By Chelsea Brasted | LSU Student
When two Ku Klux Klan chapter leaders sought help in getting a fellow Klansman and murder suspect out of jail in 1966, the accused turned to Concordia Parish deputy Frank DeLaughter, a larger-than-life lawman known for his ruthlessness and KKK ties.
DeLaughter tried to pressure Ferriday Mayor L.W. "Woodie" Davis into releasing Myron Wayne "Jack" Seale of Natchez without bond, but Davis, who died last year at the age of 93, refused, according to documents obtained by the cold case civil rights-era murder project team at LSU's Manship School of Mass Communication.
Seale had been pulled over and arrested early on the morning of Feb. 14, 1966, where he was found with a myriad of ammunition and several weapons in the trunk of his car.
Seale, who was implicated in the murders of two black teenagers in 1964 — known as the Dee-Moore murders — and the murder of Klansman in 1965 who might have been an FBI informant, was pulled over for driving under the influence, according to recently released FBI documents.
According to an FBI interview with Davis on March 29, 1967, Seale's bond for his arrest was set at $250, or nearly $1,700 in today's dollars.
Davis, who won a purple heart in World War II and was mayor of Ferriday for 28 years, often helped the FBI during its efforts to destabilize the organization in the 1960s, according to a lengthy investigation by Concordia Sentinel Editor Stanley Nelson of Ferriday into Klan murders in the Ferriday region during the 1960s.
He was considered a "straight shooter," said Nelson. "He didn't put up with BS, including that of the Klan."
James Scarborough, a former exalted cyclops of Mississippi's United Klans of America, arrived at Davis' house early on the morning of Seale's arrest to pay the bond, but did not have enough money.
Following Scarborough's departure, DeLaughter and E.L. McDaniel arrived at Davis' home. DeLaughter, who stood 6-5 and weighed 270 pounds, tried to convince Davis to release Seale without any bond, according to the interview. Davis would have none of it.
McDaniel was Grand Dragon of Mississippi's United Klans of America in 1964, but became an FBI informant in 1967.
About 30 minutes after DeLaughter and McDaniel left Davis' house, McDaniel returned with the $250. Seale was released by 8 a.m. on the day of his arrest, according to Davis' interview.
Davis said Seale's 1965 Chevelle Super Sport was searched because police had been tipped off that the trunk contained stolen typewriters, according to the Sentinel. The search would yield quite a different bounty.
In the search of Seale's car, Ferriday authorities found two bayonets, more than 635 rounds of various types of ammunition, two traffic blinker lights, two walkie-talkie radios, an adding machine, a .38 snubnose revolver, a modified automatic rifle and a .30 caliber carbine rifle, according to the FBI documents.
The contents of Seale's trunk were returned to him upon his release.None of the weapons were fully automatic, which made their possession legal.
Seale's brother James Ford Seale died in federal prison last year after his 2007 conviction for the Dee-Moore murders. Charles Moore and Henry Dee were tortured in Mississippi before being transported to Louisiana, where they were drowned alive in an offshoot of the Mississippi River.
Others were involved in the Dee-Moore murders, but James Ford Seale represents the only conviction in that case.
A federal court convicted DeLaughter in the early 1970s of beating a prisoner and spent about a year in a federal prison after an appellate court upheld the decision.