Defense rests in case of reputed Klansman

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - This afternoon (Wednesday) the defense has rested in the James Ford Seale trial.

Seale's defense attorneys rested their case after calling just four witnesses to counter claims that Seale should be convicted of kidnapping and conspiracy in the 1964 deaths of two black teenagers.

The 71-year-old Seale has pleaded not guilty to the federal charges tied to the deadly May 2nd, 1964, attacks on 19-year-olds Henry Hezekiah Dee and Charles Eddie Moore. Seale didn't take the stand.

Defense attorneys met privately with Seale before resting the case to tell him he had the right to testify.

The defense witnesses included Seale's younger brother and a forensic pathologist from Alabama, who had studied the autopsy reports of Dee and Moore and said he could not draw any conclusions about how they died.

Another witness was an U-S Army Corps of Engineers employee in Vicksburg, who pointed to maps and testified about the course of the Mississippi River and its offshoots south of Vicksburg.

He was called by the defense to demonstrate that there is confusion about where the state boundary between Mississippi and Louisiana is along the river where the remains of Dee and Moore were found.

The boundary is important because crossing state lines is the key to giving the federal government jurisdiction in the case.

The fourth defense witness was a man who lives south of Vicksburg and whose father used to push barges on the Mississippi River, including one owned by Ernest Parker. Parker is one of the reputed Klansmen who prosecutors say was involved in taking Dee and Moore to where they were dumped in the water.

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