The Hanging Tree - KKK murder locations.
Anguilla, MS. 12/3/2015. On April 12, 1970, Rainey Pool, a 54-year-old sharecropper from the town of Midnight in Humphries County, was killed by a group of white men. The group of men assaulted Pool, rendering him unconscious, and loaded him in a pick-up truck. The men then threw Pool off a bridge into the Sunflower River at this location. One of the perpetrators claimed Pool, who had one arm, was trying to take something from his truck. Police found Pool’s body two days later.
In 1970, police detained four suspects, one of whom confessed. Indictments followed, but on the request of the prosecutor, in July 1970 the state circuit court granted a nolle proseque (a formal notice of abandonment by a plaintiff or prosecutor).
After twenty-eight years, in 1999 at the request of Pool’s family the case was revived. Seven white men were thought to be responsible for Pool’s death. Two were dead by the time of the fresh investigation. Dennis Newton was acquitted by a jury and, Joe Oliver Watson pled to manslaughter and agreed to testify against the remaining men. In November 1999 James “Doc” Caston, 66, his brother Charles Ernie Caston, 64, and his half-brother Hal Spivey Crimm 50, were convicted of manslaughter by a state jury and sentenced to serve 20 years in prison.
Weeks after the verdict, local newspaper investigations discovered an FBI report from April 15, 1970. It stated that James Caston had informed an FBI agent that he was a member of the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. There had been rumors that all of the defendants in the Pool case were Klan members, however none of this was ever presented in court. James Caston’s ex-wife Donna Mae confirmed that her husband was in fact a member of the KKK and said that he kept a membership certificate in his rifle case to prove it.