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Recent Discoveries Put Spotlight on Cold Cases
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Recent Discoveries Put Spotlight on Cold Cases

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Recent Discoveries Put Spotlight on Cold Cases
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NEAL CONAN, host:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington.

Last week, a reputed Ku Klux Klansman found himself charged in the death of two African-American men in 1964. Charles Moore and Henry Dee were 19 years old and trying to hitchhike when they were allegedly picked up by James Ford Seale, driven to a national forest and beaten by several Klansmen.

Still alive, they were driven 100 miles, tied down with weights and dumped into the Mississippi River. Seale and another man were arrested at the time, but local authorities threw out the charges. More than four decades later, the case was re-opened following a campaign by Thomas Moore, the older brother of Charles Moore, who discovered that James Ford Seale, who he thought was dead, was in fact still alive and living in Mississippi.

By the way, Mr. Seale argues charges should be dropped because the statute of limitations has expired. His bail hearing gets underway later this hour in Jackson, Mississippi. He's pleaded not guilty to two counts of kidnapping and one count of conspiracy.

This is the most recent of several so-called cold cases to make headlines, and our main focus today is how investigators assemble evidence after all that time. Later in the hour, we'll talk with NPR's Juan Williams about his interview today with President Bush. And on the Opinion Page, it's a Super Bowl that's a long time coming for African-American coaches.

But first, cold case investigations. How do you solve a murder that happened 40 years ago? Where do you begin? How important are witnesses? Can a new autopsy help? If you have experience with cold case investigations or questions about how they proceed, our number here in Washington is 800-989-8255. That's 800-989-TALK. E-mail is talk@npr.org.

And we begin with Dr. Michael Baden, currently the chief forensic pathologist for the New York State Police and host of HBO's "Autopsy." He used to the chief medical examiner for New York City. Dr. Baden, nice to have you on the program today.

Dr. MICHAEL BADEN (Host, "Autopsy;" Chief Forensic Pathologies, New York State Police; Former Chief Medical Examiner, New York City): Good to be here, Neal.

CONAN: And Dr. Baden joins us from our bureau in New York, our brand-new bureau in New York, and you did an autopsy on Medgar Evers three decades after he was killed. How helpful was it at the time?

Dr. BADEN: It turned out to be very helpful in reopening the matter. What happens certainly, from a state point of view, there's no statute of limitations on murder. There may be state statute of limitations on rape, on conspiracy, on robbery, on torture, the statute of limitations may run in those but not on murder.

And there's a bigger area of ability to proceed under federal law than state law. What happened with Medgar Evers and what happens with most old cases, murder cases, it that somebody becomes very interested in the case, a relative, a friend, and gets a prosecutor to be involved. The family of Medgar Evers, his wife, Myrlie Evers, played by Whoopi Goldberg in the movie "Ghosts of Mississippi," which is about this incident, was the one who pursued this matter.

In 1963, Medgar Evers was about 33 years old and was very active in voter registration in Jackson, Mississippi - comes home, is shot in the back. The local prosecutor goes after the head of the Ku Klux Klan there, or one of the heads, because they found his rifle with his fingerprints - Byron De La Beckwith's fingerprints - on it.

They arrest him, they go to trial twice, and they're both hung juries. He says that somebody stole the rifle from him the day before. For 25 years, nothing happens, and then the wife, Myrlie Evers - after 25 years, the governor's papers are released in Mississippi - goes through the papers and sees that there was jury tampering. That while the prosecutor was really trying to do a good job in prosecuting Byron De La Beckwith, the governor and his office were giving out the names of all potential jurors to the defense, unknown to the prosecutor…

CONAN: So they might be intimidated.

Dr. BADEN: Oh, and so the defense was able to check out all of the different potential jurors and pick the ones who had Ku Klux Klan relatives.

CONAN: And how much value was the autopsy? Where do you come in?

Dr. BADEN: Well, what happened, when the district attorney decided to reopen the case, the autopsy, the bullets, the rifle were all missing. After 25 years in these cold cases, after 40 years, an awful lot of stuff is missing, intentionally or unintentionally.

And in order to establish a corpus delecti, he called me and discussed - we don't have an autopsy report. What can we do? You never ask a barber if you need a haircut; you never ask forensic pathologist if you need an exhumation.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Dr. BADEN: We always learn something. And when we exhumed the body, I was able to reconstruct the gunshot wound trajectory - the entrance, the exit - and we were able to pick out fragments of the bullets that were in the body that struck bone, both of which proved very important in the trial.

