Reputed Klansman Set to Be Sentenced - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Reputed Klansman Set to Be Sentenced

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -- An aging, reputed Ku Klux Klansman is facing life in prison for his role in the abduction and killing of two black teenagers more than 43 years ago.

James Ford Seale, 72, was convicted in June on federal charges of kidnapping and conspiracy in the 1964 deaths of Charles Moore and Henry Hezekiah Dee. He was scheduled to be sentenced Friday.

The 19-year-olds disappeared from Franklin County on May 2, 1964, and their bodies were found that July in the Mississippi River.

The prosecution's star witness against Seale was Charles Marcus Edwards, a confessed Klansman, who received immunity from prosecution for his admitted role in the abductions in exchange for his testimony.

Edwards testified that he, Seale and other klansmen abducted Dee and Moore near Meadville, forced them into the trunk of Seale's Volkswagen and drove them to a farm. The two were later tied up and driven across the Mississippi River into Louisiana. Edwards said Seale told him that heavy weights were attached to the teenagers and they were then dumped alive into the river.

Their bodies were found floating in the river near Vicksburg, about 70 miles from where they disappeared.

Seale was arrested on a state murder charge in 1964, but the charge was later dropped. Federal prosecutors say the state charges were dropped because local law enforcement officers in 1964 were in collusion with the Klan.

U.S. Attorney Dunn Lampton told jurors that Klansman abducted and beat Dee and Moore in an attempt to find out if blacks were bringing firearms into Franklin County.

Moore's brother, Thomas Moore of Colorado Springs, Colo., helped research the crime and persuaded prosecutors to reopen their investigation.

The killings of Moore and Dee are among several decades-old civil rights cases reopened by federal investigators. In February, federal officials announced they were reopening investigations into about a dozen such cases.

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