Monday, August 3, 2009

Klansman May Walk From Charges of Kidnap and Murder


JACKSON, Mississippi (AP) -- The U.S. Supreme Court should decide whether a reputed Ku Klux Klansman should have been tried on a kidnapping charge 43 years after two black men were abducted and slain in rural Mississippi, a federal appeals court said Thursday.

A majority of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said other Civil Rights Era cold cases could be affected by a Supreme Court ruling on whether time had run out for prosecutors to charge James Ford Seale.

Seale, now 73, was convicted in 2007 of abducting two 19-year-old friends who authorities said were beaten, weighted down and thrown, possibly still alive, into a Mississippi River backwater in 1964.

Since the conviction, Seale's case has worked its way through the 5th Circuit, including an acquittal that was overturned.

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