Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood says he and the FBI have closed their investigation into the Ku Klux Klan’s 1964 killings of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner.

A Klansman who orchestrated one of the nation’s most notorious mass killings, the slayings of three civil-rights workers in 1964 in Mississippi, has died in prison.

In 2005, a jury convicted Edgar Ray Killen on three counts of manslaughter in the June 21, 1964, deaths of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, who had been killed while organizing a voter-registration drive for blacks in Jessup County, Miss. Killen was sentenced to 60 years in prison.

The murder of the three men inspired the 1988 movie Mississippi Burning.

Mississippi corrections officials told Goodman’s brother, David, that Edgar Ray Killen had died at 9 p.m. CT Thursday, David Killen said Friday.

Edgar Ray Killen, less than a week from his 93rd birthday, was the last living Klansman in a Mississippi prison for a civil-rights cold case.

Thomas Blanton, who turns 80 this year, remains at the St. Clair Correctional Facility in Alabama. He was convicted for his role in the Ku Klux Klan’s 1963 bombing of a Birmingham church that killed four girls.

► June 21: Ku Klux Klan smaller, ‘fractured,’ still dangerous, report finds
► Feb. 7: Emmett Till’s accuser admits she lied. What now?

► June 2016: Unsolved ‘Mississippi Burning’ murder case closed 52 years later

In 1967, a federal jury convicted Imperial Wizard Sam Bowers, Neshoba County Deputy Cecil Price and five others. The rest of the 18 who went on trial on conspiracy charges went free, including Killen.

The case was reopened in 1999, and Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood and then-District Attorney Mark Duncan led the prosecution, ending in Killen’s conviction.

Follow Jerry Mitchell on Twitter: @JMitchellNews


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