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Killer Klansman Killen lands in the hospital


Edgar Ray Killen, left, at his trial on Thursday, and right, pictured as a thirty-eight-year-old, when he was allegedly the point man in the conspiracy to murder three civil rights workers in Neshoba County, Mississippi on June 21, 1964.

How can you muster up sympathy for this bigot (who is, by the way an ordained Baptist minister)? The sad thing is, I saw some unfortunate redneck Mississippi woman interviewed this AM on CNN basically saying “what’s past is past” and why people can’t just get over it. Well, hon, as long as this f*cker is breathing, he’s going to get his chance to go to the slammer.

Edgar Ray Killen was taken away in an ambulance just before the widow of one of the victims led the jury through the events that sent her husband to Mississippi during the “Freedom Summer” of 1964. A few in the courtroom wiped away tears during the testimony.

Rita Schwerner Bender, 63, recalled the moment she learned that authorities had found the blue station wagon that her husband, Michael Schwerner, and the two other men were in when they disappeared. The burned car was abandoned in a swamp.

“I think it hit me for the first time that they were dead, that there was really no realistic possibility that they were alive,” the Seattle woman said, occasionally looking as though she was fighting back tears. Killen was listed in stable condition. The part-time preacher and sawmill operator has been attending court in a wheelchair while he recovers from broken legs suffered in a woodcutting accident. A nurse sits nearby in court.

Killen is on trial in the killings of James Chaney, a black Mississippian, and Schwerner and Andrew Goodman, white New Yorkers, who were in the town to investigate the burning of a black church. They were stopped for speeding, jailed for a few hours, then released, after which they were ambushed by a gang of Klansmen.

…Killen’s name has been associated with the slayings from the outset, and he stood trial on federal charges in 1967, but the all-white jury could not reach a verdict. One juror reportedly said she could not convict a preacher.

Someone should track down good old boy Trent Lott for a comment, seeing he’s one of the Pro-Lynching Southern Six.


Rita Schwerner Bender (L), widow of Michael Schwerner, greets Barbara Chaney Dailey, as her brother Ben Chaney (C), both siblings of James Chaney, leans forward, during a recess in the murder trial of Edgar Ray Killen. REUTERS/Rogelio Solis/Pool

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding