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Friday, December 31, 2004

Lynching in 2004

Subject: Lynching in 2004 Date: Fri, 6 Aug 2004
08:23:14 -0700 (PDT) Fri, Apr. 23, 2004 Man found hanging in tree in Wilkinson County Associated Press http://www.sunherald.com/mld/sunherald/8502677.htm

WOODVILLE, Miss. - Family members say a man found Friday hanging from a tree in rural Mississippi had returned home to fight for his family's land. The body of 52-year-old Roy Veal was discovered in Wilkinson County, relatives said. Warren Strain, spokesman of the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, said the body was discovered about midday in a wooded area of the county near Woodville. Authorities declined to identify the man pending notification of relatives. But Doris Gordon, a Woodville native now living in San Francisco, said the victim was her brother, Roy Veal of Washington state. Thelma Veal, the man's mother, also confirmed the identity.
"They found my brother hanging from a tree with a hood over his head and some papers burned at his feet," Gordon said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press from San Francisco. "It's awful. We don't know who did it." Gordon, who said she would be returning to Woodville as soon as possible, said her brother had returned to the family home in Wilkinson County "to help with a lawsuit pending against our family." "There are people trying to take part of our land because they apparently think there is oil on the land," she said.
Officials at the chancery clerk's office in Woodville said a lawsuit pending in chancery court names several members of the Thelma Veal family, including Doris Gordon and apparently Roy Veal, as defendants. Chancery Clerk Thomas Tolliver Jr., said the case involved title to land in the county and damages. Thelma Veal said the lawsuit sought portions of land owned by her late husband and his brothers. She said her son had obtained a map of the property and was collecting documents to prove the family owned the land. "Now they have found my son hung back there on a tree," said Thelma Veal, 79. She said her husband owned more than 40 acres in the area southwest of Woodville and that it was being sought because it might have oil deposits. There is oil production in that area of the state. "My husband's daddy bought this land in 1926 and I've been here ever since I was 18," she said. "It's our land." Strain said the Highway Patrol's Bureau of Investigation was looking into the circumstances around the death. County Coroner Travis Sharp said he had not been contacted about the death and the sheriff's department declined any comment when contacted Friday.

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