Incidentally, Neal, one of the ways the exhumation proved important according to the prosecutors, was that Medgar Evers turned out, when we exhumed him 30, 28 years later, to still be in excellent condition, and the prosecutor was able to show photographs of Medgar Evers in the casket 28 years later that looked like a real person, and the jurors commented that they - it wasn't some kind of historical death.

CONAN: It wasn't an abstraction, yeah.

Dr. BADEN: That's right. This was a real death, and this made it even more real for them.

CONAN: I wonder in these kinds of cases, just speaking generally, we've seen so many advances in DNA and other kinds of technology. Is that useful?

Dr. BADEN: Not as useful as it sounds because less than 10 percent of murder cases involve DNA and usually not the old civil-rights ones. The old civil-rights ones involve ballistics, gunshots from a distance. There's usually not much in the way of DNA, although there are many cases of people wrongly incarcerated, that DNA - for sexual…

CONAN: Primarily, yeah. For rape cases, yeah.

Dr. BADEN: Yeah, for sexual assaults and things and deaths that the DNA exonerates them. But in the cases, in the civil-rights cases, they're usually -once a DA decides to proceed in the case - one of the things that happens, it also happened with Medgar Evers - is people come forth and say hey, I knew that. I saw it happen, or I was at a rally with Medgar Evers, and I heard him boast about killing Medgar Evers - that is Byron De La Beckwith - and I thought it was all over. I didn't realize that this was important evidence, but if you're going to try him again, then I'll come forth and give the evidence.

CONAN: So that after all of that time, people realize that they're a little freer to say things that they might not have wanted to say 30 or 40 years ago.

Dr. BADEN: Absolutely. Absolutely. And many of them think that case has been resolved, so that even if they came forth, it wouldn't help. So it's amazing how much information is gathered through the media when old cases are brought up again.

CONAN: Dr. Baden, thanks very much for being with us today. We appreciate your time.

Dr. BADEN: Well, good to be with you, Neal.

CONAN: Michael Baden joined us from our bureau in New York. He's currently chief forensic pathologist for the New York State Police, host of HBO's "Autopsy." His first novel, "Remains Silent," soon comes out in paperback.

Joining us here in Studio 3A is Mark Vukelich, he's unit chief of the FBI's Civil Rights Unit and spent many years investigating cold cases in South Dakota. Thanks very much for coming in today.

Mr. MARK VUKELICH (Civil Rights Unit, Federal Bureau of Investigation): You're welcome, sir.

CONAN: And we heard Dr. Baden say, I mean, typically is it a campaign by a relative, a friend, somebody involved that gets a cold case reopened?

Mr. VUKELICH: Oftentimes that's the case. Sometimes, it's ongoing investigative effort by local law enforcement or federal law enforcement. Cases that I've worked on are cases that have remained in an open status for many years within the FBI. Oftentimes, some of the cases that we're talking about here, the civil-rights era cases, that's a good example of where family members or community and civic groups will push the case on.

CONAN: Now these are high-profile cases. We're talking about Medgar Evers, he was a famous person. The deaths of Charles Moore and Henry Dee have been haunting people for decades. Obviously, the higher profile the case the more likely it is to be reopened?

Mr. VUKELICH: Not necessarily, no. As far as the - as far as the FBI is concerned, cold cases are very important to close the loop, to bring closure to - for family members. It's the right thing to do. It's something that we within the FBI take very seriously. Our civil rights program and our Number 5 Program and the cold case, here, initiative that we have ongoing is a good example of trying to close the loop on a number of these cases that exist out there, some that are not high profile.

CONAN: And give us an example, if you would. If you could just walk us through a case that you (unintelligible).

Mr. VUKELICH: Certainly. I'll use as an example a matter that is not currently being investigated, either within our own organization or state and locals. In a situation like that, as a family member comes forward or as we decide to take a look at the case, the most important thing we need to do is to gather evidence, gather victim statements, gather any shred of documentation that might relate to the case. You pull all of that information together, whether it be from court files, from local law enforcement files, from our own files, from U.S. attorney files - and go over those documents meticulously, creating witness lists - both people that are alive and people that are dead - and potentially new witnesses.

