Klansman convicted in 1964 killings

June 21, 2005 at 12:34 PM

PHILADELPHIA, Miss., June 21 (UPI) -- A Mississippi jury Tuesday convicted an 80-year-old former Ku Klux Klan leader in the 1964 killings of three civil rights workers.

Edgar Ray Killen was found guilty of manslaughter in the deaths of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, who were beaten and killed by a white mob on June 21, 1964. The incident became the basis of the movie, "Mississippi Burning."

The verdict came in shortly after noon EDT. Killen sat calmly as the verdict was read.

Killen was accused of organizing the deaths of the three civil rights workers, who traveled to Mississippi to investigate the burning of a black church.

At the end of the first day of deliberations Monday, jury members told the judge they were deadlocked at 6-6. The panel could have convicted Killen of murder, but opted for the lesser charge.

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