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MISSISSIPPI

Slaying site OK’d for historic marker

PHILADELPHIA — A historical marker can be placed on a state highway near where three civil rights workers were murdered in 1964, state officials said.

The marker request was made by the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation at the University of Mississippi.

On June 21, 1964, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner were ambushed and later shot on a rural road. The slayings shocked the nation, helped spur passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 and were dramatized in the 1988 movie “Mississippi Burning.”

In 1967, seven men were convicted of conspiring to violate the civil rights of the three. In 2005, Edgar Ray Killen was convicted on three counts of manslaughter and sentenced to three 20-year consecutive terms.

CALIFORNIA

Station shooting trial set for October

OAKLAND — A former transit officer accused of murdering an unarmed man at an Oakland train station was ordered to stand trial in October, and his lawyer is asking to move the emotionally charged case to another city.

Johannes Mehserle pleaded not guilty Thursday to killing Oscar Grant, 22. Mr. Mehserle is accused of shooting Mr. Grant, a black man, on New Year’s Day after he was pulled off a train in connection with a fight.

Mr. Mehserle’s lawyer, Michael Rains, said Mr. Mehserle meant to use his Taser, not his pistol.

The case has fueled tension between Oakland’s black community and law enforcement. Mr. Mehserle is white. A change of venue hearing is scheduled for September.

UTAH

Competence hearing sought

SALT LAKE CITY — Federal prosecutors are seeking a competency hearing for the man charged in the 2002 abduction of Elizabeth Smart in Utah following two independent evaluations of whether he is fit to stand trial.

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