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Grand Jury Refuses to Indict Suspect for Murder of Postman William L. Moore

Sept. 13, 1963 - The Etowah County, Ala., grand jury refused today to indict Floyd L. Simpson for the murder of William L. Moore (pictured), who was shot from ambush while attempting a freedom walk through the South. The slaying of the Baltimore postman became a cause célébre among integrationists, and others took up the walk he left unfinished. Mr. Simpson, a 40-year-old grocer, was arrested in connection with the crime two days after Mr. Moore’s body was found near a roadside park about 13 miles from Gadsden last April 23. The arrest followed a ballistics test by the FBI on bullets found in Mr. Moore’s body and a gun belonging to Mr. Simpson. Mr. Moore’s body was found tangled in a sandwich-board sign he carried protesting segregation. A diary found nearby contained an entry saying that two men in the Gadsden area had stopped and questioned him about his beliefs. It said that one had predicted he would never reach his destination alive. The two men were never positively identified. Mr. Moore, a white man, was on his way to Jackson, Miss., to deliver a letter he had written to Gov. Ross Barnett, urging moderation on the race issue. His route took him past Mr. Simpson’s grocery, and Mr. Simpson reportedly talked with him. The 18-man grand jury in the case included one Negro.


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