Judge who presided over Edgar Ray Killen trial dead at 84 - WLBT.com - Jackson, MS

Judge who presided over Edgar Ray Killen trial dead at 84

Source: WLBT Archives Source: WLBT Archives

Retired Circuit Judge Marcus D. Gordon died at 84 on Thursday.

Gordon attended East Central Junior College in Decatur, now known as East Central Community College. He earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Mississippi and a law degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law.

Judge Gordon was appointed by Governor Cliff Finch as Circuit Judge on March 4, 1977. 

He served as Circuit Judge of the Eighth Judicial District Circuit Court of Leake, Neshoba, Newton and Scott counties for about 37 years and at the time of his retirement, Judge Gordon was the longest serving circuit judge in Mississippi.

Supreme Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. said, “Judge Gordon served with distinction in many capacities throughout his long career. He will be missed by all. He courageously presided over many very difficult cases, including the trial of Edgar Ray Killen.

Judge Gordon sentenced Edgar Ray Killen to life in prison in 2005 after a mixed-race jury convicted the reputed former Ku Klux Klan leader of manslaughter in the 1964 abduction and murders of three civil rights workers in Neshoba County. Killen was convicted 41 years to the day after the killings of Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman.

Judge Gordon retired on March 4, 2016, from the Eighth District Circuit Court. 

Neshoba County Circuit Clerk Patti Duncan Lee said, “He was an amazing man. He’s going to be missed terribly – has been and will be. He ran a firm courtroom but a fair courtroom. He treated everyone the same. By his presence, he commanded respect. If he thought you needed to do something differently, he sure didn’t mind telling you so. He was just one of a kind.”

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