James Bonard Fowler Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter in Death That Touched Off Selma March

Better late than never.

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Convicted killer James Bonard Fowler

The Huffington Post is reporting that former state trooper James Bonard Fowler, 77, took a plea deal Monday in the 1965 slaying of a black man that prompted the "Bloody Sunday" march at Selma and helped galvanize America's civil rights movement. Indicted for murder more than four decades after the fatal shooting, Fowler pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of second-degree manslaughter and was sentenced to six months in jail. It was a mixed victory for civil rights-era prosecutions. The prosecutor and Jackson family members did not get the murder conviction they sought, but the jail time and an apology from Fowler seemed to help close a painful chapter in U.S. history. "Bloody Sunday" helped lead to the passage of the Voting Rights Act, and the killing of Jimmie Lee Jackson was an integral part of that story. The shooting resulted in no charges for more than 40 years, until a new prosecutor -- the first black elected district attorney in Perry County -- resurrected the case in 2007. The case is the latest in a string of long-unresolved killings from the civil rights era brought to court by a new generation of local and federal prosecutors. Among them were murder cases brought nearly 40 years later against Thomas Blanton and Bobby Frank Cherry, two former Ku Klux Klansmen convicted and sentenced to life terms for the 1963 Birmingham church bombing that killed four black girls. We suppose the phrase "better late than never" applies here.

Read more at the Huffington Post.

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