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Last Updated: Friday, 15 June 2007, 01:46 GMT 02:46 UK
Ex-KKK man guilty in 1964 killing
James Seale
Seale could face a life sentence for the crimes
A former Ku Klux Klan member has been convicted by a US jury of kidnapping and conspiracy in connection with the 1964 murder of two black teenagers.

James Seale, 71, a former policeman, was convicted over deaths of Charles Eddie Moore and Henry Hezekiah Dee.

He could face life in prison for the crimes when he is sentenced in August.

The 19-year-olds were said to have been kidnapped and bundled into a vehicle owned by Seale before being tied up and drowned in the Mississippi river.

Seale was first arrested in 1964 but authorities freed him, citing lack of evidence.

The case was reopened after a campaign by Eddie Moore's brother who discovered Seale was still alive. Seale was rearrested in January.

Dumped alive

The key witness in this case was a confessed Klansman, Charles Marcus Edwards.

James Ford Seale police picture from 1964
Seale was first arrested over the killings in 1964

In his testimony in Jackson, Mississippi, Mr Edwards said the two teenagers were stuffed alive into the trunk of Seale's car and driven to a farm.

The indictment said he aimed a shotgun at the two black men while fellow Ku Klux Klan members beat them.

Mr Edwards, who was granted immunity for his testimony, said Seale attached heavy weights to the boys and then dumped them alive into the river.

The defence argued Seale should be acquitted because the case was based on the word of an "admitted liar".

The FBI is re-opening several cases from the civil rights era before suspects die.

During the movement of the 1950s and 1960s, dozens of black people were killed by whites who wanted to retain racial segregation.

Few of the crimes were solved, partly because some of the perpetrators were protected by state and local officials.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
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SEE ALSO
US man in 1964 race attack charge
25 Jan 07 |  Americas
Jailed ex-Klansman granted bail
12 Aug 05 |  Americas
Mississippi murders revisited
12 Jan 05 |  Americas

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