Judge to Hear More Killen Motions

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A Neshoba County judge on July 29 will hear Edgar Ray Killen's request to be released from prison while he appeals his manslaughter convictions for killing three civil rights workers in 1964.

The attorneys for Killen filed a motion this week asking for an appeal bond and notifying the court that the case would be appealed.

Circuit Judge Marcus Gordon sentenced Killen, a former Ku Klux Klan leader, to three consecutive 20-year terms in the slayings of Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman. Killen, convicted on June 21, is serving his sentence at the Central Mississippi Correction Facility in Rankin County.

In seeking post-conviction bail for his client, defense attorney Mitch Moran has asked the court to consider such things as the length of the defendant's residency in the community, his employment status and history, and his financial condition, reputation and character.

Killen is still using a wheelchair. The sawmill operator and part-time preacher from Union broke both legs when a tree fell on him in early March. He sat in the wheelchair throughout his week-long trial in Philadelphia.

Chaney, Schwerner and Goodman had traveled from Meridian to Neshoba County on June 21, 1964, to investigate the burning of a black church.

They were stopped for speeding and were held for several hours in the Neshoba County Jail. After being released, they were ambushed a few blocks from the jail, chased several miles down a dark country highway and killed.

Killen is the only person to ever face state murder charges in the case.