Closure needed in Jackson case

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 6, 2007

The death of Jimmie Lee Jackson in 1965 ignited a firestorm in the state.

The local civil rights movement up until then had been without major incident. It became violent the February night that Alabama state troopers beat civil rights activists who had gathered in Marion for a candlelight vigil.

By eyewitness accounts, Jackson was trying to help his elderly grandfather when he was beaten, then shot by trooper James Fowler, who has admitted to shooting Jackson.

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District Attorney Michael Jackson will take evidence to a grand jury in Perry County Wednesday.

What he will have to prove is Fowler’s intent. Fowler, who is now 73, has said the shooting was an accident.

The death of Jimmie Lee Jackson stirred the movement into a new direction, planting the seed for the Selma to Montgomery March.

Re-opening a case that is more than 40 years old has to be a daunting task.

Just finding eyewitnesses and evidence was monumental for the district attorney.

But finally putting this case to rest can help find closure in a way that no other action can.

Jimmie Lee Jackson’s family deserves to have that closure. So does James Fowler.