Edgar Ray Killen did his community’s bidding. It was of no little consequence that Ronald Reagan launched his successful presidential bid from here. Were it not for outside agitators he probably could have been elected to Congress and even become Majority Leader of the US Senate.

William S. King
Silver Spring, Maryland

This is so ridiculous to use taxpayer money to prosecute an 80-year-old person. He only has a few more years to live anyway. Even if you manage to convict him it will in no way please the NAACP. You could give them the entire United States and they still would not be pleased.

No, I do not belong to any KKK organization but am a plain old true blood American.

W. L. Patterson
Shreveport, Louisiana

“Here, here” to the Neshoba County jury that managed to find Edgar Ray Killen (how appropriate a name!) guilty of manslaughter in the 1964 deaths of three civil rights workers. The 1967 federal jury deadlocked on Mr. Killen originally. With the passage of time, and perhaps a stronger case from the prosecutor, this remnant of the past will finally “do time.” Mr. Killen will not survive his imprisonment. Perhaps that’s true justice. Whatever religion Killen suckered into making him a pastor should immediately defrock him!
My only disappointment was that Mr. Killen was not found guilty of murder.

Richard Bash
Anderson, Indiana

Having lived in the South since 1983, but coming from a very rural “Deep North” county — Columbia County, New York, I appreciate small town papers and the service they provide to their residents. Althought I have only been to Mississippi once when driving to Texas back in 1983, I used to get the Coffeeville Courier back in the early 1980s while in college in New Jersey.
Keep up your excellent work. Thank you.

Peter K. Lindsley
Houston, Texas

I imagine there are a substantial number of individuals, particularly in the South, who wonder what beneficent end is accomplished by pursuing an ill, frail, 80-old Edgar Ray Killen for his role in a triple ambush murder of civil rights workers which occurred 41 years ago.

It is clear to me that there is a great deal to be gained by pursuing Killen and others of his ilk. Those who have suffered most, the survivors of the three brave, valorous, slain young men, deserve justice, notwithstanding the fact that it has been denied for so many decades. Mr. Killen is the face and embodiment of one of the most evil, wicked, shameful eras in American history.

He was a product of his time, a time in which African-Americans and those who supported equality for them, were despised, reviled, condemned, and attacked throughout much of our nation. The fact that Mr. Killen went along with the prevalent mood of the day in Mississippi does nothing to purge him of his guilt, especially given that he took his hatred so far as to advocate and foment violence and death against innocent people for the “crime” of fighting for equal rights.

The jury system does not always produce just verdicts, as occurred in the 1960’s, when Killen was initially found not guilty by a corrupt jury. It could also be rightfully argued that manslaughter was too gentle a finding to render in the 2005 Killen case. Nevertheless, even such a reduced charge is likely to result in a life sentence, given the criminal’s advanced age. For that, we can feel gratification that the justice system on this occasion has tilted in favor of the American people and against at least one murderous hater from an era our national conscience wishes we could forget.

Oren M. Spiegler
Upper Saint Clair, Pennsylvania

I have been impressed with the reporting surrounding the Killen trial.
Have been pleased to read and see the many positive things said about Philadelphia, Neshoba County and the people. What a shame the reporters didn’t get an opportunity to take in the historic sites. Perhaps they did, and we will be hearing about that later. Watching from a distance, I was “proud” to be from Philadelphia, Neshoba County Mississippi. I saw a picture of a progressive community, with very professional elected officials. “Ye done good.”

Ollie Fay (Mrs L. L.) Flint
Shalimar, Florida

Thank you for unbiased reporting in the “Mississippi Burning” case of Killen. Now that Mississippi is no longer the “land that time forgot,” many of us who have, for so long stayed away from there, may want to visit your state.

Michael Zargarov
Houston, Texas

I would like to praise your extensive coverage of the Killen trial. You thank the Lord: At last we are free. Be it so.

