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Seale Civil Rights Murder Trial Begins, 43 Years On

Opening statements are heard in the case of James Ford Seale, who has pleaded not guilty to federal kidnapping and conspiracy charges in connection with the 1964 murders of two black teenagers, Henry Hezekiah Dee and Charles Eddie Moore.

The two 19-year-olds went missing as they hitchhiked in rural Mississippi.

Dressed in a cream shirt and trousers, a frail-looking Seale mostly stared straight ahead and showed no emotion in the courtroom. He has looked over at the jury of four blacks and eight whites from time to time. The panel is not sequestered for the trial.

Watching the first several witnesses testify at the trial in Jackson, Miss., underscored why it's hard to bring cold cases to trial.

One retired FBI agent had difficulty recalling the investigation and read from his notes at the time. And a former game warden had such a tough time hearing that the prosecutor asked if he wanted a hearing aid.

The trial is expected to take two weeks.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Kathy Lohr
Whether covering the manhunt and eventual capture of Eric Robert Rudolph in the mountains of North Carolina, the remnants of the Oklahoma City federal building with its twisted metal frame and shattered glass, flood-ravaged Midwestern communities, or the terrorist bombings across the country, including the blast that exploded in Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta, correspondent Kathy Lohr has been at the heart of stories all across the nation.