Information is passed from person to person as generation moves forth. Once we get that comprehensive list of not only witnesses but comprehensive lists of evidence, you make some decisions: Which likely candidates should be re-interviewed, and taking a look then at the era, as is the case here - Civil Rights Era. As we move forward, we oftentimes have to overcome barriers that might exist, that started years and years ago. Barriers such as mistrust of law enforcement; such as persons' fear to bring something forward because of retaliation. And you take those factors and your witness list, and you work on interviewing strategies for your law enforcement agents.

CONAN: But as you go through this - obviously, you would think that the documentary evidence that you've compiled from your records is not that great, or otherwise people would have been brought up on charges 40 years ago.

Mr. VUKELICH: You know, not necessarily, because of changes in attitudes within law enforcement; changes in attitudes within district attorneys' offices and U.S. attorneys' offices. We have new thinking, new methodology in order to approach cases. So I guess what I'm saying here is through a teamwork effort with prosecutors, local law enforcement officials, community and civic organizations and our own agents, we work together in order to overcome whatever the circumstance might be, to bring forth what evidence we need so prosecutors can make a good decision.

CONAN: We're talking with Mark Vukelich, the unit chief of the FBI's Civil Rights Unit. When we come back from a short break, we'll also be joined by Mark Kappelhoff, the Chief of the Criminal Section of the Justice Department Civil Rights Division. We're talking about reopening and reinvestigating cold cases, 40 years old in a recent case that's in the news. How do you do it? What evidence stands up? Do you need new evidence? I'm Neal Conan. We'll be back after the break. It's the TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.

(Soundbite of music)

CONAN: This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. We're talking about cold case investigations and how investigators solve crimes that are sometimes more than 40 years old. Our guest, excuse me, is Mark Vukelich, the Unit Chief of the FBI's Civil Rights Unit. He's investigated these kinds of cold cases throughout his career. And of course, you're welcome to join the conversation. If you have experience with cold case investigations or questions about how they proceed, give us a call. Our number here is Washington is 800-989-8255, 800-989-TALK. E-mail is talk@npr.org.

And Mark Vukelich, I just wanted to follow up on what we were talking about just before the break. Do you generally need some piece of new information, whether it's forensic or a witness coming forward? Is it something that you're going to need to, given all the weaknesses - over time, people's memories erode?

Mr. VUKELICH: Yeah, people's memories erode. Sometimes witnesses that were there originally pass on. Oftentimes, it's critical to have new evidence. Generally, that new evidence comes in the form of new witness statements or new information from either individual that had previously been talked to or sometimes individuals that hadn't been talked to or were afraid to provide information in the past. To get to that spot, you need to coordinate with the family members. You need the family's support, the victim's family support. You need the support of the community organizations. Civil rights organizations are very important in these types of cases because with their support comes overcoming barriers.

CONAN: That distrust of authority that you talked about.

Mr. VUKELICH: Distrust of authority or sometimes, the courage to stand up and say what actually happened because of fear of retaliation. It's been my experience that over the years, these years have served well in changing people's attitudes, changing people's mindset. And sometimes, just the years that have gone by is what we've needed to reengage…

CONAN: Let their consciences work on them for a while.

Mr. VUKELICH: Consciences or overcoming stereotypes that they had or preconceived notions.

CONAN: Let's see if we can get some listeners in on the conversation. And again, the number is 800-989-8255. E-mail is talk@npr.org. And our caller is Brian(ph). Brian's with us from Holland, Michigan.

BRIAN (Caller): Hi Neal, thanks for taking my call.

CONAN: Sure.

BRIAN: Today is actually the anniversary here in Holland, Michigan of kind of a sad tale. Twenty seven years ago, a young college student had been abducted from her job as a night clerk at a local motel and was found raped and murdered the next day in a snow bank. The case went by for all these years. They interviewed people, could not find anyone. About two years ago the local college here, Hope College - The film class did a documentary and they called it "Who Killed Janet Chandler?" And so they brought up, once again, renewed interest all about the case. Still, they had no clues to it but they brought up all the information that they had and had it in a local theater here.

