Justice Delayed

Trooper Pleads Guilty in 1965 Slaying

More than 40 years after he gunned down a 26-year-old black civil-rights activist, James Bonard Fowler, 77, pleaded guilty in court to misdemeanor manslaughter. He will face six months in prison. Jimmie Lee Jackson was shot by Fowler, an Alabama state trooper, after a confrontation with authorities in Marion, Alabama, in 1965. Jackson’s death was a catalyst for the Selma march, a pivotal event in the history of the civil-rights movement. Grand juries looked into Jackson’s death twice in the 1960s, but chose not to pursue the case. Only when Fowler admitted to shooting Jackson to John Fleming, a reporter for The Anniston Star, did Jackson’s killer go to trial. “One thing we’ve never experienced in the South is anything close to a truth and reconciliation commission,” Fleming aid. “What happened today was a moment of that experience.”