After being held for several hours, the three were released. As they approached the edge of town, Price again pulled them over and held them until other KKK members could arrive. They were then taken to an isolated spot where all three were shot to death. Cheney was severely beaten before he was shot. Their bodies were buried in an earthen dam.
Outrage at the disappearances prompted President Lyndon Johnson to all but force the FBI to investigate. In time, the identities of the killers was revealed, but the state refused to prosecute. Several responsible, Price included, were tried for the federal crime of violating the three mens' civil rights (although others were acquitted, including Sheriff Lawrence A. Rainey). It was not until the first decade of the 21st Century that any of the participants were convicted of murder when Edgar Ray Killen was convicted manslaughter in 2005. Most of the others had died in the meantime.
Mississippi Civil Rights Workers Murders in "He Woke in Darkness"Edit
Not long after Deputy Cecil Price participated in the murder of the three civil rights workers, he was plagued by a persistent nightmare. In it, the racial hierarchy of Mississippi was inverted, with blacks on top and whites on the bottom. Further, Price dreamed that he was a civil rights worker, replacing James Cheney, and that he and two Black Muslims from the North were murdered by black supremacists in much the same way he and some of his friends had murdered Cheney, Goodman, and Schwermer. He lived with this dream until the day he died.