Families of slain teens, Franklin Co. near pact

Published 2:44 pm Thursday, June 17, 2010

Court records show a civil lawsuit filed by the families of two black teenagers killed by Ku Klux Klansmen in 1964 is near settlement.

U.S. District Court records show a settlement conference was held June 9 before Magistrate F. Keith Ball. An order dismissing the lawsuit is pending.

Margaret Burnham, legal counsel to the families of Henry Hezekiah Dee and Charles Eddie Moore, said that the Franklin County Board of Supervisors must accept terms of the settlement. The board meets Monday.

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Burnham says terms of the settlement are confidential.

James Ford Seale was convicted in 2007 on kidnapping and conspiracy charges related to the abductions of Moore and Dee.

Authorities said the two 19-year-old friends were beaten by Klansmen and thrown, possibly still alive, into a muddy backwater of the Mississippi River amid rumors that black residents were planning an uprising.

Seale’s attorneys have filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court.

Attorneys for Franklin County, would not comment on the case.

Attorneys for Franklin County had argued the lawsuit should be dismissed because the Klan was solely responsible for what happened.

The families contended that Franklin County law enforcement officers conspired with the Klan to commit the crimes, refused to investigate afterward and then covered up what happened.