A federal judge refused to dismiss charges Thursday against a reputed Ku Klux Klansman in the 1964 slayings of two black men, rejecting arguments that the statute of limitations ran out long ago.
U.S. District Judge Henry T. Wingate also denied a request to let James Ford Seale, 71, out on bail while he awaits trial. Seale’s wife testified that her ailing husband was not getting proper medical care in jail.
Seale’s lawyer Dennis Joiner asked Wingate to throw out the kidnapping charges. There was no time limit for filing federal kidnapping charges in 1964, but Joiner argued that when Congress in 1972 repealed a law that made kidnapping a capital offense, kidnapping became subject to a five-year statute of limitations.
The judge, however, sided with prosecutors, who contended the 1972 repeal did not apply retroactively.
Seale could get life in prison if convicted in connection with the deaths of Charles Eddie Moore and Henry Hezekiah Dee. Prosecutors said Moore and Dee were seized and beaten by Klansmen, then thrown into the Mississippi River to drown.
Seale was arrested Jan. 24 after the U.S. Justice Department reopened its investigation and learned that Seale was still alive.