According to F.B.I. reports, the Klan believed that Mr. Moore and Mr. Dee were Black Muslims plotting an armed uprising. The two were taken deep into the nearby Homochitto National Forest, where they were tied to trees and whipped. They were then driven across the state line to Louisiana, where they were tied to an engine block and thrown into the river with tape over their mouths.
One of the men who killed them was a local Klansman and factory worker named James Ford Seale, who was arrested but not prosecuted for the crime in 1964, thanks to the general racist nature of the Mississippi justice system. In 2005, the US Justice Department re-opened the case; in 2007, Seale was convicted and given three life sentences for his crimes.