James Ford Seale to stay in prison during appeal

Published 2:58 pm Friday, December 19, 2008

A reputed Ku Klux Klansman will stay in prison while a federal appeals court considers whether his 2007 kidnapping conviction should be overturned in the 1964 abductions of two teenagers who were found slain.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans on Tuesday turned down James Ford Seale’s request for bail while his appeal is being heard.

Seale, now 73, was convicted in the revived civil rights-era case involving the abductions of Charles Eddie Moore and Henry Hezekiah Dee. The decomposed bodies of the two 19-year-old friends were pulled from a Mississippi River backwater in 1964.

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Seale was serving three life sentences when the convictions were overturned in September. A three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit said the statute of limitations had elapsed and acquitted Seale of the decades-old crime.

Federal prosecutors quickly asked for a review by the full New Orleans court, which agreed and put the Seale arguments on its docket for the week of May 18.