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Jerry Mitchell -- Still Seeking Justice for Civil Rights Killings

"Did you think we were going to let you go unscathed?" one man told me. "You are a traitor. We know where you and your family live. We have photographs." Another man encouraged me to visit Philadelphia so people there could cut my throat.

Four suspects in the trio's killings are alive and could still be prosecuted if enough evidence can be found. One of those suspects is Olen Burrage, the owner of the property where the bodies were buried. He has insisted on his innocence.

But an FBI informant said Burrage had talked with Klansmen in advance of civil rights workers arriving in Mississippi, boasting that he had a dam that would "hold a hundred of them."

Imperial Wizard Sam Bowers, who headed the White Knights at the time and ordered the killings, bragged before his 2006 death that the truth of what happened that night and on so many other dark nights in Mississippi would remain buried forever.

I believe he is wrong, and that is why I continue to dig.

jmitchell@clarionledger.com

Jerry Mitchell is an investigative reporter for the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss.


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