‘Mississippi Burning’ case officially closed after 52 years

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JACKSON, Miss. -- They were the gruesome murders known as the Freedom Summer Slayings in Mississippi.

The deaths of three Civil Rights workers, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and James Chaney in Neshoba County sparked national outrage and helped spur passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

They story was also the subject of the movie "Mississippi Burning."

In 1967, 8 people were convicted of federal civil rights violations related to the killings.

Decades later in 2005, a manslaughter charge was brought against white supremasicst Edgar Ray Killen.

On Monday, the announcement came that the case was closed.

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood said that barring new information, no prosecutions are expected in the 1964 murder.

Hood said many witnesses have aged and officials are unsure of the accuracy of what they remember in some cases.

"There are only two survivors. At this point the evidence has been degraded by memories and over time. There are no individuals that are living now we make a case on  at this point."

Hood said the US Department of Justice recently released findings to his officer that led to the decision to close the case.

He presented the 48 page report by the FBI to the media.

"This kind of closes a chapter that we didn't want to have in public view. We were ashamed of that. We hid our diversity in Mississippi in the years, but it turns out that's our greatest asset."

It's a decision that some hope will close a chapter of Mississippi's Civil Rights history in hopes of never forgetting, or repeating, the past.

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