James Ford Seale Conviction Overturned

James Ford Seale, the former KKK member who was convicted of kidnapping and conspiracy last year in the 1964 murder of two black teens was granted an acquittal by the US 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The court said the statute of limitations had expired.

Seale is the former KKK member convicted of kidnapping and conspiring to kidnap Thomas Moore’s brother, Charles Eddie Moore and his friend, Henry Hazekiah Dee in 1964. The teenagers were taken into the woods and beaten, driven across the state line into Louisiana, strapped to an old engine block and some railroad ties and dumped alive into the Mississippi River….murdered for no apparent reason other than the color of their skin.

The 2007 conviction, 3 life sentences, left Thomas Moore with a better feeling about the Magnolia state. Said Moore, “I now feel Mississippi is my home that I would not have owned up to even last night. So, Mississippi, you’ve come a long way.” But that relief will likely turn to grief and anger with the decision of the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Court said: “The district court erred by failing to recognize the presumption that changes affecting statutes of limitation apply retroactively, even without explicit direction from congress. … While we are mindful of the seriousness of the crimes at issue, we cannot abdicate our duty to faithfully apply a valid limitations period.”

Update: McComb native, and U.S. Attorney Dunn Lampton said he was disappointed in the decision….(link)

“We spent a great deal of time and effort in this case,” he said. “They were just brutal murders. The court didn’t reverse it on the facts. They reversed it on a technicality.”

Lampton said he’s going to discuss the matter with Paige Fitzgerald, a lawyer from the Justice Department who helped prosecute the case, to determine if prosecutors will ask the entire 5th Circuit to review Tuesday’s decision.

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