Mississippi Cold Case

Mississippi Cold Case
Written byDavid Ridgen
Directed byDavid Ridgen
Theme music composerJohnny Cash
The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band
Elmo Williams and Hezekiah Early
Country of originCanada
Original language(s)English
Production
Producer(s)David Ridgen
Running time42 minutes
Release
Original networkCBC
Original release
  • February 11, 2007 (2007-02-11)

Mississippi Cold Case is a 2007 feature documentary produced by David Ridgen of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation about the Ku Klux Klan murders of two 19-year-old young black men, Henry Hezekiah Dee and Charles Eddie Moore, in southwest Mississippi in May 1964 during the Civil Rights Movement and Freedom Summer. It also explores the 21st-century quest for justice by the brother of Moore. The documentary won numerous awards as a documentary and for its investigative journalism.

As a result of the documentary and related investigations, state and federal officials re-opened the case, prosecuting James Ford Seale of Franklin County for the kidnappings and deaths. He was convicted in 2007 in federal court and sentenced to three life terms. Families of Dee and Moore filed a civil suit in 2008 for damages against Franklin County, Mississippi, charging that its law enforcement officials had been complicit in these events. The county settled the suit with the plaintiffs in 2010 for an undisclosed amount.

Moore and Dee murders

On May 2, 1964, Charles Eddie Moore, a college student, and Henry Hezekiah Dee, a millworker, both 19 and from Franklin County, Mississippi, were picked up by KKK members while hitchhiking in Meadville. They were abducted, interrogated and tortured in a nearby forest, locked in a trunk of a car, driven across state lines, chained to a Jeep motor and train rails, and dropped alive into the Mississippi River to die.[1][2][3]

Moore and Dee’s mangled torsos were discovered on July 12 and 13, 1964 during the frantic FBI search for James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner, the three civil rights workers who disappeared on June 21.[4] When it was discovered that the bodies were those of two black men and not those of the civil rights workers, two of whom were white, media interest evaporated and the press moved on. While the FBI investigated the case and arrested two suspects in November 1964, the district attorney concluded there was insufficient evidence for prosecution. The case was dropped by local authorities, some of whom were complicit in the crime, according to FBI and HUAC documents.[3]

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