East Texan Finds Justice In Mississippi Civil-Rights Era Murder - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

6/15/07-Tyler

East Texan Finds Justice In Mississippi Civil-Rights Era Murder

"We called him 'nub' because he was just always small, he was real small," says Tim Mason about his cousin Charles Moore.

They grew up together back in a racially-charged era near Meadville, Mississippi. An area that was terrorized by the Ku Klux Klan.

"They were very vicious. If they picked up someone they thought, as they say, gotten out of their place they would torture them," says Tim.

It would be the fate of Charles Moore in 1964, when he and a friend came up missing as they were hitching a ride home. They were picked up by the KKK.

"Supposedly they took some long poles and tied them to a tree and beat them, trying to get them to confess to where weapons were being stockpiled for a supposed uprising the black community was trying to get together," says Tim.

Charles and his friend were then taken to the Mississippi River, engine blocks would be tied to their feet.

"To keep the bodies submerged so they wouldn't be found," Tim explains. "At least that was their hope..."

And it was Tim's hope that someone would be brought to justice. But that wouldn't come for another 43 years.

In January, 71-year-old James Seale would be arrested on a federal kidnapping charge.

Something Charles' mother would not live to see.

"I could remember 6 or 7 years [after the murder] she would talk about it and still break down. It was something that she really carried to the grave with her," Tim recalls.

"I think that she would say her prayers have been answered. I really do."

It would only take the jury two hours to convict Seale Thursday night. But Tim says he had long found peace in the form of forgiveness.

As he holds the only picture he has of his cousin, Charles, today he can say his death wasn't in vain.

"The moral arch of the universe is long but it always bends towards justice. That's what I'm looking at. Yes it's been a long time but the moral arch still bends towards justice," says Tim.

Tim drove to Mississippi to be with Charles' older brother during jury selection of the trial.

James Seale will be sentenced for the kidnapping and conspiracy conviction in August.

Christine Nelson reporting. cnelson@kltv.com

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