Man convicted in slayings of 3 civil rights workers dies in prison

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A KKK member responsible for the 1964 murder of three civil rights workers in MS has died while serving a 60-year-sentence for manslaughter, the Clarion Ledger reports.

The case galvanised public opinion against segregation and helped lead to the passage of the Civil Rights Act.

The 1988 film "Mississippi Burning" is loosely based on the violent slayings and the following investigation that unfolded amid the peak of the Civil Rights movement.

Edgar Ray Killen stands in a court room where he pleaded not guilty to three counts of murder in the 1964 slayings of three civil rights workers at the Neshoba County Courthouse. In 2005, he was convicted of manslaughter for the 1964 deaths of Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman outside Philadelphia, Mississippi.

All three young men were in MS participating in the Freedom Summer of 1964.

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"Mississippi authorities reopened the case after finding out Sam Bowers said the main instigator had gotten away with murder and that was Edgar Ray Killen As we reported about that they reopened the case", according to Michell.

The cause death is pending an autopsy.

The sheriff's deputy who arrested them informed Klansmen of their detainment, and Killen then orchestrated a KKK mob to attack the men.

His first trial in 1967 ended in mistrial, but Killen was retried almost 40 years later after state authorities reopened the murder investigations, according to the Clarion Ledger.

He had been living as a part-time preacher and lumber mill operator, but was also an organiser in the KKK, who had established a local group. He was the only one of the culprits to be convicted of murder charges.

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