'Mississippi Burnings' killer Killen dies in prison at 92

Lester Mason
January 13, 2018

One of perpetrators of a particularly infamous hate crime during the civil rights movement died in prison Thursday.

The man convicted in the 1964 slayings of three MS civil rights workers, more than 40 years later, has died in prison.

Edgar Ray Killen, who would have turned 93 on Wednesday, was sentenced in 2005 to 60 years behind bars for the deaths of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner. Killen, a tree-cutter and small-time preacher, was a founding member and main recruiter for the KKK in the Philadelphia area of MS in 1964 when James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner were investigating a church fire, the New York Times reports. Authorities said no foul play is suspected.

The three men were investigating the burning of a black church in the area that summer when their station wagon stopped by local police on the night of June 21, according to a detailed account of the incident on PBS.


His first trial in 1967 ended in mistrial, but Killen was retried almost 40 years later after state authorities reopened the murder investigations, according to the Clarion Ledger.

The families of the three murdered men were presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom on their behalf in 2014.

The slayings were documented in the 1988 movie "Mississippi Burning".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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