Former state trooper James Bonard Fowler pleaded guilty today (Monday, Nov. 15) to manslaughter in the 1965 killing of Jimmie Lee Jackson.

Fowler, 77, who pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter charges, will serve six months in prison under the plea deal.

Fowler had admitted to John Fleming, editor at large for The Anniston Star, that he had shot Jackson, involved in a civil rights protest, up to three times, but said he fired in self-defense.

The guilty plea is the 24th conviction since the unpunished cases from the civil rights era began to be reopened again more than two decades ago.

Jackson’s killing inspired the now famous Selma to Montgomery march that led to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

This originally appeared on Jerry Mitchell’s blog “Journey to Justice.”

Creative Commons License

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.