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Reply to "Sooo, things are a changin', Huh?"

Yep Kweli,

I am tired of you black people complaining all the this article where this "good white man" was set free to hopefully live his life for a crime that was committed ages slavery, you blacks should learn to leave the past in the past (end sarcasm):

Miss. town grapples with killer's release amid appeal
By Bill Nichols, USA TODAY
The small Mississippi town of Philadelphia once more finds itself battling the ghosts of its past, two months after a guilty verdict in a 41-year-old civil rights murder seemed to exorcise the city.

Edgar Ray Killen is led away from jail Aug. 12 when he was released pending appeal.
By Kyle Carter, The Neshoba Democrat via AP

Edgar Ray Killen, who was convicted June 21 of manslaughter in the 1964 slayings of civil rights workers Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and James Chaney, was freed Aug. 12 pending appeal by the same trial judge who sentenced him to 60 years in jail.

The decision by Circuit Judge Marcus Gordon has deeply disturbed Philadelphia civic leaders, who had hoped Killen's conviction would allow the city to end its decades in the shadows.

"What's so disheartening about seeing Mr. Killen released is that I felt a majority of the people of Neshoba County had spoken and said he ought to be behind bars," says James Prince, the editor of the weekly Neshoba Democrat. "For him to be released is just an atrocity, and it sends the wrong message to hatemongers and these white supremacists in the Klan."

Members of a multiracial local coalition that works on racial healing were crestfallen over Killen's release. "I just thought it was downright ridiculous," says Jewel McDonald, who attended the bond hearing. Her brother and mother were badly beaten during the burning of a black church that the three young civil rights workers were investigating.

State Attorney General Jim Hood has asked the state Supreme Court to overturn Killen's release. The high court has asked for motions to be filed by Aug. 30 but has set no schedule for making a ruling. Appeals generally are heard within a year's time.

Killen is the only person to face state murder charges in the case, one of the most notorious of the civil rights era. It was the basis for the 1988 film Mississippi Burning.

Federal civil rights charges were filed against Killen and 17 other reputed Ku Klux Klansmen in 1967. Seven were convicted, but none served more than six years in prison. Killen was freed after an all-white jury deadlocked.

Gordon granted Killen's release on a $600,000 bond after a hearing in which he said state and county prosecutors had failed to satisfy the requirements of Mississippi law for keeping Killen in jail during the appeal. Those conditions: that Killen might be likely to flee or would be a danger to the community.

Killen's lawyers argued that the 80-year-old Baptist minister and former Ku Klux Klan leader presented neither threat because he uses a wheelchair after a March logging accident that broke both his legs.

Killen testified that he was in constant pain and was denied proper medical care in jail. He claimed he was denied a pillow to sleep on. "The court won't like it, but I bribed a black convict, and he got me one out of the trash can," Killen said.

Prosecutors offered two corrections officers who claimed Killen threatened them shortly after he was sentenced. After asking Killen if he was suicidal, jailers Willie Baxter and Kenny Spencer said Killen replied, "No, I would kill you before I killed myself."

In his petition asking the state Supreme Court to put Killen back behind bars, Hood alleged that Killen's brother made an "indirect" death threat to Gordon before the June trial.

Gordon confirmed to The (Jackson) Clarion-Ledger that a state investigator heard J.D. Killen threaten to shoot him, but the judge said he didn't take it seriously. J.D. Killen told the Associated Press that the accusation "is totally wrong. ... I never threatened anyone."

Some Philadelphia civil rights leaders were sanguine about the ruling. "I don't like it, but it's one of those situations where people have to understand that the legal system has to run its course," says Leroy Clemons, head of the local NAACP. "I hate that it's taken 40 years to get to this point, but I think justice will be done in the end."

Philadelphia native and former state secretary of State Dick Molpus says he is confident that the state Supreme Court will ultimately put Killen back in jail.

Molpus, who began the drive toward justice in 1989 by becoming the first state official to apologize for the murders, acknowledges that morale in Philadelphia has fallen.

"The people that pushed for justice in this case are clearly stunned by this ruling," he says. "But I feel this is hardly the final word."

Prince, who co-chairs the Philadelphia Coalition along with Clemons, penned a blistering editorial in last week's edition of the Democrat that accused local law enforcement of "coddling" Killen "and his band of thugs."

"Closure seemed so imminent in June after the manslaughter conviction," Prince wrote. "Unfortunately, a sizable chunk of Neshoba Countians remain defiant, clutching the sin of racism with a death grip, clothed often in religion, calling evil good and good evil."

** And they wonder why some people never feel remorse for the things that happen to them abroad........