The brother of a Black man who was kidnapped, tied up and tossed into a Mississippi River backwater nearly a half-century ago said he is elated that an appeals court refused to free the former Klansman accused in the crime.
"As I've said before, there was no doubt that [James Ford] Seale was guilty ... so I'm glad that the 5th Circuit took a second shot at it with the whole panel," said Thomas Moore, the 65-year-old brother of Charles Moore.
Two years ago, Seale was convicted of abducting Charles Eddie Moore and Henry Hezekiah Dee, both 19, beating them, weighting them down and throwing them into the murky water while they were still alive. Last year, however, a panel of three judges on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals threw the conviction out, ruling that the statute of limitations had run out and Seale should not have been tried for the 1964 crime. But on Friday, the entire Fifth Circuit Court delivered a tie vote, meaning that the initial ruling by the trial judge would stand, and Seale would remain in prison.
Prosecutors describe Seale as a staunch segregationist who worked hard to suppress voter rights during the Civil Rights Movement. They say that Seale, a former crop duster, was part of a Klan group who snatched Moore and Dee from a rural stretch of highway in southwest Mississippi and spirited them into the woods, where they beat and interrogated them. The Klan was seeking information about Blacks they thought were planning an uprising, according to prosecutors.
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