I would just like to alert you to the Sydney Morning Herald, online edition, 24 June, reporting a trial of Australian army members, posing, just for fun(!), withh KKK-style hoods, in 2000. I was born in Germany, so I know: Let’s be vigilant, lest the ghosts of the past will sneak back in!

Thanks a lot, and God bless all people of Neshoba County and Philadelphia, Miss.

Michael Scharenberg
Zurich, Switzerland

Manslaughter in the deaths of three young men? You people are still obviously deluded. I am disgusted with Mississippi.

I was raised in Maryland, and I remember watching the news coverage as the nation wondered where those boys were. By this verdict, we now know that most Missippians knew very well where those boys were. They probably hear their uncles and fathers discussing it around the dinner table. And that explains the manslaughter verdict.

There are still enough people in Missipiipi who lack the spine to recognize that when they hear their “men folk” say “He sure didn’t mean for something like that to happen” that it means Uncle Foy or your dear Papa didn’t give a rat’s arse about intimidating three young men in their late teens and early 20s. And where does the “man-slaughter” charge come from?

“Ooops, we beat them to death. Better shoot them now.”? You people ar unbelievable and disgusting. I was raised in an argrarian state (Maryland), and I sure know how fast news travels by word of mouth in agrarian communities. You folks, your uncles and your dear Papas not only didn’t care how far the action was going to go that night, you probably also knew (or heard rumor) that a plow had been arranged (to dispose of the evidence of your cowardice and your evil).

It has been said thta this verdict would tell us where Mississpi is, and indeed it has. You people are still spineless cowards.

God forgive me for saying this, but go to hell all of you.

Karen Morris
Toronto, Canada

I spent my elementary school years and several summers in my teen years in Meridian and Neshoba County. I think the only way true justice can be achieved for Mr. killen is to have a lynching party led my local blacks in Philadelphia. This would be true Mississippi justice for Mr. Killen. As a so called man of God, Mr. Killen would understand God’s approval of this method. This would be truly equal but separate justice.

Don Luke
Bradenton, Florida

The Killen trial brought this writer to your site. Your online paper has been a really pleasant surprise. On any given morning three to six papers are read online. They include the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Houston Chronicle, Washington Post and The New York Times. Occasionally there are others. Yours is right in there with the best of them. The Neshoba Democrat is an excellent web paper.

I wish I had more time to explore the history of your community. For some reason I think the county should investigate partnering with a university and conducting some archeological field schools. If the idea were valid, it would provide a means of identifying and protecting the area’s cultural resources and could serve as a tourism vehicle for economic development. If properly structured, it would certainly pay its own way.

Claude D’Unger
Corpus Christi, Texas

I am a seventh grade history teacher in a small town in Virginia interested in how the recent conviction of Edgar Ray Killen will play out in the press.

I am curious how the disappearance of the three freedom riders was reported in the Neshoba Democrat in 1964? I am a fan of using newspapers in my classroom as a way to “trick” my students into reading. Do you have back copies of your paper from 1964? Would it be possible obtain a copy of some of the articles relating to the case?

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Chris Etchechury
Sterling Middle School

As the nation watches and follows the state murder trial of Edgar Ray Killien, many wonder if Mississippi will at last speak for these dead boys.

If Mr. Killien didn’t actually pull the trigger he certainly knew about the plan to kill these young men and was an ardent member of a hate organization that endeavored to deny many their civil rights through the same means we today label “terrorism”!

Most American veterans in our area say send a message to the rest of the nation and the world that time does not eclipse guilt and send this gone stray “preacher” where he should have been sent years ago... to a jail cell for whatever time he has left... that’s more than he gave those young men!

Bruce Leahy
Knoxville, Tennessee

Thank you for speaking out in favor of this verdic. EVEN THOUGH, it was not pronounced murder, this is a victory. Keep on writing the truth about our world. Maybe, this current administration will get their true verdic soon. I am praying for impeachment for Bush and Cheney and the “whole bunch.”

E. Upton
Tucson, Arizona