Jerry Mitchell

Jerry Mitchell is an investigative reporter with the Jackson, Mississippi, Clarion-Ledger whose courageous efforts have ensured that unpunished murders from the Civil Rights era are finally prosecuted. In 1989, Mitchell began his immersion in decades-old stories of thwarted justice and undertook a meticulous review of the 1963 assassination of NAACP leader Medgar Evers. Ku Klux Klan member Byron de la Beckwith had been tried twice for this crime in 1964, and each trial ended in hung juries. By analyzing hundreds of documents and interviewing scores of witnesses, Mitchell laid the groundwork for a new trial. The case was reopened and culminated in the conviction and life sentence of Beckwith in 1994.

Mitchell has since uncovered largely unknown details about many other long-dormant murder cases. His reporting has played a key role in the convictions of Klan Imperial Wizard Sam Bowers for ordering the fatal firebombing of NAACP leader Vernon Dahmer in 1966, of Bobby Cherry for the 1963 bombing of a Birmingham church that killed four girls, and of Edgar Ray Killen for helping to orchestrate the 1964 deaths of three civil rights workers in Neshoba County, Mississippi.

Jerry Mitchell received a B.A. (1982) from Harding University and an M.A. (1997) from Ohio State University. He joined the Jackson, Mississippi, Clarion-Ledger in 1986 as a bureau reporter, before turning to investigative reporting in 1989.