Witnesses tell of violence in Miss. town during reputed Klansman's trial - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Witnesses tell of violence in Miss. town during reputed Klansman's trial

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Testimony on day four of the James Ford Seale kidnapping and conspiracy trial focused on a scene of violence and intimidation for blacks in Southwest Mississippi in the 1960s.

Seale, the 71-year-old reputed Ku Klux Klansman, has pleaded not  guilty to the charges surrounding the 1964 deaths of Henry Hezekiah Dee and Charles Moore.

Thursday prosecutors questioned Chastisy Briggs Middleton about assaults on her family by the Klan.

Middleton, the daughter of the late Reverend Clyde Briggs, who was the pastor of Roxie First Baptist Church, testified about a search of her father's church by white law officers and Klansmen the same day as the abductions.

Middleton was called to the stand to verify the authenticity of her father's handwritten journal, which included entries about several events in Franklin County in 1964, including the search of the church.

His journal said that the officers told him the search was being conducted because of threats that whites were planning to bomb the church that night.

The testimony was meant to provide context about racial violence in the area at the time.       The search was allegedly conducted after Dee and Moore were beaten until they offered false information that guns were being stockpiled at the church.

Also testifying today was Wesley Luckey, who is currently assistant director of the Criminal Information Center for the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation.

MBI is part of the Department of Public Safety, which maintained records of the investigation conducted in 1964 in the deaths of Dee and Moore.

Lucky verified the authenticity of several records critical to the case.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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