Killen Trial Starts Monday

Edgar Ray Killen, now 80 years old, is a part-time preacher and a reputed former member of the Ku Klux Klan. He's often described as charismatic and likeable.

In 1967, he stood trial along with 18 others for violating the civil rights of the murder victims. His case ended in a hung jury. Killen is the only person to face a murder charge in the notorious killings in Philadelphia, Miss.

The three young men who gave their lives for a cause they thought was larger than themselves were members of the Congress of Racial Equality, known as CORE, and at the time of their murders were working on the Freedom Summer Project, an effort to register black voters in the state of Mississippi.

On June 21, 1964, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner traveled to Philadelphia as part of that project and to investigate the burning of a black church. They were arrested on the trip back to Meridian and jailed for speeding.

As the evening turned to night, the men were released. They never made it back to Meridian. Their bodies were found 44 days later, buried in an earthen dam.


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