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Rights protesters demand prosecution in '46 slayings

MONROE, Ga. -- Where the old Moore's Ford bridge once stood, there are no reminders of the atrocities committed here almost 59 years ago, other than a crude, black ''KKK" spray-painted on the underside of a modern bridge nearby.

In 1946, a white mob pulled four black sharecroppers from a car near the river's banks, dragged them down a wagon trail, and shot them to death.

Now, dozens of politicians, activists, and relatives of the victims are pressing a local prosecutor to use the FBI's original investigation to seek indictments against the few surviving suspects in the deaths of Roger and Dorothy Malcom and George and Mae Murray Dorsey.

''This," declared state Representative Tyrone Brooks of Atlanta, ''was the most heinous collective crime ever perpetuated against African-Americans in this state."

Brooks is an honorary member of what has come to be known as the Moore's Ford Memorial Committee, which first came together in 1997 simply to commemorate the two slain couples.

This weekend, the group is hoping to gather support with two events: a rally tonight at the courthouse and a march -- led by Brooks -- across the bridge tomorrow.

So far, though, the committee's prosecutorial efforts -- bolstered by several civil rights cases reopened elsewhere in recent years -- have not influenced District Attorney Ken Wynne, who says he will not seek indictments unless new evidence is presented. He points to a 2001 investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation that did not unearth any new evidence. GBI officials, however, say they consider the case open.

Brooks's response to Wynne's stance is pointed. ''We don't need any more investigations. The evidence is there," he said. ''They should be charged and let a jury decide their fate."

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