Members of the Jury
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Mrs. S.M. Green 67, of
By Walter Rugaber
ALL-WHITE JURY PICKED AS TRIAL OF 18 IN SLAYING OF 3 RIGHTS
BEGINS IN MISSISSIPPI
An all-white jury of five men and seven women was selected today in the trial of 18 men accused of conspiracy in the 1964 murders of three young civil rights workers near Philadelphia, Miss. . . . .
A number of Negroes were among the more than 200 prospective jurors summoned, and at least 17 were included in the panel from which the 12 were selected. But defense attorneys rejected all the negroes with peremptory challenges.
The defense questioned each of the Negroes about membership in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. It sought to get one member of the group discharged for cause, but Judge Cox overruled the move.
The judge had asked prospective jurors of both races whether any had engaged in civil rights activities and ordered a young negro woman to step aside when she said she had participated in one march and belonged to the N.A.A.C.P.
A white man, under questioning by Robert Hauberg, United States Attorney for southern Mississippi, said he had belonged to the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan "a couple of years ago." He was asked whether this would influence his hearing of the case.
"No sir, it sure would not," he replied. Although the man did not become a member of the jury, he was not discharged for cause. The F.B.I. has accused the White Knights group of planning the slayings
John Doar, the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights began presenting a series of background witnesses this afternoon. One of them was the Rev. Charles Johnson of Meridian, who worked with Mr. Schwerner in 1964.
Laurel Weir of Philadelphia, one of the defense lawyers, began his cross-examination of the minister by inquiring whether the murdered youth had spoken against the war in Vietnam or had burned his draft card. Mr.Johnson replied that Mr. Schwerner had not.
A series of similar questions followed, and finally Mr. Weir asked whether the rights worker had ever sought to "get young male Negroes to sign a pledge to rape a white woman once a week during the hot summer of 1964."
Judge Cox broke in and warned the attorney that he considered such a question "highly improper" unless the defense could show a reason for posing it. Mr. Weir said it had been passed to him in writing.
"Who is the author of that question?" the judge demanded sharply. At first none of the attorneys replied. Finally one of them said it had been passed up by one of the 18 men on trial.
"I am not going to allow a farce to be made of this trial," the judge declared. "I don't understand such a question as that and I don't approve. If there's no basis to it I'm going to have something to say about it when we get through.". . . .
After the the trial jurors were named today, Judge Cox said they would be permitted to return home at night provided they did not discuss the case.
The jurors are: Mrs. S.M. Green 67, of
a housewife; Mrs. Lessie Lowery, 52, of Hiwannee, a grocery store
Howard O. Winborn, 56, of Petal, a pipe fitter; Harmon W. Rasberry, 52,
of Stonewall, a textile worker; Mr. Gussie
Also Langdon Smith Anderson, 52, of
oil exploration operator and member of the State Agricultural and
Board; Mrs.James C. Heflin, 48, of Lake, a production worker; Mrs. Nell
B. Dedeaux, 42, of Lumberton, a housewife; Willie V. Arneson, 58, of
a secretary;Edsell Z. Parks, 34, of Brandon, a clerk, and Adelaide H.
43, of Ocean Springs, a cook at a school cafeteria.
By Walter Rugaber
DEADLOCKED JURY IS ORDERED TO CONTINUE DELIBERATIONS IN
A deadlocked Federal Court jury was ordered today to continue its deliberations in the trial of 18 men charged with a conspiracy in 1964 to "eliminate" three young civil rights workers.
The all-white panel filed into the second-floor courtroom at 3:18 p.m. to report the impasse to the United States District Court Judge, W. Harold Cox. The jurors, who got the case yesterday afternoon, had deliberated 9 hours 40 minutes.
Judge Cox ordered the five men and seven women back to the jury room after urging each of them to "carefully re-examine and reconsider" their positions. He invited them to "take all the time you feel is necessary."
New Instructions Read
Judge Cox read the panel new instructions drawn from the so-called "Allen Charge," a set of directions used in the case of Allen v. the United States and upheld by the Supreme Court in 1898.
Lawyers also referred to the instructions as the "dynamite charge" because it is designed to help jog the jurors into a unanimous verdict. Its language is direct and legally somewhat controversial.
The jurors deliberated for several more hours without reaching a verdict. Then just before 9 P.M., Federal marshals cleared the courthouse to escort them to a nearby hotel for the night. They were scheduled to resume deliberation at 9 A.M. tomorrow.
The defendants include Cecil R. Price, the chief deputy sheriff of Neshoba County, and Sam H. Bowers Jr. of Laurel, identified repeatedly during the trial as the Imperial Wizard of the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.
The 18 are accused of participating in a Klan plot to deny the three slain youths their constitutional rights. A conviction carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
"This is an important case," Judge Cox told the panel. "The trial has been expensive to the prosecution as well as to the defense."
The case "must be disposed of," he said, and another trial will be "equally expensive."
