Supreme Court won't hear reputed Mississippi Klansman's appeal

The Clarion-Ledger, Mississippi/October 4, 2010

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected the appeal Monday of reputed Klansman James Seale.

He had been seeking to overturn his conviction in connection with the Ku Klux Klan’s May 2, 1964, abduction, beatings and killings of Charles Eddie Moore and Henry Hezekiah Dee. The bodies of the 19-year-olds were found on the Louisiana side of the old Mississippi River.

In March, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the evidence against Seale was sufficient for the jury conviction in the trial that took place 43 years after the crimes.

In 2007, a U.S. District Court jury in Jackson convicted Seale of two counts of kidnapping and one of conspiracy to commit kidnapping. He was given three life sentences.

The victims were kidnapped in the woods of southwestern Mississippi near Natchez. According to testimony at the trial, the two were beaten by Klansmen in the Homochitto National Forest as they were interrogated about rumors that blacks in the area were planning an armed uprising. The teens were tossed into the trunk of a car and driven more than an hour through Louisiana and Mississippi before being weighted down and thrown still alive into a Mississippi River backwater near Vicksburg, according to testimony.

Their bodies were found weeks later. The mostly skeletal remains were identified by a few personal trinkets - Charles Eddie Moore's Alcorn A&M College dormitory key, his golden stretch-band wristwatch and a belt buckle with the initial "M," and Dee's waterlogged draft card that remained in his wallet.

Seale is serving his sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Terre Haute, Ind.

In June, the Dee and Moore families settled a lawsuit against Franklin County with officials there. The settlement’s details remain confidential.

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