WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court won't hear an appeal from reputed Ku Klux Klansman James Ford Seale for the killing of two black men in rural Mississippi in 1964.
The high court on Monday turned away Seale's appeal without comment.
In March, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the evidence against Seale was sufficient for the jury conviction in the trial that took place 43 years after the crimes. Seale, now 75, was convicted in 2007 of two counts of kidnapping and one of conspiracy to commit kidnapping. He was given three life sentences.
Authorities say Henry Hezekiah Dee and Charles Eddie Moore, both 19, were beaten by Klansmen and thrown, possibly still alive, into a muddy backwater of the Mississippi River.
Thomas Moore of Colorado Springs, Colo., the brother of victim Charles Moore, said he received a phone call from the Justice Department, informing him the Supreme Court wouldn't hear the case.
"It's a good feeling for me. It's a good feeling for the family members. It's been three years since this thing got started and now we can finally rest and move on with our lives," Thomas Moore said Monday. "Thank God justice has been done and I was convinced of it all the time."
Kathy Nester, Seale's defense attorney, was out of the office on Monday, and couldn't be reached immediately for comment.
The victims in the case were kidnapped in the woods of southwestern Mississippi near Natchez. According to testimony at the trial, the two 19-year-olds were beaten by Klansmen in the Homochitto National Forest as they were interrogated about rumors that blacks in the area were planning an armed uprising.
The teens were tossed into the trunk of a car and driven more than an hour through Louisiana and Mississippi before being weighted down and thrown into waters near Vicksburg.
Seale is serving his sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Terre Haute, Ind.
The case is Seale v. United States, 09-11229.