Ex-Klansman on Trial for 1964 Kidnapping
Posted Jun 5, 2007 11:46 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
Trial began yesterday in Jackson, Miss., for former Ku Klux Klansman James Ford Seale, accused of kidnapping two black men before they were murdered in 1964.
In opening arguments, prosecutor Paige Fitzgerald said the trial would offer “an inside view into the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, a group fueled by racism so extreme that they justified kidnapping and murdering” the 19-year-old victims, Reuters reports.
U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate ruled yesterday that prosecutors may introduce evidence that Seale bragged about shooting at blacks and acknowledged membership in the Klan, according to the Clarion-Ledger.
However, he held off ruling on whether a letter could be admitted in which Seale purportedly used derogatory references to refer to blacks.
The indictment claims Seale, now 71, pointed a gun at Henry Hezekiah Dee and Charles Eddie Moore while companions beat them and threw them in the Mississippi River. The murders attracted little publicity at the time.
As jury selection got underway on May 30, the Moore's brother expressed relief that the case is finally being tried. "We're at the doorstep of justice," Thomas Moore said.