JACKSON, Miss. – Reputed white supremacist James Ford Seale returns to federal court Monday so a judge can decide whether he will remain in jail while awaiting trial on kidnapping charges tied to the killing of two black teenagers in 1964.
Seale, 71, was arrested Wednesday in the latest attempt by prosecutors to close the books on crimes from the civil rights era that went unpunished.
Prosecutors said Charles Eddie Moore and Henry Hezekiah Dee, both 19, were seized and beaten by white supremacist Ku Klux Klansman on May 2, 1964, then thrown into the Mississippi River to drown. Their bodies were found about two months later.
Seale pleaded not guilty Thursday to three charges of kidnapping and conspiracy. He told the U.S. magistrate he suffers from cancer and other ailments.
His court-appointed public defenders filed a motion on Friday asking to have the charges dismissed. Seale's trial is set to start April 2, though that could be moved to a later date.
A second white man long suspected in the attack on Dee and Moore, reputed KKK member Charles Marcus Edwards, 72, has not been charged. People close to the investigation who spoke on condition of anonymity said Edwards was cooperating with authorities.