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James Ford Seale Dies

James Ford Seale, the Klansman convicted of murdering two black youths in southwest Mississippi in 1964, died yesterday in federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana. I told the story of his trial in The Past Is Never Dead, and in it I recounted how ill he looked in the courtroom and how many illnesses he had. It surprised everyone that he lived as long as he did. You might remember that he came within one vote of becoming a free man a few years ago. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals split 18-18 on overturning his conviction. Only one vote the other way, and he would have been released, to die a free man in Roxie. The only person remaining alive in this tragic story is Marcus Edwards, who admitted to being involved in kidnapping and beating the two boys, and who testified against Seale at his trial. Seale’s second wife believed in her husband’s innocence to the very end.


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