Klansman convicted in 'Mississippi Burning' case dies in prison

Edgar Ray Killen, Klansman in 'Mississippi Burning' slayings, dies in prison at 92

A man convicted in the deaths of three civil rights workers in MS died in prison.

Mississippi Correction officials told Goodman's brother, David, Killen died 9 p.m. Thursday night.

Killen, 92, was serving three consecutive 20-year terms at the facility, the Los Angeles Times reported. He was a Klansman who led a group of 15 men in the deaths of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Shwerner.

The killings were instrumental in the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and were later dramatized in the 1988 film Mississippi Burning.

Edgar Ray Killen stands in a court room where he pleaded not guilty to three counts of murder in the 1964 slayings of three civil rights workers at the Neshoba County Courthouse.

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The Mississippi Department of Corrections says Killen's cause of death is pending an autopsy, but that he was suffering from congestive heart failure and hypertension. Foul play was not suspected in the former Ku Klux Klan leader's death.

On June 21,1964, the three - all civil rights workers registering African-Americans to vote - were on their way to investigate the burning of a black church in Neshoba County when a sheriff's deputy took them into custody for speeding.

Their bodies were discovered by authorities 44 days later, buried in a red clay dam in rural Neshoba County.

He was sentenced to 60 years in prison. He was tried and convicted in 2005 on the manslaughter charges after the state reopened the murder investigations.

Over the last 40 years, authorities have convicted people of notorious murders during the civil rights era.

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