Indictment in '65 killing that inspired Selma-Montgomery march





NEW ORLEANS -— A grand jury in Alabama handed up an indictment on Wednesday in an obscure killing that helped inspire the historic Selma-to-Montgomery march in 1965. The case is the latest in a series of belated prosecutions of crimes from the civil rights era.

In February 1965, a black farmer, Jimmie Lee Jackson, 26, was shot by Alabama state troopers who were suppressing a voting rights demonstration in Marion in the Black Belt. Historians have said the killing indirectly helped lead to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The identity of the killer has long been known, James B. Fowler, a retired trooper, and on Wednesday Mr. Fowler’s lawyer, George Beck of Montgomery, said he could ''only assume'' that Mr. Fowler was the subject of the indictment...

Mr. Fowler, 73, has admitted the killing in interviews but insisted that the shooting was in self-defense as Mr. Jackson tried to grab the trooper’s gun.


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