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Three Guilty of Sharecropper Murder

November 13, 1999

BELZONI, Miss. (AP) _ Three white men were found guilty Saturday of killing a black sharecropper who was beaten by a mob and dumped off a bridge almost 30 years ago.

The jury deliberated about six hours before returning the verdict. Earlier Saturday, they had reported that they were deadlocked. The judge urged them to continue deliberating despite the apparent impasse.

James ``Doc″ Caston, 66, his brother, Charles E. Caston, 64, and their half brother, Hal Crimm, 50, all were charged in the death of Rainey Pool, a one-armed man who was killed in 1970. They face a maximum of 20 years in prison each. Sentencing was set for Nov. 17

Pool was beaten by a white mob, his larynx crushed and his body dumped off a bridge into the Sunflower River. The pathologist who performed the autopsy said it was unclear whether Pool was alive or dead when he hit the water, but testified that the beating eventually would have been fatal.

The case was revived at the request of Pool’s family.

``Rainey Pool cries out from the grave for justice for something that happened 29 years ago,″ Assistant District Attorney Ted Batson said during closing arguments Friday.

A total of seven white men were blamed for the brutal attack. Two are dead, one was acquitted in June, and a fourth, Joe Oliver Watson, pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of manslaughter and agreed to testify against the others.

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