JACKSON, Miss. -- Byron De La Beckwith, the white supremacist convicted after three decades and three trials of assassinating civil rights leader Medgar Evers, has died while serving life in prison, marking what Evers' brother called the "final chapter" of a troubling story.
Beckwith, 80, died Sunday night at University Medical Center where he had been taken from his prison cell.
Hospital spokeswoman Barbara Austin would not comment on the cause of death, saying that would be for the coroner to determine. Beckwith had a history of high blood pressure, heart problems and other ailments.
Evers, a 37-year-old NAACP field secretary who pushed for an end to segregation, was shot in the back on June 12, 1963, after stepping out of his Oldsmobile. He was walking to his house with an armful of "Jim Crow Must Go" T-shirts.
The slaying haunted the Evers family, Charles Evers, a veteran civil rights activist, said in a telephone interview early Monday with The Associated Press.
"What do you say? Finally, it is all over," Evers said. "I don't want to say anything negative about him because we know what he did."
Beckwith's philosophy left no room for blacks, Jews, Asians or any race other than white.
"There are only three kinds of people that live in Mississippi," Beckwith told The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Miss., in an interview shortly before his arrest in 1990. "Whites, colored and trash, and there's very little trash in Mississippi."
Beckwith said that while he was "not willing to lay my life down to rid evil from this country," he was "willing to kill the evil in this country that would try to push me out."
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