Defense continues in Killen trial

Court resumed Saturday in the murder trial of Edgar Ray Killen.

The State called the mother of murder victim James Chaney, Fannie Lee Chaney, to the stand. The prosecution rested their case, and the defense called three people to testify before court wrapped up late morning.

For the defense, Edgar Ray Killen’s brother and sister testified as to Killen’s whereabouts the day of the murders.

When District Attorney Mark Duncan asked Oscar Kenneth Killen if he had any awareness that his brother was involved in the Klan, Killen shot back, “I’ve heard more talk ‘at your daddy and granddaddy was in the Klan more I have him. Sure have. That’s honest. I swore on the Bible, gentlemen. That’s the way I’ve heard it all these years.”

Duncan responded outside the courthouse, “just consider the source.”

Retired Baptist preacher James Kermit Sharp was also called, and served as a character witness for Killen.

The defense is expected to rest their case after calling one or two more witnesses Monday morning, and closing arguments will begin.

Following is further DSJV coverage of the Edgar Ray Killen trial for the murders of Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, and James Chaney. This is ***in no way*** an official transcript; however, we wanted to make these statements (excerpts) from the trial available to our readers:

Fannie Lee Chaney, mother of James Chaney…

I saw it on tv in the woods, burned up, you could tell the car was burnt, it was just burned up. On the tv, that’s the way it looked on the tv.

…more testimony…

…oh yeah, I was getting phone calls, people who was passing by the house. A car full of white folks was passing by the house and throwing eggs on it, and they shot – if they had a been a little closer to the window, I reckon I’d be dead, because the shot went right down the driveway, that’s the only reason it didn’t hit the house.

Well I couldn’t get a job no more and nothing and they was threatening me so bad, me and my little son Ben, they told they was going to put dynamite under the house, blow us to bits and everything. And I better get on away from there, because I wasn’t going to be there long before, that I would be put in a hole like James was.

That’s him, that’s my son. I’ve got that picture hanging up in my house. That’s my oldest son, James Chaney.

He just made his 21st birthday in May and he got killed in June. He was born on Memorial Day.