Edgar Ray Killen entered the courthouse to a throng of reporters around him and a member of the Ku Klux Klan helping him. J.J. Harper identified himself as a member of the KKK and said he was there at Killen's request. But Killen's attorney called that a boldfaced lie.
"I don't want him here and I don't think Mr. Killen wants him here either. I don't think anybody wants him here," said Killen's attorney, James McIntyre.
Once everyone was inside the courtroom, jury selection began. More than a hundred potential jurors were bused in to the courthouse and lawyers spent the day questioning them about their knowledge and opinions in the case.
Mississippi NAACP president Derrick Johnson says he has been waiting a long time for this trial to happen.
"I am elated to finally see this case come to trial," Johnson said. "We've worked over the last several years to get the attorney general of the state of Mississippi to reopen the case."
Now after more that 40 years, that's just what has happened. Attorney Gen. Jim Hood will be trying this case himself, along with Neshoba County district attorney Mark Duncan. Hood says the case is a simple matter of mechanics.
"I'll not speculate on what the impact of that will be. My role in this is to present the evidence to a jury," said Hood.
If the impact of the trial is anywhere near as big as the impact of the murders on the Civil Rights Movement, there will certainly be history made, one way or another.
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