Posted: Nov 15, 2010 1:18 PM
Source: Associated Press
MARION, Ala. - A white former state trooper pleaded guilty Monday to a lesser charge in the 1965 shooting death of a black man at a civil rights protest, a killing that inspired historic voting rights marches.
James Bonard Fowler, 77, entered the plea of misdemeanor second-degree manslaughter two weeks before he was scheduled to go to trial on a murder charge for the death of Jimmie Lee Jackson. It was the latest in a string of long-unresolved killings from the civil rights era brought to court by a new generation of local or federal prosecutors.
Jackson's shooting in the city of Marion set off a protest march at nearby Selma that became known as "Bloody Sunday." The violence galvanized the movement, and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who preached at Jackson's funeral, later led the Selma-to-Montgomery march that was completed and prompted passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
Fowler was sentenced to six months in jail in Geneva County, his home county.