Moreover, the judge continued, a second jury will be drawn from the same area as the first and there is "no reason to believe" that it will be any more intelligent or competent in reaching a verdict.
No juror should surrender his "honest convictions," the judge went on, but each member of the panel has the duty to "consult and deliberate" with the others and no one should hesitate to change his opinion.
"You're not partisans," he said, "you're judges -- judges of facts."
Judge Cox then told the jury that it could bring in a partial verdict on some of the 18 defendants if it was unable to agree on all of them.
Judge Gets 5 Notes
After the jury filed out Judge Cox said he had received five notes from it since yesterday. One had asked for a transcript of certain testimony and another had sought further legal instructions on the meaning of "reasonable doubt."
The judges had turned down both requests and said he thought it would be improper to repeat his earlier charge on just one point. To convict, the jury is required to believe in a defendant's guilt "beyond a reasonable doubt."
Judge Cox said that the five communications were more than he had received from any jury in the past. Agreement among 12 persons is always difficult, he observed, and the current case is "full of emotions."
Moves for Mistrial
The jurors gave no indication of how they were split or whether some of the 13 verdicts had been reached. The Government had asked for the acquittal of one defendant, Travis M. Barnette, on the ground that it had insufficient evidence to convict.
The defense objected to the judge's use of the "Allen Charge" and moved for a mistrial. The attorney said that in suggesting changes in position the judge had implied that the jury's "minority should follow the majority."
Also, the defense complained, the expense of the trial should not be a factor for the jury to consider. The lawyers also argued that the judge was improper in permitting a partial verdict in the case.
As the jury deliberated, most of the defendants stood or sat on benches in the hallway outside the courtroom. Mr. Price thumbed through a copy of Gun Sport magazine
Sheriff Lawrence A. Rainey, another defendant, told friends:"Even if they [the jurors] turn me loose, they'll have done the thing they [the Government] set out to do -- break me and put me in debt for the rest of my life."
The Sheriff will leave office in January.
THE NEW YORK TIMES
By Walter Rugaber
MISSISSIPPI JURY CONVICTS 7 OF 18 IN RIGHTS KILLINGS
A Federal Court jury of white Mississipians convicted seven men today for participating in a Ku Klux Klan conspiracy to murder three young civil rights workers in 1964.
Guilty verdicts were returned against Cecil R. Price, 29 years old, the chief deputy sheriff of Neshoba County, and Sam H. Bowers Jr., 43, of Laurel, identified as the Imperial Wizard of the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. Also convicted were Horace D. Barnette, a one-time Meridian salesman; Jimmy Arledge, 30, a Meridian truck driver; Billy Wayne Posey, 30, a Williamsville service station operator; Jimmie Snowden, 34, a Meridian laundry truck driver, and Alton W. Roberts, 29, a Meridian salesman.
Maximum Term 10 Years
The maximum penalty for the conspiracy convictions is 10 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Eight other men were acquitted by the panel of five men and seven women. The jurors were unable to reach a verdict on three of the 18 defendants, and mistrials were declared.
The United States District Court Judge, W. Harold Cox, ordered the compilation of the probation reports on the seven convicted men by next Friday and deferred sentencing until after they were received.
Two of those convicted -- Price and Roberts -- were called before the judge, denounced and jailed without bond. No additional charges were made. Judge Cox set a hearing on their release for 8 A.M. Monday in Jackson.
"I Want You Locked Up"
"I'm not going to let any wild man loose on a civilized society, and I want you locked up," Judge Cox told the two after the jury pronounced them guilty.
There were gasps from relatives of the defendants, but the judge continued:
"I very heartily enter into this jury's verdict, particularly concerning Mr. Roberts."
After the jury reported a deadlock yesterday, Judge Cox read it new instructions drawn from the so called "Allen charge," a set of directions used in the case of Allen v. the United States and upheld by the Supreme Court in 1898. Lawyers also refer to the instructions as the "dynamite charge" because it is designed to help jog the jurors into a unanimous verdict. Judge Cox said he had learned that Roberts, while awaiting the jury's verdict, had made the following threat:"Judge Cox just gave that jury a 'dynamite charge.' We've got some dynamite for 'em ourselves."
The judge, known for his stern demeanor and disciplined courtroom, then delivered a slashing rebuke.
"There's not a power on this earth that can frighten this court," he said. "No one else need be frightened with his bluster and his bluff for a long time. We're not going to have any anarchy down here, not as long as I'm on this bench." The judge did not specify the precise reasons for Price's incarceration.
Roberts and Price were whisked from the courthouse by United States marshals and driven to the Hinds County jail in Jackson. The five other men were continued in $5,000 personal bonds and released.
Bowers had been accused of approving the Klan plot to "eliminate" the three rights workers and the six others were among those placed on the murder scene by Government evidence presented during the two week trial.
Murder is generally not a Federal crime unless committed on Government property. The conspiracy charges, filed under a Reconstruction era law, were brought after the state courts failed to take action.
