The Case Lies Dormant: 1964-2007

Despite the copious amount of evidence collected by the FBI during their investigation of the Moore and Dee murders, there were several factors that impeded legal action.  First, several of the local authorities in Franklin County had a collusive relationship with the Klan.  County authorities often refused to investigate or prosecute Klan crimes and actively worked to cover-up the commission of such crimes.  Indeed Sheriff Wayne Hutto himself is alleged to have been a member of the KKK.  Second, despite his initial interest in pursuing the matter District Attorney Lenox Foreman abruptly dismissed charges against Seale and Edwards for reasons that are not entirely clear.

Further impeding any action on behalf of Moore and Dee’s families, James Ford Seale, who was identified as leading several Klan activities, was rumored to be dead.  This rumor was started by his family and widely believed in Franklin County until 2005, when Thomas Moore, Charles’ brother, and David Ridgen, a Canadian filmmaker with whom Thomas Moore was working to document the 1964 murders, discovered that Seale was still alive and active in Franklin County.  Later in 2005 Thomas Moore convinced U.S. Attorney Dunn Lampton to look into the slayings.

On July 25, 2006, a federal court granted Charles Edwards immunity from prosecution. In January 2007 a federal grand jury indicted James Ford Seale.  He was convicted by a jury of kidnapping and conspiracy in the deaths of Charles Moore and Henry Dee and sentenced to three life terms.  On September 9, 2008, a panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the kidnapping conviction, but this decision itself was later overturned when, on June 5, 2009, an en banc panel of the Court of Appeals upheld the district court’s original conviction.  Finally, on November 2, 2009 the Supreme Court refused to grant Seale a writ of certiorari.