An FBI informer riding with three Ku Klux Klansmen shot and killed civil rights worker Viola Liuzzo in Alabama in 1965, one of the Klansmen contended in videotaped testimony played in federal court yesterday.
Collie Leroy Wilkins, who has been tried twice for the killing, claims that the trigger man was FBI informer Gary Thomas Rowe.
Wilkins said Rowe shot Liuzzo during a 100-mph chase on an Alabama highway.
"Rowe rolled the window down and shot her," Wilkins said in a videotaped deposition played in U.S. District Court. "He just stuck his arm out and shot."
Liuzzo, who was from Detroit, was killed after ferrying marchers participating in a 50-mile walk from Selma to Montgomery in support of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
Her five children are seeking $2 million from the government, contending that Rowe--described by the Liuzzos' attorney as a "violence junkie"--murdered their mother, and that the FBI was negligent in hiring, training and supervising him.
One murder trial against Wilkins ended in a hung jury, and a second jury acquitted him. Rowe was indicted for Liuzzo's murder in 1978, but a federal judge ruled that he could not be charged for the slaying because the FBI had promised him immunity.