The convictions were said to be the first in a civil rights slaying in Mississippi. The state has had a series of unpunished racial killings in recent years, starting with the murder in 1955 of Emmett Till, a Negro from Chicago. . . .
Today's verdicts were returned by a jury on which working class Mississipians predominated. The panel, which began its deliberations Wednesday, filed into the second floor courtroom at 9:12 A.M.
A marshal took the sealed verdicts and handed them to Judge Cox. He glanced over the papers, then passed them to Mrs. Sue Richmond, his black-haired courtroom clerk. She read the first decision: "We, the jury, find the defendant, Cecil Ray Price, not guilty as charged in the indictment."
Mrs. Richmond, who had read the wrong line on the previously prepared verdict form, instantly recovered.
"Oh," she said "excuse me."
The verdict, she said, was guilty. Then, one by one, she read off the other decisions as wives of the defendants sometimes held handkerchiefs to their faces.
No verdicts were reached on Edgar Ray (Preacher) Killen, 42, a fundamentalist minister and sawmill operator; E.G. (Hop) Barnett, 47, the Democratic nominee for Neshoba County sheriff, and Jerry M. Sharpe, 28, a pulpwood hauler.
The jury freed Lawrence A Rainey, 44, the sheriff of Neshoba County; Bernard L. Akin, 52, a Meridian housetrailer dealer; Travis M. Barnette, 38, a Meridian Mechanic who is a half brother of one of the convicted men, and James T. Harris, 32, a Meridian truck driver.
Also, Frank J. Herndon, 48, the operator of a Meridian drive-in restaurant; Olen L. Burrage, 37, who owned the farm on which the bodies were buried; Herman Tucker, 38, who built the dam in which the bodies were found, and Richard A. Willis 43, a one-time Philadelphia policeman.
None of those acquitted had been accused of taking part in the slayings. The Government had asked for Barnette's acquittal, explaining that it had insufficient evidence to convict him.
The Government had named Killen as an organizer for the Klan and a prime conspirator in the killings. A key prosecution witness, James E. Jordan, had identified Sharpe as a member of the lynching party.
The Government said that Barnette, a former Sheriff and the favorite in next month's election for the post had played a less important role in the conspiracy and no part in the slayings.
All three men had produced elaborate alibi testimony in their defense. There was no immediate indication as to why the jurors were unable to reach a verdict in their cases, and the vote was not disclosed.
Robert's hallway commend about the "dynamite charge," which Judge Cox described as "loose talk," alluded to a set of secondary legal instructions the judge read to the jurors yesterday when the panel reported itself deadlocked.
Lawyers sometimes refer to the directions as the "dynamite charge" because they are delivered in hopes of producing a unanimous verdict from the juries unable to agree. The charge has been upheld by the United States Supreme Court.
Judge Cox emphasized in the second charge that the jury could return a partial verdict without agreeing on all 18 defendants, and courthouse observers speculated that this may have been an important element in today's decision.
The judge pressed hard for verdicts, and he observed after the jury retired yesterday that he had a panel less than two months ago that was "hopelessly deadlocked," but returned a verdict after the second charge.
Judge Cox is a native Mississippian, scarcely considered friendly to the civil rights movement. Several years ago he publicly referred to a group of Negro voter registration applicants as "a bunch of chimpanzees."
Another factor in obtaining the verdicts may have been the efforts of the jury's foreman, Langdon Smith Anderson, in analyzing the mountains of testimony presented. Mr. Anderson, 52 is an oil exploration operator from Lumberton.
He is a kindly looking man with horn-rimmed glasses and brown wavy hair that is turning gray. During the trial he sat in the middle of the second row of the jury box and listened carefully but without expression to the testimony.
Mr. Anderson is a member of the State Agricultural and Industrial Board, Mississippi's official development arm.
There were about 70 persons in the courtroom besides newsmen when the verdicts were read. Most were members of the defendants' families, and one woman was wiping her eyes before the reading was completed.
Judge Cox reprimanded an unidentified defense lawyer for calling a news conference. He said that the practice was "utterly reprehensible" and added that we try cases in this courtroom, not in the newspapers."
He also cautioned those in the courtroom against demonstrations, and the spectators filed out quietly past a group of cameramen waiting just off the sidewalk.
Bowers, who had usually not mixed with the other defendants in the hallway while the jury was out, strode from the building and hurried down the street with cameramen and reporters trailing him for a block.
Philadelphia appeared rather subdued after news of the verdicts reached there. The Central High School homecoming day parade, led by a 96-piece band in black and white uniforms, circled the courthouse square this afternoon.
Almost no adults came out to watch. There were about 250 onlookers, mostly young people, as the procession circled through the small business district.
It was at the courthouse, on December 4, 1964, that Price was arrested by the F.B.I.Mike Watkins, one of the defense lawyers, said he did not know whether the cases would be appealed but made no further remarks.
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