During a break in jury selection on Tuesday in the triple murder trial of Edgar Ray Killen, in the hush of the spacious main courtroom of the Neshoba County Courthouse, the widow of a man he is accused of killing and the brother of another sat rows apart from two Ku Klux Klansman, the wife of the accused and his stepson.

Jury selection in the murder trial of the 80-year-old Killen, accused in one of the most infamous crimes of the civil rights era, was in its second day.

Killen is accused in the June 21, 1964, slayings of James Chaney, 21, Michael Schwerner, 24, and Andrew Goodman, 20, in a plot reportedly hatched by the Klan. The trio was in Mississippi registering blacks to vote.

Killen has maintained his innocence and insists he was never part of the Klan.

There were 76 potential jurors remaining Tuesday – most of whom were white — out of a diverse pool of about 300. They were to report to the courthouse at 8:30 a.m., today (Wednesday).

Testimony could start as early as 2 p.m. today and is expected to last at least another week. The trial will continue on Saturday but not Sunday.

The defense is expected to file a motion today seeking to have all the testimony from a 1967 federal conspiracy trial — expected to be a large part of the prosecution’s case — disallowed.

Defense attorney James McIntyre said the 1967 testimony consisted of “a lot of hearsay.” He said the defense wanted to wait until a jury was impaneled to file the motion.

By Tuesday afternoon a veritable calm had settled over the courthouse square with much of the excitement from the beginning of the trial giving way to routine as jury selection continued.

The calm was amid the most extraordinary security measures ever undertaken for a trial in Neshoba County: a metal detector in the east hallway, street closures around the courthouse, designated protest areas, one lane of Beacon and Main streets barricaded around the courthouse, and dozens and dozens of law enforcement officers inside and out.

Clerks at the Neshoba County Tax Assessor’s Office said though business was slower than normal Monday many residents came in to conduct their business. Very little business was conducted on Tuesday, however.

The authorities have reported no problems, although a prominent player in the case apparently received an indirect death threat, law enforcement officials and others said.

Neshoba County Sheriff Larry A. Myers, however, said he could not comment and referred questions to the state Highway Patrol.

A lone protester appeared Monday without incident in the designated protest area.

The widow, Rita Schwerner-Bender, sat directly behind Killen’s wife. Ben Chaney, the brother of James Chaney, sat behind her. Three seats to the right were two out-of-state Klansmen.

Two hundred twenty-one journalists from 60 different media organizations have registered with the Neshoba County Circuit Clerk so far.

CNN was broadcasting live from the court square Monday as were numerous Mississippi television stations.

When testimony gets under way, among the witnesses expected for the defense is former Philadelphia Mayor Harlan Majure, who said this week he recalls speaking to Killen at a funeral home the night of the murders.

“I was with Edgar Ray Killen the night the murders took place,” he said.

Majure said he remembers the night because visitation was held for his young niece.

They were at the McClain-Hays funeral home downtown (now The Neshoba Democrat building). Majure said he was surprised to see Killen there. “I looked and I thought, ‘That’s Edgar Ray Killen.’ Of course I’ve known him all my life,” Majure said.

“I don’t remember now what time it was,” the former two-term mayor said. “But I remember the conversation very well.”

Majure, who was not mayor of the city until years after the murders, said Killen had come to the funeral home that night not to visit Majure’s niece, but to visit a friend who had died, Alex Rich, whose visitation was being held simultaneously upstairs.

A list of scheduled witnesses for the defense also includes the Rev. Kermit Sharp, Oscar Kenneth Killen and Kenneth Graham.

Sharp said he is a retired minister and lives near Killen.

Oscar Kenneth Killen is one of Edgar Ray Killen’s brothers.

An updated list of witnesses for the trial shows that the prosecution is planning to call one more witness than the seven previously disclosed.

The additional witness, Nell Miller, is the wife of the late Meridian Police Sgt. Wallace Miller.

Sgt. Miller testified in the 1967 federal trial that he had been a member of the Klan and that he and Killen grew up in the same vicinity and were classmates.

Mrs. Miller, now 62, said in an interview with The Clarion-Ledger last year that her family suffered harassment, intimidation and violence because the Klan believed her husband was the informant who told the FBI were the three civil rights workers were buried in 1964.

Other witnesses for the prosecution include Joseph M. Hatcher, Harry Wiggs, and five men who were defendants in the 1967 trial: Billy Wayne Posey, Jimmie Snowden, Jimmy Arledge, Olen Burrage and Pete Harris.

Posey, Snowden and Arledge were convicted in 1967. Burrage and Harris were acquitted.

Out-of-state Klansmen have attended both days of proceedings so far.

“We didn’t bring any trouble to anybody,” said Charles Denton, a member of the American White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan from Florida who initially gave reporters an alias. “We came up here to support (Killen) and his family in this trial as much as we can.”

Defense attorney McIntyre said Monday that he didn’t want the Klan at the trial, and that if any members showed up, he would ask to have them removed from the courtroom.

Denton said that he hadn’t talked with McIntyre, and didn’t care whether he wanted the Klan to be at the trial. “It’s a free country,” he said.