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Jackson D.A. To Seek Death Penalty for Beckwith

June 24, 1963 - District Attorney William Waller of Jackson, Miss., said today he would seek the death penalty for the man charged with the murder of Medgar Evers, Negro civil rights leader. An official source disclosed, however, that the defendant, Byron de la Beckwith, a member of the racist Citizens Councils, would be sent to the Whitfield State Mental Hospital for psychiatric observation before he was tried. The source said arrangements had already been made to send Mr. Beckwith to the hospital for at least 30 days if he was indicted by the Hinds County grand jury. Mr. Beckwith, a 42-year-old fertilizer salesman from Greenwood, is scheduled to go before Municipal Judge James L. Spencer tomorrow at 2 p.m. for a preliminary hearing. The hearing is to determine whether Mr. Beckwith can be kept in jail without bail before the grand jury acts in the case. The jury convenes July 1.

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