The FBI’s Cold Case Initiative is investigating the 46-year-old case of James Reeb, a Massachusetts minister who was beaten to death in Alabama while doing civil rights work, a spokesman said Friday. The FBI launched an initiative in 2007 to investigate unsolved murders from the civil rights era. A spokesman with the agency, Chris Allen, said Reeb’s case is one that is currently open.
Reeb and two other white ministers had just finished dinner at a historically black restaurant in downtown Selma when they were attacked by a gang of white people on March 9, 1965. The city was a center for voting rights demonstrations by blacks and white supporters at the time. Reeb, 38, died two days later, leaving behind a wife and four children.
Three white men – Elmer Cook, William Stanley Hoggle and Namon O’Neal “Duck” Hoggle – were tried on state murder charges and acquitted by an all-white jury. His murder remains officially unsolved.
UPDATE from Wikipedia: “The renewed investigation was also reported by The Anniston Star and The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Mississippi. However, in 2011 the case was closed again, and no charges were pursued. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the decision to close the case was made upon discovery that three of the four men believed to be responsible for the killing were deceased and that Namon Hoggle, the only surviving individual, was tried and acquitted of the crime in state court, which barred him from further prosecution. Namon Hoggle died five years later on August 31, 2016, at age 81.”