The murder trial of Edgar Ray Killen, accused in the 1964 deaths of three civil rights workers, has been postponed.
Killen will not be going to trial on April 18, as had been planned. A doctor says he won't be healthy enough to stand trial then, and Circuit Judge Marcus Gordon agreed to delay the case after a meeting with attorneys on Friday.
Killen's trial date has now been tentatively set for June 13. Gordon says he believes that will give him enough time to recover from the injuries he sustained two weeks ago in a tree-cutting accident.
After spending time at University Medical Center in Jackson, Killen is now in a swing bed at Laird Hospital in Union. He's still in a wheelchair, and could remain that way even during the trial.
Judge Gordon says Killen needs to be healthy for his day in court.
"The man is in pretty serious medical shape, and I'm concerned about his ability to come to court," said Gordon.
" don't think it will affect the jury, but I do think people will feel sorry for him because of his condition," said James McIntyre, one of Killen's attorneys.
"As long as our witnesses are still here, and nothing unforeseen happens, I don't think it should affect us one way or another," said district attorney Mark Duncan.
If the trial does start on June 13, and it lasts for more than a week, it will take place during the 41st anniversary of the deaths of Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman. They were killed June 21, 1964.