WASHINGTON – A federal court in Mississippi today unsealed a three-count indictment charging James Seale, a former member of the Ku Klux Klan, with two counts of kidnapping and one count of conspiracy related to his role in the abductions and slayings of two African American men in 1964.
The indictment alleges 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. Seale and his co-conspirators allegedly believed that Dee might have knowledge about African Americans importing firearms to Franklin County.
“The brutal murders of these two young men have gone unanswered for more than 40 years,” said Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales. “This prosecution demonstrates the Department of Justice’s ongoing commitment to enforce fundamental civil rights protections. The sun will not set on such wrongs, and the Department will work to bring about justice in this case.”
“Today’s indictment is one example of the FBI’s strong and ongoing commitment to reexamining and investigating unsolved Civil Rights-era murders and other crimes, supported by available evidence, today’s forensic tools, persons who can provide information, and the ability to establish federal jurisdiction—no matter how long it takes,” said FBI Director Robert S. Mueller, III. “Under our Cold Case Initiative, we will continue to identify and pursue these cases of racially motivated violence to ensure justice is served wherever possible.”
According to the indictment, 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, Mississippi, where the Klansmen beat the victims and interrogated them at gunpoint. Seale and the other Klansmen then allegedly bound the two men with duct tape.
The Klansmen allegedly then drove the victims to Parker’s Landing in Warren County, Miss., on a route that took them through the state of Louisiana. Once at Parker’s Landing, the Klansmen secured Dee to an engine block and threw him into the Old Mississippi River, drowning him. The Klansmen next secured iron weights to Moore, and also threw him into the water.
Several months after the kidnappings and murders, divers recovered from the river the badly decomposed remains of the two young men.
No one has ever been prosecuted for the murders of Dee and Moore.
The indictment resulted from an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Civil Rights Division of the United States 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.
An indictment is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.