Well, the local police said, let's check this out again, and the started re-interviewing people who were involved - that they thought were involved before - and finally they had one person who they were able to break down, and it turned out there was a huge group of people who were all involved in this. They were all security guards during a strike that was going on here, and they all kept quiet all these years. And six of them - six people are on trial for this murder. And they said it was up to 20 people in the house that night. They actually planned this thing out for like a month, to do it. And actually, sadly, one of them was Janet Chandler's female roommate, who was also her manager at the hotel. But they've all been caught, they've all, you know - two of them have pleaded guilty to it so far and there's one fighting extradition, and two of them - or four of them are going on trial this week (unintelligible).

CONAN: And I wonder, does it give the community a sense of relief after that time?

BRIAN: Unbelievable. To see that case that people just wondered whatever happened. But the scary thing was, these guards - they threatened everyone with murder - that they would kill them if anyone spoke. There was many people who were in that house that night, maybe up to two dozen people who were aware that something happened. Some of them were aware that Janet had been killed but still kept quiet after 27 years. It's an amazing story. I'm kind of surprised that, you know, it hasn't hit the national news. But we're very glad here in Holland, that because the many things that your last guest just mentioned, you know, people coming forward, people being afraid to speak. Finally, just one shred of evidence that just opened up the whole case and now it's on to, you know, closure now.

CONAN: Yeah. Mark Vukelich, it sounded like it just unraveled after a while.

Mr. VUKELICH: That's correct. Another important point that he made, and another area that is oftentimes very fruitful for law enforcement is the work that the media does in these cases. I speak to the Emmett Till case. I speak to several other cases in the past where the media has been instrumental in bringing some people forward. And likewise, oftentimes when we work these types of cases, we'll go back and bring back investigators that worked on the case many years ago. Oftentimes these individuals are retired, in their 70s themselves. They bring with them a whole host of assets that we current FBI agents don't have. They have knowledge of the area, they have relationships that have been built up over the years when they were working, and we can use those relationships and their experience to point us in the right direction, and once again, overcome some of these barriers.

We look for any avenue that we can, but I cannot stress enough the partnership that exists between our fiends within the U.S. attorney's office, our friends within the Department of Justice and our partners in the state and local law enforcement. It's critical to be able to solve these cases in a good teamwork approach, through the community and through other law enforcement.

CONAN: Brian, thanks very much for the call. We appreciate it.

BRIAN: Thank you, sir. Bye.

CONAN: Okay. Let's bring another guest into the conversation. Mark Kappelhoff is with us, also here in Studio 3A. He's the Chief of the Criminal Section of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division. And it's nice to have you on the program as well.

Mr. MARK KAPPELHOFF (Chief of the Criminal Section of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division): Pleasure to be with you today.

CONAN: Now, from - if we're looking at two different things, he's the investigator, you're the prosecutor…

Mr. KAPPELHOFF: Yeah.

CONAN: And when you start looking at this evidence that he - that he hands you a file, it's got to be very difficult to look at 40-year-old evidence, some of it, and say - this is going to be enough to get a conviction.

Mr. KAPPELHOFF: Exactly. Although Mark does great work, we also have to determine whether or not we have jurisdiction in the case - federal jurisdiction or state jurisdiction. So that's sort of our first cut when we look at the evidence. Do we have statutes that we can apply to the evidence that exists out there? And that's sometimes a very difficult and complicated question to resolve, which is why just as Mark said, we bring everyone together. We bring the state officials together with the federal officials, and we make a determination as to which statutes we can bring to bear to prosecute this case.

Then, we look at do we have live subjects? Do we have someone to prosecute? That's kind of the major question here. If we have that, do we have live witnesses? Or do we have witnesses whose memories have faded so much that we cannot make a case in court? So we have to look at all of those issues. And do we have documentary evidence from the state files, which are 40, 50 years old sometimes.

CONAN: And as Dr. Baden said earlier in the program, sometimes a lot of it goes missing, intentionally or not.

Mr. KAPPELHOFF: Exactly. And also, sometimes records just aren't kept for whatever reason. There could be fires, there could be other reasons for the evidence to fade. But we look at all of those aspects before we make a determination whether or not we can go forward, which is why the partnerships are so critical.

CONAN: Now, in the Bay Area in California, police recently arrested a group of men in a 1971 murder of a police officer. Prosecutors say eight former members of the Black Liberation Army shot him. Now, they've said there's new evidence. They haven't told us what it is.

