Court Tosses Ex-Klansman's Conviction in '64 Murders

Statute of limitations for kidnapping had expired, appeals panel rules
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Sep 10, 2008 3:47 PM CDT
Charles Marcus Edwards, who received immunity for testifying against James Ford Seale.   (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
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(Newser) – A federal appeals court has thrown out last year's conspiracy and kidnapping conviction of an ex-Klansman involved in the murders of two black teens in Mississippi in 1964. Lawyers for James Ford Seale said they will seek to have the 72-year-old cancer patient, who was serving three life sentences, freed on bond. "The court didn't reverse it on the facts," the US attorney told the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. "They reversed it on a technicality."

The statute of limitations for kidnapping had expired, the three-judge panel held. "The district court erred by failing to recognize the presumption that changes affecting statutes of limitation apply retroactively," the court wrote. Said the brother of victim Charles Eddie Moore, who spent years pushing to have the case reopened: "It's a shock, but there's nothing I can do."