Convicted Mississippi Klansman to be released after appeals court ruling

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JACKSON, Miss. -- Attorneys for reputed Ku Klux Klansman James Ford Seale said on Wednesday that they are filing a motion to have him released from federal prison. On Tuesday, a federal appeals court overturned the 73-year-old's June 2007 conviction for his role in the kidnapping and deaths of two black teenagers in 1964. He was given three life sentences.A three judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeal ruled, in short, that the statute of limitations had run out on that kidnapping case that happened 44 years ago.

They're ruling stated "...Seale claims that his prosecution was barred by the statute of limitations establishing a 5-year window from the commission of that crime."For the reasons stated herein, the panel ruled, "we agree."16 WAPT news spoke to U.S. Attorney Dunn Lampton by phone late Tuesday night about the ruling."I'm not completely surprised. We knew that could be a possibility, but I'm disappointed," said Lampton. "I thought we had argued that and we were going to prevail, that was going what we viewed as their best, their best point."

During the trial, prosecutors said that Seale and others beat the two men in the Homochitto National Forest and then drowned them in the Mississippi River.Seale's conviction was touted as a major effort to resolve a cold case from the state's civil rights past.Lampton said he would try the case again.

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