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Byron De La Beckwith Charged with Evers Murder

June 23, 1963 - Byron de la Beckwith (pictured right with his attorney), known as an outspoken white supremacist, was charged with murder today in the ambush slaying of Medgar Evers, Negro civil rights leader. Mr. Evers was shot by a sniper outside his home in Jackson, Miss., shortly after midnight June 12. The state’s charge against Mr. Beckwith, 42-year-old salesman for the Walcott-Steele Chemical Company in Greenville, was filed by William Waller, District Attorney of Hinds County. Mr. Beckwith, a member of the racist Citizens Councils of Mississippi, was held without bail at city jail. The stocky suspect was arrested last night at 11 p.m. by agents of the FBI. J. Edgar Hoover, FBI director, said a telescopic sight on a 1917-model Enfield rifle found in bushes near Mr. Evers’ home and fingerprints on the sight had both been traced to Mr. Beckwith. The latent prints were developed by the Jackson police, and photographs were sent to Washington for checking against the FBI fingerprint files. The FBI said this had led to Mr. Beckwith, a Marine veteran of the battles of Guadalcanal and Tarawa in the South Pacific, whose fingerprints, like those of all servicemen, were in the files. A Federal official indicated that agents had in mind other individuals who might be involved in the case. He did not say what actions might be forthcoming.


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