Manslaughter Verdict in "Mississippi Burning" Case
Edgar Ray Killen, the alleged ringleader of KKK members who murdered three civil rights workers in Mississippi in 1964, was convicted today of three manslaughter charges. The jury apparently rejected the more severe murder convictions sought by the State. There have been several of these years-after-the-fact murder prosecutions in recent years, and there has often been debate about whether they are good things or bad things. In my opinion, it is always a good thing when the State can rightfully punish someone who committed murder, after a fair trial. I realize that the long delay in prosecuting means that Mr. Killen must now begin a prison sentence at the age of 80, but it also means that he has been able to enjoy 41 years of freedom while the murders of the three innocent young men essentially went unpunished.