Edgar Ray Killen

Edgar Ray "Preacher" Killen (born January 17, 1925) is a former Ku Klux Klan organizer who conspired in the murders of three civil rights activists—James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner—in 1964. He was found guilty of three counts of manslaughter on June 21, 2005, the forty-first anniversary of the crime. He appealed the verdict, but his sentence of three times 20 years in prison was upheld on January 12, 2007, by the Mississippi Supreme Court. Edgar Ray Killen was born on January 17, 1925, in Philadelphia, Mississippi, the second of eight children of Lonnie Ray Killen (1901–1992) and Etta Hitt (1903–1983). Killen was a sawmill operator and a Southern Baptist minister. He was also a kleagle, or klavern recruiter and organizer, for the Neshoba and Lauderdale County chapters of the Ku Klux Klan. During the "Freedom Summer" of 1964, James Chaney, 21, a young black man from Meridian, Mississippi and Andrew Goodman, 20, and Michael Schwerner, 24, two white men from New York, were murdered in Philadelphia, Mississippi.


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