Mr. KAPPELHOFF: Well, that's a common investigative practice. That's exactly how things should be handled. A lot of times we hold the evidence close because it's critical. As Mark says, there may be witnesses out there that we know of that do not want their names shared, do not want to be known to the public, and we keep them close because they're cooperating with the confidence of the law enforcement officials. And that's very, very important. Time is sometimes our enemy in these cases because witnesses' memories fade. But it also can be a huge benefit because the witnesses are emboldened or they then have the courage to come forward and cooperate with us.

CONAN: Let's see if we can get another caller on the line. And this is Scott. Scott with us from Poplar Bluff in Missouri.

SCOTT (Caller): Yes, thank you for taking my call.

CONAN: Sure.

SCOTT: My question is: What part does maybe deathbed confessions play in helping solve cold cases? I was born in raised in Mississippi during the civil rights era, and I am, you know, a huge history buff person, and I've read several cases where people were dying and they want to set the record straight, you know, before they die. And they have confessed to participating in various murders or crimes, and I was wondering what part does that play in helping solve a cold case?

CONAN: Mark Kappelhoff?

Mr. KAPPELHOFF: Sure, I'm going to give you a great lawyer answer: Well, it depends.

SCOTT: Okay.

Mr. KAPPELHOFF: It depends what the particular individual information the individual provides. If the provide a lead that we can use to investigate the case further or identify other witnesses or potential subjects, certainly that's very, very helpful evidence. And of course, we would welcome that. It may be another clue that we can fit together in the case and really then make the case. So anytime we have additional information helps solve one of these crimes, it's a benefit in our efforts.

CONAN: And has it, in your experience?

Mr. KAPPELHOFF: I don't have any experience of a deathbed confession, but I can give you kind of an interesting story where we actually lost a witness prior to trial in the Ernest Avants prosecution. It involved the 1966 murder of an African American farmer. What happened in that case, we established jurisdiction because the murder occurred on federal lands. It was in a national forest. Well, the witness that we had to establish that jurisdiction actually died two weeks before the trial. So we did not have an ability to establish jurisdiction.

Fortunately, her two children at the time were familiar with the forest, were familiar with the location and identified the body. And ultimately, we used those witnesses in the trial to establish jurisdiction.

CONAN: A couple of nervous days there, I suspect.

Mr. KAPPELHOFF: Well, quite a few.

CONAN: Yeah. Scott, thanks very much for the call.

SCOTT: Thank you, appreciate it.

CONAN: Bye-bye. Let's go to, this is Herman. Herman's with us from Phoenix, Arizona.

HERMAN (Caller): Thank you.

CONAN: Go ahead.

HERMAN: I'd just like to know if you know something about Viola Liuzzo, or your guests can comment about that.

CONAN: Viola Liuzzo who was murdered, I think, 1965 in Mississippi by the Ku Klux Klan.

HERMAN: Yeah. I think it was in (unintelligible). See, I saw the documentary and it was quite interesting, so I'd like to know if you can comment about that.

CONAN: Is that one of the open cases?

Mr. KAPPELHOFF: I…

CONAN: I'm just going to Mark Kappelhoff here.

Mr. KAPPELHOFF: We'd rather not comment on the open cases or cases we may be investigating, and that's our general practice in these matters. We are certainly always looking at new cases and the ability to solve those cases. But I'd rather not comment on any…

CONAN: There's no reason you wouldn't be interested in it?

Mr. KAPPELHOFF: Absolutely not.

CONAN: OK. Herman, thanks very much for the call.

HERMAN: Thank you.

CONAN: As you go through these, how do you - there must be some way that you weight the testimony of people who are so - you know, it's a long time, it is a long time and sometimes people are in an age where their memory could be challenged by the defense.

Mr. KAPPELHOFF: Absolutely. I mean that's a huge, huge hurdle to overcome in these cases. It's a huge hurdle to overcome in a case that's fresh. So you can imagine if it's 40 years old. And we just have to add it up, and hopefully we can corroborate that witness's version of events through other evidence and sometimes we just go forward with what we have.

We of course want to pursue these cases aggressively, and we do. Because the community obviously cries out for justice, and we're there to provide that justice if we can.

CONAN: As the prosecutor, do you have a higher standard? I mean these are -some of them are very high profile cases. I mean do you feel that you need a slam-dunk case before you're ready to proceed?

