updated 6/4/2007 6:10:29 PM ET 2007-06-04T22:10:29

A jury of eight whites and four blacks was seated Monday for the trial of a reputed Ku Klux Klan member who is charged with kidnapping and conspiracy in the killings of two black teenagers in 1964.

James Ford Seale, now 71, has pleaded not guilty to federal kidnapping and conspiracy charges in the deadly attacks on Henry Hezekiah Dee and Charles Eddie Moore, both 19. Seale also has denied being involved in the Klan.

It took four days to seat the jury for the trial, which is the latest of several cold cases from the civil rights era that have been revived across the South in the past 13 years. Among the three whites chosen as alternate jurors, one is a woman who said her father had been a member of the KKK.

Opening arguments were scheduled to begin later Monday. The trial was expected to last about two weeks.

Prosecutors say one of the witnesses they want to call is a former daughter-in-law of Seale who will testify that she saw a Klan robe at his home and that at family gatherings Seale showed movies of Klan rallies he attended.

Defense attorneys asked Judge Henry T. Wingate to limit the testimony of the former daughter-in-law. Wingate said he would rule on that request later.

Prosecutors said one of Seale’s cousins, reputed Klansman Charles Marcus Edwards, also will testify against him.

Moore and Dee were hitchhiking May 2, 1964, when carloads of Klansmen were chasing rumors of a possible armed insurrection by black people in the area.

The two were driven to the Homochitto National Forest and beaten, then stuffed into a trunk and taken to the Mississippi River near Vicksburg, more than 70 miles away, according to court records. They were weighted down with engine parts and dumped into the Mississippi, still breathing.

Their bodies were found about two months later, when authorities were conducting an intensive search for slain civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman, who disappeared from central Mississippi’s Neshoba County on June 21, 1964.

Seale and Edwards were arrested in 1964 in the deaths of Dee and Moore. But the FBI was consumed by the “Mississippi Burning” investigation of the three civil rights workers, and the Dee-Moore case was turned over to local authorities, who threw out all charges against Seale and Edwards.

The Justice Department reopened an investigation in 2000. The FBI closed the case again in 2003 but reopened it in 2005.

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