The leader of a Mississippi Ku Klux Klan group says its members have been asked to stay away from Philadelphia because they fear any organized protest would hurt the case of Edgar Ray Killen, who is accused of the 1964 murders of three civil rights workers.

That’s not stopping members of the white supremacist group from other states from attending the trial, however.

For the second day in a row, a member of the group escorted Killen into the Neshoba County Courthouse on Tuesday.

Grand Wizard J.J. Harper from the American White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan of Georgia greeted Killen and escorted him into the courthouse on Monday.

On Tuesday, a man calling himself Cole Thornton, who said he was with the Florida American White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, escorted Killen and his wife into the building.

Police later said that the name “Cole Thornton” was an alias after asking for the man’s identification; his Florida driver’s license read “Charles Denton.”

Denton, 53, was stopped by Philadelphia Police officers as he was leaving the Neshoba county Courthouse with J.J. Harper, Imperial Wizard of the American White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan based in Cordele, Ga.

Police examined his identification and concealed weapon permit he was carrying in his wallet.

Harper told officers they had spoken with Neshoba County Sheriff Larry

Myers and had agreed not to carry weapons in the vicinity of the square.

"We are only here to show support," Denton told officers. "We are not here looking for any trouble."

As of Tuesday no member of the organization from Mississippi had announced him or herself at the trial publicly.

Any Mississippi Klansmen doing anything beyond showing support for Killen as private citizens might face disciplinary action — such as expulsion from the Klan, the leader told The Sun Herald.

“If there’s any Klan protest, it won’t be any of us,” said Richard Greene of Petal, Imperial Wizard of the Mississippi White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

“We don’t believe it’s appropriate. A man’s life is at stake here. Any of us coming there will just be as citizens. No organized protest. Nothing Klan.”

Jury selection in Killen’s trial for involvement in the 1964 murder of three civil rights workers began Monday.

Greene said Klan leaders are sure Killen is innocent, and the trial of the 40-year-old murders is “politically motivated.”

“I don’t know if it’s the NAACP, or the attorney general just trying to boost himself,” Greene told the newspaper. “This is not going to bring closure to anything. It’s not going to make a difference. It’s not going to make anybody happy. It’s not going to improve this state’s image.

“We don’t even believe (Killen) was ever in the Klan,” Greene said. “I’m in it. I’m only 43, so I don’t even remember it. I think it was the work of a corrupt police force. I don’t believe he had anything to do with it.”

Greene said he has spoken with Killen recently, but their talk was “nothing Klan related.” He said he has personally donated money to Killen, but the Klan has held no fund-raisers for him.