expected to get even longer.

"We're looking for a large crowd at the restaurant for those days that they'll be here," said Larry Winstead.

County officials say they hope those large crowds could translate into much needed sales tax revenues that will help pay for the trial. They are estimating that trial will cost the county somewhere between $50,000 and $100,000 to undertake.

When hotels for sequestered jurors, overtime for sheriff's deputies, and other as-yet undetermined costs are added up, it will take up a substantial piece of the county's $11.8 million budget.

"We know that it's going to be expensive, and it's going to put a burden on Neshoba County because it was not budgeted into this budget," said County Supervisor Harold Reynolds.

But with thousands of extra people expected in the county during that time, Reynolds says he's hopeful extra sales tax money will be forthcoming.

At Peggy's, they're preparing for those big crowds, but they don't really know what to expect.

Killen is charged with murder in the 1964 deaths of civil rights workers Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, and Michael Schwerner. His trial begins June 13.