James Ford Seale

August 3, 2011 by staff 

James Ford SealeJames Ford Seale, James Ford Seale, Ku Klux Klan a famous, jailed for his role in the kidnapping of the era of segregation and the killing of two black men in rural Mississippi, has died, a spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, said.

Seale died Tuesday in Terre Haute, Indiana, where he had been serving three life sentences after being convicted in 2007, the Bureau of Prisons spokesman Ross Edmond told The Associated Press. He was 76.

Ross said he did not know the cause of death in Seale, which was first reported by the newspaper The Jackson Clarion-Ledger.

Seale was convicted of two counts of kidnapping and one of conspiracy to commit kidnapping in the 1964 death of Henry Hezekiah Dee and Charles Eddie Moore, both 19.

The two were abducted in the woods of southwest Mississippi near Natchez.

Prosecutors said Seale, a former exterminator, was with a group of Klansmen when Dee and Moore were abducted from a rural stretch of highway in southwest Mississippi. The Ku Klux Klan took the teens into the woods and beaten and interrogated about rumors that blacks in the area were planning an armed uprising, prosecutors said.

The decomposed bodies were found in July 1964, federal authorities searched for the bodies of three civil rights workers who also disappeared in the summer. That case became known as “Mississippi Burning” and the shadow of the death of Dee and Moore.

Thomas Moore, 68, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, the brother of Charles Moore, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that he took no joy in the death of Seale.

“Rejoicing? That’s not in my nature,” Moore said. “That’s all behind me. I spent the whole process. I hope you found peace with God. My sympathies are with his family. I hope you found peace and hope your family can gather as mine have and move forward with their lives. ”

Calls to defense lawyer Seale, Kathy Nester, now with the federal public defender’s office in Salt Lake City, were not immediately returned Wednesday.

Seale and another man, Charles Marcus Edwards, faced state charges short of murder in the deaths of Dee and Moore in 1964, but the charges were released quickly. Prosecutors said the charges were withdrawn by the local law enforcement officials were colluding with the Ku Klux Klan.

Many people thought Seale was dead until 2005 when it was discovered living in a village not far from where the teens were abducted. The case was reopened, and Edwards became the government’s star witness after he was promised immunity from prosecution.

In March 2010, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals U.S. ruled that the evidence against Seale was sufficient to convict the jury at trial that took place 43 years after the crimes. Later that year, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal of Seale.

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