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Klu Klux Klansman James Ford Seale, 76, has died 43 years after being convicted.
Klu Klux Klansman James Ford Seale, 76, who committed one of the most heinous crimes of the segregationist South has died 43 years after being convicted of murder.
In 1964 Searle tied blocks to the feet of two black teenagers and threw them still breathing into the Mississippi river where Charles Eddie Moore and Henry Hezekiah Dee were left to drown.
Moore and Dee, both 19, were suspect by the Ku Klux Klan of taking part in civil rights activities during of the 1964 "freedom summer" – which aimed to give blacks a vote.
The pair were abducted on May 2, 1964 by Seale and other members of the Ku Klux Klan. They were beaten with sticks, thrown into the boot of a car, driven around Louisiana and Mississippi and then dumped alive in the river weighed down with the engine blocks of a Jeep.
A cursory police investigation was closed after three months and yeilded no results.
Years later when Jackson newspaper Clarion Ledger investigated the murders, Searle evaded scrutiny by faking his own death, which was reported in the Clarion Ledger.
Searle, a truck driver, went to ground. Neighbors in the small Mississippi town of Roxie said that he had died, a contention taken as fact and reported by several newspapers including the Los Angeles Times in 2002.
In July 2004 Moore's brother, Thomas, and a filmmaker from Canadian television went to Roxie to make a documentary about the killings. While filming caught a local on camera saying, "He ain't dead. I'll show you where he lives."
When Searle was captured on camera alive in his yard, local police were persuaded to investigate the case.
Seale was finally convicted, 43 years after the original murders. He was given life sentences for kidnapping and conspiracy.