No release for man guilty of 1964 killings

July 14, 2006 at 9:34 PM

PHILADELPHIA, Miss., July 14 (UPI) -- A Mississippi judge Friday refused to release Edgar Ray Killen while he appeals his conviction for organizing the 1964 killings of three civil rights workers.

Judge Marcus Gordon told Killen he is not sure if he has the authority to grant an appeals bond, the Clarion-Ledger reported. He said Killen's lawyers had presented no compelling evidence for his release.

Killen, a part-time Baptist preacher, was convicted of three counts of manslaughter last year and given a 60-year sentence. A man who confessed to the FBI said Killen told members of the Ku Klux Klan where to ambush Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman and then gave himself an alibi.

"We have a place to bury them, and a man to run the dozer to cover them up," the informant said Killen told the Klansmen.

Last year, Killen was released on bond in August on health grounds and then returned to prison after the judge heard evidence that he had been faking his physical problems.

Rita Bender, Schwerner's widow, said the judge "made the right decision."

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