Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Mississippi Paper Gets Key Documents on 1965 Civil Rights Murder

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Mississippi Paper Gets Key Documents on 1965 Civil Rights Murder

Article excerpt

FBI documents obtained by a Mississippi newspaper show at least 18 people witnessed the 1965 shooting of civil rights protester Jimmie Lee Jackson by an Alabama state trooper who awaits trial on a murder charge in the slaying.

In a story Sunday, The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss., reported that the FBI documents it obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request give details, including the identities of potential witnesses not even known to District Attorney Michael Jackson of Selma, who is prosecuting the case against former Trooper James Bonard Fowler.

Fowler, 73, of Geneva, has pleaded not guilty and contends he shot Jackson, 26, in self-defense in Marion. He remains free on bond.

The Jackson killing on Feb. 18, 1965 set in motion the historic "Bloody Sunday" Selma-to-Montgomery march when police attacked marchers on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma. The violence led to the eventual passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Fowler's attorney, George Beck, could not be reached by the newspaper for comment on the FBI documents. Beck has said the case should not go to trial because the passage of time has hurt his client's chance to have an impartial and fair trial. …

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