Monday, April 30, 2007

Conviction Affirmed In Mississippi Murders

On April 12, the Mississippi Supreme Court upheld the conviction of Edgar Ray Killen for the 1964 murders of Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman. The court rejected a variery of contentions on appeal of the manslaughter conviction. The court found no error in the jury instructions and rejected the claim that the statute of limitations had run as there is no statute of limitations for manslaughter. The court rejected the claim that the defense had been prejudiced by the delay in bringing the matter to trial. In particular, the court found no basis to grant relief on Killen's contention (which the court accepted) that conviction would have been less likely if the case had been tried to an all-white jury in 1964. The court responded: "We shall do no more than add that we find this argument has no merit, and we are surprised it is made." (Mike Frisch)

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