KKK Members Attending Trial

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For the second time in as many days, two members of the Ku Klux Klan greeted Edgar Ray Killen as he got ready to enter the Neshoba County Courthouse.

For the first time, one of them actually spoke at length about why they're here. That man, identifying himself as Cole Thornton, says he came from Florida only as a show of support to the Killen family. He said he and his fellow Klansman, J.J. Harper, are offering to help in any way they can.

"We didn't intend any harm to anybody. We didn't bring any trouble to anybody. We didn't look for any trouble," Thornton said. "But his family has suffered a lot. There's a lot of people in Mississippi (who have) suffered a lot. I'm sorry for that. I was no part of it. But his wife is very sick and his brothers are stressed out. We just came to lend a hand."

Killen himself has repeatedly denied he was ever a member of the Klan or had anything to do with it, and Thornton says he doesn't know anything about him being involved either.

"American White Knights of the KKK. He's never been a member. I know that for a fact. Like I said, it has nothing to do with the KKK," said Thornton.

Philadelphia has been very careful to cultivate a good image for itself during this trial. And people are hopeful having members of the KKK here won't do anything to hurt that image.

"No, I don't think so. You know, I don't think it's something that. I really don't know exactly, but I really don't think it will affect, you know, they're not doing anything major. They're just showing up," said Deborah Posey, a member of the Philadelphia Coalition, which formally called for the murder case to be reopened and justice pursued.

All of Philadelphia is likely hoping that's the case.


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