Preacher Convicted of Manslaughter in Mississippi 1964 Murder Case

Jurors in the southern U.S. state of Mississippi have found a preacher guilty on three counts of manslaughter for his role in the 1964 murder of three civil rights workers.

Eighty-year-old Edgar Ray Killen showed no emotion as the verdicts were read in the small town of Philadelphia, Mississippi Tuesday.

The jury had an option of finding Killen guilty of murder, but it decided to convict him of the lesser charge. Each of the three manslaughter charges carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

His conviction comes 41 years to the day when the three civil rights workers, who were helping to register black voters, were shot and killed on a country road. Prosecutors said Killen, a member of the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan, planned and organized the killings.

In a 1967 trial, a jury deadlocked on whether to convict Killen, with one juror saying she could not convict a preacher.

Some information for this report provided by AP.

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June 21, 2005

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