Christmas came early for Thomas Moore when Mississippi religious leaders agreed to offer a reward for tips about the 1964 murders of his brother and his friend.
Last week, the Mississippi Religious Leadership Conference said it was heeding a request by Moore, made on a trip back to his home state in July looking for justice for the Ku Klux Klan murders of his brother Charles Eddie Moore and friend Henry Hezekiah Dee, killed near Meadville in May 1964. The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. and the Jackson Free Press joined forces to document Moore's trip, which uncovered new information in the case and drew a promise from U.S. Attorney Dunn Lampton to lead a multi-agency investigation into the case.
"This isn't about Thomas Moore. This is about justice for Henry Dee and Charles Moore," the retired Army command sergeant major said by phone from Colorado Springs.
While in Mississippi, Moore visited Paul Jones, the executive director of MRLC—the group that posted a $100,000 reward in the murder case of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner.
Two men were arrested in the Dee-Moore case in 1964—James Ford Seale and Charles Marcus Edwards—but the district attorney let both men go before the grand jury met, saying that they had spread the word that police had roughed them up; thus, he did not believe they would be convicted.
In the years since, efforts by some reporters, including Jerry Mitchell of The Clarion-Ledger, have drawn sporadic attention to the case—but in recent years the Los Angeles Times and The Clarion-Ledger wrongly reported that one of the primary suspects, Seale, had died. On Moore's journey back to Meadville, however, he and the CBC learned that Seale is, indeed, still alive from current District Attorney Ronnie Harper and Franklin County residents. On the same trip, the JFP learned from a former Klansman that the reports of Seale's death were erroneous.
"To be able to sign an agreement with Dr. Paul Jones of the Mississippi Religious Leadership Conference is an honor for me that I probably thought would never happen from Mississippi. It is also an honor and a privilege for me to have gained the respect and the help from the media of Mississippi. … I'm a Mississippian, and I feel very good that fellow Mississippians are the leaders of this quest for justice," Moore said Tuesday.
Send anonymous donations to MRLC, P.O. Box 68123, Jackson, Miss., 39286. If you have tips about the murders, call the FBI at 601-948-5000 or the state Highway Safety Patrol at 601-987-1560.
Great news, and thanks for give us the heads-up, Donna! Now it's time to really get this ball rolling and see if we can get some justice out this system and some truth out of those who are reluctant to give up what they know.
Ugh - thanks for "giving" us the heads-up. I should have edited before instead of after.