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1964 Liberty murder on “60 Minutes”

SPECIAL TO THE DEMOCRAT

LIBERTY — The 1964 murder of Louis Allen in Liberty will be a part of a “60 Minutes” investigation to air this Sunday.

The show starts at 6 p.m. on CBS.

Allen’s family is convinced a former sheriff had a hand in his 1964 murder, a “60 minutes” press release says. The FBI had enough interest in the sheriff to try to get the former lawman to take a lie detector test that he refused. But Daniel Jones, the former sheriff, denies he had anything to do with the 47-year-old murder some credit with sparking the famous “Freedom Summer” civil rights campaign.

Steve Kroft of “60 Minutes” visited Liberty during an 18-month investigation into Allen’s unsolved murder.

Allen, a black WWII veteran who helped civil rights workers, was shot to death just before he could move away from Liberty. He wanted to escape the harassment and threats he endured for talking to the FBI about witnessing the murder of a black civil rights volunteer. Jones investigated Allen’s murder; he found no suspects.

The TV show approached Jones on his farm with a hidden camera. In a cordial conversation, the former sheriff said there was no bad blood between him and the victim, that he had investigated it and knew Allen was murdered, but he did not want to discuss it further. He did answer more of Kroft’s questions, however.

Was he in the Ku Klux Klan? “I take the fifth on that,” he replied. Could he look Kroft in the eye and say he had nothing to do with the murder? “No sir, I wasn’t involved in it,” he said. Told he could clear the whole thing up by taking a lie detector test, Jones tells Kroft, “Well, then it ain’t getting cleared up.”

The FBI says it hopes to clear up the Allen case, and 100 more like it, with a project it calls the “Cold Case Initiative.”

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