Jurors Reflect on Verdict

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

Some of the jurors who found Edgar Ray Killen guilty of manslaughter say testimony the jury didn't hear could have led them to find Killen guilty of murder.

On June 21, the 41st anniversary of the Klan's killings of James Chaney, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman, a Neshoba County jury found Killen guilty of manslaughter. Circuit Judge Marcus Gordon later sentenced him to 60 years.

During the trial, jurors heard that the late Klansmen Wayne Roberts and James Jordan were among the men Killen recruited from Meridian the evening of June 21, 1964, before returning with them to Philadelphia. What jurors didn't hear was those two men shot and killed the trio.

Informed of that, juror Warren Paprocki replied that knowing Killen recruited those two killers would have been "the last link. I would have found (Killen) guilty of murder."

Paprocki said he knows the information would have made a difference to other jurors, and juror Troy Savell agreed.

Interviews with jurors show just how in the dark they remained about the details of the Klan's killings of the trio, a lack of details they say kept them from finding Killen guilty of murder.

Jurors never heard how Roberts grabbed Schwerner from the back of Neshoba County deputy Cecil Price's patrol car, stuck a gun to his chest and fired.

Jurors never heard how Roberts grabbed Goodman from the car and shot him, too. Jurors never heard how Roberts and Jordan shot Chaney as he tried to flee.


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