Edgar Ray Killen, who was convicted of manslaughter in June of the 1964 killing of three civil rights workers near Philadelphia, Miss., was freed on a $600,000 post-conviction bond today.
Friends and relatives paid the bond this afternoon. According to Circuit Judge Marcus Gordon, who presided during the trial, court rules allow for bonds to be posted during an appeal unless a person was convicted of felony child abuse or capital murder. While Killen was tried for murder, the jury found Killen guilty of manslaughter in the deaths of James Chaney, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman.
The State of Mississippi appealed Gordon’s ruling and asked for a stay, which Gordon denied. He stated that the appeal would likely be heard within a year.
This trial was the first time that state charges had been brought against any of the approximately 19 men who were involved in the 1964 murders. Several were convicted of Federal civil rights charges in 1967, but Killen’s jury deadlocked.
Killen, now 80, is in poor health, and during one day of the trial was taken to an area hospital after his blood pressure spiked.