Mississippi Burning case closed - WLBT.com - Jackson, MS

Mississippi Burning case closed

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT

It took 50 years, but federal and state investigators say they've exhausted every avenue in investigating the murder of three civil rights workers in Mississippi in 1964.

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood says the decision to close the "Mississippi Burning" case, came on the heels of U.S. Department of Justice releasing a report into the murders of James Earl Chaney Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner. The Three civil rights workers were registering black voters in Neshoba County, when they were murdered; their bodies later found in an earthen dam.

"I think everything has been done that possibly can be done." said Hood. "So in conversations with the Department of Justice I wanted to have this report available for history, for some kid in Hulka MS where I went to school that will know that at least the federal government did everything possible to investigate this case."

In 2005, Edgar Ray Killen was convicted on manslaughter charges in the case.  Since then, behind the scenes, a federal investigator was assigned to the case, studying evidence collected over a 50 year span, finding and interviewing the final living, potential defendants. 

"There are only two surviving at this point," added Hood. 'The evidence has degraded by memory over time so there are no individuals that are living now that we can make a case on at this point."

Closure for a  dark chapter in Mississippi's past; a moment in history that led to a relentless pursuit of justice for those that lost their lives, working to ensure the rights for others.

Jim Hood said if new information on the cases surfaces, it will be thoroughly investigated.

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