A federal appeals court wants the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether a reputed Ku Klux Klansman should have been tried on a kidnapping charge 43 years after two black men were abducted and slain in rural Mississippi.
A majority of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said other cold cases from the civil rights era could be impacted by a Supreme Court ruling on whether time had run out for prosecutors to bring charges against James Ford Seale.
Seale, now 73, was convicted in 2007 of abducting two 19-year-old friends who authorities said were beaten, weighted down and thrown, possibly still alive, into a Mississippi River backwater in 1964.
Since the conviction, Seale's case has worked its way through the 5th Circuit, including an acquittal that was soon overturned.