Edgar Ray Killen was wheeled out of the Neshoba County Jail with a smile on his face, a free man for the first time in almost two months. This after Circuit Judge Marcus Gordon ruled he was entitled to be out on bond pending his appeal. Gordon set the amount at $600,000.
Killen was convicted in June 2005 on three counts of manslaughter in the 1964 deaths of civil rights workers James Chaney, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman, but according to Mississippi law, he's entitled to bond.
The only way Killen could have been denied bond would be if he was deemed to be a risk to the community or a flight risk. Seven witnesses testified for Killen that he was neither. Judge Gordon agreed.
Killen himself testified for the first time in any of these proceedings, saying he was unhappy with the conditions at the Rankin County facility where he was housed. He told the court he was not getting proper medical care for the injuries he received in a logging accident earlier this year.
Killen will remain free on bond while his appeal to the Mississippi Supreme Court is pending. That will likely be at least a year, possibly longer.