The alleged mastermind behind the 1964 murder of three &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/main/2003/05/07/46676.html ' target=_blank>civil rights workers has been arrested in the southern U.S. state of Mississippi.
Police said Edgar Killen, reputed to be a longtime leader of the white supremacist group known as the &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/main/2002/11/20/39730.html ' target=_blank>Ku Klux Klan, would be arraigned Friday on three counts of murder.
Officials said the now-79-year old Mr. Killen, known as "The Preacher," organized a group of men who murdered the three civil rights workers. The young men, one black and two white, were helping African Americans register to vote in the highly segregated South, says Voice of America.
Killen, handcuffed and dressed in a loosely fitting orange jail jumpsuit, lowered his voice when asked if he could afford an attorney. He was then led off to the Neshoba County Jail pending another hearing Wednesday. He was ordered held without bond until then.
District Attorney Mark Duncan said prosecutors did not intend to publicly discuss what evidence they had developed or what role authorities believe Killen had in the killings.
While prosecutors had secured the indictment during a one-day grand jury presentation, Duncan said, "it hadn't been fast for us. We've been investigating the case for several years now. It just finally got to the point where we felt like we had done all that we can do."
"It was time to present whatever we had to the grand jury and let them make a decision on the case," he said, as ABC News reported.
Civil rights activists sued for the right to prosecute and in 1967 the &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/comp/2002/08/01/33620.html ' target=_blank>U.S. Justice Department won indictments against a group of suspects including then-Neshoba County Sheriff Lawrence Rainey, Price and another police officer.
For many Americans, the silent complicity of Philadelphia residents -- many knew the civil rights workers had been killed -- was almost as shocking as the crime itself.