updated 4/12/2007 5:32:35 PM ET 2007-04-12T21:32:35

The Mississippi Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the manslaughter convictions of former Ku Klux Klan leader Edgar Ray Killen in the slayings of three civil rights workers in 1964.

Killen, 82, was convicted on June 21, 2005 — exactly 41 years after Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman were killed. He was sentenced to three consecutive 60-year prison terms.

The three victims, all young men, had been helping blacks to register to vote in Neshoba County when they were killed. Their bodies were found two months later buried in an earthen dam.

Witnesses testified that Killen helped plan the slayings. The case was portrayed in the 1988 movie “Mississippi Burning.”

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