On June 21, 1964, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner were driving their car near Philadelphia, Mississippi, when suddenly the Ku Klux Klan forced them to stop. They were badly beaten up and then brutally murdered. Their dead bodies were only found 44 days later. James Chaney (black) and his two friends Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, who were civic rights activists, were running a campaign (Freedom Summer) to promote black people registration in the electoral lists of an America whose Southern States still exercised the segregationist politics.
In 1967, a first trial was held and only some of the accused were sentenced to 3 or 10 years of prison. One of the accused, Edgar Ray Killen, was freed probably due to his condition of religious pastor, and thanks to a dubiously neutral court, but was eventually trapped by history 40 years later. On June 13th, 2005 a new trial began in Philadelphia. If Edgar Ray Killen is found guilty, he might be sentenced to death.