SuperTalk Mississippi

The Preacher Likely to Die in Prison: Edgar Ray Killen Denied by Supreme Court

WASHINGTON, D.C.–He was known as “The Preacher” in Neshoba County in 1964 when he had a part in the killings of Civil Rights workers Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and James Chaney. His chance to argue his case again, this time in front of the U.S. Supreme Court has been denied.

The Baptist minister and former KKK leader said his rights had been violated in his 2005 trial, when he was finally convicted in the “Mississippi Burning” murders in the summer known as “Freedom Summer”.

That’s the summer that the three Civil Rights worker, two from up north and one from Meridian (Chaney), came to help register blacks to vote in Neshoba County.

The state, at the time highly segregated and against suffrage for minorities, chose not to prosecute those the FBI found to be involved in killing the men, burning their car and burying their bodies deep inside an earthen dam under construction in a rural part of the county.

The feds prosecuted on grounds the men’s civil rights were violated and got some convictions later.

Killen was tried on state charges after the investigation was reopened. He’s been trying to maneuver his way out of prison since his conviction. The 88-year-old is at Parchman.

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