Newest information on Mississippi murders involving African Americans and/or Mississippi politicians and leaders.
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On May 23, 1971, army veteran Eddie McClinton was killed by a white “night marshal” in Sumner in a fight at a pop machine. Sovereignty Commission investigator Mohead learned from county deputy sheriff Downs, doubling as the town marshal, that Aaron Henry sent a telegram to President Richard Nixon over the incident, asserting that McClinton was shot three times and killed by a white outside of Sumner.
McClinton was observed by Sumner Night Marshal Tom Trannam “kicking and beating on a change machine” at a self-service gas station. When Trannam intervened, McClinton threatened to kill him, Downs told Mohead.
“McClinton started for Trannam, in a threatening manner, Trannam fired one shot to the right of McClinton attempting to stop him. McClinton continued to advance and told Trannam, ‘If you don’t kill me, you white S.O.B., I’m going to kill you.’ At this time, Trannam shot McClinton once in the arm and once in the chest with a 45 cal. pistol,” Mohead’s report stated.
No hearing or coroner’s inquest was held, and Downs said he would get back to Mohead after he conferred with Trannam “and the two negro witnesses.”
During the week of November 1-6, 1971, Sovereignty Commission investigator Fulton Tutor reported from Pontotoc where the grand jury reported out, “without returning an indictment against Jake Denton, W/M, who shot ‘the Negro’ [Edger Higginbottom] a few months ago in Ecru. There is a possibility of some reaction from the black community over this.”
Tutor did not name the victim in his report. Also during the week, Tutor “did some checking on white voters to see if all were out to vote.” In Holly Springs, Tutor learned from Mayor Coopwood that “for the first time the whites all worked together in this election and this really paid off, as the blacks only won the Justice of the Peace post.”