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Former Cell Mate Claims Control Of Edgar Ray Killen’s Farm

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 14 Jun 2012 04:24pm | comments
James Stern holds up a copy of the land transfer.

The blackman who is former cell mate of reputed Klan leader Edgar Ray Killen is claiming that Killen signed over his rights to a book or movie and given him his 40 acre farm. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports Killen's lawyers say the man has no right to the property.

Edgar Ray Killen is serving 60 years in prison in connection with the notorious 1964 murder of three civil rights workers.

From late 2010-to-2011, James Stern, a black man, was his cell mate at the Mississippi penitentiary in Parchman.

"The only reason I have what I have from Edgar Ray Killen is because I did something that nobody else in the prison was willing to do. I put up with him," Stern said.

What Stern claims to have is power of Attorney for Killen, letters confessing to dozens of murders, the rights to any book or movie deal and Killen's 40-acre family farm in Neshoba County.

Stern says Killen signed over all these things while they were cell mates.

"I went against the black population to try and do something right for that man. Edgar is very sharp. He is very aware. He saw what I was going through and what I put myself through to be there for him in those ways. And in many of the letters he will say 'this is what you get for helping me out. Thank you'," Stern said.

"Mr. Killen vehemently denies making ever making any kind of transfer to Mr. Stern,"

That's Rob Ratliff an attorney for Killen who says his client never signed over anything or confessed to any murder.

Ratliff says Killen is 87 and has a brain injury that could make him easy to manipulate.

"We will pursue Mr. Killen's rights vigorously. If that means that we need to investigate whether or not there was a criminal fraud, we will look into that and we will pursue those rights if we find them to be necessary," Ratliff said.

"I don't think anybody can ever swindle Edgar Ray Killen," Stern said.

Stern denies that he 'swindled' Killen, but earned Killen's trust and respect by protecting him in prison.

"If I am crazy, sue me. That is the first thing you do if somebody is defaming your client and swindling you. You sue them. As you can see, he knows if he decided to go to court he wouldn't stand a chance," Stern said.

Stern says he has transferred the 40-acre farm land to Racial Reconciliation, a nonprofit Stern controls.

Stern has not revealed any of the confession letters he alleges Killen wrote, saying they will be released when his book is published.

Currently, Stern does not have a book or movie deal.

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James Stern holds up a copy of the land transfer.


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