Edgar Ray Killen, the former Klansman convicted last year in the 1964 murders of three civil rights workers, has been moved from his prison cell to a Jackson hospital, officials and family said Wednesday.
His brother, Jerry Killen, told The Associated Press that the 81-year-old had been hospitalized for complications from a severe leg injury he sustained in a logging accident in 2005.
“He’s in the hospital,” Jerry Killen said in a telephone interview Wednesday. “He’s got everything wrong with him. It’s them legs.”
A tree fell on Killen while he was cutting wood last March, just months before he was convicted of three counts of manslaughter in the slayings James Chaney, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman. He attended his trial in a wheelchair.
Barbara Austin, a University of Mississippi Medical Center spokeswoman, said Killen was in the hospital and in fair condition as of Tuesday night. She would not elaborate on what was wrong with him.
Killen was the only person to face state charges in the three deaths, which were dramatized in the 1988 movie “Mississippi Burning.”
He had been tried along with several other men in 1967 on federal charges of violating the victims’ civil rights, but the jury deadlocked. One juror said she could not convict a preacher. Seven others were convicted, but none served more than six years.
Killen has been serving his 60-year sentence at the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility. Mississippi Department of Corrections officials confirmed Killen was hospitalized but offered no other details.