Judge who presided over Killen’s 2005 trial retiring

PHILADELPHIA, Miss. (AP) – The Mississippi judge who presided over the trial in one of the South’s most infamous civil-rights cases is retiring for health reasons.

Circuit Judge Marcus Gordon sentenced Edgar Ray Killen to 60 years in prison in 2005 after a mixed-race jury convicted the reputed former Ku Klux Klan leader of manslaughter.

The revived cold case was the first time state prosecutors had brought charges against anyone in what was called the “Mississippi Burning” case – the 1964 abduction and slaying of three civil rights workers in Neshoba County.

Killen was convicted 41 years to the day after the killings of Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman.

State court officials say Gordon is Mississippi’s longest-serving trial court judge.

Gordon says his retirement, announced Friday, is effective immediately.