Mr. KAPPELHOFF: We have a standard where, if we believe we can prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury, we'll bring that case.

CONAN: Our guests are Michael - excuse me - Mark Kappelhoff, chief of the criminal section of the Justice Department Civil Rights Division, and Mark Vukelich, who's the unit chief of the FBI's civil rights unit. And you're listening to TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.

And let's see if we can get another caller on the line. This is Jeff. Jeff's with us from Berkeley, California.

JEFF (Caller): Hi, how are you? I really appreciate the jurisdiction issue. I think in the psyche of the American people we want our federal government to reenact scenes of Truman when he sent the National Guard or whoever to that college to let the, you know, to integrate the college. And it was with the force of the federal government. We want that. I think we really want that.

It's just that, you know, we work together with the states, that's all good. But I think the fact is there is statutory authority. But it's so politicized that if your boss doesn't think that that statute applies, then you can't do it. So I would just say do it because you can do it.

CONAN: Well, it's…

JEFF: The statutory authority is there.

CONAN: Mark Kappelhoff's boss is the attorney general of the United States. If he boss says don't do it, I don't think he's going to do it.

JEFF: Exactly. And that's the problem. It's all politicized. You could go into any state and you could make a case. You can. The laws of the federal government codes are there. It's so politicized, and right and wrong are not -right and wrong shouldn't be politicized. If they were bigots in one part of the state, 40 years later go back and make justice even if it means proclaiming that the city council did not do their job 40 years ago.

CONAN: Is this an issue at all, Mark Kappelhoff?

Mr. KAPPELHOFF: I'm a career federal prosecutor. If I have the evidence to bring you to prosecution and I have the jurisdiction to bring that prosecution, we of course would pursue that case.

CONAN: Let's go to Antrell(ph). Antrell's with us from Chesapeake in Virginia.

ANTRELL (Caller): Hello. Good afternoon.

CONAN: Afternoon.

ANTRELL: My question is for the cases, the cold cases that y'all bring back up. And y'all may find out that the reason that, you know, that cases weren't trialed correctly and it goes up into (unintelligible). Do y'all prosecute the Navy, the courts, the police if they had any involvement in these cases?

CONAN: Mark Kappelhoff?

Mr. KAPPELHOFF: Well, one of the most famous cases that was every brought by the Civil Rights Division was the U.S. vs. Price case, famously known as the Mississippi Burning case. In fact, the individuals involved in that case, a number of individuals involved in that case, were sheriff's deputies and law enforcement officials.

So absolutely. Those are the statutes we use in the Civil Rights Division to prosecute cases. Those are the statutes that have been around since post-Civil War era. And we're using those statutes today.

CONAN: I wanted to ask Mark Vukelich, as you go through these cases where you find evidence of intimidation or that police of even court officials may have been involved - have you had experience with that?

Mr. VUKELICH: Yes, very much so. And it's interesting that the partnerships that I'm talking about, oftentimes the same departments that were involved as subjects are standing right next to us to do the right thing today. That's what I'm talking about.

Things have changed over the years. Some of the issues from the past don't exist anymore. And there are local police departments where there may have been a deputy or a local law enforcement official that was involved in a case years ago. It's that same department that's standing right there to do the right thing and work with us in these cases.

CONAN: Antrell, thanks very much for your time.

ANTRELL: Can I have more one question?

CONAN: If you keep it very, very quick. We've got about 30 seconds.

ANTRELL: Yes, sir. If there are situations in which the state were suppressing certain citizens, will they go back and maybe - how would you say - come in and do some set of programs, which to help those citizens what they tried to oppress (unintelligible)?

CONAN: I'm not sure who to put that question to. And I think in terms of very old cases, the statute of limitations, unless it's for a crime like murder, would have expired. So it would be little to go on, Antrell. Thanks very much for the call. We appreciate it.

And we'd like to thank our guests today. You most recently heard from Mark Vukelich, who's the unit chief of the FBI civil rights unit. Also with us here in Studio 3A, Mark Kappelhoff, chief of the criminal section of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division. Very kind of you gentlemen to come in. Thanks very much for your time today.

Mr. KAPPELHOFF: Thank you, Neal.

CONAN: When we come back from a short break we're going to be talking with NPR's Juan Williams and listening to excerpts from his interview earlier today with President George Bush.

I'm Neal Conan. It's the TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.

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