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Edgar Ray Killen: Why Did It Take So Long?  
User currently offlineDIJKKIJK From France, joined Jul 2003, 1747 posts, RR: 5
Posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 2649 times:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4117816.stm


So the KKK man's victims finally get justice after 40 years. But why did it take so long? Apprently, the jury couldn't reach a verdict 40 years ago, so why bring it up now? After all, the bloke won't last very long being 80 that he is.

Is this just symbolic justice or is there something else to it ? Are there other civil rights movement related cases like this where the perpetrators of violence are roaming free?

For the record, I'm not trying to bash the American legal sytem, which I feel is one of the best and the most just in the world. Just a few questions that I have as a non-American.


Never argue with idiots. They will bring you down to their level, and beat you with experience.
13 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineKROC From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 2639 times:

Because 40 years ago the "jury" was moe than a little biased. Fair trials in the South for blacks (especially in M'ssippi') were very hard to come by. Countless whites got off for committing crimes including murder against blacks. The issue came up again because the victims family and civil rights leaders never let the issue rest. It may have taken 40 years but at least it was finally acheived.

User currently offlineANCFlyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 2636 times:

Furthermore, you can bet that had this case not hit the national spotlight good ole Edgar would still be sitting in his porch swing in backwards-ass Mississippi laughing and joking about this incident even today.

Watching CNN this afternoon, a former Mayor of Philadelphia, Mississippi was interviewed and I was rather taken aback by his contention that fault aly not with Edgar Killen, rather with the victims and the folks that sent them to Mississippi to register these voters. Anderson Cooper got a very interesting look on his face when he heard that - I'm sure it was difficult for him to refrain from asking the next obvious question - "Are your frickin' kidding me?" Kudos to Cooper for not firing up that piece of shit former Mayor.


User currently offlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26196 posts, RR: 76
Reply 3, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 2635 times:

Quoting DIJKKIJK (Thread starter):
Apprently, the jury couldn't reach a verdict 40 years ago, so why bring it up now? After all, the bloke won't last very long being 80 that he is.

You bring it up now because there is no statute of limitations on murder and jeopardy did not attach. It doesn't matter how old the guy is, he should live the rest of his life in jail for what he did

Quoting DIJKKIJK (Thread starter):
So the KKK man's victims finally get justice after 40 years. But why did it take so long?

Because racism reigned. This is the same thing that happened in the case of Byron de la Beckwith murdering Medgar Evers

Quoting DIJKKIJK (Thread starter):
Are there other civil rights movement related cases like this where the perpetrators of violence are roaming free?

Well, things like this happened rather frequently though the Medgar Evers case was the most famous and was even made into a movie. I recommend you see "The Ghosts of Mississippi" to truely answer your post.

Quoting DIJKKIJK (Thread starter):
Is this just symbolic justice or is there something else to it ?



Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
User currently offline57AZ From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 2550 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 2625 times:

To expand the topic a little more, I should point out that blacks were not the only group that suffered at the hands of the lynch mob in the United States. The reborn Ku Klux Klan also conducted acts of violence against Catholics and persons of other nationalities, specifically immigrants such Italians. As for reasons that his prosecution took so long? From what I understand of the case, he was only a suspect and never indicted. This could be for a lack of evidence to charge him with the crime. It could also very well be that the grand jury refused to indict due to racial motives. Blacks had a very hard time getting placed on juries in the years from 1900-1970. Many jurisdictions systematically selected white jurors over blacks who were equally qualified to serve.

One reason that the prosecution may not have been possible at the time may have to do with the FBI's clandestine operations at the time. They were attempting to monitor the situation by inflitrating the Klan with informers. This information was used to collect information on the Klan's criminal activities and was intended for use in major prosecutions that would bring convictions that would destroy the core leadership. Most of the informers were Klansmen who had become disillusioned with the group or had moral changes of heart. Being a federal informant was a courageous effort on the part of these men-being found out could and did get people killed. Bearing that in mind, the FBI and the prosecutors chose their fights carefully. In the case of the Medgar Evers murder, one of the FBI infomants had information that would see Byron DeLa Beckwith sent to prison for the remainder of his life in the late 1990s. However, at the time of the murder his testimony was needed for a trial that was deemed to be of greater importance. Thus he was used for that trial and the Evers case remained open for forty more years.

Another reason for the importance of prosecuting these cases now is to send a message to those who are involved in hate groups today. Just because you are not immediately caught does not mean that you will escape punishment. Bobby Frank Cherry and Byron DeLa Beckwith though they had beaten the system. DeLa Beckwith died in a Mississippi State Prison and Cherry now calls an Alabama prison home. In both cases, new evidence surfaced and they were convicted by a jury of their peers for crimes that were committed over four decades ago. The key message to the hate groups is that the government is watching you and will take whatever steps necessary to enforce the laws with equal justice.

Finally, groups such as the Klan are still of great concern due to our knowledge of their past. As an undergraduate, I did a term research project on the history of the Ku Klux Klan. This group, unlike most others, has demonstrated a worrying ability to reorganize and regroup to meet new conditions. They were originally shut down by the anti-Klan laws passed by Congress in the 1870s. They lay virtually dormant until the 1920s as a national organization. Reborn, their membership counted over one million by the mid-1920s and included a majority of the powerbrokers on Capitol Hill. The Civil Rights Act and the rigid enforcement of the anti-Klan laws in the Civil Rights era helped to weaken the Klan once again. However, while the Klan may be dormant for now there is always the risk that given the right conditions, they can possibly rise again. There's a reason they are referred to as the Invisible Empire.

