WASHINGTON – James Ford Seale, a former member of the Ku Klux Klan, was sentenced today to three life terms in prison for his role in the 1964 abductions and eventual slayings of two African-American men.
Seale was convicted by a federal grand jury in Mississippi on June 14, 2007. The jury determined that Seale and other Klansmen conspired to abduct, interrogate, beat and eventually murder Henry Hezekiah Dee and Charlie Eddie Moore, both 19 years old at the time of their murders.
“Though we can never replace loved ones or erase the terrible pain caused by crimes like this one, the deliverance of justice can offer comfort. Today’s sentencing of James Ford Seale brings long-awaited resolution to the families of Henry Dee and Charlie Moore,” said Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales. “This case is an outstanding example of our ongoing, vigilant efforts to prosecute racially-motivated crimes to the fullest extent of the law, regardless of how many years have passed.”
“For his role in these terrible crimes, James Ford Seale will spend the remainder of his life in prison,” said Wan J. Kim, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “While this sentence can never repair the suffering and loss brought by these heinous acts of racial violence, it will hopefully bring some closure to the families of Henry Dee and Charlie Moore who have waited decades for justice. Today’s sentence will further send the message that the Justice Department will pursue criminals as long as it takes and as long as the law allows to bring them to justice.”
“It’s easy to say that Mississippi has changed, but it’s another thing to actually put that statement to the test. I think this conviction shows that Mississippi no longer tolerates those kinds of past wrongs without redress. I want to express my appreciation to the local, state, and federal agencies whose hard work and perseverance made this conviction possible,” said U.S. Attorney Dunn Lampton.
Based on evidence presented at trial, the jury determined that on May 2, 1964, the defendant and his accomplices abducted Dee and Moore and drove the two young men into the Homochitto National Forest in Franklin County, Miss., where the Klansmen beat the victims, interrogated them at gunpoint, and bound the two men with duct tape. The Klansmen then drove the victims to Parker’s Landing in Warren County, Miss., passing through the state of Louisiana, where the Klansmen secured Dee and Moore to heavy objects and threw them into the Old Mississippi River, drowning them.
James Ford Seale is the first and only individual to be convicted for participating in the kidnapping and murders.
The conviction of James Ford Seale is the result of the investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, the Adam’s County Sheriff’s Office, and the Mississippi Department of Public Safety also assisted in the investigation. This case was prosecuted by Dunn Lampton, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi, and Special Litigation Counsel Paige Fitzgerald and Trial Attorney Eric Gibson, both of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.