FBI investigates 1965 civil rights killing

March 12, 2011 at 2:21 PM
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SELMA, Ala., March 12 (UPI) -- The FBI is taking a new look at the killing of the Rev. James Reeb, a white minister who came to Alabama in 1965 for a civil rights march, a prosecutor says.

Reeb's daughter, Anne, also told The Anniston Star and The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Miss., that agents called the family several months ago to tell them the case was being reopened. Dallas County District Attorney Michael Jackson said he met with FBI agents to discuss the case.

The newspapers published the story Friday, the 46th anniversary of Reeb's death.

A Unitarian Universalist minister in Boston, Reeb, 38, traveled to Selma for the march Martin Luther King Jr. planned to lead to Montgomery. On March 9, as he walked back to a black church with two other white ministers, he was savagely beaten by white men armed with clubs and died two days later.

Three men were put on trial and found not guilty by an all-white jury. Two have since died with Namon O'Neal Hoggle the only survivor.

A defense lawyer suggested during the trial that civil rights groups "were willing to let Reeb die" because they needed a martyr.

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