[Edited 2005-06-22 13:21:38]


"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."
User currently offlineFDXMECH From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 3251 posts, RR: 35
Reply 5, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 2610 times:

Quoting N1120A (Reply 3):
Well, things like this happened rather frequently though the Medgar Evers case was the most famous and was even made into a movie. I recommend you see "The Ghosts of Mississippi" to truely answer your post.

There was a TV movie made about 30 years ago called, "Attack on Terror", which told the story of this incident. It showed the FBI looking for the bodies in the dam, the trials, etc. It starred the same actor who played Trapper John in MASH. I'd like to see it again.



You're only as good as your last departure.
User currently offlineNA From Germany, joined Dec 1999, 10371 posts, RR: 11
Reply 6, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 2607 times:

Justice, finally.
Thank god this old nazi-kind-of-guy will have fully serviced "retirement home" secured! Lets hope a lot of blacks are in that prison to comfort his old days so his prejudices don´t go away.

Btw, whats with the other members of this ridiculous white-clad idiot club who took part in that murder?


User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21129 posts, RR: 56
Reply 7, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 1 day ago) and read 2589 times:

The thing I'm curious about is what happened with the jury. On Monday, they said they were deadlocked after only an hour or two of deliberation. And when the judge sent them back to deliberate again the next day, they convicted him. Isn't that somewhat of a quick turnaround?

Not that I'm questioning the verdict - good to see this scum of the earth finally where he belongs.

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 2):
I was rather taken aback by his contention that fault aly not with Edgar Killen, rather with the victims and the folks that sent them to Mississippi to register these voters.

I guess the sentiment still exists after all these years. It's pretty pathetic.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlineGreyhound From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 1026 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 1 day ago) and read 2587 times:

Quoting DIJKKIJK (Thread starter):
Apprently, the jury couldn't reach a verdict 40 years ago, so why bring it up now? After all, the bloke won't last very long being 80 that he is.

You couldn't very well NOT convict him. If you didn't you'd be sending the wrong message. Just hold out long enough.... if you can hide 'til you're old and gray, you can get off for it, because we wouldn't want to do anything to a little old man. Good job bringing the bastard to justice. It's a shame though he won't have long to sit in prison to think about it though. What's he thinking now? Probably indifferent since he's old and not in the best of health.

Quoting NA (Reply 6):
Btw, whats with the other members of this ridiculous white-clad idiot club who took part in that murder?

My guess would be still protected by like-minded people still in the South.



29th, Let's Go!
User currently offlineJBirdAV8r From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 4482 posts, RR: 22
Reply 9, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 23 hours ago) and read 2568 times:

Quoting FDXMECH (Reply 5):
There was a TV movie made about 30 years ago called, "Attack on Terror", which told the story of this incident. It showed the FBI looking for the bodies in the dam, the trials, etc. It starred the same actor who played Trapper John in MASH. I'd like to see it again.

Also "Mississippi Burning" is a good one to watch, as well.



I got my head checked--by a jumbo jet
User currently offlineMD-90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 8494 posts, RR: 12
Reply 10, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 15 hours ago) and read 2543 times:

Quoting Greyhound (Reply 8):
You couldn't very well NOT convict him. If you didn't you'd be sending the wrong message.

It doesn't matter what kind of message is "sent" to a gullible public. Can the prosecution prove that he was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt? I guess they did. I have friends from Philadelphia, MS who are just glad that this is over. He is an embarassment.


User currently offlineANCFlyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (8 years 10 months 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 2517 times:

Update: He gets 60 years . . .


http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2005-06-23-killen-sentence_x.htm


User currently offlineNA From Germany, joined Dec 1999, 10371 posts, RR: 11
Reply 12, posted (8 years 10 months 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 2499 times:

There is one thing I would wish such a guy: A plastic surgery Michael Jackson style the other way around!
This particular guy is too old, but what a thought!

Anyway, I wish him lots of "fun". Even if this verdict is a ray of hope for the infamous backyard racsim of the South I bet most people in the prison he´ll enjoy the rest of his life are black and will be "good" teachers.

Lets hope his KKK-murder-companions get tarred and feathered too soon!


User currently offline57AZ From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 2550 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (8 years 10 months 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 2483 times:

Actually, he'll probably be quite comfortable and thrive on the attention he'll get from other inmates. White supremacy groups are pretty strong in the prison gangs in each state. More likely he will be permanently assigned to a hospital ward due to his advanced age and health. As for the backyard racism remark, this problem is endemic nationwide and not strictly relegated to the south. In fact, the south is (for the moment) pretty tame compared to the Midwest and Northwest which are now the principal regions that major racist groups call home. It may very well be that they shifted to these regions due to the percieved hostility of many people in the south to hate groups, a byproduct of the social changes in that region and the willingness of the citizens to address the presence of the white supremacy groups in recent years. My educated observation is that they are thriving in the Midwest and Northwest partially due to the refusal of many people in those areas to recognize that the groups are present there and that they have the same problem that we do in the South. Check out the Southern Poverty Law Center if you really want to know what law enforcement does about these hatemongers.

As for using this case to send out a message, the media and most of the general public missed the boat as usual. This is not intended to be a feel good message that says that Mississippi is attempting to right the wrongs of the past and things are better now. The targeted audience is current and former Klan members and the intended message is that if you've been involved with the Klan, you better keep looking over your shoulder. The law caught up to "Dynamite" Bob Chambliss, Byron DeLa Beckwith, Bobby Frank Cherry and now Edgar Ray Killen. If you commit or have committed a crime in the name of the Klan, you may be the next one that the law catches up to. Time may dull the memories of humans but the law never forgets a crime.



"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."
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